giant barracuda caught in Placencia

For those of you who don’t know, in August of 2019, our family got a little bit crazy and purchased a small resort in southern Belize. Yes, Belize is another country! We had visited Belize numerous times on vacation and fell in love with the people, the food, all the fun things to do and of course the winter weather! As much as we enjoyed living in Belize, it wasn’t great for our kids. The Covid-19 pandemic made things even harder for our family, especially for the kids. After much prayer and talking we decided to sell the operations of the resort to a wonderful family from Arkansas this past January. Now they are leasing the land from us and running the resort. However, we still love Belize and enjoy visiting¬† a couple times a year. And starting for the winter of 2022/2023 we will be leading trips to Belize for those who want to join us and see some of the amazing country. There we will be visiting Mayan ruins, snorkeling beautiful reefs, fishing, learning to make chocolate, hiking in the jungle and so much more. If you would like to travel to Belize with us just let us know. Here is the itinerary…

  • Day 1: Arrive in Belize, stay at Zoo, enjoy night tour of zoo.
  • Day 2: Travel to San Ignacio, visit two Mayan ruin sites, stay in local hotel.
  • Day 3: Cave Tubing and then travel to Placencia-enjoy the beach, stay in beach hotel.
  • Day 4: Snorkel reef and explore Placencia, stay in beach hotel.
  • Day 5: Ocean fishing, stay in beach hotel.
  • Day 6: Travel to jungle, kayak Moho river, stay at jungle lodge.
  • Day 7: Birding tour, chocolate excursion, jungle survival adventure, stay at jungle lodge.
  • Day 8: Traditional tortilla making class/optional fishing add-on, stay in jungle lodge.
  • Day 9: Travel home

Mayan Pyramid at Xunantanich

Before we jump into the details of each day, let’s get some questions out of the way.

  • Do you have to speak Spanish to travel to Belize? No. Belize’s language is English.
  • Do I have to worry about weird money exchanges? No. Belize accept US currency and has a fixed exchange rate.
  • Which side of the road do we drive on in Belize? Belizeans drive on the same side of the road as Americans/Canadians. And Adam is doing all the driving anyway. And Adam will be there for any questions for tours, meals or anything else.
  • Is it safe? Yes. Belize is very safe for tourists. There is one dangerous part of Belize and we won’t be going there.
  • Is the food good? Yes! Belize has excellent food.
  • Will I be able to find a cocktail or beer? Yes, that is quite easy in Belize.
  • What is the weather like in Belize? Much warmer than the midwest in the winter! Temperatures for the February trip will be in the mid 80s for daytime and mid 60s at night. April weather will be warmer.
  • What if I don’t know where to stay during the trip? No worries, Adam will do all the arrangements for lodging and all lodging is included in the tour package.

Kayaking the Moho River

Okay, if you aren’t convinced yet, let’s talk about each day a little more in detail…

Day one: Travel to Belize. We will arrive in Belize in the afternoon. All flights land in Belize in the afternoon. After going through customs and immigration we will pick up our van and drive 45 minutes to where we will be staying the first night. We know people are tired after traveling so we don’t have much planned for day one. But we also know you just arrived in Belize and want to do something. Tonight we are going on a private night time tour of the Belize zoo! Belize has a wonderful small zoo and while most adults don’t get too excited by zoos, night time at the zoo is a whole different game. Night is when they feed the jaguars, crocodiles and kinkajous. After checking into our bungalows we’ll have dinner together and then around 8 pm we’ll spend about an hour with a guide and watch them feed the big cats, crocs, tapirs and more. Lodging at the Zoo’s Tropical Education Center which has clean bungalows with private bathrooms and hot and cold water. Nothing over the top fancy, but clean and comfortable. At dinner you will be able to purchase a Belikin(local beer) if you want with dinner. Today’s dinner is included in the package.

Day two: After breakfast, Adam will drive us to San Ignacio (about 90 minutes away). Today we will visit two different Mayan ruin sites. Xunantanich and Cahal Pech. At Cahal Pech we will be guided through the site and learn about the Mayan people and why they built massive stone cities. After the tour we will head to the local outdoor marketplace where you can wander through the stalls and see handmade crafts or purchase something to eat. After Lunch we will head to the larger ruin site. There you will be able to spend your afternoon on a self guided stroll around the ruin site and climb more than 170 feet to the top of the largest pyramid. From the top you can look into Guatemala. After finishing at the ruins we will head to our hotel for the night. There we will have dinner together. The restaurant has a large menu to order from and a full bar. The hotel has private bathrooms with hot and cold water, clean rooms and is safe. Breakfast, entrance fees to both ruins and dinner are included in today’s package.

Day three: After breakfast we will drive about an hour to Nohoch Che’en Caves. There we will meet up with our guide and hike 20 minutes into the jungle. After hiking we will hop on an inner tube and float down a river through a large cave system. The guide will talk about the importance of caves to the Mayan people while pointing out unique geological features. The cave is quite large and the river is very slow moving. After floating back to the entrance we will enjoy a traditional Belizean lunch. After lunch we will get back in the van and head to the seaside town of Placencia. Placencia is a world famous beach town built at the end of a 23 mile long peninsula. The east side features miles of sandy beaches great for early morning walks or taking dip at the end of a day. After checking in to your hotel you will have the evening to explore Placencia which has fun shopping, tasty restaurants and dozens of bars. Breakfast, the caving adventure, and lunch are included in today’s package.

Snorkeling in Belize

Day four: Today is going to be a favorite for many, snorkeling the reef! After breakfast we will meet our captain and dive crew. They will take us a few miles off shore to a pristine reef where we will snorkel the coral reef and gaze at the many colorful reef fish. We’ll take a brief lunch break on an island and then snorkel a second location. After returning to Placencia you will have the afternoon and evening to explore more or simply sit on the beach and watch the sunset. Today’s package includes the snorkeling tour, lunch and lodging.

Fishing in Belize

Day five: Fishing on the Ocean! After breakfast we’ll meet our fishing guide/captain and head out looking for dinner. Depending on your interests and ocean conditions we will fish for various snappers, yellow jacks, grouper, wahoo, kingfish, barracuda or other reef fish. Lunch will be on the boat. If you want to bring back a fish simply let the captain know and your catch can be dropped off at a restaurant of your choice where they will prepare it for you for dinner. Lunch, the fishing excursion and lodging will be included in today’s package.

Day six: We will depart the lovely town of Placencia and head south to the jungles of Toledo. We will arrive around lunch at Cotton Tree Lodge where we will spend the next few nights deep in the jungle. Cotton Tree Lodge is the jungle lodge that Kasey and Adam operated for 3 years. It is a very nice, well maintained jungle lodge with private bathrooms, hot and cold water as well as fine restaurant and bar. You will have a private cabanas including a deck with your own hammock to relax in. After lunch we will enjoy a walking tour of the resort property and gardens where Adam will show you some of the unique plants, trees and flowers flourishing in the rainforest. After our stroll you can relax in your hammock at your cabana, kayak the Moho river or swing on the rope swing (there is time for all three if you want!). Appetizers are served at 5:30 and the bar will be open. Dinner will be served as a 4 course affair and after dark you will likely be able to listen to the howler monkeys. Lunch, Dinner and all resort activities are included in today’s package.

Hammock on Cabana at Cotton Tree Lodge

Day seven: This morning we will rise early with the birds. After grabbing a cup of coffee, but before breakfast, we will be led by a local guide around the 100 acre resort property looking for birds. Keep a sharp eye out for yellow headed parrots, toucans trogans and more. After the birding tour we’ll enjoy breakfast then head to a local chocolate farm/factory-IxCacao. At IxCacao we will use multiple senses, especially taste, to learn about chocolate and why we are all so grateful to the Mayans for “discovering” chocolate. After lunch we will head back to Cotton Tree Lodge and meet for a jungle survival tour in the afternoon. We’ll be lead into the local jungle where we will learn what you can eat, how to find water, build a shelter and hopefully find a troop of howler monkeys. After we survive the jungle we will relax until appetizers and dinner are served. Today’s package includes the birding excursion, breakfast, the chocolate tour, lunch the jungle survival adventure, and dinner.

Day eight: Most of us today will visit a local village and learn how to make traditional corn tortillas. After the tour we will return to the lodge, enjoy lunch and relax for the remainder of the day. Those who are interested in more fishing can add a fishing excursion to their itinerary. River fishing on the Moho river is an option and costs $100 per person for a half day fishing. Or those who want to add an additional day of ocean fishing will be driven to the ocean (45 minute drive) for a full day of guided ocean fishing (this second day of ocean fishing is not included in the package and costs $300 per person). All meals and the traditional tortilla making class are included in today’s package.

Day nine: We will depart Cotton Tree Lodge after breakfast and drive 4 hours north to the international airport.

Cost: for 9 day/8 night trip is $2500 per person based on double occupancy. A third or 4th person in the same room will be $2000 per person. All lodging is included. Many meals are included. All excursions/activities listed in the itinerary are included. Adam will be your guide and driver. All transportation in Belize is included. All taxes and resort fees are included. Things that are not included are any cocktails purchased, souvenirs, tips, additional tours/activities/excursions and a few meals(mostly in Placencia) as well as your international airfare to Belize City. Adam is happy to help you find good airfare. Adam and Kasey have worked with local guides, hoteliers, tour operators and more to get you a great value on this trip. Belize is very safe for travel. The food is good and we will have a great time!

So when is this all happening? Our dates for 2023 are February 10-18 and April 8-16. February dates are a Friday thru Saturday and April is a Saturday thru Sunday. Both sets of dates are great times to be in Belize, but there are some things you should know. February weather will be cooler and possible have some rain. Nights will be cooler. The jungle lodge and the San Ignacio hotels will not have A/C. They don’t need it, things cool off there at night. The April dates will be better fishing. Especially if you are wanting to fish for wahoo or dorado.

How many people are in a group? The maximum number of people Adam will take is 8 people. He doesn’t want to rent a bus!

How do you get to Belize? There are 19 cities currently flying direct into Belize. Delta, United, Sun Country, American, Frontier, Southwest and more all fly to Belize. We can find you a flight. Flight were around $550 per person round trip. Escape the cold and come to Belize with us!

How to book? You can call us at 218-757-3479, email info@birchforestlodge.com. To book you will need to put down a $500 deposit per person.

What if I want to add an extra excursion such as fishing to my trip? We can help you with that. The last day in the jungle can be adjusted to have extra fishing.

What if I have questions that aren’t on this webpage? No worries. You can always call or email Adam and he will be happy to answer any questions. Prior to each groups trip Adam will arrange for a couple of zoom calls to go over questions and specifics about the trip. We’ll talk about customs and immigration procedures as well to make sure that everyone is comfortable.