This fabulous two centre ride will thrill your senses with lush tropical landscapes, fascinating Mayan ruins and fantastic wildlife. On this ride you will really experience the true Belize. For the first four nights you will be riding along bridle tracks in the tropical forests, visiting the Mayan ruins of Xuantunich and unexcavated ruins whilst also being able to appreciate the wonderful bird and animal life along the way. 

For the second half of this holiday you will transfer to another riding centre via the charming town of San Ignacio where you can visit the Cahal Pech ruins. Here the rides are off the beaten track; you will ride to Big Rock Falls and have a gourmet lunch by the riverside. Later in the week ride to the bottom of the canyon and canoe into the Nohoch Sayah River caves. 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 KV of Riemst on 07/09/2018

Ride Summary
Nice holiday, nice people, good horses, a little too much food, landscape should be variable, a lot of same scenery.
What was your overall impression of the holiday

Unicorn Trails sales staff
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Friendliness     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Speed of response     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Efficiency     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Knowledge     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Other(please specify)     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Riding tour leader
Professionalism     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Horsemanship     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Pacing of Ride     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern for Safety     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Leadership     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Friendliness/availability     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Culture     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Knowledge of local Flora/Fauna     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Concern with Environment     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Language skills     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Additional Comments
We went to two places.
-At Santiago's (Hanna stables): Very nice people, nice guides, family atmosphere, they make you feel at home. They adapt to your specific needs.
At EMT: Nice people, nice place.
Horses and Tack
Condition of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Condition of Tack     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Performance of Horses     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Additional Comments
At EMT: Horses had ticks, maybe they should treat them against it.
Horses were well fed and well behaved. Only remark for both places: let the horses eat and drink during breaks.
Meals
Meal Quantity     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (X) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Quality     (X) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Meal Punctuality     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Accommodation
Camping Equipment     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (X) N/A
Hotels/Lodges/Inns     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Hygiene standards     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Miscellaneous
Transfer arrangements     (   ) Excellent     (   ) Good     (   ) Fair     (X) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other office staff     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Other ride staff     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor     (   ) N/A
Weather     (   ) Excellent     (X) Good     (   ) Fair     (   ) Poor
Was this trip accurately described to you beforehand?
    (X) NO     (   ) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
Transfer time between both stables was not communicated. Pick up was very early, and therefore we had to stop our ride earlier.
Was there anything you should have known and were not told?     (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
In our plan was described that at the day between the 2 arrangements we would go to San Ignacio and visit a Maya temple. But Unicorn communicated with MET that they had to give a free day. So there was lots of confusion. And we had to take the free day, which made that we lost half a day of riding and had a day were we had nothing to do.
What could we do to improve this ride?
Better communication with stables and the clients about the planning. And all the comments above.
How would you rate the difficulty of this ride out of 10 where 1 is very easy and 10 is very advanced?
4
Please explain why you scored it as you did:
Riding is adjusted to experience. With Hanna stables they let us decide and choose what we wanted to do, wich was a big plus point.
Would you recommend Unicorn Trails to your friends?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Please give more details to explain your response:
They have nice trails, and they respond quickly to their mails.
May we use you as a reference for other people wishing to go on this ride?
    (   ) NO     (X) YES
Any other comments:

Unicorn comments: Thank you for your feedback. Glad you enjoyed the ride! I apologise for the confusion - I will speak to both hosts about this :)

Day 1
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.

Day 2
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.

Day 3
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.

Day 4
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.

Day 5
Today you transfer to a new destination in the jungle after breakfast (pick-up 9AM). 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.

Day 6
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.

Day 7
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.

Day 8
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.

Day 9
After breakfast bid your hosts farewell and return to Belize City or Belize International Airport.

Reading List
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.

Horses & Riding

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. 

Rider requirements

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.


Weight Limit

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.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

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.

General information:

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: info@belizehighcommission.co.uk

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: brithicom@btl.net
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

Climate Summary

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.

Climate Chart
Health (ride specific)

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.

Electricity

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.

Film and Camera Equipment

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.

MET:-
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.

Packing List

Riding clothes, including riding boots and riding hat
Long trousers, layering tops with long sleeves.
Rain poncho or raincoat.
Swimming costume/trunks
Beach towel
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.

Programmes

This is a 9 day/8 night programme with set departures.

Departure Dates

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)

Pricing
Single supplement must be paid if booking alone.
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
2018 High Season9d/8n6double pp1,145
2018 High Season9d/8n6single supplement255
2018 High Season9d/8n6triple room pp1,119
2018 Low Season9d/8n6double pp1,045
2018 Low Season9d/8n6single supplement245
2018 Low Season9d/8n6triple room pp1,049
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
2018 High Season9d/8n6double pp1,275
2018 High Season9d/8n6single supplement285
2018 High Season9d/8n6triple room pp1,249
2018 Low Season9d/8n6double pp1,165
2018 Low Season9d/8n6single supplement275
2018 Low Season9d/8n6triple room pp1,175
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
2018 High Season9d/8n6double pp1,465
2018 High Season9d/8n6single supplement329
2018 High Season9d/8n6triple room pp1,429
2018 Low Season9d/8n6double pp1,335
2018 Low Season9d/8n6single supplement315
2018 Low Season9d/8n6triple room pp1,345
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
2018 High Season9d/8n6double pp13,229
2018 High Season9d/8n6single supplement2,959
2018 High Season9d/8n6triple room pp12,945
2018 Low Season9d/8n6double pp12,089
2018 Low Season9d/8n6single supplement2,855
2018 Low Season9d/8n6triple room pp12,175
Wildlife

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.

Other Activities

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.

Other Information

Non-riders can be accommodated on request.

Other Country Information

Around 12,500 British nationals visit Belize each year.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE)
Transfer:
2018: from Philip Goldson International Airport: $100.00 for 1-3 people, $30USD per person for 4-12 people, payable on site. Transfer back to airport/Belize city £145 for 1-4 people, payable at time of booking.
Flight Guide:
London to Belize from £467
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