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Women and Jaguars and Belize, Oh My!

Belize, the tiny, English-speaking Latin American nation next door to Mexico, has always prided itself on being a leader in ecotourism and adventure travel. One company is helping the country maintain that reputation with unique expeditions like a whitewater rafting trip through a sanctuary for big cats; an all-out, ladies-only exploration; and a slightly subdued private island retreat.

Island Expeditions, which is one of Belize's most influential tour operators, is offering an eight-night/seven-day "Cockscomb Whitewater Expedition" for a limited time only. Priced at $1,699 (land-only), the trip takes you through the jaguar reserve named for the Cockscomb Basin and mountain range, exploring the ancient Mayan Cave of the Stone Sepulcher, and hiking a rainforest travel. Days will be spent paddling, swimming in clear mountain pools, hiking up side creeks and enjoying riverside camps. At the conclusion of the river adventure, you'll stay at a luxury resort on the Caribbean and have a seafood feast and party.

Available dates are January 26-February 3, February 9 to 17, and February 29 to March 9, all 2004. The price includes all meals, lodging and transfers, use of the company's equipment and professional guides services


Oh Yes, It's Ladies' Night

The firm has a women-only trip, called a "Girl Power Adventure Tour," that operates from now through April 2004, at a cost of $1,988 per person, land-only, including all meals, accommodations, activities and on-ground, in-country transportation. The real name of this is the ten-night "Ultimate Adventure" trip, but you get a free gift package that includes a rainforest spa kit (oils, creams and lotions). You sea kayak, snorkel, dive, windsurf, visit the rainforest, and get into good shape, if you aren't already.

Canoe Dig It?


A slightly less-active opportunity is the "Glover's Reef & Mayan Caves" offer, taking its guests to a base-area of over 13 acres on a private island at the edge of Glover's Reef Atoll, considered one of the richest marine environments in the Caribbean. Here, you spend six days of sea kayaking, kayak sailing, snorkeling, diving, fishing and windsurfing in crystal blue waters. You also get to visit the rainforest for a day, exploring Mayan pottery caves and horseback riding or hiking. The cost is $1,588 per person, including all meals, lodging, activities and on-ground, in-country transport.

For either package, contact Island Expeditions Company at 800/667-1630 or visit

Adding Air


Of course, since these are land-only trips, you'll have to arrange your own air travel. A quick scan of multiple booking engines brought up these routes and prices (before tax):

  • Atlanta on USAir: $392
  • Chicago (USAir): $413
  • Dallas (USAir): $379
  • Denver (American): $463
  • Houston (Taca): $254
  • Indianapolis (USAir): $413
  • LA (AA): $295
  • Miami (AA): $470
  • Montreal (USAir): $680
  • NYC (USAir): $388
  • Portland, Maine (USAir): $413
  • Seattle (USAir): $575
  • Toronto (USAir): $680
  • Vancouver (Taca): $701
  • Washington, D.C. (Continental): $384

Have you been to Belize recently? What was your favorite experience? Your worst? Tell us on our Message Boards.