For the ultimate Caribbean adventure, cruise out to the Zapotillo Cayes, part of the famous Belize Barrier Reef. As you head out to sea from the mainland, the waters transfuse into gorgeous hues of emerald green. The talcum-powder beaches along the small cayes are the stuff of Caribbean postcards with inviting turquoise waters perfect for swimming.
The cayes are protected as a nature preserve, meaning there are no hotels on these islands. Camping is allowed. The reef is particularly well preserved with excellent opportunities for scuba diving.
Several of the Lívingston  travel agencies go out to the cayes with a minimum of four people. Exotic Travel (tel. 7497-0133 or 7497-0151, www.bluecaribbeanbay.com ) runs a day trip to the cayes, taking two hours to get there from Lívingston by a fast boat and including a stop along the way for deep-sea fishing. A box lunch and snorkel gear are also included. The trip costs $40 per person with a five-person minimum, plus a $10 entry fee to the park.
You’ll have to check out with immigration and pay a $10 exit tax for your brief departure from Guatemala, something that has only recently begun to be enforced. Have your group together by 5 p.m. the night before, along with your immigration formalities.
Overnight stays are available by booking highly recommended weeklong tours sailing to the Belize Cayes . The trip starts in Río Dulce and takes you up the lush jungle river and out to the cayes for a memorable experience. Booking is available through Aventuras Vacacionales (tel. 7832-6056, www.sailing-diving-guatemala.com , $380 per person, double occupancy) and on “That” (tel. 5529-0829), a 62-foot trimaran.