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Help w/Belize portion of Guat/Belize Trip

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OK confusion is setting in.

We are traveling in Guatemala for 2-3 weeks, ending up in Belize for week or so in Jan and Feb. I have most of the Guat. portion sorted out.

SO I am trying to get from the border of Guat/Belize near Tikal to some place that will allow us to explore the caves (been to Barton Creek) and a little hiking. Don't need the beach, we will get there, plus we would have already had several days of lakes. AND need budget friendly accomodations, preferrably under $100 - Belize is much more expensive than the Guat portion. Our hotels in Guat are running $45-$65 per night, inc taxes and breakfast.

Originally I had considered just flying from Flores, Guatemala to Belize and end our trip with a week back on Ambergris (we have friends meeting us here). Then I thought maybe head across the border from Tikal stop in and say Hi to the folks at Cahal Pech, stay the night and head on to AC, but we have already been here and we really want to see some different areas of Belize. Even considered boating across from Guatemala to Placencia.

I think we really want to do the Caves Branch tubing or such. Add in a little hiking, etc.

HOWEVER - I do not want to pay the prices of Anderson's Caves Branch or Jaguar Paw. Remember we will be traveling for approx one month, I must keep the hotel prices down - WAY down.

Do I need to be looking at hotels in Belmopan or would Hopkins area work?

And what is our best way to get from the Guat border to this location? Can we rent a car in San Ignacio, drop it off in Belize City? Should we bus or hire a driver?

Can some one point me in the right direction? I think I am experiencing planning overload!!!!!

Certainly appreciate it!

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