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Belize: Best way to divide a short trip?

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May 7th, 2012, 07:29 AM
  #1
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Belize: Best way to divide a short trip?

Just booked a great airfare for Belize (I know it's off-season) end of June, early July. It's my husband and I (31 y/o) and mom (active 61 y/o).

We have only a short trip because of work constraints so adding days isn't possible. How would you divide your time?

We arrive 10:30 a.m. on a Friday, depart 11:30 a.m. on a Wednesday.

My inclination is:
Fri-Mon (a.m.) - Inland--where?
I was considering Cave's Branch in Belmopan but it might be a bit steep for our budget. Also, it is family oriented, which is OK, but this is a trip of adults. What's a good place to locate ourselves for cave tubing, ATM cave and perhaps a trek? Anyplace with a treehouse or similarly interesting accommodation?

Mon-Wed. - One of the Cayes- which one?

We aren't looking to hang out on the beach and swim--just want to get a taste of the beautiful snorkeling and reef. We'll probably avoid Shark Ray alley.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
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May 7th, 2012, 07:57 AM
  #2
 
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We did a combo of the San Ignacio area and Ambergris; that's one of the most popular itineraries for people to do. Caye Caulker is also popular. We were able to go over to Tikal for the day from San Ignacio. If you want amazing snorkeling, I'd definitely go to Hol Chan - we saw huge rays, nurse sharks, beautiful tropical fish, and lots of sea turtles there. It's fairly close to Ambergris; we took an organized tour to get there.
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May 7th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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I'd hire a shuttle driver and head to San Ignacio with a stop at the zoo, then head to Caye Caulker on Monday for the rest of your trip. Although I usually recommend an overnight as opposed to a day trip, you might want to visit Tikal one of your full days in the west - it's pretty amazing.

I've pasted of few of my favorite Belize links below - shuttle, hotel, guidebook, and tour ideas. Have a wonderful trip!
________________________

My photo collections with blog, travelogue, and review links: http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections/

My descriptions and reviews on Trip Advisor:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/members-reviews/hopefulist

Guidebooks I like: Moon Handbook, Fodor’s Guide, and Explorer’s Guide.

Laminated identification cards: http://rainforestpublications.com/be...des/index.html

A very cool checklist book for Belize for the young or young-at-heart: http://www.amazon.com/Play-Belize-Me...0549187&sr=8-2
- - -
Budget to midrange lodging site: http://www.belizeexplorer.com
Great island and lodging downloads: http://www.belizefirst.com
Informative transportation blog: http://www.belizebus.wordpress.com
- - -
Shuttle recommendation: http://www.parrot-nest.com/belize-shuttle.html
Zoo: http://www.belizezoo.org
Great jungle camp in Cayo: http://www.belizecamp.com
Great budget lodging in Cayo: http://www.thetrekstop.com
Great value hotel with pool in Cayo: http://www.aguadahotel.com
Don't miss cave trip: http://pacztours.net/actun-tunichil-muknal/
- - -
Fabulous, fun tour guide for Tikal: http://www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com
- - -
Apartment on the beach on Caye Caulker: http://www.staycayecaulker.com/sailwinds.html
Another Caye Caulker option: http://www.gocayecaulker.com/accommo...xhapan-cabanas
Great day snorkeling trip: http://raggamuffintours.com
- - -
Here are the places we’ve decided to stay this summer, all new to us but carefully researched:
Another, less-visited cave option in Cayo: http://www.actunchapatadventure.blogspot.com/
Highly reviewed jungly place near Punta Gorda: http://www.hickatee.com
Rural Toledo village visit and guesthouse organization: http://www.teabelize.org/index.php?id=32
Off the beaten track diving and snorkeling, Sapodilla Cayes: http://www.reefci.com
Rental apartments in the heart of Placencia: http://www.oneworldplacencia.com
Secluded resort on N. Ambergris Caye with snorkeling from shore: http://www.tranquilitybayresort.com
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May 7th, 2012, 08:23 AM
  #4
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We've been to Tikal when we visited Guatemala. It's outstanding but luckily, we've seen it and can dedicate this trip to enjoying Belize.

Thanks for the suggestions--I wonder if it is a more efficient use of time to do the sea portion first and the inland portion second--since we have a full afternoon available on Friday that might be wasted if we head inland that day?


What's great about the zoo? I don't really like zoos as a rule but live near enough to the National Zoo in D.C. that I have been a few times. Is this one exceptional?

I know I have seen both of you on these boards before--thanks for offering advice.

I will check out the recommended sites.
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May 7th, 2012, 08:34 AM
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For me personally, I really like to end the trip at the beach where it's more cool and relaxing. The inland portion was pretty hot and sweaty for us with a lot of activity, so it was nice to end with the water portion of our trip where we could just kick back, snorkel, and enjoy the ocean breeze. We got a good hotel deal on Luxury Link and ended up staying at Chaa Creek and Victoria House.
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May 7th, 2012, 10:02 AM
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We like to save the beachy parts of our trips for last, too, plus you can easily spend your last night in paradise and make it to BZE in time for your flight home that way.

The Belize Zoo is truly 1 of a kind - fascinating history, natural environment, funky hand-painted signs. Check out the links below (you may have to copy and paste the long one). Happy trails!
www.belizezoo.org
https://www.google.com/search?q=beli...OoqsiALHo4zlAg
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May 7th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Ditto, do the inland then the beach. Your first afternoon can be spent at the wonderful Cahal Pech Mayan ruins in the town of San Ignatio. There are many day tours to Tikal; a splendid place to visit even if only for a day. ATM cave, etc., many day tours from the area.
Unless you had a huge amount of time, which you don't, I'd give the zoo a pass this visit.

AMbergris Caye is very popular, lots of lodging options (try VRBO Paradise Villas for reasonable condos in a great location; you can work deals in the off season). Doubt you could find a standard tour that doesn't stop at Shark/ray (more ray/ray) alley on the way back from Hol Chan!
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May 7th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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oops, meant to delete the Tikal bit!
We stayed here and enjoyed it, especially the grounds, very much; the price is great, it's just above town, and they do a good job for guests tour-wise (although it's very easy to arrange your own and save a few bucks). Their food is very good, too, but I found it very pricey, and preferred to eat in town.
http://www.travelbelize.com/
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May 7th, 2012, 12:15 PM
  #9
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Glad you all weighed in on the order of things--I suspect I will follow your advice and go inland first.

Caye Caulker looks like it is our speed. We don't need nightlife--a few good places to eat, some shops to poke around in, and it looks like you can bike to get around, which is appealing.
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May 7th, 2012, 09:35 PM
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We loved Caves Branch. The adventures are extreme, but not overly so. If you go, be sure to stay in one of the treehouses - You can click on my name for my trip report. We went to Placencia for our beach time because I had had an unpleasant experience with sand fleas on Caye Caulker years ago as a backpacker, but they've probably cleared up that problem by now.
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