Journey's End Offers Five Distinctive Mayan Adventure Tours in Belize

August 20, 2008 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
SAN PEDRO, Belize - August 20, 2008 — Journey's End Resort in Belize ( announces the offering of five distinctive tours to magnificent ruins and cultural sites of the ancient Maya in Belize. Belize itself was once home to an estimated 1 million to 2 million Maya people during the civilization's peak between 300 and 900 AD, before it mysteriously collapsed by 1500 AD. "Few other countries can boast so many fascinating historical and natural sites in an area roughly the size of Massachusetts and we are within easy reach of it all," said Chris Shiver, Director of Sales and Marketing for Journey's End, a top-rated Belize resort.

If the summer movie blockbuster "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has piqued your interest in Maya legends, lore and history come and experience a Belize vacation adventure of your own with Journey's End Resort in Belize. See a spectacular ceremonial cave with a crystallized skull from an ancient human sacrifice, a mysterious temple complex named after a submerged crocodile, the home of the largest jade head ever discovered, or soaring pyramids providing a breathtaking vista across the ancient city of Tikal.

Lamanai, an early hub of this lost civilization, means "submerged crocodile" in Maya and features a magnificent Pre-Classic complex with its own museum housing artifacts found on-site. At Lamanai, huge masks depicting Maya rulers and gods materialize out of the rainforest amid the chatter of birds and the haunting call of howler monkeys. Experienced tour guides are on hand all day to provide insights on a half-dozen of the complex's temples, as well as the site's extensive flora and fauna.

On another memorable trip, follow remote jungle trails used by the Maya and discover lost worlds and underworlds that have been hidden for centuries. The awe-inspiring cavern of Actun Tunichil Muknal boasts burial chambers with calcified skeletal remains, ceremonial vessels and other artifacts left behind by the Maya centuries ago. Passage through this spectacular cave, requiring visitors to swim through its Indiana Jones-worthy cave mouth, is limited to a few select guides who have been granted permission from the Belize Department of Archaeology. Because of its limited access and remote location, the cave retains nearly all of its cultural artifacts, making it an unforgettable natural museum of Maya prehistory, a repository of gorgeous natural limestone formations and the opportunity of a lifetime.

Or climb the steps of the ancient Maya ruins at Altun Ha, settled as early as 200 BC. Guides will illuminate the history of the Maya civilization and the story of the largest carved jade head ever discovered, a depiction of the Maya Sun God Kinich Ahau and now a national treasure of Belize. The journey to this magnificent site takes visitors up the Northern River, where crocodiles and iguanas laze along the riverbanks, and later reaches a natural jungle restaurant for a relaxing lunch.

At Xunantunich, a few miles from Belize's western border, the partially excavated and largest pyramid, El Castillo, rises 130 feet above the main plaza and offers a panoramic view of Belize's Cayo District and nearby Guatemala. After a guided tour through this important Maya cultural center, visitors also can go cave tubing, on a zip line tour, or to the impressive Belize Zoo, considered one of the best in Central America.

An overnight trip to Tikal, in the Peten district of northern Guatemala, brings guests to the vast Maya Biosphere Reserve and to one of the most important cities of the ancient Maya empire. More than 300 bird species live within the protected parkland, including parrots, toucans, and oscillated turkeys. Tikal, one of the most impressive and pristine Maya cities in Central America, is also one of the most researched and excavated, with massive temples rising from the jungle foliage, centuries of lore and history surrounding the restored main plaza, and an impressive network of trails providing up-close vantages of spider and howler monkeys. While en route, the tour visits the archaeological sites of Xunantunich in western Belize and Yaxha in Guatemala, with overnight lodging on the picturesque island town of Flores.

In Belize, Maya culture is not merely confined to the past. Hundreds of years after the great cities collapsed and were reclaimed by dense jungle, the Yucatec, Mopan, and Kekchi Maya peoples resettled Belize from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and from Guatemala's Peten and Verapaz regions, respectively. Today, these three cultures form an integral part of Central America's Maya lineage and carry on the proud traditions of their ancestors. Journey's End Resort is proud to provide its guests a glimpse of some of this ancient history. For reservations or more information please visit our Web site or call 1-800-460-5665.

About Journey's End Resort:

A welcome escape to rustic luxury, Journey's End ( offers the best of both worlds. Climb a Maya temple one day, then marvel at the underwater wonders of Belize's famed barrier reef the next day. With a villa, beachfront cabanas and hotel lodging, Journey's End has an assortment of comfortable accommodation options. The only hard choices will be deciding what to do before relaxing at our Smiling Toucan Bar and Restaurant or our award winning Luna Restaurant. Journey's End Resort also boasts an onsite spa, pool and scuba diving facility. In addition to its Maya adventure tours, the resort offers many options for guided fishing, scuba, and other recreational and nature outings.