Private Island: Belize
Pure, exotic, fun, and unforgettable. Our third and final "10th birthday" celebratory trip combines the lush jungles of Central America, the ancient ruins of the Mayans, and a stunning privately-rented entire island paradise. For 8 days, we'll find ourselves snorkeling with wild turtles, exploring ancient archeological sites, kayaking across impossibly blue seas, immersing ourselves in dense jungles, in what can only be described as pure paradise. During the first few days of the trip we'll head into the jungles of the mainland, exploring some of the oldest and most impressive ruins in the world, and soaking in the nature and the cultural heart of Belize before heading out to our own luxury island paradise for 4 nights of Caribbean bliss where all meals are prepared by our own chef, and island activities abound.
It's our way of ending the 10th year of Detours with a fabulous bang. Enjoying both land-based and sea-based adventures with good food, warm weather, and in good company. Check out all the details of this "special edition" trip to cap off our 10th year of sharing adventures with you.
Our adventure together begins in Belize City, just a couple hours from the US mainland, but seemingly a world away. While it's the largest city in the country, with a population of less than 60,000 it's far from overwhelming. Instead, this port city on the Caribbean coast has a warm, small-town feel. Our hotel is positioned right on the Caribbean shore, with beautiful views out into paradise.
Our first evening of the trip is spent here where we'll gather everyone together, have a big ol' group dinner, and start the fun of our final "10th birthday" celebratory trip! This is the start of your week to let loose, have fun, and enjoy the stunning beauty of the jungles, ruins, and yes, the private island that awaits us in Belize!
Less than 2 hour drive from Belize City, we'll find ourselves in the town of San Ignacio, the base for exploring the jungles and Mayan ruins, and the cultural heart of the country. We'll spend two days here finding ruins hidden in the jungle, even one that's only accessible by a hand-cranked, and very short, ferry. The Mayans built incredible cities and temples all over this area and, while they don't get the attention that some of their Mexican sites have, they're equally impressive, without the crowds.
But it's not just the man-made sites that are impressive in this area. The cave systems offer plenty of unique opportunities to discover underwater rivers, impressive rock formations, and even an underground Maya ceremonial site, complete with artifacts that have been virtually untouched for years. We'll explore these caves together by tube or canoe as well as the ruins that surround San Ignacio.
It's not every day you get the opportunity to rent an entire tropical island. But that's exactly what we're doing together! To get there, we'll boat out 17 miles off the mainland to our perfectly unspoiled paradise for 4 glorious nights. While you may wish to just soak in the natural beauty of the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve that surrounds you, or pamper yourself with spa treatments, there's also plenty of activities to keep ourselves busy during our 4 days here. We'll head out snorkeling with manta rays and turtles, take out the water toys, take an island-hopping day trip, have a bonfire on the beach, enjoy fabulous meals (they're all included too), swing in our hammocks, and much more.
With 4 nights at our island paradise, we've got time to unpack our bags and really soak in the fun and relaxation that comes with a private tropical island.
On the final day of the trip we'll return to Belize City where we'll say all our goodbyes and head off with plenty of memories of an amazing adventure together. We'll arrive back into the city at around 11:00am, so you're welcome to book your departing flight from BZE airport any time after 1:00pm on this 8th day. If you'd rather stick around Belize and maybe explore other islands off the coast then feel free to stay and keep exploring this beautiful country!
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous wifi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.
BELIZE CITY: Radisson Fort George
Set right on the waterfront, looking out to the Caribbean Sea, our hotel in Belize City is in the best spot to enjoy the view, the seaside promenade, and the downtown area. The hotel has a full-service marina, 3 restaurants, a bar, cafe/bakery, and a fitness centre too.
SAN IGNACIO: San Ignacio Resort
Set amid 7 hectares of jungle next to the Macal River, this upscale hotel is 1 km from Cahal Pech Mayan Ruin in the downtown San Ignacio area. Featuring jungle views, the airy, polished rooms and suites are decorated with local art, and provide balconies or terraces with hammocks.
PRIVATE ISLAND: Ray Caye
Occupying a private island within the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, this secluded resort near the Belize Barrier Reef is all ours for 4 nights! Non-motorized water sports equipment is complimentary. Other amenities include an open-air grill restaurant/bar and an outdoor pool, as well as a sports field and a dive center. Massages are available too.
*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels.
This trip begins and ends in Belize City so, when you're ready to book your international flights, you'll want to fly into and out of Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (airport code BZE). Many of our travelers choose to arrive prior to the trip's starting date to give themselves some time to rest and get over some jet lag prior to meeting the group. As Belize City is not known as a popular tourist destination itself, we don't suggest arriving any more than a day prior to the trip starting. If you'd like us to set up any additional nights of accommodation in Belize City, or if you'd like us to arrange for a private driver to meet you on arrival and transfer you to our group hotel, just let us know! Accommodation rates change often, so just reach out to us for current group hotel rates.
Don't worry about getting chilly here. Belize has a subtropical climate, and our stay in Belize happens at the beginning of their dry season so, while there's always a possibility of a bit of rain, you should expect warm temperatures throughout the trip. Daytime highs around 85 F / 30 C, and nighttime lows around 70 F / 21 C. It's always a good idea to bring some "just in case" rain gear and a warm outfit, even if we are expecting sun and warmth.
Most of your meals are included in this trip, including all meals at our fabulous private island, who will be cooking up some fantastic feasts during our stay. You can expect a variety of American and Caribbean meals on offer through the trip and vegetarian diets and allergies can be accommodated. If you have a very restrictive diet, please reach out to us prior to your trip so that we can make arrangements for you in Belize.
Given the expected warm temperatures, you'll likely spend the vast majority of your time in Belize in shorts and t-shirts! But you'll also want to ensure you bring comfortable walking shoes too. If you've got your own snorkelling mask, that would be a good idea to bring as well. Apart from these things, you'll want to bring anything that you'd normally take on a beach vacation. Flip flops, sunscreen, hat, and any personal items. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can always pick up a replacement once you arrive in Belize.
Belize uses their own Belize Dollar as their primary currency. The value is permanently fixed to the value of the US dollar at a rate of 2 BZD to 1 USD. All businesses in Belize will accept both BZD and USD, so it's important to have some of either, as they would rarely accept currencies other than these. Credit cards are accepted in most places, but it's always good to have some cash on hand for those things that are cash-based.
No matter where you are these days, the tourism and hospitality industry has come to expect tips for good service. This includes tipping at restaurants in a similar way as you would at home, as well as staff at our island and guiding staff who operate activities. It's customary to tip your trip leader as well and, although of course this is entirely at your own discretion, most people budget around $10 USD per day for this. You'll be able to use local ATMs to access more cash through Belize.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the beach or other hot spots), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!
All Detours trips are led by one of our own Detours trip leaders. They're there with you every day and their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Belize for. Consider them like a friendly concierge that's traveling along with you. All of our trip leaders are gay and all are well-traveled and experienced in the destination they're leading in, so they'll be a great part of your experience!
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Belize should come from the sound of crashing waves or church bells in the distance. However, sometimes due to activity schedules we are required to make early departures, but we do everything we can to minimize this.
While most Detours trips are run with a maximum of 15 travelers, this particular trip has a maximum of 30 travelers. Ages of group members vary but around 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life!
No problem! Don’t worry, lots of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. During registration you can choose a shared room, where we'll pair you up with another solo group member in a room with two beds, or you can choose a private room. You'll see all the options displayed during the registration.
Belize uses a "type A" and "type B" plug, the same as North America and several other places in the world. The voltage is 120V with 60 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its acceptable range.
What's included? • All taxes • All group land and sea transfers within Belize • Accommodations for your 8-day Detours experience • All full breakfasts • All full meals at our private island (drinks not included) • Welcome dinner in Belize City • Underground tubing/canoeing experience in San Ignacio • All non-motorized watersports at our private island • Mayan ruins visit in San Ignacio • Group travel within Belize • Two or more knowledgeable and fun Detours trip leaders •
What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • International Airfare • Optional gratuities •
Additional spending budget? Your big-ticket items and most meals are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $500 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $800 USD at the higher end for the splurgers. We suggest arriving to Belize with some US Dollars or Belize Dollars in cash for those few things along the way that can't be paid with credit cards.
Paul H. - USA
October 21, 2021
I was so pleased with my Detours Peru trip that I booked my next trip with them before the first one ended. They do an outstanding job of curating interesting adventures that take you outside of the standard tourist destinations and activities.
First-rate accommodations, and they offer a great variety of organized group time plus flex time to meet individual needs and interests. The small group size also makes it easy to get to know others. I have 14 new friends as a result of this trip.
They also find great local guides and restaurants. A tremendous value for the price.
Bob S. - USA
October 16, 2021
I just completed my second vacation with Detours and it was amazing. Trip leaders Miles and Shane were awesome. I love the small group concept, as well as the freedom they provide to join in the activities that you want to, and not pay for activities you dont want to participate in. The trip leaders are so friendly and organized and coordinate everything. The small group size allows you to get to know people better, and easier to get reservations, travel, and change plans quickly to adapt to situations like weather. I can't wait for my next trip with Detours!!
Brady B. - USA
November 8, 2020
On March 20, 2020 we embarked on a vacation to Costa Rica with Detours Gay Adventure Travel! This trip became a life changing event for all of us. At the very start of the pandemic, we arrived and met 7 wonderful people. This was literally right before knew how crazy Covid-19 would get. From there we all faced daily anxiety related to the Covid-19 virus. And we all made decision to make the best of it as safely as possible. As many of you will recall things were changing in the World minute by minute. Thankfully we booked with Detours and they helped us find solace in the vast Costa Rican jungles, in the breathtaking nature, in the gorgeous beaches, in the waterfalls, the raging rivers, at the coffee plantation, throughout the city, with the people, in the delicious food, peering out at the massive Volcano in La Fortuna , sitting in the hot springs, listening to music, hiking the waterfalls at the Villa, sharing each other’s stories and basically creating unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. Owner Miles and tour guide Brandon took care of us beyond expectation. Try to imagine owner Miles watching one tour after another shut down across the World. He kept calm and continued to be a delightful host the entire trip... Miles and Brandon never missed a beat for our 13 day adventure!!! With each change, Miles and Brandon kept us informed and ensured that our trip carried on, so long as it was still safe to do so. Thank you for being the best thing that happened to us in 2020, aside from Trump losing the Presidency. ❤️🏳️🌈