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Belize Trip Report - Lamanai Outpost Lodge and Tranquility Bay Resort

Belize Trip Report - Lamanai Outpost Lodge and Tranquility Bay Resort

Old Jul 20th, 2015, 09:07 AM
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Belize Trip Report - Lamanai Outpost Lodge and Tranquility Bay Resort

Hey! I've been such a consumer of info on this site but never posted a trip report so it's time for me to contribute Just returned from 8 days split between LOL and TBR - our trip was AWESOME! I'm back at work and trying to get caught up so it may take me a few replies to complete this - but wanted to also make myself available to anyone considering these locations and looking for info. This trip was our family of 4 - myself, my husband (who joined us a day into our trip), and my two kids - daughter 20 and son 17.

LOL: Our driver was awaiting right outside of the airport and took us straight to the docks. The boat ride was great, we didn't see a ton of wildlife, but saw alot of birds, interesting trees, so many water lilies! He stopped a few places to show us things like termite mounds, bats sleeping in the trees, etc. We arrived in the early afternoon with Brenda waiting for us - she was nothing but awesome the entire trip! I had booked a lagoon front family cabana, but when we arrived she said they were not full so gave my husband and I our own lagoon front cabana as well - such an awesome touch! We were starving and we happy she took us straight on to lunch, which was fantastic. The view from the dining room is amazing - the website doesn't do it justice!! After lunch, son (who always gets a little sick from air travel) took a long nap and my daughter and I headed off on a walk. We walked the grounds first and saw a coatimundi and lots of birds and tree cutter ants. We then walked into Indian Church Village, which was a nice walk and then onto the path that leads to the ruins. We saw the old Spanish Church ruins, and then upon hearing the howler monkeys for the first time, we headed into the woods to find them. We were able to spot 1 from a distance, but just hearing them was fun. Then headed back to shower (it was very humid and I found I showered about 3x a day here) and head to the lodge before dinner. Met some great folks in the bar that we enjoyed the entire stay (there were only 2 other groups staying there when we arrived, never more than 4 (inc us) during the 3 nights we stayed. Dinner was awesome as well - every meal was great - no problems with the fixed menu as everything was equally wonderful. My daughter is a pescatarian and they accommodated her completely. That night I was a little paniced because I couldn't get the fan to work in my room and I was so hot. Walked back to the lodge where they showed me what to do and it worked fine - after another cold shower and the fan running - I was able to sleep fine. (I get really hot at night so I was worried about the lack of AC in our rooms, but no one had a problem, nice breezes at night and the fan worked well). I'll right more soon...
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 09:10 AM
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Goodness, excuse all the typos and misspellings... clearly my brain is still on vacation
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 09:19 AM
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Awesome - sounds like you had a great time. We love Lamanai Outpost Lodge too. I was surprised how good the food was. They had a little cool front when we went - I felt like we got lucky. The ruins were pretty amazing too.
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 09:28 AM
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Day 2 LOL - Awoke at 4:45 for the first tour - Jungle Dawn with both kids (husband would arrive about 4:30 pm today). I am not a morning person, but we were up everyday at LOL and I loved the jungle sounds and the activities. Arrived at the dining room for hot coffee and fresh homemade muffins just after 5. As soon as we got to the dining room, an insane downpour started, and in 15 minutes it was gone (same thing happened day 1, the moment we got to lunch, a 15 minute intense storm). About 5:30 we headed out with our guide, who also brought a telescope. We saw lots of cools birds, including a parrot and a toucannette (not sure if that's the proper name but he said it was a miniature toucan). The guide was amazing at spotting birds - he knew all their calls and even got some of them to answer back. He took us into the jungle to the sugar mill, which was totally cool, with lots of animal sightings along the way. (All the guides at LOL are walking encyclopedias and seemed so anxious to share their info.) The best sighting for this tour was an absolutly adorable young kinkajou. Our guide said it was likely lost as it should've been asleep by then. But it was SO cute - looking down at us with those big eyes! He walked us into the ruins to see the jaguar temple, which my kids really enjoyed climbing. Again, we heard the howlers, but no sighting. After the tour, we had a big breakfast and showered and hung out most of the rest of the day - everyone took a big nap. The chairs by the dock under the big tree were always so nice and cool, no matter how hot it got. I got alot of reading done there. At about 4:30, my husband arrived and we got him settled then headed to the bar to have drinks with the friends we met. They introduced us to Dr. Elizabeth Graham who was staying at LOL as she led the dig at Lamanai - what an amazing person to talk to! And she was so anxious to share her info. We spent alot of time talking to her over the next couple days. After dinner, our family headed out for the jungle night hike. This was a little out of my comfort zone and I loved it! The only downside was with the headlamp on your head, you got some moths in your face, but it was tolerable. The young man who led it was SO knowledgable! We saw another kinkajou, lots of spiders and other "eyeshines", cane toads, the cacti blooms (they only bloom at night) and so much more - 2 highlights were having a red-eyed tree frog climb in my hand and stare at me and seeing a scorpion light up to a brilliant turquoise phosphorescence under a black light. So cool Back home for another shower and bed time!
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 09:33 AM
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Thanks Volcanogirl! Yes, it was really hot, but tolerable (I'm a wimp so if I could tolerate it...). I assumed it was hotter in the summer, but the locals told us it was hotter in the high season, the only downside of the green season was the rain - but that the showers we saw (15 minutes each day) were very typical, so I would choose green season again since it enabled us to afford it!
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 12:38 PM
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Day 3 - Another early start - my husband and son did the native fishing trip and had a ball - didn't catch a ton of fish but saw a croc. My daughter and I did the sunrise canoe ride which was so beautiful and really interesting. After a great breakfast, we did the Mayan Ruins tour - absolutely fascinating. I wish I'd brought money for the gift shop, some very cool hand made stuff. The Lamanai ruins are so accessible and the museum very interesting. The howler monkeys were deafening at some points, but we still didn't see them. Got back and took more naps and then headed out about 4:40 for the sunset cocktail cruise. The drinks and snacks were great and it was so relaxing. We did finally see howlers in the trees along the lagoon.

Day 4 - (LOL to TBR)
No activities as it was our last morning, but we did walk around the property and took another walk into Indian Church Village. Final thoughts on LOL - we loved it, the activities were great, the grounds amazing, the staff was all so gracious and helpful and the food excellent - everything about it exceeded our expectations. I brought a ton of bug spray plus I sprayed our clothes with premethrin before we left and we didn't have any problems. I think I left with 1 mosquito bite (and I'm the person who gets 10 when I walk in my backyard for 5 minutes at home in TX). It was really hot and humid and by the end of our 4 days/3 night I was ready for some cooler temps or at least a room with A/C for sleeping - if I was going to go back and stay longer, I think I'd book one of the rooms with A/C. But it was very tolerable, and the rest of my family (native Texans) didn't think it was as hot as I did. You could also swim in the lagoon right off the dock which I hadn't expected, and that looked like fun and a good way to cool off a bit. I was bummed that we never saw any monkeys close up. We heard some opinions that all the clear-cutting the Mennonites are doing of the surrounding jungle was limiting their population, but we also heard differing opinions that they just move around alot and we happened to hit the days they were never close to the lodge. But overall, I would HIGHLY recommend LOL! Now on to Ambergris!!

We took the 11:30 boat to the landing (another fun ride), and then they transferred us to Tower Hill Airport - about a 5 minute drive from the landing! From there we took Tropic Air to San Pedro - this worked out to be an extremely convenient way to get from LOL to Ambergris. When we left San Pedro Airport, we waited a bit but then a cab came to get us to take us to the dock for the boat to Tranquility Bay Resort. It was a little confusing because he didn't have our names and I was not entirely sure if we were supposed to go with him - but it all worked out fine. He took us to a grocery store to pick up some wine and snacks and then very quickly we were at the dock, where Panny (who is the worlds greatest fishing guide!) was waiting for us. The boat ride to TBR was beautiful and 30 minutes later they were waiting for us with wonderful rum drinks on the dock.

Our cabana was the Prime Minister, the biggest and the last one on the beach (the entire resort is very small). The is cabana was amazing - the second story deck could host a party for 50+ and the views were jaw-dropping. The entire place had AC which was nice - my son slept in the loft upstairs which was open and stayed warm during the day but was comfortable at night. Every cabana is steps from the ocean.

The beach was gorgeous - they are definitely having the same problems with seaweed that much of the caribbean is having this year, but it didn't hurt anything. There was always a lot of seaweed and seagrass right as you entered the water, but a few feet out it was crystal blue and very cool reefs. We rented snorkel gear and did some kayaking and then headed to dinner. This restaurant was also great - lots of variety and right on the water out on the dock. After dinner each night we would hang out on the dock and watch the huge schools of spotted eagle rays come by along with a bunch of tarpon, which were attracted by the lights they have under the deck. So pretty.
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post!
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 05:46 PM
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Sounds wonderful. I can't find the price of the hotel...even a ballpark price. May I ask what you were charged? Thanks.
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 06:44 PM
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Thanks for your report. Glad you enjoyed LOL. We went one year in late February and also encountered a cold front so it was breezy and comfortable. We lucked out with some close up views of howlers at the ruins but you saw a few species we didn't see.
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Old Jul 20th, 2015, 06:50 PM
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I guess we got lucky with the howlers; we saw them around our cabin almost daily. One day they were hanging in the trees very low to the ground, almost close enough to touch. Maybe they hide out a little bit when the weather is so hot. Tranquility Bay sounds really wonderful. How was the snorkeling right from shore? That sounds like a nice bonus.
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Old Jul 21st, 2015, 05:58 AM
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Sounds like such an amazing trip! My fiancé and I will be honeymooning there in October. We're only staying on the beach, but your post makes me wish we were spending some time in the jungle!
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Old Jul 23rd, 2015, 07:22 AM
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Sorry for the delay in finishing! Got so busy being back at work - boo....! I will sum up the rest of our stay at TBR - simply wonderful!

DAY 5 The snorkeling right off the beach was fabulous - they provided kayaks with lots of buoys at the best spots. We saw loads of parrots, wrasse, angels (the biggest french angel fish I've ever seen in my life) and tons of others I don;t know the names of. Even a lion fish, which is not native and the locals said they spear them when they find them. Lots of rays. We heard about a local manatee and where to find him, and the second time we went to the spot to look for him, there he was, swimming back and forth under our kayak. SO COOL! I hadn't seen my most favorite, the sea turtle yet,, thought. There were hammocks all over the native palms that provided the perfect afternoon naps as well

DAY 6 I got my SCUBA certification about 28 years ago and hadn't been on a dive in years. My kids had always wanted to go, so we signed up together for the discover dive course through TBR - I was glad to have the refresher. When we all "passed" our basics, they took us out to Mexico Rocks where we did a 15 ft dive - it was amazing - sea turtles everywhere, rays, sharks, lots of coral and so many fish. My kids were HOOKED (my great wish!) so we scheduled another dive for the next day. Meanwhile, my husband had a blast fishing with Panny. This guy is a gem, believe me. Lots more great food and drinks at the restaurant.

DAY 7 Scuba trip to Hol Chan - stopped by San Pedro to pick up a dive master. TBR has their own, who I hear is awesome, but he had a family emergency. Loved the guys we picked up in town. Headed out to Hol Chan, which is a protected marine reserve. The diving was absolutely SPECTACULAR. The reef is so healthy and the volume of fish, turtles, rays, sharks, coral, etc, blew my mind. We went 30 ft this time, perfect second dive. My husband came with us on this trip and on the way back we stopped to snorkel at Shark Ray Alley, very fun, worth a stop. A long, fantastic day, headed home for a big lunch and naps in the hammock for my daughter and I, more fishing for the boys.

DAY 8 - Last day not much to say except we hated leaving. Early morning kayak, breakfast, boat ride to San Pedro, Tropic Air to BZE, BZE to DFW.

Love Belize so much and would love to see more - Palencia, Caye Caulker etc!

And now that I have 2 new dive buddies, we are thinking Roatan next Summer - so the new research begins (Any advice?)
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Old Jul 23rd, 2015, 07:27 AM
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Liljill8 - are you asking about LOL or TBR? I'd be happy to share info on both. I initially almost had a heart attack over LOL pricing (it is hard to find) BUT it really does include EVERYTHING other than drinks and tips (which do add up) - after being there I feel it was a great value. TBR prices are pretty easy to find - it's room plus breakfast and I thought VERY reasonable. (I can't recommend the Prime Minister Cabana highly enough). But, our bill at checkout was huge. Not blaming them, it was worth every penny - just a different set up - all drinks, lunch, dinner, tips and we did the most expensive activities - diving and fishing. Since we bought drinks and snacks in town we saved some there. We planned to eat lunch in the cabana everyday, but the lunches the restaurant were so good and fairly reasonable, and we were always so hungry from our activities Anyway, let me know the info you're looking for and I'd be happy to share.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2015, 09:45 AM
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Wow, the snorkeling sounds amazing. That's great to have right from shore. So glad you had such a good time.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2015, 04:20 PM
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When we stayed for a week at Tranquility Bay a few years ago we shopped on the way to the dock and prepared all of our own lunches and dinners except 1, the beach barbecue. We stayed in the Budget Travelers room which we would definitely do again - it was perfect for us and we were there off season which helped. Also, my husband is an avid fly fisherman and fished unguided day after day - that and the walk in snorkeling really contributed to the value. Our out of pocket outside the room was a few beers, 1 dinner, and my diving. Just another perspective.
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Old Jul 24th, 2015, 07:09 AM
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Totally agree hopefulist - we could've been much more prepared (or motivated to do more meals in our cabana - there wasn't a true full kitchen, but fridge and microwave would've covered alot! Plus the breakfast that's included is awesome and filling. And with a party of 4, ours really added up, especially the diving. We would go back to TBR in a heart beat and you could definitely do it on a budget!
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