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Feedback requested on Xunantunich / Tikal / Cancun itinerary

Feedback requested on Xunantunich / Tikal / Cancun itinerary

Old Oct 2nd, 2018, 07:36 PM
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Feedback requested on Xunantunich / Tikal / Cancun itinerary

Hi, I'm trying to figure out an itinerary for my family's trip (2 adults + 10-year old kid) for next year and could use a sanity check. A lot of them, actually...

We're planning to fly into Belize City, and are hoping to see the ruins at Xunantunich and Tikal, and do some cave tubing and/or zip lining. Afterwards we're planning to visit Cancun before heading home.

Here's the rough itinerary we're thinking about:
* Fly into Belize City
* Transfer to San Ignacio and spend the night
* The next day tour Xunantunich, continue to Tikal, and see the sunset
* Spend the night in Flores or Tikal (haven't decided)
* The remaining time is spent visiting Tikal, cave tubing, zip lining, etc.
* Fly Flores - Guatemala City - El Salvador - Cancun
* Do stuff in Cancun
* Fly home

For getting to Cancun I saw there's a nonstop from Belize City on Tropic Air. But it looks horribly expensive. I think we can use frequent flyer miles for the flight from Flores. It's a bit of travel (there's an overnight in Guatemala City), but otherwise seems manageable.

I'm hesitant about renting a car for this, so was picturing booking a service to get us to San Ignacio, for seeing Xunantunich, and for then getting to-and-around Tikal.

What I'm wondering is:
* Does this all seem practical?
* Any recommendations on staying in Tikal vs. Flores?
* Any recommendations for tours/private shuttles to handle the transportation?

I appreciate feedback. Thanks so much.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2018, 07:47 PM
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I haven't been to Xunantunich or Tikal yet, but wonder: what is drawing you to Cancun?
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Old Oct 2nd, 2018, 08:18 PM
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<what is drawing you to Cancun?>
Maybe an easy flight home, would be my guess.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2018, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by baldone View Post
<what is drawing you to Cancun?>
Maybe an easy flight home, would be my guess.
Yes, that and proximity to Tulum.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2018, 08:30 PM
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kja
 
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IMO, Tulum and Cancun don't belong in the same grouping!

How long would you have in the Yucatan?
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Old Oct 3rd, 2018, 06:32 AM
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It would be good to know how many nights you have altogether. I'd stay in a jungly spot that has value added - hiking, canoing, a Botanical Garden or butterfly place, etc. Here are 2 favorites:
https://www.chaacreek.com/accommodat...budget-casitas
https://sweetsongslodge.com/ (just changed owners, before that was duPlooy's)

If your 10-year-old is adventurous, consider the ATM cave trip; we used Pacz Tours, recommended: https://www.pacztours.net/actun-tuni...ve-belize.html

The Belize Zoo and the Green Iguana Project are 2 other stops I'd prioritize with a child in tow.
Belize Zoo - The Belize Zoo
https://www.sanignaciobelize.com/belize-iguana-project

Re: Maya sites, you might want to set aside Xunantunich and choose Yaxhá in addition to Tikal - it's magnificent in comparison imo (or do all 3). You could get to the border and hire a guide to meet you on the Guatemala side, help you buy the tickets you'll need, take you to see Yaxhá and stop for a traditional Guatemalan lunch, and drop you in the park at Tikal, maybe providing a sunset tour (guide and extra ticket required as with the sunrise tours). Marlon Díaz is a fantastic choice for that: [email protected] a Gem Trips - Gem Trips

I'm fond of the sunrise tours (try to book archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz - incredibly knowledge and fantastic with kids - TIKAL ROXY'S TOURS ) or go in at 6am and find your way to Mundo Perdido, one of our favorite early morning spots. If you only do the sunset tour the first day you won't need a day pass for that day or if you spend more time in Tikal the first day and only do the sunrise tour the 2nd day, you'll only need a day pass for the first day (but can't avoid at least 1 day pass if you just do the extra tours). Buying in advance of the main gate to the national park saves wait time there. I would definitely stay at least one night in the park at Tikal. I'm most fond of Tikal Inn; Jungle Lodge also has a pool, Jaguar Inn does not.

Frankly, I love Belize and would save the time you're thinking of for Cancún and surrounds for a different trip. Caye Caulker, for example, isn't known for beaches but has a great, laid-back Caribbean vibe and access to phenomenal snorkeling adventures - google Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Just my 2 cents' worth (which = 4 cents BZD).

Loads of transportation schedules and links here: www.belizebus.wordpress.com
2 well-regarded private drivers in Belize:
https://williamshuttlebelize.com/
https://www.teddybearshuttle.com/

My photos with blog links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there for 2 trips to the Yucatán and 7 to Belize.
Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Last edited by hopefulist; Oct 3rd, 2018 at 06:37 AM.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2018, 07:53 AM
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Some great information in the previous post. If you want good beaches, skip Caye Caulker or anywhere else in Belize -- Mexico is the place to be for beach. Good snorkelling in Belize.

In addition to the transfer services listed above, add Discounted Shuttles to the list (the link is in the BelizeBus website).

A cheaper way to travel from Belize City to Tulum is the ADO bus. ADO is the major bus company in south-east Mexico, and they have two runs per day between BC and Cancun (with stops at Bacalar, Tulum & Playa del Carmen). ADO buses are first class. The trip to Tulum is about 6 hours, and costs about US$30 per passenger. The daytime bus run leaves BC at 11:00 am, and the overnight run leaves at 7:30 pm. More details are on the BelizeBus website. When you enter Mexico, you have to pay the 533 pesos Tourist Tax at the border. The fee is paid to a cashier (not directly to Immigration), and you'll get a receipt which will be stapled to the FMM tourist card -- keep this to show when you check-in for your flight from Cancun.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2018, 08:39 AM
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Not sure why you'd prioritize Xunatunich over Caracol in terms of ruins ... maybe more convenient but Caracol is one of the largest Mayan sites ever, surrounded by lush jungle, very few tourists, quite the adventurous feel getting there. Plus you can see the Rio Frio cave and Rio On pools.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2018, 11:23 AM
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These are really good tips, and I especially appreciate the info on the bus transfer option (great if we'll backtrack to Belize City after Tikal) and the other ruins we should consider while in the area.

Thanks!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2018, 06:29 PM
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If you do visit the Yucatan, you might want to consult the Moon Guide.
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