5 days in Belize - one location?

Old Oct 24th, 2008, 12:47 PM
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5 days in Belize - one location?

Hey, I JUST moments ago snagged two tickets to Belize on American Airlines from NYC for $303!! That's for both, incl taxes! It was done so quickly, I really didn't have time to think about it.

We'll be there for my 40th bday - but only for 6 nights.

Any suggestions on where to go for that period? I think one location would be best. Either beach or rainforest (we're going to CR in March to the Osa Peninsula - so will probably get a good dose of rainforest then).

Or, maybe some ruins are in order?

I'll go get a guidebook, but I thought I'd put out this question and see where it leads me. Thanks!
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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I'm considering the same deal (quickly)!!! We, along with another couple, were planning a Mexico vacation in March but may consider Belize instead!

Know NOTHING about it, so am trying to learn Belize 101 right away
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 02:55 PM
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plumboy,
Congrats! There are ruins (like Lamanai and Altun Ha) that can be visited as day trips from cayes like Ambergris or Caulker that aren't too far offshore from the mainland if you're thinking of going with beach. I believe there are also ruins you can visit from mainland beach areas like Placencia and Hopkins. Keep in mind though that in general Belize has OK but not great beaches. However, the excellent snorkeling more than makes up for this IMO if that's something that interests you.

Tarheels,
DO IT!!!
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 02:57 PM
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Fabulous rates. Our two most popular beach areas are Ambergris Caye with the larger selection of hotels, restaurants, bars and people. The reef is less than a mile from shore. You can take day trips to the mainland by boat or air to see the rainforest, Mayan sites, caves with artifacts, zip lines and more. Placencia is more laid back, smaller inns, the reef is 19 miles from shore and its closer to the mainland for day trips to the rainforest for hiking, watefalls, horses, Mayan sites and cave. Belize is an easy country to move around in, people are friendly, its' English speaking, you can use US$ currency anywhere, has the largest barrier reef in the hemisphere and large span of protected forests.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Thanks for everything so far. Yeah, I can't believe I frantically bought these tickets w/o really knowing a whole lot about Belize! But, for $151 per ticket - I would've been crazy not to do it (at least this is what I'm telling myself!).

It's definitely been on my list of possibilities for some time (was particularly interested in Chan Chich Lodge - but it's pretty expensive, and we're doing Bosque del Cabo in CR in March, so I don't know).

Since it was so spontaneous and inexpensive, I'm not going to pressure myself to do the BEST thing I can possibly do in Belize. I might be going for the least involved, in terms of internal travel once we get there.

We land at around 3:30 PM, so I don't know what our options will be in terms of travel on that day. So, I guess I'll see what's there and see what my possibilities are for such a short trip.

Any other itinerary recommendations are more than welcome. We land at around 3:30 PM on Friday, Jan 16 and leave at around 3:30 PM on Thursday, Jan 23 (so, it's 6 nights, 5 full days).

Thanks!
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 04:03 PM
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Meant to say we leave Thursday, Jan 22.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 06:47 PM
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Congrats indeed! $303 for two tickets. That's fantastic! I had seen them on Lowestfare, Cheapseats, Expedia, etc...for around $700 each!
I was also thinking about Belize, and whether(with 6 or 7 days/nights)it made more sense to use Ambergris Caye as the base, and take trips to Altun Ha and/or Lamania(the new river jungle cruise sounds quite interesting). From Ambergris Caye, how long does it take to get to Orange Walk(is this where the 90- minute cruise to Lamanai begins)?
Or - perhaps stay in Ambergris for 3 or 4 nights, and spend 3 nights in San Ignacio. I understand some of the hotels provide a shuttle(around $40/per person, each way?) to/from the international/municipal airport. Is this a good base from which to visit the Mayan ruins of Xunantunich, Cahal Peck and Caracol? How far is San Ignacio from the caves(e.g., Caves Branch tubing, kayaking, etc.)area?
For those who have been there - are these ruins unique and different enough from each other - to warrant a visit, given time(and money!)restrictions?
I understand that Caracol is about 2 hours from San Ignacio. Does the tour typically include a visit to Rio Frio Cave? How far is the drive to Tikal?
Thanks so much.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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I'm staying at Chan Chich in March, but I haven't stayed there before so can't comment on anything other than transportation options. You can get there by charter air from BZE. It's around 4 hours by road so probably too late to get started with a 3:30pm arrival. They already had very limited dates available for next year's winter season when I made our reservations last month. However, they did tell me that many of the rooms were being held by birding groups which may release them 60 days prior so that's a good time to check back.

I don't know if Lamanai Outpost Lodge would also interest you but their last scheduled departure from BZE departs at 4:00pm (takes approx 2.5 hours by road and river) and you can also schedule a private transfer at other times. Again charter air is an option. We're staying there prior to Chan Chich.

For destinations that have scheduled flights, check www.tropicair.com and www.mayaairways.com.

Hope this helps.
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Old Oct 24th, 2008, 07:38 PM
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Meant to add that charter flight to Chan Chich only takes 1/2 an hour so you should be able to do that with your arrival time.
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 04:16 AM
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Look at the Cayo district on the mainland with a wide variety of attractions, Mayan sites, caves with artifacts, rainforest, zip lines, river and horse trips, cultures, waterfalls and scenic vistas.
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 05:34 AM
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We went for it as well - our tickets were $200 each, to leave Saturday, Feb. 28 and return Friday, March 6. $400 for both of us!! What made it even better is our friends in Charlotte are coming as well - only $300 each for them!

I'm appreciating the overview everyone is giving about Belize in this post. We're leaning towards Ambergris Caye, but since we have 6 nights I'm wondering if part should be spent closer to ruins, etc.

Thanks everyone!! Keep the suggestions coming!
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Old Oct 25th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Larz,
For our transfer to LOL, we're taking a boat from the toll bridge just south of Orange Walk. I don't know if this is the same area that all the tour boats leave from. San Ignacio would be very close to Xunantunich and Cahal Pech. Don't know the answers to the rest of your questions, sorry.

You might also try http://www.belizeforum.com/belize/ub...s.php?ubb=cfrm and www.belizefirst.com (the latter isn't a forum but contains some great info and guides available for download).
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Old Nov 13th, 2008, 04:54 PM
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Be sure to go to San Ignacio in Cayo for some great ruins tours. Go to Evasonline.com The caracol trip includes the Rio On pools and the Rio Frio cave in mt. pine ridge. Guides are very informative and it's a great trip. Long and bumpy drive though! My parents live in SI. Just remember that Belize isn't known for beaches. I am spending some time in San Pedro at the end of this month at the Corona Del Mar. They have access to the water at the end of a pier so you don't have to deal w/ the sea grass and you also get access to the neighboring hotels pool for free. Plus free rum punch all day and continental breakfast. A cheaper option than San Pedro is to go to Caye Caulker. Very laid back!!! Have fun!
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Old Nov 14th, 2008, 06:20 AM
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I guess I better check in since I'm the one who started this thread! It turns out, I ended up canceling our tickets - luckily I had bought them on Orbitz, & they have a 24 hr cancellation option .

After doing some crash research, I found myself gravitating more and more to crossing the border to go to Tikal. I'm sure Belize has a lot more to offer, but we're going to CR in March - so we'll get our rainforest, wildlife, beach fix there. So, I just decided it wasn't worth it on the very limited time frame we had.

Maybe we'll go sometime. I just found myself thinking it would be better for us just to go to Guatemala if it's the ruins that mainly interest us in this part of Central America. We'll see.

Thanks for the responses - I'm sure they've been helpful to a lot of people.
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