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Jungle Fever - Can You Help With Belize Itinerary?

Old Mar 30th, 2010, 12:36 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 378
Cattail,

I've been to both Caracol and Tikal. Of the two, I would highly recommend Tikal. There's just more to it (that's excavated, anyway). However, don't totally discount Caracol if you have the time. It's not as excavated, but the trip to Caracol is half the fun. It's long but a "jungly" experience. And Caracol was the big player in that part of the world at one point, having beaten Tikal in a war. It was interesting to see both and have that in mind.

Also, if you have the time, hike to Xunantunich from the Trek Stop.

As for suffering/starving animals and kids on the way to Tikal--Guatemala definitely looks more impoverished from the road when compared to Belize. I did see some really sorry-looking horses, very skinny. I don't think they were being mistreated because they were tied to areas with plenty of food. My guess is they had parasitic infections. I didn't see animals or humans being actively mistreated the way I have in other countries (like a starving cat tied to a pole in Vietnam or a kid getting beaten down by a drunk guy in Uganda).
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 05:40 AM
  #22  
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Gritty, thanks for the info; it really helps me to narrow down choices. The child being beaten is awful - and the poor cat! I do think we'll do Tikal this trip, if we do only one.

Hope, the Mexico trip sounds like an adventure! I'm so looking forward to that trip report, and more of your great photos.

I looked back in my Belize research, and it was indeed Placencia, and not Hopkins where you can kayak to a reef - False Caye. Initially we were thinking of the Maya Beach Hotel there because they have kayaks, bikes and hobies for guest use, a nice-looking beach and it's small enough to be personal.

Thanks for the transportation advice. Is theft a big problem on the local buses? We do manage to pack pretty light, but still... what do you do with your pack? We took a local bus recently in Costa Rica, and it was fine, but we kept our gear on our laps after being warned not to let it out of our sight, not the most comfy way to travel.

Thanks again!!!
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 06:12 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
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In Belize smaller carry-on sized bags can usually be brought onthe buses with you and stowed by your feet or overhead where you can watch them - a great advantage of packing light. Larger stuff will usually need to be stowed behind the back seats. That's a little disconcerting because people sometimes exit back there or they open the back for others to get out their bags along the route. In 2003 we packed HEAVY - camping stuff - and sat near the back where we could watch. I don't think theft is a big problem but it's good to be watchful. Just be sure everything you can't live without and especially things that might seem valuable to others, like cameras and passports, are right with you.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 08:58 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
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As hopefulist said, larger stuff usually gets put in the back behind the back seats. Our backpacks got put back there when my wife and I took the bus from Belize City to San Ignacio. I was a little nervous about them getting pillaged (1st time on a bus like that) but they were fine, although there isn't much room back there for more than a few bags.

We took an "express bus" from San Ignacio east back to the coast. They stowed our bags in the luggage compartments under the bus. I don't know if other express buses have these compartments, but ours did.

We also had to hold our packs in our laps during our bus ride from Bermudian Landing to the airport (less than an hour). I don't know why we had to do this--from our experience, the bus driver or conductor helped us stow our bags, but didn't do so here. It was no big deal.

I was nervous about riding the buses at first, but people were very helpful and friendly. You don't really know where the stops are, but we just told the conductor and someone sitting near us where we wanted to stop and someone always helped us. Even a scary-looking dude with tattoos on his face (always a little intimidating) was very helpful in letting us know where one stop was.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 06:31 PM
  #25  
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Thanks so much, hope and Gritty! It certainly helps to hear advice from those who have been there. Costa Rica was a bit difficult, because we speak poor Spanish, but people were kind there as well. I had to laugh about the guy with tatoos on his face, Gritty! Does anyone know how to make a laughing face?!
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 09:24 PM
  #26  
 
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colon + capital D?
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Old Apr 1st, 2010, 06:55 AM
  #27  
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