CENTRAL AMERICA FEATURING: COSTA RICA, BELIZE & PANAMA
WELCOME Thank you for choosing Liberty Travel. We are pleased to provide you with this brochure about one of our favorite travel destinations. In the following pages you will find a variety of information about places to stay, things to do, and sights to visit, as well as a look at how our travel consultants use their knowledge and expertise to create unique experiences to fit every kind of traveler, so you can make the memories that last a lifetime. When youâ€™re ready to book your trip, or if you have any questions, call us at 1.877.Liberty or contact your Liberty Travel consultant directly. You can also visit us on the web at LibertyTravel.com. We look forward to seeing you soon. Your Liberty Travel consultants
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I N SI D E R EXPERIENCES
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CONTENTS Costa Rica Intro.............................................................................. 8-11 Sightseeing................................................................. 12-13 Escorted Tours............................................................. 14-15 Hotels......................................................................... 17-21 Belize Intro............................................................................ 28-31 Sightseeing................................................................. 32-33 Escorted Tours...................................................................34 Hotels......................................................................... 35-36 Panama Intro............................................................................ 38-41 Sightseeing.......................................................................42 Hotels......................................................................... 43-44 General Conditions.............................................................47
About Our Star Ratings 22222 Exceptional properties offering the finest accommodations and amenities with an outstanding variety of premium facilities and services. 2222 Excellent properties offering well appointed accommodations and amenities with a superior variety of excellent facilities and services. 222 Comfortable and appealing properties offering dependable accommodations and amenities with a variety of facilities and services. 22 Moderately priced properties offering basic accommodations, amenities, facilities, and services. 2 Economically priced properties offering modest accommodations and limited amenities, facilities, and services. 1/2 star indicates that the property meets all criteria of the assigned rating and exceeds in certain areas.
KEY HOTEL FEATURES Throughout this brochure, certain hotel profiles denote one or more key features of that property. Below is a detailed guide to these distinctions to help you choose your best vacation spot! Preferred Partner
Hand-selected as the premiere accommodations in their destination,
Enjoy your meals, beverages, and more fun without having to
these are the places we stay when we take a vacation. Our
carry cash or credit cards at your resort- it’s all included in the
“Preferred Partners” share several essential qualities that make
cost of your trip!
them stand out from the competition, including: • Dedication – Like us, these featured brands go all-out to give you the best possible vacation. • Value – At any price level, these brands give you the most for your money. • Reputation – Travelers, travel writers, and critics agree: These properties are the best of the best.
Everyone has a slightly different vision of what a dream vacation should be – and where it should be. Nowadays, All-Inclusive resorts are located in many of the world’s most attractive destinations. You’ll discover hundreds of resorts and a multitude of special amenities, dining plans, activities, and entertainment. In short, there’s an All-Inclusive vacation option out there for everyone!
• Innovation – These featured brands constantly strive to
If you’re a family looking to spend quality time together, or a
improve the experience they provide for travelers.
couple looking to unwind…a contented beach bunny or an avowed adrenaline addict…a dedicated health-nut or passionate gourmet… an All-Inclusive getaway is all of the fun, with none of the stress.
RENOWNED FOR ITS ECO-TOURISM, OUTDOOR ADVENTURE TRAVEL & NATURAL BEAUTY
Hit the streets in a vibrant city with all the modern
The greatest eco-tourism destination in the world,
conveniences in addition to the restored colonial-era
Costa Rica has devoted a full one-quarter of its territory
cafetaleros (coffee baron mansions) in Barrio Amón.
to preservation in national parks and protected areas.
And you can explore the past and re-discover the
This small, peaceful, thriving nation delivers stunningly diverse culture, climates, flora, fauna, and landscapes.
present in San José’s numerous museums and cultural institutions.
Discover encompassing rainforests, volcanoes, high
After exploring both city and countryside, check in to
mountains, marshy lowlands, steaming hot springs,
one of Costa Rica’s many luxurious spas to sooth your
and 750 miles of world-renowned Caribbean and
joyously aching muscles. Rejuvenate with an organic
coffee body scrub, unwind with a silky mud wrap, sink
A RANGE OF EXPERIENCES
into steaming hot springs heated by volcanoes, and treat yourself to a decadent massage.
• Get up-close and personal with sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, toucans, and jaguars. • Surf the waves off Dominical, Playa Tivives, Tamarindo, Playa Santa Teresa, and Playa Grande. • Stroll the bustling streets of San José, lined with eclectic architecture, restaurants, markets, museums, and nightclubs. • Witness awesome volcanoes like Turrialba, Poás, Rincón de la Vieja, Arenal, and Irazu. Numerous outstanding resorts put you within easy reach of these natural gifts, so embrace the landscape and go swimming, hiking, biking, basking, surfing, ziplining, bird watching, rafting, fishing, diving, exploring, and so much more!
WHERE THE ACTION IS • National Parks including Manuel Antonio, Palo Verde, and Carara open their doors for beach and nature lovers to explore spectacular beaches with calm waters and crashing surf, plus lush rainforests with some of nature’s best. • Take to the air via zip-lines on an exhilarating canopy tour. • Play leisurely rounds of golf on courses designed by some of the greats, including Robert Trent Jones, Jr. and Ted Robinson. • Keep your eyes peeled for quirky wildlife such as the resplendent quetzal, keel-billed toucan, swinging howler, speedy spider, and the white-faced monkey.
• A guided tour of Arenal Volcano takes you through
The capital city, San José, is the gateway to Costa Rica’s
lush rainforest to an observation point to witness the
many natural attractions, but as a booming metropolis
fiery lava flow of Central America’s most active volcano.
and bustling cosmopolitan center, it certainly has its own personality and flair. Here you can dine on excellent cuisine, both local specialties and more easily recognizable gourmet treats. It’s worth spending an evening or two in one of San José’s many cafés, chatting with local people and learning about this amazing place that still can be described as something
• Meet hundreds of species of birds, butterflies, and mammals – including jaguars! – on a guided tour of the Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. • The thermal waters of Costa Rica’s pristine hot springs are ideal for soaking, relaxing, and rejuvenating. Just let their healing elements work their magic.
of a best-kept secret.
LIVE THE ACTIVE LIFE
Gear up for endless outdoor adventures such as:
While Costa Rica is a small country (about the size of West Virginia),
• whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, biking
it is perhaps best navigated by using San José as a hub for air, bus,
• snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, birdwatching • zip-lining, bungee jumping, canyoning, sailing
and taxi transportation. Air Flying is one of the easiest ways to get around in Costa Rica, especially
• golf, hang-gliding, ballooning, paragliding
to more remote regions. Domestic airlines Sansa and NatureAir
• horseback riding, tennis, rock climbing, surfing
connect at least 12 major tourist towns from San José via reasonably
Bask on more than 750 miles of Pacific and Caribbean beaches –
priced scheduled daily flights.
sparklingly white or dark volcanic sands, fronting calm waters, or
relentlessly crashing surf – drenched with sun all year long. Along the
Nearly the entire bus system in Costa Rica is based on routes in and
Pacific “Gold Coast,” you can:
out of San José, which can add significant travel time. Most major
• Hit the breaks off Puntarenas’ popular Playa Tivives.
tourist destinations in Costa Rica are serviced by at least two daily
• Soak up the scenery at Jaco Beach. • Explore the lush rainforests surrounding Manuel Antonio Beach.
buses from and to San José. In general, tickets are cheap, and the system covers most towns around the country. Taxi
• Swim the calm waters off Playa Tambor.
Taxis are one of the most affordable and convenient ways to get
• Stroll for miles on the sands along Playa Montezuma, where you’ll
around in Costa Rica, both within San José city limits and between
find plenty of quiet spots as well as picturesque waterfalls.
other destinations. Rates are reasonable, and legal taxis are clean
• Head to Malpaís for deserted beaches and great surf.
and comfortable sedans or vans (official taxis are red with a yellow
Caribbean beaches such as Punta Uva and Manzanillo boast calm turquoise waters, coral reefs, and palm-lined stretches of nearly deserted white sands. Cahuita Beach, part of the eponymous national park, is pristine with tranquil waters and coral reefs. The northern section of Puerto Viejo is a blanket of smooth black sand, while the southern area, known as Salsa Brava beach, turns into white sands for a long stretch. With great year-round weather and abundant scenic beauty, you can tee off on golf courses designed by the likes of Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Arnold Palmer, Ted Robinson, and George Fazio. Expect rolling fairways lined by tropical flowers and lush foliage, and challenging links overlooking sandy beaches.
triangle on the side). Rental Car It is easy enough to rent a car, especially at Juan Santamaria International Airport in San José and Liberia’s Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport. Stick with well-known international brand names (Avis, Hertz, National, Dollar, Budget, Alamo, Enterprise). However, as with many Central American countries, there are no street signs, often no street lights, no addresses, and no numbering systems on Costa Rica’s roads. Although most regions are accessible by road, less than 25% of roads are paved and only 10% of the road network is in good condition. And while Costa Rica has a better safety record than most Latin American countries, the accident rate is high compared to many industrialized countries.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
FAST FACTS ABOUT COSTA RICA
Approximate Flight Times (to Liberia)
Every year beginning on October 12, the Caribbean port city of
Límon lights up with a week of extravagant street celebrations that
showcase the country’s colorful Caribbean culture, fun-loving vibe,
and festive people. Everyone comes to drink, dance, and celebrate
to the sounds of calypso, reggae, and salsa. After days of parades,
food, and fun, a major international music act headlines the final
(some flights may require connections)
If you haven’t celebrated Christmas and New Year’s quite enough,
US citizens must have a valid passport upon arrival in Costa Rica; no
head to the small town of Palmares on the second week of January
visa is required for stays of up to 90 days. All foreign visitors must
for two weeks of superstar concerts, stand-up comedy, fireworks,
also have return/onward tickets; travel documentation for their next
sporting events, food and drink, and Costa Rican-style bullfighting
destination; and proof of sufficient funds to cover their stay in the
at Costa Rica’s biggest cowboy party. The highlight is the traditional
country. There is a departure tax of US$29 when leaving Costa Rica
tope, or horse parade, with thousands of participants riding their
best and brightest horses!
FIA Festival de las Artes
Spanish, although most Ticos (native Costa Ricans) also speak English.
Get ready for 11 days of performing and visual arts, music, design,
crafts, architecture, literature, folklore, film, and workshops at Costa
Costa Rican colón (₡)
Rica’s reigning arts festival. For two weeks every March or April (the end of the dry season), downtown San José is transformed into an open-air gallery and stage for some 5,000 artists from 20 different countries. Fiesta de La Virgen del Mar
Climate Tropical, with average temperatures ranging from 50°F in the mountains to 80°F at the beach. The average temperature is 72°F. The rainy season runs from May-October, while the dry season is November-April.
Held in mid-July, this fun-packed, colorful Costa Rican festival with fireworks, parades, and beautifully adorned fishing boats pays homage to the Virgin of Mount Carmel, the Patron Saint of Puntarenas. Fishing boats and elegant yachts, bedecked with lights, flags, and decorations, sail around the harbor, seeking protection from the Virgin as they begin another year at sea. There are also boat races, a carnival, and plenty of food, drink, and dancing, plus the crowning of the Festival Queen.
Costa Rica Sightseeing
VOLCANOES Costa Rica is part of the Pacific Ocean “Ring of Fire,” home to many active and dormant volcanoes, led by Arenal. The youngest stratovolcano in Costa Rica, Arenal is one of the most active volcanoes in the world, producing lava and pyroclastic flows. Hike right up to the base of this legendary mountain for extraordinary views, explore the rainforests nearby, dip into the healing waters of the thermal hot springs that surround the area, and even enjoy lunch at restaurants that offer great views of Arenal. Join deluxe guided tours, ranging from 4-12 hours, that depart from Arenal, San José, and the Guanacaste resort region. You can take tours from San José to Irazu Volcano National Park to explore Costa Rica’s tallest active volcano, with a moon-like landscape and a lake-filled crater, and to Poás Volcano, famous for its two distinctive crater lakes. Travel from Guanacaste and spend the day ascending Rincón de la Vieja, an active volcano with a beautiful crater lake as well as striking views of the Nicoya Peninsula.
ZIP-LINING/CANOPY TOURS Zip-lining, canopy tours, and hanging bridges (or skywalks) are virtually synonymous with Costa Rica, having become some of the country’s most popular activities. Gear up for thrills as you sail through the treetops and above canyons and waterfalls on a zip-line. Get up-close with stunning flora and fauna on a canopy tour or a hanging bridge system. Many of these adventures are also combined with lunches or dips into thermal hot springs. Near Arenal, a 1.8-mile circuit of interpretive trails features 15 hanging bridges, and the aerial Sky Tram tour leads through rainforest to Miguel Angel Observatory. Zoom between ten connecting platforms in centuriesold trees near Rincón de la Vieja. You can find these adventure opportunities all around the country, including national parks, and tours from 2-10 hours depart from Arenal, Guanacaste, Jaco Beach, Manuel Antonio, and Monteverde.
RAFTING Thanks to its mountainous topography and liberal rainfall, Costa Rica boasts at least a half-dozen untamed rivers that are prized by enthusiasts seeking unparalleled whitewater rafting thrills. Aside from the exhilaration of challenging Class II to Class V rapids, the rivers also bring you into unbelievably gorgeous scenery that only river rats can witness, but also seldom-seen wildlife, birds, butterflies, and other exotic biota. Some of the country’s most well-known rivers carve through dense forests and meander along inspiring waterfalls. There are numerous options for excursions on the Toro, Sarapiquí, Savegre, Naranjo, Reventazón, Corobici, and Pacuare rivers, ranging from 4-10 hours. Professional outfitters abound, as do tour operators eager to serve this adrenaline-fueled sport. Expeditions depart from hotels and pick-up points in Arenal, Guanacaste, Manuel Antonio, and San José.
RAINFORESTS Rainforests are the cathedrals of nature, and the rainforests of Costa Rica are the most pristine and preserved on the planet. Enter one, and after being overwhelmed by the sheer silence at first, you’ll hear the chanting of birds, the burbling of streams, the squawks of monkeys, and your own footsteps. There are numerous rainforests where you can enjoy day-long tours led by expert local naturalists and learn all about their ecology and specific denizens. Departing from Monteverde, Manual Antonio, and San José, these excursions are also sometimes packaged with zip-lining and canopy tours. In Monteverde’s Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve alone, there are uncountable numbers of mammals, birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians, plant species, orchids, ferns, trees, and insects. And Damas Island, just minutes from Manuel Antonio, covers thousands of acres of mangrove forests.
NATIONAL PARKS/RESERVES The most bio-diverse region of the world, Costa Rica is home to some 175 species of amphibians, 225 species of reptiles, 250 species of mammals, and 900 bird species, plus hundreds of thousands of insect varieties. In an effort to preserve the country’s natural beauty and surroundings, Costa Rica has set aside fully 25% of its land for protective parks and reserves. This model of sustainable conservation is realized in 160 national parks, biological reserves, protected zones, forest reserves, wildlife refuges, and wetlands/mangrove areas. Access to national parks and preserves is freely available, provided the visitor respects the need to protect them. Guided tours, usually 4-10 hours, take you to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific, from Guanacaste to Palo Verde National Park, and from Jaco Beach and Puntarenas to Carara National Park (a must for birdwatchers).
HORSEBACK RIDING An essential and enduring part of the culture of the Ticos, horses and horsemanship are held in the highest regard in Costa Rica. So it’s no surprise that horseback riding tours are readily available almost everywhere in Costa Rica. Best of all, you get to experience the entirety of Costa Rica’s wondrous landscapes, from rural countryside and expansive pastureland, to misty rainforests and rocky mountainous territory, and, of course, along the sandy beaches that line both coasts. Saddle up and ride through open countrysides, crossing creeks and streams, to volcano foothills, hidden waterfalls, jungle cliffs, rainforests, thermal hot springs, pristine pools, and more. Tours ranging from 2-6 hours are accessible from Arenal, Guanacaste, Jaco Beach, Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, and Puntarenas, among other departure points.
Costa Rica Escorted Tours provided by Swiss Travel
HIGHLIGHTS OF COSTA RICA
ROMANCE IN COSTA RICA
9 Days/8 Nights
9 Days/8 Nights
Includes accommodation, some meals, English-speaking guide, transfers using private transportation, and entrance fees unless otherwise noted.
Includes accommodation, some meals, English-speaking guide, transfers using private transportation, and entrance fees unless otherwise noted.
Day 1: San José
Day 1: San José
Transfer to hotel upon arrival at airport.
Transfer to hotel upon arrival at airport.
Days 2-3: San José/Arenal
Day 2: San José/San Ramon
Day 2, take a guided tour of the Arenal Volcano area and Tabacon Hot Springs Resort. Dinner included. Day 3 at leisure (options include horseback ride, canopy tour, hanging bridges, boat trip; English-speaking guide & private transportation available).
Transfer to your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 4: Arenal/Monteverde/Guanacaste Journey by boat across Arenal Lake to Monteverde with private guide. Tour Sky Walk network of hanging bridges, trails, and platforms inside the cloud forest canopy. Proceed to Guanacaste hotel.
Days 5-8: Guanacaste Days 5-7 at leisure. Relax by the pool with your favorite book, go for a walk on a stretch of soft-sand beach, or plunge into crystalline waters to delight in an array of water activities. Day 8, transfer to San José in the afternoon.
Day 9: San José Transfer to airport for your flight home. Note: This tour offers a 9-day/8-night fly-drive option; drive a 4x4 vehicle to different areas on itinerary or choose no-guide option with shuttle bus transfers.
Day 3: San Ramon/Arenal Join a walking tour through the cloud forest, then transfer to the Arenal Volcano area, where you will spend the next two nights at your hotel. Take an afternoon tour of the Arenal Volcano region and visit hot springs.
Days 4-7: Arenal/Guanacaste Day 4 at leisure. Discover the natural wonders of the area. Day 5, transfer to Guanacaste and your selected beach area hotel. Remainder of day at leisure. Days 6-7 at leisure. Relax on the beach, explore the area, or make up your plans as you go along.
Day 8: Guanacaste/San José Transfer to San José in the afternoon.
Day 9: San José Transfer to airport for your flight home. Note: This tour also offers no-guide option with shuttle bus transfers. Ask for details about special honeymoon amenities. Tour offers a 9-day/8-night fly-drive option; drive a 4x4 vehicle to different areas on itinerary or choose no-guide option with shuttle bus transfers.
FAMILY TRAVEL 9 Days/8 Nights Includes accommodation, some meals, English-speaking guide, transfers using private transportation, and entrance fees unless otherwise noted.
Day 1: San José Transfer to hotel upon arrival at airport.
Day 2: San José/Irazu Volcano & Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui Transfer to Cartago and view the famous ruins. Then, transfer to Irazu Volcano. Visit Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, take a boat tour along the river, and arrive at private farm for home-style lunch.
Day 3-4: Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui/Arenal
CUSTOM BUILD YOUR ITINERARY IN COSTA RICA Let us create an itinerary for exploring Costa Rica that fits the way you want to experience this beautiful and culturally rich country, from the gorgeous beach areas of Manuel Antonio and Puntarenas to the fascinating eco-nature areas of Arenal and Monteverde – and everything or anything in between. Whether you’re a first-time or repeat visitor, our knowledgeable Travel Consultants will happily customize a plan to make the most of your tropical vacation. While the whole point of a custom-built itinerary is for you to do as you please, we recommend that you explore several regions of the country and take part in numerous sightseeing tours. Costa Rica is a gem with many brilliant facets.
Day 3, spend morning at leisure, then transfer to Arenal. In late afternoon, visit local hot springs. Day 4, join optional half-day tour to Arenal Hanging Bridges, Peñas Blancas River Floating, Arenal Volcano hike, or Don Carlos Farm. Remainder of day at leisure.
Days 5-7: Arenal/Manuel Antonio Beach Area Day 5, transfer to Manuel Antonio beach area on Pacific Coast. Remainder of day at leisure. Day 6, visit Manual Antonio National Park for a half-day tour, then stay at park or transfer back to hotel with remainder of the day at leisure. Day 7 at leisure.
Day 8: Manuel Antonio Beach Area/San José Spend morning at leisure, then transfer to San José.
Day 9: San José Transfer to airport for your flight home. Note: This tour also offers no-guide option with shuttle bus transfers.
COSTA RICA: HOTELS NICARAGUA
9 19 11
10 Papagayo Liberia
Airport COSTA RICA
Bajos del Toro
San José Cartago
29 30 31 32
Quepos Manuel Antonio
Coco Island Palma Sur Golfito
FEATURED COSTA RICA HOTELS Arenal 1 Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa 2 Arenal Lodge 3 Montana De Fuego Resort & Spa 4 Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens 5 The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort 6 Tabacon Thermal Resort &Spa Bajos del Toro 7 El Silencio Lodge & Spa Guanacaste 8 Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica 9 Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica 10 El Mangroove Hotel 11 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo 16
12 Hotel Punta Islita Costa Rica 13 Hotel Riu Guanacaste 14 Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica 15 JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa 16 Occidental Papagayo 17 Occidental Tamarindo 18 Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf & Spa 19 Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica 20 The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal Jaco Beach 21 Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort 22 Villa Caletas Manuel Antonio 23 Parador Resort & Spa 24 Si Como No Resort, Spa & Wildlife Refuge
Monteverde 25 El Establo Mountain Hotel 26 Monteverde Lodge & Gardens Puntarenas 27 DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Central Pacific – Costa Rica Tambor 28 Barceló Tambor San José 29 Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José 30 DoubleTree By Hilton Cariari San José – Costa Rica 31 Hotel Presidente 32 Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center
Please contact your Travel Consultant for additional hotels in this destination.
COSTA RICA: HOTELS Andaz Peninsula Papagayo Resort, Costa Rica Guanacaste/Papagayo 22221/2
Secrets Papagayo Costa Rica 8
• Lively beachfront resort on Culebra Bay • 153 AC rooms & suites • 3 Restaurants, bar • 3 Outdoor pools, adults pool, 2 beaches • Onda Spa, fitness center • Tennis center, Arnold Palmer 18-hole golf course • 180-Slip marina, non-motorized water sports • Cambi Kids Club
Unlimited-Luxury® • Adults-only luxury beachfront resort on stunning Peninsula Papagayo • 202 AC rooms & suites with private balconies • 4 Restaurants, café, 5 bars • 24-Hr concierge & room service • Outdoor pool • Secrets Spa by Pevonia, fitness center • Water sports • Live nightly entertainment
Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica Guanacaste/Playa de Matapalo
The Westin Golf Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal 22221/2 14
All-Inclusive • Luxury resort on Matapalo Beach in Guanacaste • 538 AC junior suites & suites • 5 Restaurants, 6 bars, swim-up bar, 24-Hr sports bar • 24-Hr room service • 4 Outdoor pools, kids pool • Spa, fitness center, steam bath, Jacuzzi • Casino, nightclub, free Wi-Fi throughout • Non-motorized water sports
All-Inclusive • Plush resort set between lush forests & Pacific waters • 406 AC rooms & suites • 10 Restaurants, 5 bars, concierge • 2 Outdoor pools, kids pool, Jacuzzi • The Spa by Westin, WestinWORKOUT® Gym • Westin Kids Club® • Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course • Tennis, non-motorized water sports
COSTA RICA: HOTELS Dreams Las Mareas Costa Rica Guanacaste
Hotel Riu Guanacaste 2222
Guanacaste/Playa de Matapalo
Unlimited-Luxury® • New beachfront resort on Guanacaste’s northern coast • 447 AC rooms & suites • 5 À la carte restaurants, buffet & café, 7 bars & lounges, nightclub • 2 Outdoor pools, kids pool, whirlpools • Dreams Spa by Pevonia ($), fitness center • Water sports • Explorer’s Club for kids, Core Zone Teens Club
All-Inclusive • Beachfront resort along Playa de Matapalo on Pacific Coast • 701 AC rooms & junior suites • 5 Restaurants, 5 bars, swim-up bar, 24-hr sports bar • 3 Outdoor pools, kids pool • Renova Spa, fitness center, Jacuzzi • Casino & nightclub, daytime entertainment • Water sports, golf nearby ($) • RiuLand Kids Club
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa 22221/2 & Resort Arenal/La Fortuna
• Luxury eco-resort on 900 acres of rainforest at the base of Arenal Volcano • 103 AC rooms & suites • 2 Restaurants, 3 bars, swim-up bar • Concierge, 24-hr room service • Outdoor pools, Jacuzzi • Complimentary access to natural hot springs • The Spa at Tabacón • Exclusive access to adults-only Shangri-La Gardens • Complimentary Wi-Fi, valet parking
Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens • Bungalow-style hotel surrounded by rainforest just steps away from Arenal Volcano National Park • 50 AC bungalows • 3 Restaurants, 3 bars, swim-up bar • Outdoor pool • Concierge services, laundry facilities • Spa • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Tabacon Thermal Resort &Spa 5
• Luxury boutique resort with spectacular views of Arenal Volcano • 54 AC rooms featuring volcano views • 2 Restaurants, 3 bars, swim-up bar, complimentary breakfast • 3 Outdoor pools, Jacuzzi, hot springs • Loto Spa, sauna, fitness center • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa 2222
Arenal • All-suite hotel with beautiful natural views of Arenal Volcano • 53 AC suites • 2 Restaurants, 2 bars • 9 Pools, kids pool • Neyidin Spa • Complimentary Wi-Fi
COSTA RICA: HOTELS Arenal Lodge Arenal
El Mangroove Hotel 222
• An authentic Costa Rican experience surrounded by 2,000 acres of beautiful tropical rainforest • 46 Rooms • Restaurant, bar • Infinity-edge pool, kids pool • Spa, fitness center • Eco-activities, motorized & non-motorized water sports ($) • Complimentary Wi-Fi
JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa 3
• Bungalow-style resort surrounded by 80 acres of rainforest & Arenal Volcano views • 66 AC rooms, 5 room categories • Restaurant, bar, poolside bar • Outdoor pool, 3 thermo-mineral pools, 2 Jacuzzis, kids pool • Natural Spa, volcanic mud baths, sauna • Complimentary eco-tours, Adventure Center
• Hacienda-style beachfront resort • 310 AC rooms & 1-bedroom suites • 4 Restaurants, 2 bars, pool bar, concierge, 24-hr room service • Outdoor infinity pool • Spa, lap pool, fitness center • Kids club • Water sports, tennis, horseback riding, golf nearby
El Silencio Lodge & Spa Bajos del Toro
• Beachfront luxury boutique hotel • 85 AC rooms & suites • 2 Restaurants, bar, beach bar • Outdoor pool, steam room • Full-service spa & salon, fitness center • Kids activities, baby-sitting ($) • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Montana de Fuego Resort & Spa Arenal
Hotel Punta Islita Costa Rica 2221/2
• All-suite resort flanked by 2 national parks • 16 Suites with private heated outdoor whirlpools, 4 2-bedroom villas • Restaurant, organic & wellness cuisine, bar • Eco-concierge services • Esencia Spa, yoga & meditation deck • Hiking trails • Cultural immersion activities • Conference room, art gallery
• Picturesque resort on secluded beach • 54 AC rooms, suites & private villas with terraces • 2 Restaurants, 2 bars, swim-up bar • 2 Outdoor freshwater pools, kids pool, beach club • Casa Spa, fitness center • 9-Hole executive golf course, tennis • Activities included • Islita Community Art Museum
Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula 22222 11 Papagayo Guanacaste/Papagayo
• Luxury resort on golden-sand beach • 183 AC rooms, hillside suites & villas • 4 Restaurants, 3 bars • 3 Outdoor pools, kids pool, 3 beaches, private luxury cabanas • Spa, fitness center • Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, non-motorized water sports • Kids & teen programs, summer camps • Tropicsurf surfing school • Complimentary Wi-Fi
All-Inclusive • Deluxe adults-only resort on a bluff above Playa Buena Beach • 163 AC rooms & suites, exclusive Royal Club Rooms • 3 Restaurants, snack bar, 3 bars • Outdoor free-form freshwater pool • Spa services ($), fitness center, tennis • Water sports, eco-tours & excursions • Daily activities, nightly entertainment, disco • Complimentary Wi-Fi
COSTA RICA: HOTELS Reserva Conchal Beach Resort, Golf 2222 & Spa Guanacaste/Playa Conchal
Parador Resort & Spa 18
• Exclusive beach & golf community with spectacular ocean views • 40 AC private residences & villas • Restaurant, 2 bars, snack bar, beach bar • 2 Pools, full access to private beach club • Spa by Westin, Marea Brava Gym, sauna, whirlpool • Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Si Como No Resort, Spa & Wildlife 2222 Refuge Manuel Antonio/Quepos
• Elegant Mediterranean-style hotel on Punta Quepos • 129 AC rooms & suites • 3 Restaurants & bars, room service • 3 Outdoor pools • Pacifica Spa, fitness center • Rafting, fishing, trail rides, water sports • Shuttle to beaches • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout
Occidental Tamarindo Guanacaste/Tamarindo
All-Inclusive • Energetic resort on Tamarindo Bay • 198 AC rooms & suites, Club Premium • 3 Restaurants, 3 bars, snack bar • Outdoor pool, kids pool, Jacuzzi • U-Spa, fitness center, whirlpool, aerobics • Tennis court • Kids activities • Disco, nightly shows
• Boutique resort amid tropical rainforest, beaches & Manuel Antonio National Park • 57 AC rooms & suites • 2 Restaurants, 3 bars • Poolside bar, swim-up bar • 2 Outdoor pools, water slide • Cala Spa, whirlpool • Shuttle to beach • Complimentary Wi-Fi
Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort
El Establo Mountain Hotel
Playa Herradura/Outside Jaco Beach
All-Inclusive Option Available • Oceanfront resort set between 1,000 acre tropical rainforest & Pacific Ocean • 201 AC rooms & suites • 3 Restaurants, 2 bars, coffee shop • Concierge, room service • Outdoor free-form pool, kids pool, swim-up bar • Sibö Rainforest Spa & Retreat, fitness center • 18-Hole La Iguana Golf Club, tennis courts • Wedding services
• Luxury boutique hotel on Pacific Coast • 53 AC rooms, suites & villas • 2 Restaurants, 3 bars • Concierge • 4 Pools, private beach • Serenity Spa, fitness center, Jacuzzi, yoga • Greek-style amphitheater • Tour desk • Complimentary Wi-Fi in rooms & lobby
• Chalet-style resort on 1,000 acres in misty cloud forest with spectacular views • 155 Spacious rooms with balconies • 2 Restaurants, 2 bars, BBQ grill, fine dining • Indoor heated pool & Jacuzzis • Green Leaf Full Service Spa • Tennis & mini-soccer courts • Tour desk, conference center, coffee station
Villa Caletas Playa Herradura/Outside Jaco Beach
Monteverde Lodge & Gardens 2222
Monteverde • Elegant rustic-style hotel in the mountains & rainforest • 28 Rooms • Restaurant, bar, complimentary breakfast • Outdoor pool • Spa • Business center, tour desk, area shuttle ($) • Complimentary Wi-Fi
COSTA RICA: HOTELS DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Central 2221/2 Pacific – Costa Rica Puntarenas
All-Inclusive • Modern beachfront resort outside Puntarenas • 315 AC rooms & suites • 4 Restaurants, 2 bars • 4 Outdoor pools, 5 whirlpools • Heliconia Spa, fitness center • Nightclub, nightly entertainment • Water sports, kayaking, tennis • Kids & teens clubs, playground • Daily entertainment
Barceló Tambor Puntarenas/Playa Tambor
All-Inclusive • Modern beachfront resort surrounded by nature preserve • 402 AC rooms • 3 Restaurants, 3 bars, coffee shop, pool & swim-up bars • 2 Outdoor pools, Jacuzzis, kids pool • U-Spa, fitness center • 3 Lighted tennis courts • Barcy Club • Eco Park with Butterfly Farm
Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San José San José - Suburban
Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel & Convention Center San José - Suburban 222
• Beautiful colonial hacienda-style resort on 30-acre coffee plantation • 299 AC rooms • 3 Restaurants, 2 bars, coffee shop • Concierge, 24-hr room service • 2 Outdoor pools, kids pool • Sibö Spa, salon, fitness center • 2 Tennis courts, driving range • Wedding services
• Modern hotel in idyllic setting just minutes from downtown & airport • 230 AC rooms & suites, in-room safe, plasma TV • 3 Restaurants, bar, 24-hr room service, complimentary breakfast buffet, Hard Rock Café on site • 3 Outdoor pools, 5 Jacuzzis, lush gardens • Mioderma Spa, fitness center, casino • Complimentary Wi-Fi, shuttle service • Walking distance to golf course & shopping
DoubleTree By Hilton Cariari San José – 2221/2 30 Costa Rica San José - Suburban
• Colonial hacienda-style resort near San José airport • 222 AC rooms & suites • Restaurant, café, room service, bar • Mioderma Spa, fitness center, Jacuzzi • Outdoor heated pool • Casino, Internet access, conference center • Walking distance to golf course & shopping • Transportation service
• Iconic landmark in historic downtown San José • 80 AC rooms & suites • Restaurant, breakfast included • Concierge, room service • Fitness center, rooftop terrace • Casino • Tour desk • Complimentary Wi-Fi
San José - Downtown
Belize ONE OF CENTRAL
AMERICAâ€™S BEST-KEPT SECRETS
ATTRACTIONS FROM MILD TO WILD
• North: Ambergris Caye/San Pedro, Hol Chan Marine
You’re in for a treasure trove of singular attractions
Reserve, Mexico Rocks, Caye Caulker
– a natural playground of awesome dive spots and
• South: Faegon’s Point, Faegon’s Bluff, Cuda Point,
cathedral-like caves, lush jungles with exotic wildlife,
Tobacco Channel, Eagle Ray Bowl, Coral Monument
and some of the Maya’s most spectacular ruins.
Long bathed in peace and peaceful relations, Belize
• Coral atolls: Lighthouse Reef, Turneffe Islands,
draws its real strength and allure as a tiny melting pot of
Creole, Garifuna, Mestizo, Spanish, and Mayan cultures – who have all come together to choose English as their
BENEATH EARTH & SEA
Grab a flashlight and explore an extensive system of
DIG & DIVE
caves offering varying degrees of accessibility and adventure. Discover sparkling stalactite and stalagmite
Explore the monumental structures bequeathed by a
formations, pottery shards, and even underground
thriving ancient Maya civilization:
waterfalls. Brave the depths of Actun Tunichil Muknal,
• Caracol (Western Belize) – Check out the main pyramid
also known as ATM, an ancient burial altar set deep
(“Sky Palace”), the tallest Maya structure in Belize.
within the underground caves of the Tapir Mountain
• Xunantunich (Western Belize) – Drive right up to this impressive pyramid and well-excavated site near San Ignacio. • Altun Ha and Lamanai (Northern Belize) – Discover plazas, pyramids, and ball courts at these two separate sites, the closest to Belize City. And get your underwater thrills where the snorkeling and scuba sites are second to none, including Shark Ray Alley and the astounding Great Blue Hole.
Nature Reserve. Slip on a miner’s helmet to wade the unlit river snaking its way through the blackness, and climb the rocky walls to view the crystallized skeletons of human victims sacrificed at the site. For ultimate thrills, strap onto a zip-line for a highspeed flight across the treetops of a rainforest canopy hundreds of feet above canyon floors. Take a hike along well-maintained trails through Cockscomb Basin Forest Reserve – home to exotic jaguars. Sport fishing in Belize is unparalleled. Knowledgeable
WHERE THE ACTION IS
anglers embark on private and charter excursions
• In Belize City, take a tour of the oldest Anglican
with experienced local guides to reel in prize marlin,
Cathedral in Central America, the only functioning
barracuda, grouper, tarpon, and other game fish. And
manually operated bridge in the world, and other
windsurfers have discovered a shoreline with ideal
British Colonial-era remnants.
surface and constant winds – not to mention water
• Go underground to explore some of the world’s most
so clear that the stingrays, nurse sharks, and groupers
extensive cave networks.
ensure that you’ll never windsurf alone!
• Head to Placencia, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker for white-sand beaches, and Belize City, Punta Gorda, Hopkins, and Dandriga for golden sands.
A WORLD OF OUTDOOR THRILLS The big fun in Belize is on and under the water: The warm clear Caribbean Sea shelters the second-longest barrier reef in the world, home to a thriving community of tropical fish, eel, sharks, and other marine creatures, plus fascinating shipwrecks. Get certified for scuba diving at any of the numerous PADI dive centers along the coast. Experienced divers prize the 400-foot-deep Great Blue Hole, an off-shore sinkhole renowned for stunning marine life and the limestone stalactites spiking its cobalt depths. You can also gear up for unforgettable undersea exploration at: 29
CULTURE IN THE MELTING POT
Belize’s social culture is delightfully reflected in the country’s music,
Belize is a fairly small country, roughly the size of New Jersey, so
cuisine, and many annual festivals.
transportation between most destinations is rarely long and tedious.
Shopping in Belize centers on the art, crafts, and furniture made by
Belizean artisans. Check into the small boutiques and shops to find:
Domestic carriers Tropic Air and Maya Island Air both have multiple
• cookbooks, rums, spices, ceramics
flights daily out of Belize City’s two airports to various towns around
• paintings, dolls, hammocks, sandals • black coral jewelry, jade jewelry
the country. Fares are reasonable, and thus it is recommended that you reserve your seats. Bus
• figurines, masks, wood carvings, Maya replicas
Belize has an extensive network of commuter buses serving all of the
• maracas, Garifuna drums
major villages and towns as well as popular tourist destinations, with
The eclectic fusion of nationalities in Belize adds up to a diverse
several competing bus lines operating on the main north-south route.
cuisine. Pull up a chair for traditional authentic fare that’s personified
by the dish of rice and beans (cooked together in coconut milk) with
For a truly Belizean experience, you can take convenient water taxis
stewed chicken. Serre la sus, a rich and tasty fish soup, is a Garifuna
that operate between Belize City, San Pedro, and Caye Caulker. There
favorite, while Chicken Escabeche with corn tortillas combines flavors
are frequent daily scheduled trips on all lines.
from Mestizo, Spanish, and Maya cultures. And, of course, seafood is
king, so order some conch, shrimp, squid, red snapper, grouper and
Taxis are one of the simplest ways to get around in Belize. In addition
lobster, prepared in every imaginable manner! Head to San Pedro or
to being widely available, they are also inexpensive. Each of Belize’s
Belize City for fresh fish and lobster dishes (you can be sure they were
cities has its own taxi companies and fare schedules. However, regular
taxis have no standard look (except for green number plates that start with a “D”) or fixed meter rate, so you’ll want to agree on a price before getting into the taxi. Rental Car There are only four major roads in Belize: the Northern, Western, Southern, and Hummingbird highways, all of which are just twolane affairs. Though they are relatively well-maintained, they are not well marked. Secondary roads tend to be bumpy, so 4x4 vehicles are recommended. There are several car rental companies (Avis, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty) based at the Philip S.W. Goldson Airport in Belize City as well as offices located in Belize City proper.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
FAST FACTS ABOUT BELIZE
Belize Lobster Festivals
Approximate Flight Times
The country’s ultimate foodie fest is a serial affair, with celebrations
held every June in San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), Caye Caulker, and
Placencia, and features literally tons of sumptuous local flavors! In
San Pedro, visit Central Park for numerous lobster activities, and stroll
the beach where lobster parties and specials await. Then, Placencia
presents the ultimate cultural immersion experience, showcasing
Creole, Mayan, Garifuna, Caribbean, European, Asian, and North
(some flights may require connections)
American culinary influences. And the country’s original lobster party,
Caye Caulker Lobster Festival, is packed with music and dancing,
US citizens must have a passport valid beyond their planned departure
and, of course, Belize’s favorite crustacean prepared in just about
date, proof of onward/return ticket, and sufficient funds (minimum
every possible way.
US$60 per day) to cover the cost of the length of stay. No visas
International Costa Maya Festival
are required for tourist visits. There is a departure fee of US$39.25
The only festival of its kind in Central America promotes the culture
included in the price of all US airline tickets; at the land borders, US
of the Mundo Maya countries with their folklore dances, music,
citizens are charged up to US$18.75 depending on length of stay.
and food in San Pedro’s busiest and most colorful week, held every
August. The stage lights up as local and international artists from all
English is the official language.
over the Americas come together to put on a multicultural spectacle. Chocolate Festival of Belize Toledo, home of Belize’s most prized cacao, hosts this annual May jubilee that spotlights all things chocolate. Connect to the traditions of Belize with cultural performances and demonstrations, watch local dance groups and groove to live music, and indulge in the best that the country’s famed chocolatiers have to offer.
Currency Belize dollar (BZD$). Climate Subtropical, with a brisk prevailing wind from the Caribbean Sea. Average annual temperature is 80ºF and varies little throughout the year. The rainy season is June-August.
Fiesta de Carnaval Held in February the week before Lent begins, this boisterous bash puts the focus on body-painting and flour-fighting – great fun to watch, and even more fun in which to participate! Belize City and San Pedro host the largest celebrations, focusing on dance contests, live entertainment, and diverse cuisines.
CAVING Belize is internationally recognized as home of some of the premier underground caverns in the world. Strap on a miner’s helmet and life vest to explore miles of fascinating caves and caverns, and hop onto an inner tube to cruise miles of subterranean rivers. The massive Actun Tunichil Muknal cave system, in the heart of the Belizean rainforest, is a top draw, along with Barton Creek Cave (full of Mayan artifacts in overhead alcoves) and Caves Branch River. Join a day-long excursion departing from Belize City, San Ignacio, Cayo, Placencia, or San Pedro. For a wet-and-wild trip down the rivers and through the limestone caves of Belize, take advantage of the many cave-tubing adventures offered here. Caves Branch River, Barton Creek Cave, and Crystal Cave all have skilled tour guides to take you on an adrenaline-pumping ride.
DIVING As the home to the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere and three of only four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere, Belize is a mecca for scuba divers from around the world. Gear up for an adventure in these and more of the planet’s most spectacular underwater dive sites. Get certified for scuba at any of the numerous PADI dive centers along the coast and head for the awesome 400-foot-deep Great Blue Hole. Snorkelers find nirvana at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley, with over 160 species of fish, plus corals, sea turtles, and marine mammals, in a kaleidoscope of colors found in sponges and hard and soft corals. And there are hundreds of snorkeling sites of varying depths along the Belize Barrier Reef. Avowed landlubbers can join an excursion using SNUBA, a form of surface-supplied diving with an underwater breathing system, or “Sea Trek” with the premier underwater helmet diving experience.
MAYA RUINS The ruins of Belize include a number of well-known and historically important pre-Columbian Maya archaeological sites, led by Caracol, an absolute must-see with its four palaces, three temples, and “Sky Palace” pyramid. Lamanai presents large temples, while Altun Ha Maya is centered around the 55-foot-tall Temple of the Masonry Altars pyramid. At the ancient city of Xunantunich, it’s possible to climb to the top of El Castillo, the largest temple at the site. Half- and full-day excursions depart from various locations in Ambergris Caye, Belize City, and Cayo. All sites are managed by the Institute of Archaeology and have interpretive centers, as well as trained guides to show you around. Interestingly, with a small percentage of the country’s ancient Maya temples reportedly uncovered, it’s not uncommon to come across ancient pieces of pottery or hear that a distant hill is actually a temple.
HORSEBACK RIDING Some of Belize’s most beautiful places can only be accessed on foot – or hoof. You can saddle up and ride along winding jungle trails, ford bubbling creeks, and amble across verdant farmlands. Day-long excursions from tour operators invite you to ride through the jungles of the Cayo District and along the Caves Branch River, packaged with caving or kayaking adventures. You can also see Maya sites like El Pilar, Xunantunich, and Cahal Pech. In northern Belize, you can find horseback riding at the Mennonite community of Blue Creek. Saddle up and explore unexcavated Maya mounds and the farmlands and plains stretching across the region.
CANOEING & KAYAKING Belize’s gently flowing interior rivers are ideal for canoeing and kayaking – and enjoying the exotic flora and fauna you’ll encounter. In the Cayo District, the Macal River passes through a lively wildlife habitat, while the Mopan also encompasses light rapids and cascading waterfalls to test your skills. Look down on the clear waters to spot the reefs, fish, rays, and sea turtles. Look up to see migratory birds and sunshine for days. Some tour operators package your river adventure with hiking or other backcountry pursuits for a day-long trek. Embark from Placencia and kayak the Caves Branch River after a horseback ride through the rainforest. Coastal and island resorts also offer kayaks for short excursions along the shorelines and around the islands. Kayaks enable paddlers to intimately explore Belize’s remote cayes, untouched coral reefs, and abundant marine life. Your sea kayak excursion can take you to places that few other people will ever visit!
Belize Escorted Tours provided by Discovery Expeditions
BELIZE ADVENTURE PACKAGE
HIGHLANDS, ISLANDS & TIKAL
REEF & RAINFOREST EXPLORER
8 Days/7 Nights
8 Days/7 Nights
8 Days/7 Nights
Day 1: Welcome to Belize
Day 1: Welcome to Belize
Day 1: Welcome to Belize
Arrive and transfer to your Belize City hotel.
Arrive and transfer to your Cayo area hotel.
Arrive and transfer to your Belize City hotel.
Day 2: River Kayaking & Horseback Ride
Day 2: Caracol & Mountain Pine Ridge
Day 2: Lamanai & The New River
Travel to Caves Branch Outpost and hop into a two-man kayak to explore the Caves Branch River and its exotic flora and fauna. Then, saddle up to ride through pristine rainforests and along the Caves Branch River to scenic Hell Gate Falls. Enjoy lunch at Caves Branch Outpost, then loop back via jungle trails.
Depart for a full-day tour of Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve, with stops to explore Rio Frio Caves and swim at the Rio On bathing pools. Proceed to the Mayan site of Caracol and enjoy a picnic lunch. After the tour, return to your hotel.
Drive up the Northern Highway, board a riverboat at Tower Hill, and head up the New River to the New River Lagoon and the ruins of Lamanai.
Day 3: Tikal National Park
Day 3: Cave Tubing & Zipride Hike through the rainforests of Caves Branch National Park to a platform in the canopy of trees to begin an hour-long zip-line adventure. Next, float on tubes in the underground cave system. After lunch, continue to Cayo City.
Visit the cave system of Actun Tunichil Muknal, a series of chambers that end in a cathedral where sacrificial ceremonies once took place.
Enjoy a full-day tour of majestic Tikal in Guatemala (passport documents required), the most recognized of all Mayan ruins. Visit Complex Q, R, Temple IV, Temple III, and the Main Plaza. Savor a picnic lunch, then return to your hotel.
Day 4: Xunantunich
Day 4: Free Day / Optional Tours
After a morning at leisure, drive to Xunantunich to explore this impressive Maya site. Before reaching the entrance, cross the Mopan River on a 19thcentury ferry. Climb to the top of El Castillo, the site’s largest temple, for panoramic views.
Enjoy a free day with optional activities, including excursions to Xunantunich Maya Temples, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Barton Creek Caves, horseback riding, and river canoeing.
After a morning at leisure, drive to Xunantunich to explore this impressive Maya site. Before reaching the entrance, cross the Mopan River on a 19thcentury ferry. Climb to the top of El Castillo, the site’s largest temple, for panoramic views. Next, continue via canoe into Barton Creek Cave.
Day 5: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Day 5: Transfer to San Pedro, Ambergris
Days 5-6: Caves Branch Outpost
Drive to Belize City for a connection commuter flight to the quaint seaside village of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye for three nights of island ambiance.
Day 3: Actun Tunichil Muknal
Hike through the rainforests of Caves Branch National Park to begin an hour-long zip-line adventure. Next, float on tubes beneath the stalagmites and stalactites of the jungle’s underground cave system. After lunch, continue to Belize City for a short flight to Ambergris Caye.
Day 7: Sea Trek The unique Sea Trek Underwater Helmet Diving Tour brings you face-to-face with the ocean and all its wonders.
Day 8: Farewell Belize After spending the morning at leisure, transfer to the airport.
Day 6: Sea Trek The unique Sea Trek Underwater Helmet Diving Tour brings you face-to-face with the ocean and all its wonders.
Day 4: Xunantunich & Barton Creek Cave
Depart Cayo for return drive to Belize City, where you’ll connect on a domestic flight to the quaint seaside village of San Pedro for three nights of island ambiance.
Day 6: Sea Trek
Day 7: Free Day
The unique Sea Trek Underwater Helmet Diving Tour brings you face-to-face with the ocean and all its wonders.
Explore San Pedro at your leisure.
Day 7: Free Days / Optional Tours Explore San Pedro at your leisure.
Day 8: Farewell Belize Connect with commuter International Airport.
Day 8: Farewell Belize After spending the morning at leisure, connect with commuter flight to Belize International Airport.
BELIZE: HOTELS FEATURED BELIZE HOTELS
YUCATAN Corozal MEXICO
Las Terrazas Resort & Residences Mata Rocks Resort
Matachica Resort & Spa Victoria House Resort
Caye Caulker Caye Chapel St. Georges Caye
Altun Ha Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary
Belize District Zoo
Airport Belize City Barrier Reef
A – Ambergris Caye
Belmopan San Ignacio
The Villas at Banyan Bay
Lighthouse Reef Turneffe Islands Blue Hole
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
D – Placencia E – San Ignacio Ka’ana Resort
Hopkins Bay Glover’s Reef
C – Hopkins
Robert’s Grove Beach Resort
1,000 ft. Waterfall
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina Hopkins Bay Resort
B – Belize City
San Ignacio Resort Hotel Please contact your Travel Consultant for additional hotels in this destination.
Monkey River Caracol
Las Terrazas Resort & Residences Ambergris Caye
Matachica Resort & Spa A
All-Inclusive Option Available • Boutique beachfront resort, member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts • 35 AC 1-, 2-, & 3-bedroom townhomes • Restaurant, bar, poolside bar • Concierge, tour desk • 70-Ft. outdoor infinity pool • Serenity Spa & Wellness Center, fitness center • PADI 5-Star dive center, water sports, bicycles
• Intimate beachfront resort in lush tropical setting • 42 AC rooms & villas with balconies • Restaurant, patio bar • 2 Outdoor pools, 2 private villa pools • Spa services • PADI dive center, activities center • Water sports, fishing, diving, snorkeling, birdwatching • Destination weddings
• Chic, informal & secluded resort on northern side of Ambergris Caye • 31 AC villas • Restaurant, cocktail lounge, room service • Outdoor infinity pool, Jacuzzi • Jade Spa, fitness center • Snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, sailing, biking • Tour desk • Complimentary shuttle to San Pedro
Victoria House Resort Ambergris Caye
Mata Rocks Resort 2222
Ambergris Caye • Excellent value beachfront family resort on Ambergris Caye • 17 AC rooms & suites with views • Beachfront bar, Continental breakfast • Concierge, tour desk • Outdoor pool • Water sports nearby • Complimentary Wi-Fi & bicycles • Complimentary shuttle to water taxi/ airstrip
BELIZE: HOTELS The Villas at Banyan Bay Ambergris Caye
Robert’s Grove Beach Resort 22
• Family-friendly hotel offering oceanfront views of Caribbean Sea & Great Belize Barrier Reef • 40 AC 2- & 3-bedroom villas • Restaurant, swim-up bar, beach bar • Outdoor pool, kids pool • Non-motorized & motorized watersports, tour desk ($) • Complimentary Wi-Fi
• Intimate upscale luxury resort close to Mayan ruins • 17 AC suites & private pool villas • Restaurant, lounge, 1,000-bottle wine cellar • Concierge, room service • Spa • Outdoor pool • Private guided tours to Mayan ruins
Hopkins Bay Resort • Unique family-friendly resort on private beach • 38 AC rooms • Restaurant, 2 bars, pool bar • 2 Outdoor pools, kids pool • Water Sports, adventure & eco-tours • Kids & teens activities • In-house traditional cooking experiences • Complimentary shuttle to water taxi/ airstrip
Ka’ana Resort B
• Boutique waterfront resort with Old World charm & modern style in historic Fort George • 102 AC rooms • 2 Restaurants, bar, café • 2 Outdoor pools, whirlpool • Nim Le Punit Spa, fitness center • Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout • Shuttle service to & from airport
• Intimate hacienda-style resort along white-sand beach • 52 AC rooms, suites & villas with balconies • 3 Restaurants, 3 bars, bakery-deli, poolside bar • 3 Outdoor freshwater pools • Sea Spa, fitness center • Water sports, PADI dive center • Marina • Baby-sitting
Radisson Fort George Hotel & Marina Belize City
San Ignacio Resort Hotel 222
San Ignacio • Jungle hillside hotel just steps away from downtown San Ignacio • 24 AC rooms • Restaurant, bar • Outdoor pool, tennis, spa service • Area shuttle ($) • Complimentary Wi-Fi
AMAZING NATURE, A COSMOPOLITAN CAPITAL & AN AWESOME MAN-MADE MARVEL
HEART OF THE AMERICAS Beyond the Panama Canal, you’ll find incredibly diverse
ATTRACTIONS FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC!
flora and fauna, a sophisticated capital city, luscious
Discover a paradise for water sports enthusiasts and
Caribbean and Pacific beaches, mountain ranges and
1,000 small islands, historical sites and living indigenous cultures, and more. Not bad for a tiny country that’s primarily known for connecting the two continents of the Western Hemisphere, as well as joining one great ocean to another.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, Panama has dozens of excellent sandy beaches on both sides of the isthmus, as well as a number of islands off both coasts. Bocas del Toro, Taboga, Santa Catalina, and the Azuero Peninsula are just a few of the popular
Hop on a cruise through one of the modern world’s
beach town destinations where the waters are clear
most spectacular engineering wonders, the Panama
and the sands are soft.
Canal. Rise above sea level in the Miraflores Locks, stroll alongside massive ships navigating the Pedro Miguel Locks, and observe the work in progress for the huge Canal expansion project, now nearing its completion. The modern metropolis of Panama City, the capital, resembles nothing so much as Miami. A chic center of international commerce, fashion, dining, nightlife, arts, casinos, and shopping, topped by an impressive skyline of shimmering glass and steel towers, it stands guard over one of the world’s most awesome engineering achievements.
WHERE THE ACTION IS
Panama has gained renown for its top-shelf surf breaks, with point breaks, beach breaks, hollow tubes, and long peelers up and down both coasts. Grab a board and head to Bocas del Toro, Playa Malibu, Playa Teta, Playa Venao, and Isla Grande. Long regarded as one of the finest fishing spots in the Caribbean, Panama presents many opportunities for anglers, ranging from deep-sea excursions to freshwater outings. Fish for marlin, tuna, swordfish, and more in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Pinas Bay is the location of numerous fishing world records. For freshwater fishing, Lake Gatun is one of the best spots, and it’s only 45
• Take a guided tour to the peak of Volcan Barú in
minutes from Panama City.
Chiriqui Province, the highest point in the country, at
Easily accessible from Panama City, the Metropolitan
11,400 feet, where on a clear day you can see both
National Park natural reserve offers a close encounter
the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
with nature’s best. Hike up to the historic Ancon Hill
• Stroll or bike the length of the Amador Causeway,
for panoramic views. And there are three parks on the
which connects Panama City to the islands of Naos, Culebra, Perico, and Flamenco. There are restaurants,
mountainous Azuero Peninsula that are tailor-made for great hiking: Cerro Hoya National Park, Montuoso
bars, and duty-free shopping along the way.
Forest Preserve, and La Tronosa Reserve.
• A ferry trip along the Panama Canal lets you cruise
While there are only a handful of 18-hole golf courses
through the Pedro Miguel Locks and rise above sea level in the Miraflores Locks. • Immerse in absolute serenity and immaculate beauty amid the 365 Caribbean islands of Guna Yala. You can expect pool-like waters, snow-white sands,
across the country, they are noteworthy, especially in their spectacular backdrops: mountains, ridgelines, coastlines, sandy beaches… Valle Escondido Quebrada Grande may be the only course in the world that plays through a working coffee plantation!
gorgeous coral reefs, and sheer perfection. • Dive into a wide variety of nightlife, including sports bars, discos, pubs, and casinos, mostly centered in the business district, historic Casco Viejo, and the spectacular Amador Causeway.
Food: With its location at what is literally the shipping crossroads
Getting around Panama is relatively easy, compared to other Latin
of the world, Panama City restaurants unsurprisingly offer a wide
range of cuisines, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Lebanese, Greek,
French, Spanish, Italian, German, Peruvian, Cuban, and Columbian
Based at Panama City’s Gelabert International Airport, Air Panama
among them (and, of course, Panamanian specialties as well). Like
offers scheduled flights to 20 destinations inside Panama, including
many South and Central American countries, the local cuisine is a
David and Bocas del Toro, plus seasonal routes. Copa Airlines flies
blend of influences, including Spanish, African, and Native American.
between Panama City (Tocumen International Airport) and David
Panama’s true flavor is perhaps best experienced in Sancocho, a
stew-like soup made with chicken and yucca.
Shopping: Look for local Panamanian crafts in the Centro de
So-called “highway buses” operate regularly and frequently
Artesanias, Galería Arte Indígena, and Mercado de Artesanía de
from terminals in Panama City to different destinations along the
Panamá Viejo. Shop for embroidered blouses, jewelry, hand-woven
Pan American Highway. You can board a bus any place on the
hats, molas bags, hammocks, maracas, dresses, purses, headbands,
Pan American Highway going towards Panama City, but all trips
masks, embroidered textiles, and other native handicrafts.
originating from within the city require a ticket.
History: Casco Viejo, the historic area of Panama City, is full of Spanish
Panama City’s urban MetroBus delivers frequent and inexpensive
Colonial-style government buildings, cathedrals, museums, theaters,
service all around the city. You must purchase a MetroBus card, as
and residences, all planted along quaint cobblestone streets. Dating
the buses do not accept cash. You can purchase and refill cards at the
from the 17th century, it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The
main Gran Terminal Nacional, at Metro Bus kiosks, and most grocery
neighborhood still houses the Palacio de las Garzas, residence of the
President of Panama. Photo: Nacho Such/Shutterstock.com
Subway (Panama City) The first subway/light rail system in Central America, Panama City’s Metro began operation in 2014 and has become a rousing success. The 12-station line connects city center with Los Andes County. Taxi Taxi rates within Panama City are set by a zone system; however, the zone rates are complicated and fares are typically negotiated, depending on location, time of day, and how well you know the city and can speak Spanish. Rental Car By regional standards, the road system of Panama is in very good condition. Rental cars are available in all major airports as well as downtown Panama City locations, plus agencies in David, Colon, and other popular tourist destinations.
FESTIVALS & EVENTS
FAST FACTS ABOUT PANAMA
Panama City Carnival
Approximate Flight Times
The king of all festivals in Panama is celebrated nationwide, with the
biggest naturally taking place in Panama City. The four days leading
up to Ash Wednesday are jam-packed with raucous music, dancing,
food, drinking, fireworks, and truly awesome parades.
Panama International Film Festival (IFF Panama)
Gaining international prominence with each passing year, this
dynamic cinema celebration most recently screened 73 films from
(some flights may require connections)
45 countries, with top filmmakers and producers hosting screenings,
workshops, master classes, and Q&A sessions. In April, seven screening
US citizens must have a passport with a remaining validity of three
venues play host to worldwide premieres of feature films, shorts, and
months, plus proof of onward/return ticket, and sufficient funds
documentaries, with an attendance of more than 28,000 movie fans.
(minimum US$500). No visas are required for tourist visits of up to
Panama Jazz Festival
180 days. The departure tax (US$20) at the airport may be included
This week-long music festival held every January in Panama City and
in your ticket.
out-of-town venues showcases Grammy Award-winning jazz artists
from Panama and around the world, including top names like Rubén
Spanish is the official language, though English is widely spoken in
Blades, Jack DeJohnette, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John Scofield,
the tourism industry.
Billy Cobham, and Janis Siegel.
Fair of the Coffee and the Flowers
US dollar ($); the Panamanian balboa (B/), which is pegged to the US
Boquete’s prime event for more than 60 years, this unique festival
dollar at a 1:1 ratio, also circulates.
spotlights the region’s tastiest and most beautiful local products!
Grown in volcanic soil, then hand-picked and solar dried, Boquete
Tropical wet climate, average annual temperature of 82°F (at Panama
Coffee is purely a gourmet bean. And Boquete is famed for having
City). The warmest month is March (84°F); the coolest is September
an incredible diversity of flowers, especially orchids. Celebrate the
(81°F). December is the rainiest month, and March the driest.
5½ hours 6 hours 5½ hours 5 hours
good things in life!
ANTON VALLEY TOUR
EMBERA INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY
Explore the incredible biodiversity and unique community at El Valle del Antón on this 5-hour tour. In the crater of an inactive volcano, a charming town welcomes visitors with pleasant weather, a popular public market, and surrounding natural wonders.
Begin this all-day tour by hopping on a cayuco (handmade canoe) and paddling with the indigenous Emberá people along the Chagres River. Walk the enchanting rainforest and arrive at a stunning waterfall, where you can relax and swim in a cool natural pool.
Catch a magnificent view of La India Dormida mountain, and see the majesty of El Macho Waterfall. Visit El Nispero Zoo and discover the area’s various orchids and endangered species. Next, stop at the handicrafts market, and shop for flowers, fruits, vegetables, handmade crafts, and souvenirs.
Visit the Emberá community, where you’ll be greeted with traditional music and dances, and introduced to their culture and customs. Enjoy a lunch of tilapia and patacon (fried green plantain). Shop for baskets, plates, and handmade masks – and get a temporary tattoo!
PANAMA CANAL TOURS
Panama is paradise for eco-tourism, holding out the unique possibility that you can dip your toes into two different oceans, ascend into rugged mountain territory, and hike through dense rainforest – all in the course of a few days!
Panama City is an international banking and finance center with a metro population of 1.5 million. There’s great shopping, dining, and nightlife, plus numerous historical attractions. The best way to become acquainted is with a comprehensive coach tour.
Panama is a blend of several cultures which have left an indelible imprint on the country’s food, music, and arts, from the native Indian groups, to the Spanish conquerors, to the AfroCaribbeans who originally arrived to build the Panama Canal. Their legacy is one of Latin America’s most unique folkloric heritages.
One of history’s most ambitious and fascinating engineering projects, the Panama Canal is a true marvel, which is now approaching the completion of an extensive expansion that will retain its position as a nexus of world trade and commerce.
You can join a 6-hour tour from Panama City that allows you to cruise past lush rainforests to a secluded region of Gatun Lake and witness first-hand the splendor and excitement of the jungle, observing capuchin monkeys, crocodiles, birds, and other animals.
An all-day excursion will take you to all three “cities”: the ruins of the original 16th century Panama Viejo (part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site); the Spanish Colonial city known as Casco Viejo; and the modern skyscraper city.
In Panama City, take in an unforgettable feast of delicious local dishes, followed by a panorama of traditional music and dances, featuring performers in colorful “polleras,” handmade long skirts.
There are several tours up to a full day that will bring you up-close to its salient features, the massive Miraflores Locks that elevate gigantic freighters above sea level in order to complete their voyage between the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
PANAMA: HOTELS Portobelo Colon
Bocas del Toro
Bocas del Toro
l na Ca
Cerro Punta Baru Volcano
Cacita B Gamboa Chepo
Salud Gulf of Mosquitos
Yaviza Gulf of Pamana
Darien National Park
Isla de Coiba
Los Asientos COLOMBIA
FEATURED PANAMA HOTELS A – Buenaventura
C – Panama City
D – Playa Blanca
JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort
Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis
Hotel Riu Playa Blanca
B – Gamboa
Hotel Riu Plaza Panama
E – Playa Bonita
Gamboa Rainforest Resort
InterContinental Miramar Panama City Le Meridien Panama
Dreams Delight Playa Bonita Panama
Panama Marriott Hotel The Westin Playa Bonita Panama Please contact your Travel Consultant for additional hotels in this destination.
Dreams Delight Playa Bonita Panama Playa Bonita
Hotel Riu Playa Blanca E
Unlimited-Luxury® • Gourmet à la carte & buffet restaurants • Upscale bars & lounges • 3 Outdoor swimming pools • Fitness Center • Beach & pool volleyball • Jungle Walkways • Daytime activities & nighttime entertainment
All-Inclusive • Beachfront resort on Pacific Coast in Coclé • 573 AC rooms & junior suites • 4 Restaurants, 5 bars, swim-up bar, 24-hr sports bar • 3 Outdoor pools, kids pool & water play area • Fitness center • Water sports, golf nearby ($) • Nightclub, daytime entertainment program for children & adults
PANAMA: HOTELS JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort
InterContinental Miramar Panama City
• Distinctive luxury resort opening onto Pacific Ocean beach • 114 AC rooms & suites • 5 Restaurants, 3 bars, pool bar • Concierge, 24-hr room service • 5 Outdoor pools, kids pool • Corotú Spa, fitness center • Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course • Water sports, tennis, eco-tours
The Westin Playa Bonita Panama 2221/2
• Relaxing riverside resort surrounded by rainforest • 160 AC rooms with balconies & river views • 3 Restaurants, 2 bars • 2 Outdoor pools • Sensory Spa by Clarins, fitness center • Capybara Discotheque • Excursions, tour desk, tennis courts • Golf nearby
• Modern high-rise hotel in Panama City’s financial district • 644 AC rooms & suites with complimentary Wi-Fi • 3 Restaurants, 24-hr deli, lobby bar & lounge, pool snack bar • 24-hr room service • Outdoor pool, sundeck • Spa, fitness center, steam bath • Conference rooms & business center
Hard Rock Hotel Panama Megapolis • Family-friendly hotel in striking 66-story tower in downtown Panama City • 1,468 AC rooms & suites • 7 Restaurants, 8 bars, pool bar • Concierge, 24-hour room service • Outdoor infinity pool • Rock Spa, Body Rock fitness center, salon • Nightclub, casino • Complimentary Wi-Fi • Kids activities, Teen Spirit lounge
Hotel Riu Plaza Panama C
• Contemporary spa hotel in the heart of Panama City • 111 AC soundproof rooms • Restaurant, bar, patisserie • Outdoor pool, whirlpool • Sensory SPA by Clarins, 24-hr fitness center • Business center, concierge service • Wi-Fi ($)
Panama City • Modern oceanfront hotel near downtown Panama City • 611 AC rooms & suites • 6 Restaurants, 4 bars, pool bar & grill • 4 Outdoor pools, private beach • Sensory Spa by Clarins, WestinWORKOUT® Fitness Studio • Westin Kids Club® • Live entertainment • Water sports, kids club
Le Meridien Panama Panama City
• Family-friendly city hotel located on the boardwalk • 186 AC rooms • Restaurant, bar • Outdoor pool, kids pool • Fitness center, sauna • Marina • Free Wi-Fi in public areas
Gamboa Rainforest Resort Gamboa
Panama Marriott Hotel C
Panama City • Cosmopolitan hotel in the heart of the financial district • 287 AC rooms • 2 Restaurants, 2 bars, coffee shop, complimentary breakfast & 24-hr room service • Outdoor pool, sauna • Spa, health club • Casino • Complimentary Wi-Fi
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Not Included in Package Price
Our price for Travel does not include porterage at airport (unless specified) and hotels; tips to local representatives, sightseeing guides, restaurant employees, hotel bellman and chambermaids, wines, liquors, laundry or any other items of a personal nature as well as any items not specifically mentioned within itinerary. Tipping is left to your discretion. In addition, price for Travel are subject to holiday blackouts, peak period and surcharges and other restrictions may apply and vary by resort, cruise and airline carrier.
Refunds for Unused Services
Unused hotel nights are refundable only if they cover a minimum of two consecutive nights and only to the extent that the tour operator receives a refund from the hotel after deducting cancellation charges levied by the hotel, if any. Unused transfers and/or sightseeing tours included in the basic tours will only be refunded to the extent that the tour operator receives a refund from the supplier. To get a prompt refund for unused services, clients are requested to submit to their agent written proof from the hotel or other operator that services were unused and refundable. A check-out bill from the hotel in question will be accepted in lieu of special certification. If no proof is furnished, a refund may be made pending an investigation, which may take up to three months. To be accepted, all refund claims should be presented to the travel agent who initially booked the tour, no later than 30 days after the trip has ended. No refunds or adjustments will be made for any changes, cancellations or modifications of services provided in this itinerary, if such changes are made by the tour participant during the tour. All refunds are conditioned upon your understanding that your acceptance of a refund is on the express condition that You release Liberty Travel from any and all liability and You thereby waive all additional rights and remedies under your contract or any applicable state, federal or foreign law.
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Local Taxes and Service Charges
Local room tax, energy surcharges and service charges on room and meals are not included unless specified. Taxes and service charges are based on the hotel’s daily room tariff and not on the land package prices.
Important Notes–Consult Agent
PROOF OF CITIZENSHIP: Be prepared with proper documentation! United States citizens are required to have a valid passport to travel internationally. Visit http:www. travel.state.gov for information on how to obtain a passport, including forms, fees, and how to locate a passport acceptance facility nearest You. No refunds will be made if improper documentation results in denied boarding or entry. If You are not a U.S. citizen be certain to check with the consulate of the country You are traveling to for full entry requirements (Visas may be required in addition to passports).
These packages are sold in conjunction with the services of approved ARC and IATA member carriers. Government regulations now enable air carriers to increase their fares on 24-hour notice.
Requirements may change after this printing so we recommend that you verify any immigration requirements with the tourist office or consulate before you travel.
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Air fuel surcharge is included in pricing. Some fares may be non-refundable but may be exchanged for a fee, plus any additional airfare costs due to difference in new airfares. Airlines offer varied promotional fares to the destinations included in this brochure. A minimum stay and advance purchase/ticketing is required. Holiday supplements are applicable and further restrictions may apply. Some airlines impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to www.libertytravel.com for more information regarding airlines checked baggage policies.
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