advice on traveling to belize

Feb 3rd, 2001, 07:55 PM
  #1  
Robert Brown
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advice on traveling to belize

We are trying to decide on a travel destination. We have heard so many mixed reviews about Belize, for example, it's overcrowded, expensive etc... We want to have a trip where we can relax on a beautiful beach, trek in the jungles and mountains and experience a rich culture. Does anyone have any insights into the real Belize that they can share with us. We finally have it narrowed down to Belize or Venezuela..Any advice would be apprieciated.

Robert and Jessica
 
Feb 4th, 2001, 11:27 AM
  #2  
Susan
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We were in Belize a couple of years ago. I wouldn't call it overcrowded. It was not particularly expensive, although their dollar is tied into the US dollar (2 Belize = 1 USD) so for Canadians, it's not the best deal. (Mind you, we stayed in budget accommodation - if you're looking for first class, it's probably expensive like anywhere else.) The beaches aren't great, but snorkeling is wonderful. We stayed on Ambergris Caye for 6 days, then 4 days in Placencia (which I wasn't crazy about) and then 4 days in San Ignacio (which I liked a lot). It's a small country and it was easy to get little local flights around the country. The national language is English, although there are many Spanish speaking people there. People are incredibly friendly and apart from Belize City, I really didn't worry about my safety at all. There are wonderful ruins to explore as well. The Belize zoo (outside of the city) was really interesting. Tourism isn't that developed yet. The infrastructure (roads, etc.) isn't great, but we were glad we went.

Venezuela - it's been about 12 or 13 years since I was there. At the time, we had friends living in Caracas and we spent time with them as well as a resort area on the coast. We flew to Puerta la Cruz also for a day trip. I think the economy in Venezuela has really taken a dive. At that time, tourism seemed to be on the upswing, but I don't think it's the same now. I remember shopping was good in Caracas (I came home with 5 pairs of shoes!). Don't know if I'd go there now.

I don't know if I've help at all. There are 2 entirely different destinations.
 
Feb 5th, 2001, 01:49 PM
  #3  
Katie Valk
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Belize is changing. The infrastructure has improved a great deal and nearly all the main highways are paved. Our average hotel has 12 rooms, with the larger hotels in San Pedro/Ambergris and a few 20 plus room hotels in Placencia. I don'tknow that we copuld ever be called overcrowded and certain months have very low occupancy. Belize is the size of Massachusetts with a population of 240,00, so overcrowded doesn't apply to Belize. You might spend the night in a 20 room jungle lodge with 45 plus other guests, but when you're on 330 or so acres, that'salot of space for each person.

Our beaches are not Conde Nast picture perfect, but they are perfect for the manatees, turtles, marine life that thrive here and in some places, the beach isless than a mile from the worlds second largest barrier reef, 190 exquisite miles of itruns along our coastline. Diving, snorkeling, fishing are incredible and only matched by the pristine rainforest on the mainland, where you go bird, go caving, see ruins, canoeing, kayak, ride horses and hike. Very friendly, I feel very safe, easy to get around and lots of fun as well.

Katie Valk
Belize
 
Feb 6th, 2001, 08:46 AM
  #4  
Carol
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If you are looking for beautiful beaches, breathtaking rain forest and reasonably priced vacation - try Grenada. There is not a lot of night life, as tourism is just starting to take off. My husband and I have travelled to many places in the past 10 years in the Caribbean and Grenada is by far the most beautiful. Unforntunately, I can't answer any questions, as I am leaving for Loreto Mexico this afternoon. Enjoy
 
Feb 6th, 2001, 01:12 PM
  #5  
Eva
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My husband and I went to Belize in 1999, staying at Ramon's Village in Ambergris Caye. Based on this visit to Belize's most tourist-oriented destination, I can assure you that Belize is neither over-crowded nor expensive, especially compared to other destinations in the Caribbean. There are no mega-resorts, no casinos, and only tiny puddle-jumpers bringing guests over to Ambergris Caye. You will never have to wait in line for dinner or a drink, even in high season. During high season, there are just enough people around to make things interesting, but no so many that you feel crowded.

As for expense, that is largely within your control. For us, the cost of airfare from BWI was the greatest cost. Our accomodations were what I consider to be moderately priced -- and you can choose to go upscale or downscale. Meals could be pricey if we chose one of the more elegant spots for dinner (e.g. Capricorn); it could be downright cheap as well (under $20 US for dinner and drinks for 2 at Rasta Pasta). Because I generally hate to go out for breakfast (but don't like to skip it), we chose to go with a suite at Ramon's, which had a fridge, sink and microwave, allowing us to do a few meals on our own.

You will find the beaches to be disappointing on Ambergris Caye; however, there are some lovely, deserted ones on the Barrier Reef. As a beach lover myself, I feared that it would be a problem, but I got over it right away, as there are so many ecological and cultural riches in this small country: the best snorkeling and diving we have ever experienced, manatee watching, jungle tours, Mayan ruins, and incredibly warm, welcoming people. We alternated between lazing on the beach at Ramon's (which is among the nicest in AC) and taking excursions to various places in the area.

We liked Belize so much that we are planning a bareboat sail there next spring.

If you would like to read more about my trip, visit my personal website at www.homestead.com/islandtime/MainPage1.html.
 
Feb 8th, 2001, 10:18 AM
  #6  
Lan Sluder
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I think you've gotten some good replies that paint an accurate picture of Belize.

Overcrowded is just about the last adjective I would ever use to describe Belize and it's hard to imagine the person who would have told you that. In some areas, you can drive for an hour or two and never see another soul.

As to cost, the old saw is that Belize is the most expensive place in Central America and the cheapest place in the Caribbean. Neither statement may be totally true these days, but certainly the sense is still accurate. I would say that overall a vacation in Belize costs about the same as a vacation in Florida, and there is the same variation in costs depending on whether you are staying at a top lodge or hotel or going the budget route.

--Lan Sluder
 

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