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 LC of COLCHESTER on 18/01/2018
Transfer from Belize City airport. En-route a visit to Belize Zoo (not included). Settle into your accommodation and have dinner with your fellow riders.
After a typical Belizian breakfast it is time to meet your horse. Today the ride is to the Mayan ruin, Xunantunich, which is about one and a half hours away. On arrival at Xuanatnich there will be a tour of this fascinating place and after you will continue riding for another hour and half to the lunch stop. After lunch the ride takes another two hours back to the stables, arriving for around 4pm. Overnight.
Today you will be riding along dirt roads through pristine rainforest and forested bridle tracks. During this ride you will be able to experience the magnificent birdlife in the forest jungle before stopping at a riverside restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon the ride takes you through many beautiful and different landscapes on the ride back to the stables.
Today's ride is a leisurely one. The destination is an old unexcavated Mayan temple. You will be able to explore and appreciate what the temples looked like before the archaeologists have worked on them. The trail takes you through small farms and along abandoned logging tracks and forested trails. Lunch will be back at the stables and another ride will be taken later in the afternoon.
Today you transfer to a new destination in the jungle. On the way you will visit the Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech and have the chance to do some shopping in San Ignacio. You will have lunch in town before carrying on to the new stables. When you have arrived you will be able to spend timing relaxing and enjoying the sounds, smells and views of your jungle home for the next few nights. Dinner will be by lamplight with your new hosts before retiring to your jungle cabana for the night.
After breakfast you will meet your horse for a full day orientation ride to the Big Rock Falls in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. The trail winds through varied ecosystems. Your guide will point out all the interesting plants along the way that are used for traditional medicine in the jungle. You will enjoy a gourmet lunch at the waterfalls where you will be able to take a refreshing swim before mounting your horse for a rejuvenating ride home. A quick freshen up in your cabana before a lively dinner and conversation with your hosts and fellow guests.
Today is another full day ride to Nohoch Sayab River Cave at Barton Creek. The trail meanders through the village of Siete Millas where refugees from Guatamala and El Salvador live. The trail then passes through a Mennonite community where you can observe ancient farming traditions such as horse-drawn carts, ploughs and mills. As you make your way down the steep narrow road to the valley floor you will be amazed by the size of the fruit trees and tropical flora in this fertile creek valley. On arrival at Barton Creek Outpost you will leave the horses behind and take a canoe and paddle upstream in the shade of the huge vine covered limestone cliff. You will suddenly disappear into the cliff emerging in the sparkling waters of a cave covered in stalactites. Return to the Outpost for a swim and delicious lunch before riding back home.
Today brings a beautiful full day horse ride in a secluded hidden valley where you will ride along a winding creek and enjoy the exotic tropical vegetation. You will have excellent opportunities to spot the colourful rainforest birds and butterflies. You will be able to go swimming and explore the caves and enjoy a delicious picnic next to the swimming hole before riding back.
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 16 st/230 lb/105 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
Beneque Viejo Del Carmen (first 4 nights): a small bed and breakfast on the farm. Rooms are basic but very clean with private bathrooms with hot and cold showers. Each room can sleep two guests or a single traveller. Single, twin, double and queen beds are available. An extra bed can be provided in the room if requested ahead of time. The cottages have small verandahs for reading and relaxing to the sounds of birds. You can see Xunantunich from the cottages. Food is all home-grown and served buffet style.
Chiquibul (final 4 nights): Clean and comfortable thatched cabanas sleeping between 1 and 4 people. Rooms have either queen, bunk or twin beds (please state your preference at the time of booking). There is no electricity in the rooms, but each room has a private bathroom with hot and cold water. Mosquito netting is provided above each bed. Kerosene lamps are used for lighting. Charging stations (run off solar power) are available in the cantina as well as Wi-Fi and limited phone signal. Food is served as family-style meals consisting of local and international dishes, fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally, grass-fed beef, chicken and fish when available. Homemade bread and fresh tortillas are cooked daily. The setting is great for those who love the outdoors and want to experience natural undisturbed landscapes, great birding opportunities, hiking and swimming at pristine waterfalls etc.
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
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.
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.
There are charging ports in the common area (known as the Cantina) and access to Wi-Fi. There is nowhere near-by to buy new batteries so it is recommended you bring rechargeable and/or spare batteries with you.
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 9 day/8 night programme with set departures.
2017: 12*, 19*, 26* Dec (*denotes high season).
2018: 9*, 23* Jan; 20* Feb; 6*, 20* Mar; 3*, 17* Apr; 1, 15, 29 May; 12, 26 Jun; 10, 24 Jul; 7, 21 Aug; 4, 18 Sept; 2, 16, 30 Oct; 13, 27 Nov; 11*, 25* Dec. (*denotes high season)
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||1,079|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||239|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||1,055|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||985|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||235|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||995|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||1,219|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||275|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||1,195|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||1,115|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||265|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||1,125|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||1,465|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||329|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||1,429|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||1,335|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||315|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||1,345|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||11,985|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||2,679|
|2018 High Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||11,725|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||double pp||10,949|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||single supplement||2,585|
|2018 Low Season||9d/8n||6||triple room pp||11,029|
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.
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.
Non-riders can be accommodated on request.
Around 12,500 British nationals visit Belize each year.