Explore the Maya Side of Belize with Gaia Riverlodge

by Gisselle Hernandez

It’s no secret Belize is a beautifully diverse country. This applies from its vibrant people to the myriad experiences the small nation offers, and the Maya culture is one of these pillars that has held up Belize’s multi-hued framework for centuries. When visiting the Central American country, you’ll come to learn it was once the epicenter of a thriving, ancient civilization. A civilization whose traces can be easily identified and explored when taking a step in any direction in Belize. There’s no Belize without the Maya culture and no Maya culture without the historical people that still have descendants living in Belize to this day. 

The winding road into Mountain Pine Ridge is lined with adventure. Image via Gaia Riverlodge

As 2022 welcomes travelers looking for more culturally immersive experiences, getting up close and personal with the Maya is a great place to start. The most convenient yet rewarding way to do this is having a vacation package specifically catered for it. Luckily, an eco-resort deep in the Mountain Pine Ridge region has perfected such an itinerary: Gaia Riverlodge

A Jungle Oasis 

The award-winning resort is worth a trip on its own, with the property even having its own private waterfall ideal for an afternoon swim. Luxurious without sacrificing sustainability, Gaia is the perfect candidate to host those enthralled with history and culture. The hotel is about an hour away from the bustling town of San Ignacio, and the journey is surrounded by nature and wildlife. You’ll be greeted by broadleaf and pine trees, scurrying mammals, and a multitude of bird species on your way to Gaia. Once you’ve settled into your deluxe yet quaint abode, it’s time to explore what you came here for. 

The Maya Adventure

The sun sets behind the Maya temples at Caracol in western Belize. After nearly 1,000 years in darkness, the site was discovered in 1937 by a woodcutter; archaeological excavations soon followed.
PHOTOGRAPH BY IMAGEBROKER, ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Gaia Riverlodge has tailored an ideal Maya experience to make sure each and every guest gets the most out of their cherished stay in Belize. Their Maya Adventure package includes visiting two of Belize’s most enriching places. One of which holds the region’s tallest man-made structure: Caracol Archaeological Reserve. This abandoned Maya city is home to the Caana temple, a towering pyramid reaching about 141 feet high. The site is found deep in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and is almost always crowd-free. This means you can summit Caana with no waiting in line or interruptions to see the sweeping jungle views that stretch all the way to the neighboring country of Guatemala. On the way back, stop at Rio on Pools for a refreshing, well-deserved dip in the mini waterfalls. 

Photo by Gaia Riverlodge

After this transcendent experience, Gaia takes you on a canoe excursion at Barton Creek Cave. This cave also is inundated with ceremonial Maya artifacts and can only be accessed via canoe. You’ll travel about a mile along a winding river within the chambers and wide passages of Barton Creek Cave, a site listed as one of the most beautiful and unusual cave destinations.

barton-creek-entrance

The entrance of Barton Creek. Image © CCL/Full Memory Photography

The dark blue of the water only adds to the eerie sensation of drifting through an ancient, historic cave that holds many secrets from life centuries ago. To bookend your Maya excursion, you have a choice of either going ziplining or visiting Green Hill Butterfly Farm to learn about the enchanting variety of Belize’s tropical butterflies. 

Package highlights include:

  • Accommodation in the Waterfall View Cabana with a king bed 
  • Personal meet and greet at the airport with ground transportation 
  • Daily full breakfast, lunch, and 3-course dinner

When wanting to dive into the rich history that embodies Belize, the Maya Adventure Experience at Gaia Riverlodge will definitely not disappoint. For more information on this package, check out their webpage here.

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