Belize trip planning advice please!

Old Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:52 AM
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Belize trip planning advice please!

Initially for my big trip this year I was looking at doing a South African safari but after the flooding in Kruger and the expense I figure I'll hold that trip for another time. Like many others on this board I fell in love with CA after my trip to CR last year (Bosque del Cabo in particular!) and Belize/Guatemala has now piqued my interest. I'm looking at 3-4 nights in the Cayo district, 1-2 nights at TIkal and 3 beach nights since I recently obtained my diving certification. Looking at going at the beginning of May. We are a very active couple in our 30s interested in hiking, wildlife, ruins and diving.

1. In the Cayo I understand Chaa Chreek is the creme de la creme and that there is a great deal to be had on Luxury Link but I was also looking at The Black Rock Lodge which looks nice and is more affordable. Any opinions either way?

2.Jaguar Inn or Tikal Inn? Is it fairly easy to do a flight from Flores to AC?

3.Looking at Victoria House on AC. Any recommendations for good dive shops for beginners? This will be our first open water dive since getting certified.

As always any advice is appreciated!
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Old Feb 2nd, 2012, 09:57 AM
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We stayed at Chaa Creek and really liked it - pretty grounds, lots of hiking, and good food and service. We got the deal off Luxury Link. Have heard Black Rock is nice as well.

We LOVED Victoria House - so beautiful there. They have their own little dive shop out front that we planned all our snorkeling trips through Hol Chan, etc. I think you could just use them if you stay there. When they took us to Hol Chan, we actually did a guided dive, and it was so awesome to have the guide in the water with us pointing out big turtles, rays, and gorgeous fish.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2012, 07:14 PM
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I prefer the Tikal Inn - nice big bungalows around a pool. Consider contacting archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz for a guided tour - she not only knowledgeable but great company. Happy trails!
www.tikalinnsunrise.com
www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com
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Old Feb 3rd, 2012, 10:25 AM
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VG- Chaa Creek looks fantastic but I'm curious as whether I can get a similar experience at Black Rock for less. I've seen very positive reviews for both properties

Hope- the bungalows at Tikal Inn look great. I've seen your recs for Roxy before and I will definitely book her once I have my dates set.

In the Cayo I'm definitely looking forward to ATM, any other activities to look at?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2012, 09:06 PM
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I'm also planning a trip in early May and hope to do an excursion to Caracol including Mountain Pine Ridge. We decided to skip Tikal on this visit.
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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Where will you be staying Deb?
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 08:31 AM
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We did canoeing at Barton Creek and loved that. You go through the caves, and there are some artifacts in there and a human skull.
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 11:36 AM
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Haven't made reservations yet as I'm trying to decide the order of destinations. Plan to visit Lamanai Outpost Lodge, Chan Chich and Table Rock.
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 05:45 PM
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VG- there's something comical about a human skull being an activity attraction.
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Old Feb 4th, 2012, 08:53 PM
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I know I felt sort of bad about that! Some friends of ours with two little boys were looking at our pictures, and they said, "Oh, cool - is that a human skull?!"
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Old Feb 6th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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We recently spent 2 nights at Jaguar Inn. The rooms were large with hammocks on the patio outside. Electricity is 24 hours which is nice. We ate at the restaurant for breakfast and one dinner. Breakfast was good, dinner was average. We preferred the 3 little restaurants near the road to Flores. I think I would have preferred staying at Tikal Inn because a pool break around noon would have been nice.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 03:31 AM
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I haven't been to Barton Creek but the remains of sacrifice victims in the ATM didn't seem comical to us. I think knowing a little something about Maya history and realizing the bones were 1000 years old made it register - even to the kids - as sacred rather than comical.

rpo - We had the same take on the Jaguar Inn (though when we were there they didn't have elec through the night). Since the 1st trip we've stayed at Tikal Inn and the pool has been amazing both mid day and in the evenings.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 06:36 AM
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hope-I think comical was a poor word choice on my part. I didn't mean to infer that archeological remains are comical, rather it kind of struck me as odd to see " if you go here, you'll see a human skull" much the way someone would point out "if you go to Paris, you'll see the Eiffel Tower". It's just not something you'd see on travel forums for most destinations.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 09:51 AM
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br, I knew exactly what you meant - it is a little odd to have tourists trooping around human remains. I was surprised that they let people go through there.
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Old Feb 7th, 2012, 12:15 PM
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I figured that's what you meant - sort of ironic as a travel icon. It's really surprising to me, too, that they allow visitors in a place that anthropologically significant and fragile, won't last forever.
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Old Feb 8th, 2012, 11:41 AM
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We spent two nights at Tikal Inn, and I only wish we had more time in Tikal National Park. We also reserved the Sunrise tour with Roxy. She was the best guide we had on this trip. Roxy offers some other site trips and transfer from Tikal to San Ignacio I wish I new about in advance. We also did zip lines with Canopy Tours Tikal. Zip lines and views are not as amazing as ones in Costa Rica, but we had two guides just for 3 of us, no wait, they didn’t rush us, allowed time for pictures, and taught my son some safe tricks. We booked directly [email protected]; Tikal Inn can do the booking with added $5 per person.

Originally we were planning to fly from AC to Flores. There are no direct flights, so you will need to change planes at Belize international airport. After calculating total time with wait at both airports we opted to fly to Belize municipal and reserved a ground transfer to Tikal.

Deb, hope you enjoy Table Rock. It’s an amazing place with family like atmosphere.
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Old Feb 9th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Looking at flight schedules I may do a ground transfer immediately to Tikal, 1-2 nights San Ignacio for 3-4 nights and AC for 3. What would be a reasonable price for BZE to Tikal, and then Tikal to SI?
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 11:51 AM
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I received quotes from several tour companies for transfers. PACZ Tours offered the best price from Tikal to SI, and I was very happy with the service. We paid $135 from Tikal to Table Rock (it costs $105 to SI). http://www.pacztours.net/

BZE to Tikal – you can try to get William's Belize Shuttle‏ [email protected] from BZE to SI and then go with PACZ to Tikal/or maybe William can take you to the Guatemala border and arrange the transportation to Tikal.
You need to pay ~$18.75US pp departure fees on Belize-Guatemala border. The departure fee is around $40 pp if you fly to Flores. You can get the Guatemala Quetzal (GTQ) at the border or bring them with you.
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Old Feb 10th, 2012, 12:04 PM
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We used Pacz to go tour Tikal from the San Ignacio area and were also happy with them. There was a woman on our tour using them for transfer service.
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