(Mountain Pine Ridge)
Stan Creek & South Coast
Opulently exotic, this luxury tour of Guatemala & Belize is a fusion of Mayan ruins, jungle safaris, beaches & exclusive Francis Ford Coppola retreats. With cocktails atop a temple, horse rides, zip-lining, jaguar sanctuary, 5* cuisine & more. Sites include Lake Peten Itza, Ixpanpajul, Yaxha, Tikal, Xuanantunich, Caracol, Mountain Pine Ridge, Placencia & Cockscomb.
It’s easy to see why these other-worldly Mayan sites inspired the greatest filmmaker of the 20th century, and this tour will help you see the rare beauty of this haunting place through his eyes. Dating as far back as the 4th century B.C., marvel at the tremendous Caana pyramid that soars 140 feet above the jungle floor and is capped by three temples. Take in the views of the Maya Mountains and fertile Belize River valley from the palaces at Xuanantunich; snorkel the Caribbean’s largest barrier reef at Placencia; meet the howler monkeys of Ixpanpajul Nature Park; and enjoy sunset drinks atop a rainforest temple near Lake Yaxha.
If it’s possible to match the unbelievable beauty of Belize’s Mayan ruins, the stunning properties that make up this exclusive accommodation collection certainly do the job. Conceived by Francis Ford Coppola himself, you’ll stay in remote lake retreats, deluxe mountain villas and impeccably-designed beach resorts that belong in a glamorous Coppola film. And your knowledgeable private guides will relate the lesser-known stories and urban legends that surround the legendary filmmaker and his love affair with Belize.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
Enjoy a direct flight from the Belize International airport to Flores, Guatemala.
Upon arrival to the airport you will be met and transferred to La Lancha.
Guests are picked up from their hotel and transferred to the Ixpanpajul Nature Park in the rainforest near the town of Flores. (1hr) At the park guests can choose between a Canopy walk Way trail or an exciting zip line adventure through the canopy. On either trip guests will be able to appreciate the local flora & fauna and hopefully see a variety of tropical wildlife. Guests then transfer with their driver and guide to Yaxha National Park (1hr) where they have lunch and enjoy a private guided tour of this lesser visited, atmospheric site. Guests can enjoy the sights and sounds of the howler and spider monkeys as well as many colorful tropical birds and other mammals in this area which is rich with wildlife. Sunset drinks are then enjoyed at the end of the tour on top of the main temple with views over the surrounding rainforest and nearby lake Yaxha. Guests then trek back through the jungle with torches as it starts to turn dark - perhaps spotting some nocturnal wildlife along the way - and return to their hotel.
Pick up from your lodge and begin your privately guided tour of Tikal National Park. Tikal was one of the major cultural and population centers of the Maya civilization. Though monumental architecture at the site dates to the 4th century BC, Tikal reached its apogee during the Classic Period, ca. 200 AD to 900 AD. Some of these pyramids are over 60 meters high (200 feet). Enjoy some free time at the site and return to your hotel after lunch at a local restaurant.
Meet your driver for a private transfer from La Lancha to Blancaneaux Lodge in Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize.
Experience the natural beauty surrounding Blancaneaux Lodge with a variety of different optional activities incuding horseback riding, nature hikes, swimming, biking and more! All activities are subject to an additional cost.
You will begin with a tour of the famous sites of Xuanantunich, situated on the banks of the Mopan River. Xunantunich means " Stone Woman " in Mayan. Xunantunich was a thriving city near the end of the Classic Period ( 300-900 A.D ) with large plazas ringed with pyramids. The centre of the site is composed of six major plazas surrounded by more than 25 temples and palaces. After lunch continue to the site at Cahal Pech " Place of the Ticks ", just outside the town of San Ignacio. This site center sits on the crest of a steep hill on the west bank of the Macal River and the central acropolis, approximately 900 feet above sea level, provides a commanding view of the Maya Mountains to the south and the fertile valley of the Belize River to the northeast. This center includes pyramid temples, palaces, and a ball court as well as five stelae and an altar (plain). The site shows a gradual architectural growth and indicates occupation likely running through the entire Classic Period. Then you will be transferred through the Cayo region to the Butterfly farm and Green Hills. Here you will enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful butterfly sanctuary and learn about butterflies of this area.
Transfer to Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, a 106,000 acre protected national park. In the 1950's, 60's, and 70's, many Belizeans were employed as timber cutters in this area and on our tour we will see testament to that history. Arrive at the beautiful Maya site of Caracol (which means The Snail), named by archeologists because they found numerous snails on site. The original name is Oxwitza which means the sky place. Caracol is the largest archeological site in Belize, covering 30 square miles in thick, high canopy jungle, and includes five plazas, an astronomic observatory and over 35,000 buildings that have been identified. The loftiest among them, a massive pyramid (Caana) capped by 3 temples and rises over 140 feet above the jungle floor. Guests enjoy a private guided tour of the site with entrances and picnic lunch included. We then return to the hotel and on the way back guests can choose to stop and explore the Rio-on Pools and Rio Frio Caves if they wish.
Transfer to Turtle Inn by private vehicle and professional driver.
The Caribbean's largest barrier reef lies just offshore from Turtle Inn, offering snorkellers and divers a magnificent diversity of coral and marine life to explore. In addition, a number of easily accessible cayes (tiny islands) have their own reefs and underwater ecosystems, cementing Belize's reputation as one of the world's great underwater destinations. Optional activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, swimming, fishing, cycling, sunset cruises and more! All activities are subject to an additional cost.
Transfer from the hotel to the Cockscomb Nature Reserve where you begin with a nature hike looking for wildlife, discovering medicinal plants and learning about the park’s history and efforts to save the jaguar. After a picnic lunch enjoy a refreshing tube-float downriver, enjoying the rainforest from a different perspective. Combine a visit to the Jaguar Preserve with a stop at the fascinating Maya Museum where you will learn about ancient and contemporary Maya culture. Your Maya hosts will show you how to make corn tortillas and how they grow shade coffee and cacao. Your trip to the Maya Museum at the entrance to the Jaguar Preserve can also be combined with a night walk in the Jaguar Preserve.
Every year during the months of March, April, May & June, whale sharks migrate to an area off the beautiful shores of Placencia in Belize called the Gladden Split. The whale shark is the largest fish in the world, and one of the largest creatures of the animal kingdom. Swimming with whale sharks is done with snorkeling gear. Whether diving or swimming with the gentle giants, whale sharks can be as close as a few feet away or even at touching distance. It is recommended to snorkel to look for whale sharks 2 Days before – 10 Days after full moon.
Airport transfer with private vehicle, and driver from Turtle Inn to Belize City International Airport.
Set in the rainforest high above the shores of Lago Petén Itzá is La Lancha, a quaint, 10-room lodge decorated with artwork and furniture from Bali, as well as fabrics and carvings from Guatemala personally selected by the Coppola family. Beyond the clear water of the lake is Tikal, the epicenter of Mayan spirituality. Buried deep within the rainforest, the ruins include more than 3,000 structures where moss clings to the steps of ancient temples and plazas. With its beautiful lakeshore setting, relaxed ambiance and close proximity to the lost world of Maya, La Lancha is an ideal destination to both enjoy a languid pace and explore the many adventures of the Petén region.
A Francis Ford Coppola Property. A marvelous taste of nature awaits those who visit Blancaneaux Lodge, in the Mountain Pine Ridge nature reserve near San Ignacio. The dreamchild of famed director Francis Ford Coppola, the lodge is broken up into deluxe villas and cabanas, each possessing a rustic air accompanied by rich furnishings and fabrics. The use of natural building materials aids in this effect. Villas promise a personal attendant to pamper guests, and private pool for tranquility. Cuisine is an array of sumptuous specialties, with fresh textures and quality that is hard to find outside the jungle. Take advantage of the adventure possibilities and bathe in the river. Visit the Mayan ruins or simply explore the rainforest and all its creatures. Great for bird lovers!
A Francis Ford Coppola Property.Turtle Inn is sandwiched between the Garifuna settlement of Seine Bight and the Creole fishing village of Placencia at the tip of a narrow 26-mile long sandy peninsula. To the east, the Caribbean Sea is studded by a patchwork of coral cayes and the Belize Barrier Reef UNESCO World Heritage site. Directly behind Turtle Inn to the west lie the calm waters of the Placencia Lagoon and spectacular views of the Maya Mountains and Victoria Peak. South of the Placencia Peninsula is the Monkey River formed from the Swasey and Bladen rivers that flow from the jungle clad peaks of the Maya Mountains across the coastal savanna out into the extensive mangrove flats and barrier islands that hug the coastline.
Bob More ,
April 21, 2014
"Every detail was taken care of, and all connections were on time. We were extremely pleased, couldn't stop telling everyone about our great trip. Each room / hotel was better than the last. Wow great holiday!"
Steve Walling ,
January 20, 2014
"We are home safe and sound from the best vacation I can remember. It seemed seamless to us but I know that you worked very hard to make our experience so good.
The guides and drivers were always punctual and reliable. They were very knowledgeable, personable, and funny. They provided us with very helpful information and helped us work on expanding our Spanish. The hotel staff was friendly and helpful and the rooms were very nice.
I especially appreciate our ability to update our plans while we were in Costa Rica. The zip lines were the highlight of our trip. I hate to think we almost missed out by not including it in our original plan.
You have made a friend and supporter for life. I will certainly recommend you to anyone I know going to Costa Rica.
Merrel Bowles ,
November 07, 2013
"I would highly recommend this company for overseas travel. We had personal drivers that spoke perfect English and were also very knowledgeable in conversation pertaining to their country. Drivers were always early and eager to please. Your wish was their command!!!Every tour included educated guides who knew how to make our experience fun and exciting! I loved having personal drivers and guides, as well as many inclusive meals. We will definitely use this company for future travels."
April 09, 2013
"Our Costa Rica trip was amazing. The whole family thinks its the best we've ever taken! Kensington did an excellent job of organizing everything. The two hotels they picked were amazing.
Arenal -- The Springs Resort & Spa was almost too good since as soon as the family saw it they wanted to cancel activities so they could take full advantage of all it offered. We ultimately did cancel the safari to give us a free day to spend a day at the spa, pools and Club Rio (riding the river in innertubes!). The activities Kensington setup were excellent and very adventurous. Our favorite was canyoneering (repelling), We were all terrified at the first drop-off! It's more thrilling the zip lining (also lots of fun) and river rafting (a blast as well).
Manuel Antonio -- The Preserve at Los Altos was very nice. It was like staying in a 3 bedroom apartment at a boutique hotel (same feel as Athenum in London but nicer). The drive to get there was a bit long but worth it when our driver made a surprise stop at the the "crodillio bridge". The tour through Manuel Antonio National Park is a must do for nature lovers (3 types of monkeys, sloths, etc). Our guide was excellent. If you go MA NP, try Kapi Kapi for dinner.
I'd highly recommend using Kensington (Brandi was our rep) for a Costa Rica trip. Thanks for hooking us up with them.
L Huber ,
April 03, 2013
We returned yesterday from our wonderful Costa Rican vacation and I wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed it. We loved staying at the El Silencio (the kids would have liked to stay even longer so we could have taken some of the nature hikes). Being surrounded by the cloud forest was an amazing sensation that really helped us to feel that we were in a completely different world and was a perfect way to begin the trip. Maria Lucia was a very kind tour guide and showed us the all sites in a huge day (the waterfalls, Poas volcano, the coffee plantation & Sarchi). The staff at El Silencio was wonderful and Jeff and I very much enjoyed the food and the very elaborate wine tasting there.
In La Fortuna the activities ruled. We loved everything, the exhilarating waterfall rappelling, the zip lining (& tiger swing - the kids LOVED IT) the volcano hike and we had a FANTASTIC time on the river safari with Gerald and his friend Tom. Gerald was a great guide and was able to share many stories while letting us see the wildlife. We saw a spectacular Toucan flock and of course the monkeys were a huge hit. Ending up at the farm was a fun end note to the trip. Of course we enjoyed the hot springs at the Tabacon - they are pretty amazing. Jeff and I had a chance to have a massage at the Tabacon spa and it was spectacular. The service at the hotel was lovely and our room did have a beautiful view of the volcano. I think the hot springs & spa are far superior at the Tabacon.
Alex drove us from both El Silencio to La Fortuna and then from La Fortuna to Punta Islita (that is a lot of driving and he did a great job - he was so friendly and made the travelling very enjoyable). On the way to La Fortuna he made a point of showing us the Iguana restaurant and it was a great wayside stop for everyone.
Punta Islita was stunning. Our villa Ilan Ilan was ideal, the view and the setting were spectacular. The kids loved the pool (when they weren't swimming & playing in the ocean), Jeff loved being able to finally drive around a bit like a native (the villa came with a small 4 wheel car), and I enjoyed waking up every morning to see the sunrise over the cliffs at the ocean's edge, and hear the incredible variety of birds (and on the last day even the howler monkeys). We enjoyed so many of the activities the hotel had to offer. Andrey & Hector and the whole staff were so warm and hospitable. They really worked hard and made every effort to make our stay so much fun. Hector helped us plan some more zip lining, surf lessons, a dolphin sighting/fishing boat trip and a sunset horseback ride which was the perfect way to wrap up the trip.
Ronald picked us up and got us to the airport in plenty of time. Ronald was very interested in showing us the wildlife as we drove through the different areas and we really enjoyed that.
Everywhere we went the people were absolutely wonderful, kind, and proud to show us their country and it made our trip spectacular.
Erika, thank you for all you did to help make the trip such a huge success.
Brian Blades ,
April 24, 2013
"Very prompt at getting information back to us and very helpful with any changes we wanted.
This trip was as good as the last trip we did with Kensington, could'nt have been any better. Our guides were excellent, especially Gerald.
Stephen Strom ,
April 22, 2013
"The transfers went flawlessly; the guides were all superb (knowledgable; thoughtful; sensitive; responsive to our needs). The recommended hotels were, with one exception (see below), also first rate and well matched to our needs and temperaments.
Our thanks for providing 3 wonderful guides: Gary Ortiz (Antigua); Carlos Antonio Lopez (Tikal and Yaxha); and Israel Canto (Belize). All of them understood that we have ‘peculiar’ tastes (for example: photographing lichen covered tree trunks while the magnificent structures at Tikal were but meters away!). It is really critical that guides not try to make sure that we see every ‘important’ thing, but recognize instead that ‘importance’ is very much a personal thing.
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