Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of The Maya World

Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of The Maya World

From AUD $7,200


Board the 50-cabin National Geographic Quest and embark on a unique land-and-sea expedition to explore some of the 65 species of stony coral and 500 species of fish on the Belize Barrier Reef. Snorkel, kayak or paddleboard on colorful reefs over turquoise lagoons. Then, venture to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal. See temples overgrown with tropical rain forest and explore the stories and archaeological sites of these stone ruins swathed in rain forest teeming with wildlife.

Discover the largest reef system in the Northern Hemisphere
Snorkel, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and dive the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System on the only expedition ship exploring the Mesoamerican Reef. Discover wild, beautiful places few will ever have the chance to see.

Explore Mayan ruins over a full day and a half
The Maya ruins of Tikal are expansive. Dedicate enough time to see them, including the little-visited Mayan ruins of Yaxha, the third largest ruin in the Maya world, beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxha Lake.

See dazzling birdlife and monkeys amid a towering forest
The Maya Biosphere Reserve, more than twice the size of Yellowstone National Park, is home to more than 400 species of birds, plus spider monkeys, howler monkeys, and tapirs. Hike the tropical forest amid giant ceiba trees—the sacred tree of the Mayas—to find them with our expert local guides.

Travel in excellent company
Explore under the sure guidance of an expedition leader, veteran naturalists, including a National Geographic certified photo instructor and an undersea specialist, plus a wellness specialist––the largest and most knowledgeable expedition team in the region. Their knowledge and passion for Belize and Tikal is the key to your once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Trip Name
Belize to Tikal: Reefs, Rivers & Ruins of The Maya World
Vessel Type: Expedition Ship Length: 72 metres Passenger Capacity: 100 guests (in 50 cabins) Built: 2017 Designed with decades of expedition experience in the region, National Geographic Quest more than comfortably accommodates 100 guests in 50 cabins. Her twin expedition craft landing platform allow us to rapidly get on and off the ship to take advantage of wildlife sightings and to ensure we maximize our time off the ship exploring. Created with a shallow draft, Quest draws only nine feet of water allowing her to sail into places where much larger ships cannot go. PUBLIC AREAS: Global gallery; fitness centre; LEXspa; lounge with full service bar and facilities for films and presentations; observation deck; mudroom with lockers for expedition gear, and a partially covered sundeck with chairs and tables. Our ‘open bridge’ provides guests an opportunity to meet our officers and captain and learn about navigation. MEALS: Served in single seatings with unassigned tables for an informal atmosphere and easy mingling. Breakfast is a wide selection buffet and dinner is served family-style. Menu emphasises local fare. CABINS: All cabins face outside with windows or portholes, private facilities and climate controls. Some cabins have balconies. EXPEDITION EQUIPMENT: Expedition landing craft, a fleet of 24 kayaks, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), hydrophone, splashcam, underwater video camera, video microscope, snorkelling gear for all guests (where applicable). SPECIAL FEATURES: Guest internet access, elevator, National Geographic certified photo instructor, a video chronicler and undersea specialist. WELLNESS: The vessel is staffed by a Wellness Specialist and features a gym with an elliptical machine, treadmill, exercycles, handweights and resistance bands. Treatments in the LEXspa are available by appointment.


Day 1 - DAY 1: Guatemala City, Guatemala/Puerto Barrios
Arrive in Guatemala City and connect with our charter flight to Puerto Barrios. Upon arrival, transfer to Puerto Santo Tomás, where we'll embark the National Geographic Quest. (D)
Day 2 - DAY 2-3: Belize Barrier Reef/Manatee or Sittee River
This morning, we begin our exploration of the Belize barrier reef, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in terms of biodiversity. Take to the warm waters by snorkel, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard. For certified scuba divers, incredible dive opportunities abound (at additional cost). Sail along the coast to the mouth of a river and board Zodiacs to cruise inland through the Belizean jungle in search of toucans, green iguanas, and myriad bird species. (B,L,D)
Day 3 - DAY 4: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Today, explore the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, the world’s first jaguar reserve. Join our naturalists for a hike along one of the reserve’s many nature trails to photograph tropical plants, scan the treetops for winged wonders, and spot the tracks of tapirs and jungle cats. Visit a Maya handicraft center and marvel at the work of traditional artisans. Tonight, an internationally acclaimed drumming group, The Garifuna Collective, joins us on board for a festive music performance. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - DAY 5: Belize Barrier Reef
Sail to the reef's southern cayes, dotted with hundreds of coral patches that harbor parrotfish, butterflyfish, octopus, and other marine species. The day's activities are dictated by the rhythms of wind and wave, as we set out snorkeling, paddleboarding, diving, or kayaking among colorful corals and idyllic isles. (B,L,D)
Day 5 - DAY 6: Puerto Santo Tomás, Guatemala/Flores
Disembark in Puerto Santo Tomás and catch our charter flight to Flores, gateway to Tikal—one of the largest cities in the Classic Maya world. Enjoy lunch on the shores of picturesque Lake Petén Itzá before transferring to the Hotel Camino Real Tikal. Later, set out on an optional birding walk with our naturalists, or take a sunset boat cruise on the lake. (B,L,D)
Day 6 - DAY 7: Tikal
Spend a full day exploring Tikal, where ancient pyramids tower more than 200 feet, and thousands of temples, shrines, and plazas are scattered beneath the rain forest canopy. Discover the site’s archaeological treasures, including the Temple of the Great Jaguar and the North and South Acropolis. Encounter ancient Maya art and hieroglyphs, and examine carved stone inscriptions that illuminate the history and spiritual significance of Tikal. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - DAY 8: Yaxhá
Explore Yaxhá, a former Maya ceremonial center situated on a ridge overlooking Yaxhá Lake. The world’s third largest known Maya site, Yaxhá spreads across nine plazas and contains multiple pyramids, ball courts, and stelae. Examine its features with your local guides and, if you wish, climb a temple for panoramic views. Later, enjoy lunch at a traditional Guatemalan restaurant, followed by an evening at leisure. (B,L,D)
Day 8 - DAY 9: Flores/Guatemala City/Home
Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)
Day 9 - Please Note:
All day-by-day breakdowns are a sampling of the places we intend to visit, conditions permitting.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $7,200Category 1
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $7,730Category 2
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $8,250Category 3
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $8,790Category 4
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $10,230Category 5
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $10,800Category 1 Single
28-02-202007-03-2020AUD $11,590Category 2 Single


    • Venture into the jungles of Guatemala with local experts to discover the spectacular temples and pyramids of both Tikal and Yaxha.
    • Spot rainbow-colored fish, turtles, and rays while snorkeling or diving the corals of the Belize Barrier Reef, one of the largest barrier reef systems in the world.
    • Explore Belize’s coastal rivers by Zodiac, to sight toucans, green iguanas and other wildlife.