From Belize City you can take day trips to Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, the Community Baboon Sanctuary, the Belize Zoo, to Jaguar Paw for cave tubing, to Altun Ha, Lamanai, and Xunantunich Maya sites, and to nearby islands, including Caulker and Ambergris cayes. You can do most of these trips either on your own or with a local tour operator. Your hotel can also arrange day trips. Keep in mind that most Belize City tour operators focus more on the cruise-ship market than on individual travelers.
Belize Trips. Belize Trips's Katie Valk, a transplanted New Yorker who has lived in Belize for more than 30 years, can organize a custom trip to almost any place in the country and also to Tikal in Guatemala. With her hotel connections she can even get you a room when everything seems booked, and being based in Belize City she is on hand should anything go wrong. She's also a warden for the U.S. Embassy. Belize City, Belize District. 223/0376; 561/210–7015; 610/1923; www.belize-trips.com.
Several Belize City–based tour operators, including Butts Up and Cave Tubing with Vitalino Reyes, offer cave-tubing trips or cave-tubing and zip-lining combo tours, which usually include lunch. These inner tubes are usually bright yellow, custom-designed tubes with cup holders and head rests. Head lamps or other lights are provided for the dark caves.
Butts Up. Despite the risque name, the folks here get top marks from cruise passengers for their cave-tubing tours. You can choose from a basic cave-tubing outing (BZ$90 per person) or add a zip-line or ATV tour for a total of BZ$150. A separate zip-line tour with a visit to the ruins at Altun Ha is also available. Although most of the company's business is with cruise ship passengers, overnight visitors also can do the tours. Near Terminal 1, Tourism Village, Fort George, Belize City, Belize District. 605/1575; www.cave-tubing.com. From BZ$90.
Cave Tubing with Vitalino Reyes. Also known as Vital Nature and Mayan Tours, Cave Tubing with Vitalino Reyes is based in Corozal Town but does business primarily in Belize City. The company arranges to pick up customers at the cruise ship terminal, at hotels, at the water-taxi terminal or one of the airports, or elsewhere. Besides cave tubing at Jaguar Paw (Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve), which costs from BZ$90 to BZ$150, the company also does zip-line tours and trips to most of the Maya sites in central and western Belize and even to Tikal. Tourism Village, Belize City, Belize District. 602/8975. From BZ$90.
Tour operators based in Belize City including Butts Up, Cave Tubing with Vitalino Reyes and S&L Travel and Tours offer day trips by road, boat, or air to Lamanai and by road to Altun Ha, and also by road to Xunantunich and Cahal Pech near San Ignacio. The tours to western Belize may be combined with a stop at the Belize Zoo or cave tubing and zip-lining at Jaguar Paw.
Discovery Expeditions. From Belize City, Discovery Expeditions offers tours to several archeological sites including Altun Ha, Lamanai, and Xunantunich. 5916 Manatee Dr., Buttonwood Bay, Northern Suburbs, Belize City, Belize District. 671/0748 ; www.discoverybelize.com.
S&L Travel and Tours. S&L Travel and Tours is one of the oldest tour operators in Belize, having been in business nearly four decades. It runs full-day tours to Lamanai, Xunantunich, Actun Tunichil Muknal, Chechem Ha Cave, and to Tikal. Half-day tours go to Altun Ha. 91 N. Front St., Belize City, Belize District. 227/7593; www.sltravelbelize.com.