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Belize in 9-10 days? Itinerary suggestions

Old Oct 13th, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Belize in 9-10 days? Itinerary suggestions

Hello, my husband and I are planning a 9-10 day getaway to Belize next June. Our priorities are to (1) snorkel and scuba and relax some at the beach, (2) visit the Tikal Ruins in nearby Guatemala and perhaps (3) explore the interior of Pine Mountain or go to Lamanai via a boat trip down the New River. We want to have a relaxing trip, but are willing to get up early to see Tikal or catch a scuba boat. We are thinking 3 days on a Cay, 3 days in Tikal area and 3 in the interior somewhere.

This is our first trip to Belize. We are attracted by its beauty and wealth of outdoor activities. While we are not party animals, we do want to be able to go out to dinner and have a few cocktails. After reading a lot on this site and in various guide books, we are still not sure which Cay we should go to -- Caye Caulker or Ambergris -- the first seems nice and laid back but is not as close to the Blue Hole and Shark Alley, while the latter seems to be right in the middle of the action -- maybe too much so. We like staying at smaller run accommodations/b& b type places or family run lodges that are on the scenic but quiet side versus the fancy resorts. We enjoy mingling with the locals.

I know this does not give you much to go on, but my experience with this web site is folks that have already been where we are planning to go have provided the best advice -- from whole itineraries to specific lodging etc.

Thanks everyone in advance.

Jennifer
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Try spending 3-4 nts in San Ignacio and the other 5-6 nts on Ambergris Caye. The Blue Hole is a long day but do-able from AC. The two places we stayed (Chaa Creek & Banyan Bay) do not sound like they're for you. However, I'm sure others on here can give you some recommendations. You might consider spending 1 nt at Tikal. Enjoy....we loved Belize
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:14 PM
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I'd recommend the first 3 or 4 nights in the Cayo district, head to Tikal for a night or 2, then spend the rest of the time on the water (though I'd recommend Caye Caulker). Actually I'd say 3 in Cayo and 1 at Tikal - love that blue water!! Lots of photos plus blog/travelogue links below if you're interested. Keep us posted!

http://flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 02:36 AM
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I would agree that 4 nights in the Cayo would be great. We did 5 nights at Chaa Creek with a day trip to Tikal. It would have been nice to do an overnight there, but for us on this trip a priority was not packing and unpacking over and over - too many hotels. It was a day trip vacation. The location of Chaa Creek was great for Tikal, the ATM cave and other day and half day excursions. There are several places to stay in that area, including their "camp" attached to the property that guests seem to really enjoy.

We also spent 5 nights in Ambergris Caye, but north - away from San Pedro, so we had to take a water taxi to get into the actual town, but still very easy to get to. We stayed at Portofino, which is a very nice resort, but very low key. The staff are all locals and you're treated like family. It's a small resort and I would go back in a second. It's a short boat ride into town and it's very close to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Also Mexico Rocks for snorkeling.

If you'd want to see pictures or my trip report it's at: http://tripspicsandtales.blogspot.com/

We went in this past August and it was very quiet in Belize, it was their slow season and we loved it there. I would love to go back.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 05:24 AM
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I would base in Cayo for the Mtn Pine Ridge, other important Mayan sites, caves, river and horse trips, waterfalls. I might spend less time over the border in or near Tikal, but you could also visit Ya Xha and Ceibal sites from this area. The BH is accssible from both Caye Caulker and Ambergris and is a tinch close to Caye Caulker.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 05:50 AM
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Just wanted to say that I doubt you'll find San Pedro to have too much action. I would suggest that you stay near to town -- within a quick golf cart ride -- so you can take advantage of its restaurants. We stayed at Caribbean Villas, a small place with fairly basic rooms. It looks like they've upgraded a bit, added a pool and oops, a bar, but it is probably still a pretty quiet location.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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Bookmarking.
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Old Oct 14th, 2009, 11:56 AM
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We visited Belize in June of 08. We divided our time between Black Rock Lodge near San Ignacio and Jaguar Reef in Hopkins on the coast. The highlight of our trip was Black Rock Lodge. Small but very warm and friendly. We loved the people, the scenery, bird watching, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing down the river, taking the inner tubes and floating down the river as we watched the Toucans fly above etc. Dinner was served family style with the other guests and some of the staff as well. We felt like family. Visiting ATM is a must. My husband and I and our 4 children,ages 15,18, 20 and 22 all hated leaving Black Rock lodge and receivd hugs on our departure.

Jaguar Reef was nice but didn't have the same feel as Black Rock Lodge.
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Old Oct 16th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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I would stay nearer to Belmopan (we loved Caves Branch) or San Ignacio, rather than the Mountain Pine Ridge - the pines are still growing back from first a beetle infestation, then a fire, so there isn't much forest there.
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Old Oct 18th, 2009, 07:41 PM
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Thanks everyone. This is great info and I love all of the photos! Has anyone done the river trip from Orange Walk down to lamanai? We are thinking of maybe doing that. In Guatemala has anyone used as a base to visit Tikal any of the towns near the LakePeten Itza, eg. El Remate or Santa Elena or Flores?
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Old Oct 18th, 2009, 09:22 PM
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My 2009 Belize travelogue and blog are linked on the main page of that photo collection at the link in my 1st post. We highly recommend the specific outfit and guide we used for the Orange Walk to Lamanai boat trip up the New River - really wonderful (contact info in travelogue).

I really recommend staying at least 1 night in the park at Tikal - so great to be staying right there to wait out an afternoon shower or nap through the heat of the day, be the 1st in and 1st out if you like, then head back into the ruins when the crowds head back to Belize and Guatemala City.

There are cheaper options in both Flores/Santa Elena and El Remate; the 1st 2 are about an hour away from the park, El Remate half an hour or so. I've stayed a night in the park and a night in Flores my last 2 visits - you can check out the photos and write-ups in the 2007 and 2009 Guatemala collections. Thereare Tikal pictures in the 2003 Belize set, too, but we only stayed in the park that trip.

Flores is a cute little town but when I was there in August the roads were completely torn up - really a nuisance. You might want to check to be sure the road work is finished before heading that way.

I HIGHLY recommend seeing if you can get Roxie Ortiz to guide you; she bases out of the Tikal Inn and there's contact information in my write-up. She is an archaeologist with family ties to the park, very articulate and fascinating to listen to. We were spell bound for more than 4 hours, then asked her to join us for lunch because we couldn't get enough of her. Have a blast, whatever you decide!
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Old Oct 19th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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One other note about the Lamanai trip - access is a bit funny. It can be done as a (really long) day trip from Ambergris or Caulker or as a (really long) day trip from the Cayo. The only other option is to stay somewhere closer to avoid all the hours in the car. For a short visit to Belize, adding an extra lodging stop is probably not appealing, I just wanted you to expect many hours of travel time each way before the river trip even starts.
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Old Oct 19th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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Has anyone done the river trip from Orange Walk down to lamanai?

The river trip is spectacular! Are you thinking of doing this as a day trip? I agree that it would be a very long day. We stayed at Lamanai Outpost Lodge which I can highly recommend but it looks like your schedule is pretty full.
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Old Oct 19th, 2009, 03:46 PM
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We stayed at the Nature Resort in the Community Baboon Sanctuary for 2 nights and did the Lamanai trip the full day in between. We really enjoyed it - quite a bit off the beaten track as far as lodgings go, fairly rustic, beautiful setting.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 05:37 AM
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We were in Belize in May of this year. We spent a few days in the San Ignacio area and we stayed at Iguana Junction and I would highly recommned it. You can't go wrong staying at IJ. It is a small riverfront lodge and the owners, Colin and Dawn, are exceptional hosts. Check IJ out on Trip Advisor. A not to be missed expereince is the ATM cave it was the highlight of our time in SI.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 09:29 AM
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you look at this site www.caribbeanprivatetour.viviti.com and tour guide to take you around
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Old Oct 22nd, 2009, 10:05 AM
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My suggestions:

Caye Caulker for a few days (much more laid back that Ambergris)

Chan Chich - just a great 'eco lodge' built right on a set of ruins in the middle of the jungle (Check out luxurylink for auction deals).
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