Family going to Belize

Old Jul 5th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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Family going to Belize

We just booked out air to Belize for April. We are coming into BZE. I need lots of guidance. We are thinking of renting a house as my parents might be joining us. We have 3 young boys ages (8,8 & 6). I've looked on Expedia and VRBO but I'm not sure where to start as there seems to be many areas. I see San Pedro comes up a lot. I found a rental house, it is on Caye Caulkner. Good area?

I guess my questions are: If you have been and could go back to any area where would you go/stay? Is it easy to get transportation from the airport to water taxis to these Cayes? How long of a ride in a water taxi? Do they take US$$? Mostly we would like to play on the beach, perhaps in a pool and see a bit of the area...tours?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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The most popular beach areas would be Ambergris and Placencia. Ambergris has more hotels, restaurants, bars and people and is less than a mile from the reef. Day trips to the mainland are a full day trip. Placencia is more laid back, less developed, has better beaches, is 19 miles from the reef and closer to mainland day trips. Caye Caulker appeals to budget to moderate travelers and is less than a mile from the reef. Hopkins is another interesting beach area on the mainland, but has fewer restaurants, bars and other options. Ambergris and Caye Caulker are a 20 mins flight from Intl; Placencia 30 mins. Water taxi to Ambergris takes 1.5 hrs and 45 mins to CC. Placencia is just under 3 hr driving from Intl. Everyone accepts US$. Great tours would be diving, snorkeling, fishing, sailing, kayaking, Maya sites, cave with artifacts, rainforest, waterfalls, river and horse trips, wildlife and natural history. Belize people are multicultural, friendly, English speaking and the country is generally considered a safe and interesting country to visit.
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Old Jul 5th, 2010, 02:55 PM
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We LOVED caye caulker....very laid back and quiet. We met a couple who was staying on Ambergris caye and just visiting caye caulker for the day and the really did not want to go back. They said it was crowded and loud, and very touristy. I cant say because we did not go there but we really enjoyed CC. you just walk everywhere since it is so small, and there are many tours you can take. just my 2 cents, would you split your trip between the water area and inland jungle area??? There are so many cool things to see, we split our trip into 3 parts, 5 nights Caye caulker 5 nights san ignacio, and 2 nights at the howler monkey lodge ( the best part of our trip) A little cabin surrounded by howler monkeys!!!!! OMG i was in heaven!! Hope this helps.... have a great trip!!
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 04:40 AM
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I live on Ambergris for three months in the winter. I like the town of San Pedro. It is busy, traffic jams with golf carts, who would have thought???? But, get out of town, even 1/4 mile and things quiet down in a hurry.

There are literally dozens of house rentals on Ambergris. Start by looking at this page:

http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/lodge/lodging.html

The houses are at the bottom of the page.

There are only a few pools on Caye Caulker, I'd stick with Ambergris or Placencia with kids. Caulker also doesn't have much in the way of beaches. It does have an interesting 'vibe', but just too small for me for more than a few days.

Can your kids swim? Most ocean swimming on Ambergris is done off the piers, because of sea grass growing along the shore. There are some resorts who have cleared the sea grass and you can swim off the beach. The water is generally shallow a long ways out. Nice for younger children.

I like Placencia as well. But, the sand is darker and coarse. Hurts my feet. I go barefoot all the time on Ambergris, had to wear shoes on the beach in Placencia. But the beaches are wider, and we saw lots of people swimming right off the beach.

To answer your transportation question, it's a US$25.00 cab ride from BZE to the water taxi terminal. Prett much everyone takes US dollars.

Another option would be to take the cab from BZE to the very small municipal airport and fly from there. Fares for adults (one way) are around US$35.00, and less for kids.
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 10:06 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I'm trying to decide between CC and someplace like San Pedro. I'd like to do both (beach time & land time). I'd like quiet, but with 3 small boys I think quiet after 2 days may get boring for them, I don't know.

I'm going to check out the website JeanH offered and also the howler monkey lodge. Where is that in relation to CC or San PEdro?
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Old Jul 6th, 2010, 11:51 AM
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howler monkey lodge is so spectacular, as far as how far is it from CC or san pedro, well Howler is on the main land, and when you come back from CC or san pedro, Al will pick you up right at the water taxi terminal. It is so convenient and he is an amazing person as are the rest of his family. Mel, his wife cooks such wonderful food....and OMG so much!! It is a fantastic deal, as breakfast and dinner are included in the price of your cabin. They have a tree house cabin your kids would LOVE!! I believe it is only around 100- 115 per night food included!!! They are right on the river as well and we took the most amazing canor trip.....just my husband and I paddling along no one else around, but the wildlife around....you would NOT believe, and the first time you hear the sounds of the Howlers but cannot see them..............it is PREHISTORIC.....but a thrill i can not explain. Check out their website.. I think its www.howlermonkeyresort.com. You will not be dissappointed I promise you!! ENJOY
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 01:41 PM
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I think we have decided on staying at a resort versus a house, because we really want a nice pool. I have another question. The resort I am looking at is Las Terrazzes (not sure on the spelling) but I saw in the reviews that it is far from town. When looking at the island of San Pedro, where would you say would be an ideal spot to stay in?

Also, we are wanting to spend a day in the jungle and do the zip lines. Is this something we can book through the resort and is it a day trip? Meaning, can we stay in the 1 hotel for our entire trip and make a day trip into the jungle and back in enough time?
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 02:20 PM
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I'm not sure of your price range, but if you can swing the cost, Victoria House on Ambergris is wonderful. It's a couple of miles from town, quiet, with a beautiful white sand beach. A taxi into town is only five dollars, and they have free bikes you can use.
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Old Sep 27th, 2010, 02:43 PM
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Our resort had the option for day trips, but we decided to do a split between the jungle and beach. The day trips just seemed too long from the beach for us personally. I would do your jungle/zipline time first and then head to the beach for the rest of your vacation. If you don't mind a very long day, you could do your zipline adventure from a beach location, but it would involve a lot of transportation time back and forth.
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Old Sep 28th, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Las Terrazas is almost four miles north of town. No cars/cabs up there. You'd be using a water taxi if you wanted to head to town. Some people love the relative isolation up north. I prefer to be much closer to town, I enjoy watching the kids walking to school, the Belizeans heading to work. Up north, your only exposure to the locals are the employees at the resort.

I'd certainly second Victoria House. Also Banyan Bay has a nice pool and is on a really nice stretch of beach.

If you want to be in the middle of things, Ramon's has an ok pool, but it also has a wonderful beach.

In my opinion, Coco Beach has the fanciest pool on the island. It's pretty awesome. I say that, and I haven't even seen the second pool, it was still under construction last I was on the island. But, Coco is about three miles north......
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Old Sep 29th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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Banyan Bay might be a good option. Nice pool, beach, & 2 bedroom w/ full kitchen. It would be long day (especially long with young kids) to do a day tour on the mainland from San Pedro.
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Old Sep 30th, 2010, 02:55 PM
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I was interested in the Howler Monkey Resort so I clicked on the link above (from July). This is the actual link:

http://www.howlermonkeyresort.bz/
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Old Oct 7th, 2010, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for your replies. I have looked at Banyan Bay and this seems like it would accommodate our family nicely. I'd like to stay under $400 a night. I'm not sure on the rates at the Victoria House, but I will inquire with them, as it also looks really nice. We won't be there long, a total of 5 nights, so that is why I would prefer to stay in 1 place and make the day trip. How far is it from Banyan Bay into the jungle area for either a tour or a zip line? I'm sorry, we have never been to Belize so this is all new.
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Old Oct 7th, 2010, 06:03 PM
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It was a couple summers ago but I think we paid $225 nt (weekly rate). Katie V (see her posting above) booked our rooms at Banyan Bay & Chaa Creek. Enjoy!
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Old Oct 8th, 2010, 05:57 AM
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You can certainly do a day trip to the mainland for ziplining. I'm not sure what the age restriction for kids is though. Something to check before you book.

The ride to and from the mainland takes over an hour, closer to 90 minutes if you're taking the water taxi to/from Belize City.

Most trips to the mainland from Ambergris are all day affairs. My only personal experience is the trip to the ruins at Lamanai. Leave at 7am, don't return until about 6pm. Long day for kids.

If your kids are too young, I'm guessing places like Banyan Bay will help you arrange child care....
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Old Oct 8th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Thanks for the time frame info Jean H. Our kids are (will be at the time of travel) 9,9 & 7. But they are pretty good travelers and so I think 12 hours would be fine. Thanks for suggesting to check for age requirements on the zip lines, I didn't think about that.

I have another question. We are obviously flying into BZE, and I know we can either take another flight from there to San Pedro or a water taxi. I hear the flights are quicker, and so I'm leaning towards that, is this something I need to book ahead of time or do we just land at BZE and go hop on a plane to the island? Also, once we get to San Pedro, how do we get to the hotel? Taxi?
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Old Oct 8th, 2010, 07:22 PM
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Where are you flying from? If you get into Belize City relatively early, I'd consider taking a cab from BZE to the Municipal airport. The cost of the cab is about US$25.00. Flights from muni are around $35.00, with a discount for children, as opposed to $63.00 from BZE.

There are no lights at the airstrip at Municipal, so a late afternoon flight will mean you need to fly from BZE.

Whether you decide to fly from BZE or Municipal, do make reservations ahead of time. Tropic Air (and probably Maya) do a really good job of getting their passengers to San Pedro, even if their international flight is late. If you don't have reservations, they might not have room.

How you get to your hotel depends on where you're staying. Some of the resorts offer ground transportation from the airport in San Pedro. If you're north of the bridge, you'll need a boat to get there, either private transfer or water taxi. Once again, some resorts arrange someone to pick you up and take you do the dock. South of the bridge taxis are waiting at the airstrip, and don't cost very much (assuming your resort doesn't pick you up).
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Old Oct 8th, 2010, 09:05 PM
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The planes don't hold many people, maybe about 15 or so, so I would definitely book ahead like Jean mentioned. The flight is quick, about 15 minutes. Our hotel picks people up by golf cart, but there are also taxis around; they look more like vans than taxis, and they have green license plates to help distinguish them.
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Old Oct 9th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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Have you looked at Xanadu resort at San Pedro? It's right on the beach almost next to Banyan Bay. They usually give discounts (10% off or one night free). You can email them, they are so nice and respond quickly. They also help you with any tours you want, have snorckeling equipment, a nice pool, bikes and golf carts. They pay the taxi driver to deliver you to Xanadu and the airport. My son and I stayed in the two bedroom oceanfront and it was perfect. Sand at your doorstep, little hermit crabs crawling in the sand, the ocean was right there. You can walk over to Banyan Bay's beach and play in the water.
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Old Oct 10th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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Jean we live in Washington state and transfer/layover in Dallas, have to stay the night in Dallas and then head into BZE the next day. So, in answer to your question we will be coming in from DFW at 2:55 PM.

Ii will definitely make reservations for air then, thanks so much for that info as well.

I have not checked out Xanadu, but I will look into it as well. I'm really leaning towards Banyan Bay, I'm assuming they help with any tours we would want to take?
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