This fabulous ride will thrill your senses with lush tropical landscapes, fascinating Mayan ruins and fantastic wildlife. On this based stay you will really experience the true Belize. You will be riding along bridle tracks in tropical forests, each day experiencing different scenery. Visiting Mayan ruins of Xunantunich and unexcavated ruins whilst also being able to appreciate the wonderful bird and animal life along the way. Each night you will return to the hosts family owned stables, and stay in one of the 10 historical stone cottages set within a 400 acre organic working farm. Santiago and his team practice many sustainable farming techniques. Enjoy typical Belizian food most of which is produced on the farm. Throughout the whole trip you will be able to experience this fascinating country with its friendly people, rich history and Mayan culture.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from LV of Balzers on 24/11/2019
Transfer from Belize City airport. Settle into your accommodation and have dinner with your fellow riders.
San Lorenzo Ride
After a typical Belizian breakfast it is time to meet your horse. Then you start the San Lorenzo ride, riding down towards the Mopan River. We cross the river and ride towards an ancient city which dates back to the post classic Mayan period. The city of Actun Kan is mostly unexcavated and no reconstruction has been done. You will have an opportunity to explore an ancient city and appreciate how the tropical forest reclaims its own. The University of Alabama USA has studied this city for more than 15 years. You then remount the horses and ride back down into the valley and cross the river once more. You will arrive at your lunch stop at Clarissa Falls for your first authentic Belizean lunch. All lunches can be provided for vegan, vegetarian or any other dietary requirements that you may request. After lunch you ride to the small farming community of Calla Creek. This ride will take you through jungle and pasture land. For those interested in birding, parrots, kiskidees, and herons speckle the valley.
This ride has a total riding time of four hours. You will return to the stables at about 3:00 pm.
Flour Camp Ride
After breakfast you will depart on the Flour Camp Ride. Flour camp is one of many ancient Maya caves. The Mayan people of the Macal River Valley inhabited an extensive network of caves. This cave has many pieces of pottery, magnificent stalagmites and stalactites. The ride lasts for 6 hours, during which you will experience a multitude of ecosystems. Some beautiful trails under the rain forest and open dirt roads, this ride has an emphasis on nature. A packed lunch is provided to be enjoyed on the banks of the Macal River. You will return to the stables at about 4:00 pm
Xunantunich (Stone Lady)
After breakfast you will make your way to this must see ancient Mayan city and no better way than to ride your horses into the park. This city is at the foot hills of the farm and is a very enjoyable leisurely ride. It takes approximately 1 hour to get to the Temple, it includes a very scenic ride along the river banks and a small river crossing on a hand cranked ferry. After touring the temple you will ride to the local Maya village of San Jose Succotz to one of our favourite lunch places. After a authentic meal you continue the ride back home. Total time is approximately 5 hours. You will also have an a opportunity to drive into the local town of San Ignacio.
After breakfast there is a short drive of 30 minutes to the starting point at the village of Bullet Tree. The horses will have been transported there and will be waiting for you. You will ride for three hours on old logging roads through mostly rainforest until entering the 100 acre Mayan city of El Pilar. This site is mostly unexcavated but has many points of interest, it is also a bird watcher's paradise, as the bird life is second to none in the area. This is one of the more enjoyable riding experiences for those who like hacking out long distances. For guests who would not like to ride both ways, transportation can be arranged back to the stables. You will enjoy a picnic lunch on this ride. The park is dedicated to providing a Mayan edible landscape. It also includes medicinal plants. You will be returning back to the stables at about 4pm
Today you will ride around the Tipu area rather than to a specific desitnation. This is a very scenic area of the El Cayo District. It is called El Cayo District because it is situated between two rivers, The Mopan River and the Macal River; forming an island. El Cayo means 'island' in Spanish. We ride through logging trails, rain forest and citrus groves. You have the opportunity to enjoy Belize's countryside from the best possible view, "between a horses ear's". Lunch is served at one of the eco lodges looking over the Macal River. This is a four hour ride you will returning to the stables for 4:00 pm
Belize Botanical Gardens
After breakfast you will ride for two hours through farm roads and rainforest. You will arrive at the Botanical gardens and enjoy a tour of native plants or you can choose just to walk around the gardens and enjoy at leisure, after which we will mount our loyal steeds and ride into the village of San Jose Succotz for lunch. You are normally at Benny's kitchen for about 2:00 pm so on this day you have a slightly later lunch. After lunch it is a 45 minute ride back to the stables. You are usually back for 4:30pm.
After breakfast bid your hosts farewell and return to Belize City or Belize International Airport.
We're avid readers here at Unicorn Trails and have selected several books connected to this ride. If you're interested in reading more about the area before you travel, or want to get into the cultural background, here are some suggestions that may inspire you. Click on the links for more information.
Anthony Benjamin's Travel Guide Explores: Belize - Anthony Benjamin
Belize Wildlife: An Introduction to Familiar Species - James Kavanagh
Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.
Condition of horses is above average and they have good temperaments, sizing from 14.2hh to 17hh. There are some more spirited horses for more experienced riders in the second half of the programme. The riding style is English and Western.
The pace of the ride is mainly walks and trots on flat tracks and some hills with canters where terrain and experience allow. On some days there will be a ride in the morning and in the afternoon, or a longer ride in the morning leaving the afternoon free. Other days will involve a full days ride with lunch on the trail.
This ride is best suited to guests with an adventurous nature. Some riding fitness is required as riding is between 2 - 5 hours per day. There is some difficult terrain although the guides will supervise riders across these areas. Must have a secure seat at a walk and trot. The tour guide will have the final word on if you are allowed to canter or gallop. Riders need to be able to mount and dismount unaided.
The weight limit for this ride is 230 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Consisting of 10 unique, historical cottages, the eco lodge is located within the larger 400-acre organic working farm of San Lorenzo where Santiago and his team practice many sustainable farming techniques. Your host, Santiago Juan, lives on the premises and will be available for any questions or concerns that may arise during your stay. The eco lodge is private and secure, and all cottages have their own private bathrooms. Each cabin as running electricity with running water, a lock and key to each door, and bedding configurations including twin beds, full-size beds, and bunk beds.
All towels, bed linens and blankets are provided. There is Wi-Fi Internet on the premises, although it is not the fastest and is intended mainly for short email conversations. The hosts can provide a laptop computer with Internet access if you need it. On-site vehicle parking is free and available if needed.
Your hosts offer fresh, home-cooked meals. All vacation packages include three daily meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Traditional Belizean food is served, which usually includes a fresh salad, rice, beans, fried plantains, and a protein (chicken, pork, beef). As much as possible, your hosts serve fresh produce and fruits grown on their own organic farm. Special dietary requirements can be accomdoated with prior notice.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
British nationals are normally admitted to Belize without a visa as tourists for an initial maximum stay of 30 days. The departure tax is US$37.50, which can be paid only in US dollars or with a credit/ debit card. It’s included in some air fares. There is a bank inside the airport where you can convert Belize dollars to US dollars to a maximum of BZD$1000.
In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 020 7008 0230/ 0233 or www.fco.gov.uk
In the UK the Belize High Commission can be found at: Third Floor, 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP Tel: +44 (0)2038669671 Website: http://belizehighcommission.co.uk/ Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Belize the British High Commission can be found at North Ring Road/Melhado Parade (Entrance via North Ring Road), PO Box 91, Belmopan, Belize. General enquiries Tel: (+501) 822 2146. Email: email@example.com
For urgent consular assistance or if you have lost your passport and are due to travel in the next 24hrs please call (+501) 822 2146. If you are in the UK and concerned about a British national in Belize please call 020 7008 1500
Belize is a warm country with very marked rain patterns. The months of March, April and May are the hottest months but still very nice to ride and enjoy the rivers along the rides. The rest of the year the weather is a little cooler with some scattered showers but still very enjoyable for riding as it is never cold. Rainy season is usually June to November.
Medical facilities in Belize are limited. Serious medical cases are normally evacuated to the United States (at the patient’s expense).
UK health authorities have classified Belize as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice, visit the website of the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Cases of Chikunyunga virus have been confirmed in Belize and the number of reported cases in the region is increasing. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Belize uses 110 volt, 60 cycle electricity, same as the US. Plugs are typically the 2 pronged flat type so US travellers will not need a converter or adapter.
At Hanna Stables:-
All the bedrooms have outlets and the main meeting area on the farm also has outlets for charging your electrical appliances. The voltage is 120 volts. There is electricity 24 hours a day. There is no Wi-Fi but there is one computer with internet which guests are welcome to use.
Riding clothes, including riding boots and riding hat
Long trousers, layering tops with long sleeves.
Rain poncho or raincoat.
Toiletries, including prescription medication
Torch and extra batteries
Insect repellent & sunscreen
Binoculars, camera, chargers
The ride will provide a water bottle and bag for your necessities while riding, plus a saddle bag for towel, suit, and poncho.
This is a 8 day/7 night programme with flexible dates year-round, except for June and July.
2020: dates on request year-round, except for June/July
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Anthony Benjamin's Travel Guide Explores: Belize - Anthony Benjamin Belize Wildlife: An Introduction to Familiar Species - James Kavanagh
There are plenty of activities on offer in the area such as caving, hiking, canoeing, birding and exploring Tikal in Guatemala. All activities can be arranged upon request. Of interest in the area is Caracol Mayan temple, ATM cave, Barton Creek cave, Crystal Cave, zip lining, and much more.
Belize has a very dynamic and rich birdlife, both on the farm and in the general area. There are also motmots, numerous hummingbirds, honeycreepers, flycatchers, owls and birds of prey . It is a common sight to spot Toucans which is the national bird. Iguanas, armadillos, ocelots, marques, and many other small mammals can be seen on night walks. The flora is one of the most diverse in the hemisphere as Belize stands in a very rich tropical climate. The farm is also home to many nocturnal creatures such as the howler monkeys, kinkajous, bats, tapirs, paca, deer and even a few of the elusive big cats of Belize have been spotted from time to time.
Non-riders can be accommodated on request.
Around 12,500 British nationals visit Belize each year.