The Paradise Islands of Belize, located in the less developed southern region of Belize's Barrier Reef, remain close to a pristine marine ecosystem. We'll kayak through the shallow reef-strewn waters, snorkel to our hearts content, go to sleep lulled by the sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore, and fill each day with lots of exercise, delicious food, and the kind of relaxation that stems from immersion in a very different world and way of life. Maximum group size: 12
Saturday, March 10: Arrive at the Belize International Airport by 2pm today; you'll be met and transferred to the Biltmore Hotel where the group gathers at 3pm. From there we go to the Tropical Education Centre, adjacent to the Belize Zoo and our lodging for the first night. We will be staying in Forest Cabanas, situated in the midst of idyllic tropical pine forest with a network of interpretative trails and wildlife viewing platforms at our doorstep. You can start getting ready for the adventure at the Interpretive Centre, which details the diverse ecology of Belize and is an ideal introduction. About 6 pm we'll gather for introductions and share a "Welcome to Belize Dinner." If you're not too tired, we highly recommend joining us for an optional nocturnal tour of the Belize Zoo. Jaguars, ocelots, tapirs and other native species provide our first introduction to Belize's amazing wildlife. (Tour is by donation only - recommended $10-20US.)
Sunday, March 11: Our first day in the Tropics! We start the morning with a drive over the Maya Mountains, where a charter boat takes us to our first of the aptly named Paradise Islands on the Southern Barrier Reef. We'll meet our Belizean guide team who will give us an overview of tropical marine safety. We'll then begin with kayaking instruction: safety, group and self rescues, and touring techniques with an emphasis on how to use our muscles most efficiently and how to get in and out of kayaks safely. If you've never received formal instruction, you'll be surprised how much a few basic tips can improve your kayaking. After a break for a swim, some time to explore the island shoreline, and a tasty Belizean lunch, we'll practice our new strokes as we paddle to Tobacco Caye over gorgeous blue water and through twisting mangrove tunnels - right to our first night's lodge! Our paddle can take anywhere between two and four hours depending on weather conditions. We'll settle in, enjoy drinks and dinner, and be lulled to sleep by the sound of ocean waves.
Monday, March 12: For those who love the early morning, watching the sun rise is the perfect way to start your day. After breakfast we'll have our first snorkeling demo and instruction, learning both beginning and advanced skills as appropriate, at the Tobacco Caye cut and outer reef walls. In the afternoon we'll paddle to nearby reefs to snorkel and explore healthy and vibrant coral and brightly colored fish. Staying right on the Barrier Reef in the heart of the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, we are ideally situated to explore all the surrounding reefs and cayes. For experienced divers, we can also look into arranging an optional scuba dive. This requires advanced notice and and availability. We'll return that night to our lodge on Tobacco Caye and another delicious dinner.
Tuesday, March 13: This morning we'll pack all our clothes into our personal gear and head south along the Barrier Reef crest to Southwater Caye and our lodge for the next 3 nights. We'll start with an introduction to kayak sailing - nothing like letting the wind do some of the work for you! We'll paddle and sail our kayaks along one of the most beautiful sections of the entire reef system. The clear, shallow waters reveal an abundance of marine life: southern stingrays, eagle rays, nurse sharks (they're safe, don't worry), grouper, and more. Landing on the beach near our lodge, we'll be glad for a cold drink, a chance to relax, and a swim to cool off. In the afternoon we take a short paddle to a nearby island that is home to the Smithsonian Institute, here we are treated to a tour of the research lab. As the sun sets it's time to enjoy a well earned dinner that will recharge us after our full day. We'll spend tonight and the next two nights at Southwater Caye.
Wednesday, March 14: We're staying at the same lodge tonight so we have lots of flexibility today and lots of time to kayak, snorkel, fish, enjoy the marine life of Belize and - dare we say it - even relax if we choose. We'll explore both the inner and outer walls of the reef, follow wandering paths through mangrove ranges, and dip into protected lagoons. We gain insight into the lives of the fishermen who make this area their home and their living from the sea. Ho Hum, just another day in Paradise.
Thursday, March 15: Today we spend our last full day kayaking to Billy Hawk Caye, formerly a Garifuna Fishing Camp, located in the Blue Ground Range. Arriving in time for lunch, we'll have time to relax in the most idyllic hammock setting and recharge for an afternoon of snorkeling. Sadly we leave our kayaks on this island and enjoy a fun boat ride back to South Caye. This evening we'll celebrate our final evening together with a feast and a chance to enjoy island festivities.
Friday, March 16: After an early breakfast our water taxi carries us back to the mainland and the town of Dangriga, where the trip finishes. We'll collect and repack any clothing/suitcases we left at the Operations Base and arrange taxis for those who have the short connecting flight to the Belize International Airport or local bus station. It is safe for women to take the local buses by themselves so if this is your preferred mode of transportation, don't hesitate to try it. If you are making an international connection that day, be sure to book your flight after 11:30am if you fly from Dangriga and after 4:00pm if you take the bus.
EXTENSIONS: If you think it's way too soon to head home, don't. Instead, join us on one of two optional Extensions.
Maya World Extension March 16 - 18, 2018 / Cost: $649.00
The Maya World Extension is a three day inland adventure to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, home to some of the best birding and wildlife viewing in Belize.
By boat we explore Spanish Creek, Revenge Lagoon and the surrounding wetlands where we can see many birds including northern jacanas, white ibis, wood storks and the huge jabiru stork. We visit one of Belize's oldest Creole settlements, then journey into the world of the ancient Maya. This extension is a great way to experience Belize's astounding diversity of birds and wildlife, as well as its ancient Mayan culture. This optional extension includes:
- Two nights in Crooked Tree, a wildlife sanctuary managed by the Audubon Society. Relax or explore Crooked Tree Village. (D)
- Tour the ancient city of Lamanai. Return by boat along New River Lagoon, with tremendous birding and wildlife viewing along the shores. (B, L, D)
- Enjoy the waking wilderness and hundreds of birds feeding along the lagoon shore. Morning lagoon boat tour. Afternoon visit to the Mayan site of Altun Ha, returning to Belize City approximately 4:00pm. (B, L)
Rainforest Canopy Extension - Cost: $539.00
The Rainforest Canopy Extension is a three Day Eco-Lodge Adventure in the Rainforests of Southern Belize. The Rainforest Canopy Extension travels off-the-grid to a jungle lodge and eco-resort in the southern Maya Mountains.
Situated in 7000 acre Mayflower Bocawina National Park and adjacent to the world famous Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve, your location is superb for adventure. This three day trip is ideal for those wanting to experience the essence of this untouched, tropical rainforest while vacationing in Belize. This optional extension includes:
- Travel from our Operations Base in Dangriga to our eco-resort in Bocawina Park. Settle into your lodge, then choose from the guided Bocawina Rainforest trail walk or the longest rainforest canopy zipline in Central America! (L, D)
- Experience early morning in the rainforest, and the cacophony of sounds in the waking wilderness. After breakfast, go on the Antelope Falls Waterfall Adventure or the Cockscomb Wildlife Sanctuary and Cultural Village tour. (The cockscomb option is an extra $60 per person and requires a two person minimum.) (B, L, D)
- Time at Leisure. Relax at the lodge or explore one of the local trails. Return to Dangriga by van either before or after lunch. (B)
$2395 (see this page for discounts) $400 deposit. Single supplement (only necessary if you want your own room, maximum of 2) is $395 (you will have your own room and bathroom on 3 nights and the other nights you will share a bathroom). You can read our cancellation policy here.
- An Adventures in Good Company guide
- A Belizean guide (male) for 8, 2 guides for more than 8
- Six nights double occupancy lodging
- Meals from dinner on Saturday through breakfast the following Friday (except juice, soda, and alcoholic beverages)
- All kayaking and snorkeling equipment and instruction. Both single and double kayaks are available; depending on everyone's preferences, we cannot guarantee a single kayak for the entire time.
- All taxes and park fees
Not included: Travel to and from Belize City or from Dangriga to Belize City (about $100 by plane or $5 by local bus), alcoholic beverages, snacks, guide gratuities, and travel insurance. The Maya World extension is $649. The Rainforest Canopy extension is $539 (see itinerary for descriptions).
If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.
How do I pay for my trip?
You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.
What if I’m coming alone?
The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.
Can you accommodate special diets?
It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle.
If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.
What if I have to cancel my trip?
The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.
Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?
Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.
What other information will you send me?
When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.
Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?
For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.
How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?
If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.
What is the role of the guide(s)?
On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.
What if I have more questions?
Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.
What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?
You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.