Belize: Beyond the Reef

Cave Tubing on Caves Branch River, Belize. Photo© Karen Schaler

What you're in store for is no ordinary float trip. For this unique adventure you'll actually be floating down the river and going inside underground cave systems. Welcome to Cave Tubing in Belize!

On this tour, your guide gives you a miniheadlamp strapped to a headband explaining it's the only light you'll have when you get into the pitch-black caves. Once everyone's on the river and situated on their inner tubes, the guide leads the way by hooking his foot onto the inner tube behind him and everyone's instructed to do the same so you're all connected and no one gets lost.

At the beginning of the trip, you float peacefully down the river into a huge cave, but a few minute later, inside the cave, the rapids pick up and you get moving pretty fast. You spend about an hour on the river going through five different cave systems that are full of stalagmites and stalactites. It's a fantastic way to spend the afternoon exploring a part of Belize few know about.

Insider Tip: If you want to bring a camera, bring one that's waterproof or have it in a waterproof bag. Things get wet fast, especially going down the rapids.

Where to Stay


For your jungle adventure, there are several places you can stay that offer affordable prices. If you want to stay close to your zip-line and cave tubing experience, you can check out the rooms at Jaguar Paw. The resort offers different specials throughout the year.

Ka'ana Boutique Resort near San Ignacio, Belize. Photo© Karen Schaler

If you're interested in staying close to the Mayan ruins outside of San Ignacio, there's a new property offering a $300 airline credit called Ka'ana Boutique Resort, where you'll find 10 jungle-chic villas and five standard rooms. This unique property is the brainchild of two young Irish brothers, Colin and Ronan Hannan, who wanted to create a luxurious place for travelers to relax after exploring the nearby Mayan ruins, rivers, rain forests, caves and waterfalls.

"Belize is so well-known for its diving and coastal areas, but my brother and I think the interior holds the most adventure options," Colin Hannan says. "We built Ka'ana in the Cayo District where the majority of Mayan ruins are so guests can get to know this side of Belize as well."

To find out more about other jungle resorts in Belize, check out the country's Tourism Bureau Web site at www.travelbelize.org .

View from Mayan Ruin Site in Belize. Photo© Karen Schaler

Getting There


From the U.S., you can fly into Belize City, Belize, on a number of different airlines, including American Airlines, Continental, Delta and US Airways. Flying time to Belize City on nonstop flights is about two hours from Miami and Atlanta; two-and-a-half hours from Dallas, Houston and Charlotte, N.C.

What to Pack


To explore the jungles of Belize you want to be sure to bring the following:

  • Bug spray/Benadryl for bites
  • Sunscreen, at least 15spf
  • Hat/sunglasses
  • Bathing suit
  • Walking shoes that can get wet
  • Camera, extra batteries, dry-pack carrying case for water adventures
  • Small backpack
  • Resort casual clothes for evenings
  • Don't forget your passport!

    For more unique adventure destinations, check out Karen Schaler's Travel Therapy Web site at www.traveltherapytrips.com.

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