As globetrotters get back into the swing of summer travel, there’s one quirk we’ve developed in the past two years that refuses to leave us: avoiding crowds. And that includes planning vacations, too. Whether we choose to stay in our bubbles for the sake of comfort, safety, or added convenience, more of us are leaning towards private travel. But there’s more to private excursions than simply avoiding others. You can maximize your Belize travel experiences by having one-on-one time with tour guides. Excursions are also laced with a certain intimacy when it’s only you and your close friends as opposed to one large tour group. Not to mention strengthening the bond between your family or loved ones, especially if it’s a multi-gen vacation. Below, we’ve outlined the excursions in Belize we believe are best enjoyed when experienced privately.
Private Sailing Charter
There’s nothing quite like bobbing along turquoise-hued waves off the coast of a tropical island. When booking a sailing cruise off of Ambergris Caye, the experience is more than a luxury-laden endeavor. You have a front-row seat to the dazzling Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest in the world. We recommend opting for a sunset cruise with a reliable tour operator, like Seaduced by Belize, for the experience of a lifetime. Or, make it a weeklong jaunt in luxury with a tour operator like Belize Sailing Vacations.
Images via Belize Sailing Vacations
You and your group will be able to drink in the fiery Caribbean sunsets while sipping on rum punch. Your captain slash chef will prepare freshly-caught ceviche and prepare right in front of you. Aboard this vessel, you are the DJ, so don’t forget to bring your Spotify playlist peppered with Caribbean dance songs. That aux cord won’t plug itself in!
Horseback riding to Xunantunich
One of the more unique ways to venture to the ancient Maya city of Xunantunich is via horseback riding. If you happen to be staying nearby, like at Ka’ana Resort just outside San Ignacio Town, the resort will arrange the excursion with Hanna’s Stables. You’ll begin your journey on their private reserve, a whopping 400 acres of lush farmland that take you through canopied jungles. You and the three others in your group will ride atop their horses as they slowly trot alongside hills, the rainforest, and eventually along the banks of the Mopan River. Cross the ferry with your horse and make your way to the top before exploring the site. If you are too tired to ride back to the stables, the operator can arrange for a pickup at the ruins.
Jungle Pontoon Adventure
Another experience screaming family fun is a pontoon tour at the man-made Vaca Lake. Hop aboard La Capitana with Mr. Lazaro Martinez for a tour that’s both a wildlife haven and a waterfall chaser’s dream. On this excursion, you and your group will sail along the Macal River on a pontoon boat and see spider monkeys, green iguanas, tapirs, tons of birds, and perhaps even an ocelot! The boat ride is quite relaxing and it takes you around the reservoir. The boat then stops at three waterfalls for stunning views of the gushing cascades. At one of them, you can get out and take a short hike before dipping in for a swim.
Cultural Cooking Class
A cultural cooking class is perhaps one of the most intimate experiences you can have in Belize. Opting for a private cooking class means you have a chance to truly get to know the cultures and the locals on a deeper level. Take a tortilla-making class at San Antonio Village in Cayo. Here, the women’s coop walks you through how to make their authentic Maya tortillas from scratch. Pair that with a pottery-making class and you’ve made your own food and your own souvenir to take back home. Chatting with these women will lead to unearthing generations-old stories about their history and culture that is usually difficult to hear if you’re rushing on a normal group tour. We suggest taking the time to appreciate the precious moments when connecting with other Belizeans, for they may yield anecdotes to tell for years to come.