Honeymoon Help - Belize and Guatemala

Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:01 AM
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Honeymoon Help - Belize and Guatemala

Hi! My fiance and I are getting married in September, but do not have time to go on our honeymoon until December. We are planning a 2 week trip, and we are looking into Belize and Guatamala. We are pretty active and adventurous, but would like some relaxation and/or beach time as well.

I am looking for suggestions about how to break up the trip - ie how many days for sightseeing and Mayan ruins v. relaxing days. Also - how many days in Belize vs. Guatamala?

How is the weather in December? Will it be nice to sit outside and relax, or too humid?

I have searched online a bit and found a few hotels that look nice. One is the Jaguar Reef Lodge - has anyone stayed there or heard good/bad things?

Thank you so much for all of your help!!!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 07:28 AM
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I probably wouldn't try to go to both Guatemala & Belize on the same trip, if you've only got 2 weeks. We've been to both places, and I think you'd be rushing around too much.

We spent 11 days in early December in Guatemala recently and that was great - however it doesn't have beaches. We loved Guatemala - it was amazinbg. We spent a few days at Lake Atitlan for our "relaxation" time - but we also did some sightseeing there as well (visiting a number of the small villages around the lake). Weather was fantastic - we had slightly cooler nights where we had to wear a light jacket, but days were hot and sunny.

It was a few years ago that we went to Belize. We had 6 nights on Ambergris, 4 nights in Placencia and 3 or 4 nights in San Ignacio. I wasn't crazy about Placencia to be honest - I didn't think that the beach was all that good, and it was also really really hot when we were there. But others seem to like it.

As I said, 2 weeks to see both countries would be too rushed from my perspective, but it depends on how you like to travel.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 08:09 AM
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Thank you so much for your suggestions! (We are from Toronto too).

When you had your "relaxation" time in Guatemala what sorts of things were there to do?

I'm not sure what we will end up doing - one of the big draws to Belize is the scuba diving and snorkeling.

It may be possible to take off 2 and a half weeks from work, but that would be the max. time we would have.

Thanks again for your help!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 10:14 AM
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Congratulations! Belize and Guatemala are both wonderful destinations as Susan notes. I agree that you won't be able to see much of either splitting your time between 2 evenly, but Belize with a side trip to Tikal in Guatemala to see the jungle and the ruins would be easy to fit in.

Here's what I'd do: I'd head to San Ignacio for 3 or 4 nights, staying at a jungle lodge and doing adventure trips during the day; the ATM cave is especially popular, and there are several ruins including Xunantunich that are easy to get to.

We loved www.belizecamp.com , Macal River Jungle Camp - awesome jungle setting, sweet, comfortable tent/cabins, great food, friendly camp host, motmots, toucans, and parrots viewed from your hammocks, great hiking and canoing activities and access to Chaa Creek's natural history museum and butterfly farm, $55/night each including dinner and breakfast.

http://www.actionboysbelize.com/ - adventure provider I've heard good things about but never used.

You can arrange for a tour company to take you on an overnighter to Tikal but it's easy to set up on your own, too, and cheaper. I recommend a night in the park; there are 3 hotels and I've stayed at 2 of them. Last August I especially enjoyed the http://tikalinn.com/ Tikal Inn; we paid $75/double which included dinner and breakfast. You might want to consider a night in Flores, too, for a different taste of Guatemala. It's a cute town crammed onto an island in Lake Peten Itza about an hour from Tikal and it's easy to bus or shuttle back to Belize from there. We stayed at the http://www.corpetur.com/english/hotels.htm Casona de la Isla and were very pleased, pool, nice terrace restaurant, real hot water, not fancy but very nice, $51/double.

From there I'd head back into Belize and go to www.cavesbranch.com Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Lodge for 3 nights for some real adventure; we loved the Black Hole Drop, great food, variety of jungle accommodations varying in price.

From there I'd head to a beachy place, probably Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker, depending on your interests and style and budget.

I'm really impressed with Lan Sluder's 2008 Fodor's Guide to Belize. We used (and were pleased with) the Rough Guide for our trip in 2003 and there's a fairly new Moon Handbook out, too. They all have Tikal sections.

Keep us posted! Here are links to the www.belizeforum.com , Lan Sluder's www.belizefirst.com , and my photos and travelogues http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections . Happy trails!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 11:20 AM
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Stacey's suggestion is a good one. When we visited Belize, we regretted not going to Tikal, since it wasn't that far from San Ignacio. I'd recommend staying in the park as well - it was really cool waking up early and going for a walk through the jungle, hearing the howlers, etc. (Unfortunately we didn't get up early enough to see the sunrise.)

In December, we ended up flying up to Flores from Guatemala City. That was fine, and I'm glad we went, but we had limited time, and really didn't want to spend more than a night there. If I had spent 2 nights, I probably would have spent 1 at the park and the other in Flores.

For our 'relaxation' days in Guatemala, we stayed in a wonderful little hotel high above Lake Atitlan. I posted a trip report, and if you click on my name, you should be able to find it. We'd go out every day, but it was wonderful and peaceful back at the hotel.

You mentioned that you wouldn't be going until December. Antigua was gorgeous just before Christmas! The trees in the park in the centre of town were covered with little white lights and it was just beautiful. We did a little splurge and stayed our last night at Casa Santa Domingo and it was fabulous.

In terms of what I liked best - I have to say I preferred Guatemala. We'd go back to Guatemala, but I'm not sure if we'd go back to Belize. However, I do agree about the snorkling in Belize (I don't dive) - that was a really fun part of the trip and it's not somethign that you would do on a trip to Guatemala. We're hoping to get away again in May (which is later than I would like) and we're planning to pick a place where we can snorkel.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2008, 01:43 PM
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December is cooler weather, sometimes long sleeve and pants weather. Jaguar Reef is fine. Also look at Roberts Grove in Placencia and the jungle lodges in the Cayo district-Chaa Creek, Blancaneaux, duPlooys, Hidden Valley Inn. You can take a day trip to Tikal in Guatemala from any of these lodges or spend a few nights in Tikal and the island villge of Flores for a taste of Guatemala. If you really want both countries, fly from Flores to Guatemala City to see Antigua and Lake Atitalan areas.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 10:38 AM
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Thank you so much for all of your suggestions!

I looked at the website for Tikal Inn and it looks amazing - I think we will definitely spend at least a night in Tikal.

With so many wonderful places to go, it's so hard to make these kinds of decisions. I think we will definitely go to Belize as we are really looking forward to doing some scuba diving/snorkeling. We also definitely want to do the caves, the black hole drop and check out some Mayan ruins.

Since we are on our honeymoon, we would like to pamper ourselves (at least a little bit).

Thanks again for all of your suggestions - keep them coming!
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 12:56 PM
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If you're looking to pamper yourself on a side trip to Tikal, Francis Ford Coppola's La Lancha Lodge might be worth a look as a place to stay near Tikal...in El Remate:

http://www.blancaneaux.com/
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Old Feb 6th, 2008, 04:48 PM
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Chaa Creek would be nice for your honeymoon and it's close to the border so a trip to Tikal is fairly convenient. For a honeymoon, I would not recommend the Macal River Camp (at Chaa Creek). Reserve on of their Tree Top lodges....very nice!
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 03:15 AM
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My husband and I went to Belize for our honeymoon and also wanted an adventure/active part and a lazy beach part.

We went for two weeks. The first week, we split up between Chaa Creek in the jungle and Blancaneaux Lodge (a francis ford copalla resort) in the rainforest. That was our activity week...we did the ATM cave tour and horseback riding while we were at Chaa Creek. We also took a day trip to the ruins at Caracoal. At blancaneaux we did a lot of hiking and biking and there is a beatiful waterfall with a wading pool to hike to not far from the resort.

The second week we stayed in Plancencia at Turtle Inn (another francis ford copalla resort). We had a beachfront cabanna and it was amazing! It is a very intimate small luxury resort and has excellent service.

We rented a car for the two weeks and drove ourselves to each resort. You will also want a car to get in and out of plancencia if you end up staying at the turtle inn. It was also a nice way for us to see the beautiful countryside of belize rather than flying to our destinations.

We just watched our video of our honeymoon trip and remembered what an amazing time we had. If you plan to stay at any of these places and want more detailed information, just let me know. I have some great restaurant suggestions as well!
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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Thank you again for all of your suggestions! Especially CaliforniaPink21 - when I have a better idea of what we are doing I will definitely pick your brain for restaurants, tours, etc!

Sorry for the delayed replies - work has been brutal lately and i have had no time for planning. I need a vacation!

I am looking into Chaa Creek and also Turtle Inn, which I have heard is beautiful. I think we are still thinking of going to Tikal - how long should we plan to spend in Tikal?

Thanks again!
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Old Feb 29th, 2008, 10:49 AM
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We basically had 2 days / 1 night in Tikal, and that was fine. (We had less time than expected that first day because our flight from Guatemala City was delayed several hours.) I could have spent another day in the area - if so, I think I would have liked to spend a night in Flores.
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Old Mar 4th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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Belize is beautiful. They have great diving and snorkeling which can be a lot of fun. The reef there is amazing. I know people who go for that alone. I visited Kohunlich (probably not spelled right)which is a couple of hours from Belize city. It was nice, but I've heard there are better ruins out there.I would also visit Tikal, although I haven't been there, everyone raves about it. Have fun!
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 10:19 AM
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Californiapink21 & RSN, we must be on the same page! Just booked my flight to go this Feb to Belize for our honeymoon. Like you, we want the jungle/hiking/ruins/adventure first leg of the trip and the lazy beach ending. We reserved a treetop suite at Chaa Creek already for the first three nights... fiance is loving that he can sleep in a tree Looking into lazy beach places to stay now, but they must have good snorkling (we like to do stuff, get bored laying in the sun all day, though right now it sounds really nice). Would love recommendations of where to stay, where to eat etc.
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Old Apr 7th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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turtle inn looks great... any other suggestions for beach hotel?
wasn't planning on renting a car, but if you think its a better option... than maybe we should.
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Old Apr 16th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Hi All,

Glad to see this thread is helping other Belize-goers.

I think I am getting a bit of a better idea of where we are going to go on our honeymoon. I think the places are :

1. Palencia for relaxing beach vacation - hopefully at Turtle Inn

2. jungle adventures - probably staying at chaa creek

3. Tikal in Guatemala (probably staying in flores

4. Antigua in Guatemala

5. we were also thinking of making our way to Chichicastenango, but this will depend on timing.

We are now looking into flying into Belize City and out of Guatemala City to save some time. We are still not sure about which order to go in - any suggestions are much appreciated.

What do you think? Are we crazy?
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Old Apr 17th, 2008, 04:35 AM
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Great hotel choices in Belize and great city choices for Guate, but alot of moving around, esp for a two week trip, but it can be done. I might visit both TI and CC, then move to Tikal and fly to GUA and visit both Antigua and Chichi/Atitlan on market day. You'll need to fly into one country and out the other to save a days traveling
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Hi All!

Apologies for my late replies. Work has been insane and honeymoon/wedding planning has been on hold. I am trying to get back to it now, and have been researching non-stop. I have made a few changes to above draft itinerary, and would appreciate any comments about these changes/hotels/etc. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has provided insight and suggestions - they are all really appreciated!

Week 1 - beach relaxation/scuba adventures. I am looking into the Mata Chica Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye. Have heard that this area is a little nicer and more remote than Placencia. Thoughts?

Days 8, 9, 10 - Chaa Creek with adventure tours

Days 11, 12, 13 - Guatemala staying at La Lancha. We would do a tour of Tikal and then also possbily a tour of the Maya ruins of Yaxha and Topoxte (where the survivor tv show was filmed). Has anyone done the second tour? Is it worth it?

Also - I am also looking into a package between Blancaneaux Lodge and La Lancha. What are the pros/cons of Blancaneaux vs. Chaa Creek?

I would love to spend a night in Antigua before flying home from Guatemala City, but I am afraid it will be too rushed. What I was thinking is spending 1 or 2 nights in Flores and only doing a 1 day tour of Tikal and then heading down to the Lake Atitlan area for 2 days and then one day in Antigua and then home. Thoughts?

Thank you again for all of your help!
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Old Jul 1st, 2008, 10:07 AM
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Sorry, I forgot to add that if we use the above itinerary we will be in Tikal over new years eve. We are not crazy party people and usually spend new years at our cottage hanging out with friends, so we definitley would feel comfortable staying in.

Having said that, I am wondering if there is anything "special" that goes on for new years in Belize and/or Guatemala. Has anyone done anything that they would suggest or tell us to avoid? Thank you!!
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