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help quick: planning a 9 day trip to belize in two weeks!

help quick: planning a 9 day trip to belize in two weeks!

Old Feb 6th, 2009, 09:17 AM
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help quick: planning a 9 day trip to belize in two weeks!

My partner and I are escaping the wintery mess in the northeast US (5 degrees this morning, ugh) and heading to Belize in 2 weeks and will be there for 9 nights (Friday 2/20 - Sunday 3/1). Any advice on where we should go, what we should do, where we should stay, great food, etc. would be much appreciated!

About us and our interests:

* We are 37 and 45 and relatively active, yet big guys

* We like outdoorsy/adventurous stuff (the cave tubing, chartering a sailboat, and Kayaking & Camping around Glover's Reef Atoll all sound fun!).

* I'm deathly afraid of sharks (like, I check swimming pools to make sure they are clear...) and while I'm willing to challenge this fear on occasion, my partner really wants to snorkel and maybe assisted scuba so any recommendations on places we can do this safely and with less chance of shark sitings would be greatly appreciated (I'm going to write off Shark-Ray Alley)

* We'd like to split our time with beach/sun + jungle/ruins and have heard good things about Caulker Caye, (though the San Pedro Carnival on Ambergris Caye is 2/22-24 and sounds awesome, I wonder if 'Carnivale' is great elsewhere as well...?). Also intrigued by Tikal, but hear that there are other newer less tourist-mobbed ruins in Belize too... and Chan Chic Jungle Lodge looks cool

* That said, we prefer to hunker down in an area and get to know it vs. a 1 day here, 2 days there, 1 day somewhere else, etc. itinerary

* We prefer more upscale accommodations (I'm addicted to high thread count sheets) but also love a great value and we prefer an upscale B&B to a generic american resort, and we also are happy to rough it if that's what's called for

* I'm vegan (vegetarian + no eggs or dairy) and we're both kind of foodies (with an equal love for upscale and hole-in-the-wall gems)

* We got amazing airfare to Belize, so we aren't on a fixed budget, we're not going for a lavish vacation, but if there are amazing opportunities that cost a bit of money we are open to them

* I've heard that Belize is pretty conservative... so recommendations that steer towards inclusive minded properties/places would be welcomed

Thanks in advance for any help y'all can provide!

phil
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Old Feb 6th, 2009, 09:31 AM
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Surf n Turf; split your time between the Cayo (lots of jungle stuff, caves,and ruins)and the beach (best bet for food options for a vegan might be Ambergris; a little more dining variety available there).
Shark-Ray alley is mostly a bunch of mantas, hardly ever sharks (most people I've talked to haven't seen them there lately, just rays), swimmming around while they are being fed. No biggie, but almost always included in a boat trip to Hol Chan. You'll be lucky to see a shark while snorkeling, go ahead and jump in the warm water! (Go to the end of a dock at night with a flashlight for cool viewing).
Tikal isn't "mobbed"; it's huge, and well worth a (long) day trip into Guatemala; but there are certainly lots of other Mayan ruins to see that are a bit closer. The ATM cave trip is incredible, but be sure to make reservations.
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Old Feb 6th, 2009, 11:07 AM
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Brief amendment, it seems that we are now leaning towards Placencia for the beach part of the trip... instead of Ambergris or Caulker Cayes. So any feedback on that decision and/or recommendations for lodging/dining/activity in Placencia would be welcomed.

Phil
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Old Feb 6th, 2009, 02:30 PM
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Hi, Phil -
Tikal is amazing and well worth an overnight so you can explore the ruins in the cooler evening and early morning hours when you're more apt to see beautiful birds and monkeys and the human day trip crowds are gone. You won't find high thread count sheets, there - not even electricity after 10pm or so.

How about a combination of Chaa Creek (with an overnight to Tikal) and Turtle Inn since your budget is flexible? Check them out in a guide book or online:

www.chaacreek.com
http://www.blancaneaux.com/desk/


Happy trails and keep us posted!
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Old Feb 6th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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Belize is very much live and let live, gay couples who live or visit here feel quite comfortable. In Placencia look at Roberts Grove and Turtle Inn. Some wonderful restaurants in the village and on the peninsula. For jungle, look at the Cayo district at both Chaa Creek and Blancaneaux Lodge. Chaa Creek also has a campground on premises should you want to spend a few nights there. Chan Chich is lovely and in deep jungle, but Cayo has many more sites and attractions. You could visit Tikal on a day trip or spend the night and its easily accessed from Cayo. All these places can accommodate your dietary needs. Shark Ray alley has both nurse sharks and spotted eagle rays, not mantas. And Ive always seen the nurse sharks there.
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