Is Belize for us?

Old Feb 27th, 2006, 09:25 AM
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Is Belize for us?


I am starting to research a trip to Belize for my husband and I and some of our friends for January 2007. My husband and I went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and fell in love with it. We really want to see more of Central America. The people who are coming on the January trip (probably about 8-10 of us total) would have liked to go to CR, but since we just went there we suggested somewhere like Belize. But I am a little nervous because I'm the appointed trip planner and while Belize looks beautiful, is it good for a group trip? We are not huge partiers but are all in our twenties and want enough to do and see. We don't want a package-resort type of vacation however. If we'd wanted that we'd head to Mexico or the Dominican Republic. We want culture, water sports, and uniqueness. We're looking at approximately a week and I'm also not sure if we should spend that whole week in Ambergris or also include time somewhere like San Ignacio. Any thoughts/comments/experiences to share?
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Old Feb 27th, 2006, 10:06 AM
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I'd split the trip between beach and jungle. Ambergris or Placencia, both have hotels, inns and condos. Cayo district (San Ignacio) has lots to offer visitors. duPlooys has a house with both 3 and 4 bdrms units, that might work well for your group. Plenty of great options.
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Old Feb 27th, 2006, 10:32 AM
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Another vote fpor a split vacation -- half in the Cayo, half on the beach. We stayed at Chaa Creek which was hosting a few large groups of family and/or friends. From here you can reach Tikal or Xunantunich (culture) and explore local caves and rivers. In the evening the bar, which serves the world's best margaritas (made to order with fresh limes and no sugar) is a nice place to pass an hour or two.

Then a few days on the beach. We went to Ambergris. Wonderful snorkeling and good bonefishing. Lots of other options -- sailing, reef fishing, keyaks etc. Choose a hotel with a pool because the beaches, while great for sunning, are shallow, have seaweed, and are not great for swimming. San Pedro town on Ambergris has enough restaurants and hangouts to keep you busy.
 
Old Feb 27th, 2006, 04:11 PM
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Another vote for a split. Here are the 2 really different places we stayed (and loved) in the San Ignacio area:

www.thetrekstop.com (great budget place, pine cabins, share kitchen, hike to Xunantunich, great jumping off place for Tikal)

www.belizecamp.com- Macal River Jungle Camp, associated with Chaa Creek (wonderful jungle setting, kerosene lamps, open-air dining room, great birding, hiking, canoing, food, camp host)

Have a great trip whatever you decide!
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 04:40 PM
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We just came back and I am working on my trip report which I hope to post shortly. We had 8 days total and split our time between San Ignacio and Placencia. It worked out great, although I wished I'd had 2 extra days! We went to CR last year.If you loved CR you should also love Belize. (We did!)
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 05:03 PM
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As w/ the posters above, I'd recommend splitting the time. We spent 3 nts at Chaa Creek and 7 on Ambergris Caye. Chaa presents a lot of nature / Mayan ruin options and Ambergris Caye has fabulous diving/snorkeling and a funky downtown that has good dining choices and even a few dancing options. Enjoy!
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 08:20 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far. Reading about Belize is getting me so excited for this trip, even though it's almost a year away! Would 3 nights in San Ignacio and 5 in Ambergris be enough in each place? We'd love to go for longer but I suspect many of our group will only have a week or maybe a little more...I loved CR and can't wait to experience more of Central America! If anyone has suggestions of hotels in Ambergris, that would be appreciated too. So far I've been most interested in Banyan Bay but am open to other suggestions....
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 08:35 PM
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You could search the accommodation section on the Belize Forum and check out the Ambergris Forum:

www.belizeforum.com
www.ambergriscaye.com

Happy planning!
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Old Mar 1st, 2006, 05:00 AM
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Thinking three nights in the Cayo might be little short -- the first day is half gone by the time you get there. I would suggest a four/four split. There is plenty to do in the Cayo, and many people remember it as the best part of the trip.

Banyan Bay is probably an excellent choice. Only a few minutes out of town by golf cart, attractive grounds, a pool. We wanted to stay there but it was full at the time.
 
Old Mar 1st, 2006, 05:24 AM
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Another vote for Chaa Creek and San Pedro. You will have a taste of both jungle and sea. Banyan Bay a good choice i know the gentelman who had them built. For adventure trips on San Pedro go with Hustler Tours. Billy Leslie a life long resident of San Pedro is a great host and longtime friend. Knows the reef and gives good services not just the typical touist traps.
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Old Mar 1st, 2006, 06:49 PM
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We stayed at Banyan Bay and would recommend it to others. Nice pool, beach area, & dive shop on site.
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 07:24 AM
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Sounds like you will find everything you are looking for at the Jaguar Reef Lodge in Belize. Goto www.jaguarreef.com. It sits on the Carribbean and the Rainforest (including Mayan Ruins) is at the back door. There is excellent snorkeling (as good as the north side of the Caymans), hiking, kayaking, tubing in caves, & much more. On some of the tours, you get to see the "real" country & animals etc - it is fascinating. We even had a Puma (red lion) run across the road in front of us). The lodge has a variety of tours available every day & great guides. You are in a small group on the tours which makes it even better. The place is very very nice (not plush but excellent) and the people are wonderful. Everyone we spoke with there raved about the value -- you got sooo much for your money! There are several packages - we got the activity one. A week is not enough time to do everything. We just got back last night & my hubby says it is the best trip he has ever been on.

 
Old Mar 20th, 2006, 05:50 AM
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We were in Belize at Christmas and loved it. We spent 3 days doing jungle adventures at Ian Anderson's (search for their site) and it was excellent and cheaper than other jungle lodges. Then we were in Ambergris Caye for 5 days of diving and snorkelling staying at The Tides. It is a small family owned hotel right on the beach at the edge of town. The owner, Patajo, has his own dive shop and they are all so friendly and helpful. By the way, a person at Ian Anderson helped us to book all of our domestic ground and air transport. It was very stress free.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 05:25 AM
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Just started research on our 2008 trip to Belize. Thinking of the last week in March and first week in April, over the Easter vacation. How is that weatherwise also is it a more expensive time to travel? We love to snorkle and explore history. Looking for suggestions as to where to go and where to stay. We do not need a fancy resort but do require warm showers and a/c after a long day of exploring. Traveling with 3 kids so also need a place that will not be to hard on the budget. Celebrating our 20th Anniversary,yes with the kids, as we had many years of travel together before we had kids, just not comfortable leaving them home.Looking for direction! Thanks so much for your suggestions.....
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 05:50 AM
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I love how fodorfolks start planning trips YEARS in advance. On Thorntree the trend is to buy your ticket and reserve just the 1st night - would be a fascinating way to travel but the planning is half the fun!

Belize is a wonderful place to take kids. Be warned, though - travel is addicting and within a year of our trip to Belize all of our kids (17, 18, and 20) were studying and living overseas. Some people complain about "empty nest" syndrome - we had "empty continent" syndrome! Here's a link to our travelogue in case you're interested in an adventury trip. We LOVED everyplace we stayed but never had ac, rarely electricity, and sometimes not running water, so the lodging bits probably won't be of interest. Happy trails!

http://www.belizeforum.com/cgi-bin/u...;f=10;t=000362
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Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 06:21 AM
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2008!!!

Now I really feel bad -- I'm just starting to plan for this August. In Europe. I wish I could plan ahead but in truth, I have no idea what will interest me in two year's time.

Anyway, Look at Banyan Bay on Ambergris -- two bedroom suites on a nice stretch of beach with a pool, and not too expensive.
 
Old Mar 22nd, 2006, 07:51 AM
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Thanks for the replys. Sometime I think trip planning is an addiction. This year we are going to Turks and Caicos, next year my youngest will be five. Family traditon five equals Disney vacation, so thats done as well. Time to focus on the Anniversary Special. It looks as though the vacation should be split 1 week north one week south but not sure. Funny you mentioned Banyon Bay was just searching VRBO to see if any available through there.Also came across Casa Rojo which looked really nice. Is there much of a difference traveling early spring compared with the summer? Any suggestions as to what not to miss doing? Grover reef? Which Ruins?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 03:56 PM
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Old Mar 27th, 2006, 01:05 AM
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I vote for inland and beach stay. For inland, I stayed at Ian Anderson's Cave Branch Jungle Lodge. It has a great variety of adventure trips like cave tubing, which you can do with a large group. As for beach stay, I stayed at Glover's Reef Atoll Resort. It's hardly a resort, but great for the money.

http://uniqueplaces.blogspot.com
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Old Apr 3rd, 2006, 10:43 AM
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If you go to San Ignacio, I reccomend the "First Lady Suite" at Martha's guest house. It's on top floor (sorry, no elevator) and has a huge terrace with a hammock, table and chairs. A great place to watch the street below and hang with a group. The room has fridge, microwave,fans, two beds (king and queen) and a luxurious bathroom. A real bargain.
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