Latin America recommendations needed!

Old Feb 9th, 2008, 02:29 PM
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Latin America recommendations needed!

I'd like to spend aboput a week in Belize, Guatemala and perhaps Honduras to see Mayan ruins. Does anyone have a centrally located resort or a tour operator they'd like to recomend? I am an independent traveller, but would love a package with transportation and transfers included or available as my time is short and I'm travelling alone. Gracias!
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Old Feb 9th, 2008, 06:41 PM
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I think you should consider dropping Honduras from your list. With a week, there just isn't enough time.

Others will probably disagree, but I'd base myself out of San Ignacio Belize. From there, it's easy to arrange transportation to Tikal in Guatamala. I haven't been, but prevailing wisdom is to spend at least one night close by for early morning touring.

In Belize, there is Caracol, Xunantunich (I suspect I murdered the spelling), Cahal Pech, and probably others that are fairly close to San Igancio.

There is also the ATM cave, which although not a ruin, it does have Mayan artifacts, even skeletons of Mayan sacrifices.

I love the ruins at Lamanai, also in Belize, but I go via Ambergris CAye, which is out of the way for you.
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Old Feb 9th, 2008, 07:03 PM
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Is your only goal Maya ruins? Any interest in caving, hiking, beautiful beaches, snorkeling, indigenous villages or colorful markets?

Please tell us if you have other interests and general budget level are so we can advise you better.

In a week you could fly in and out of Guatemala City, stay a few nights in Antigua with day trips to Lake Atitlán and the Chichicastenango market, then fly round trip to Tikal.

If you want some blue water time, a split between the San Ignacio, Belize with an overnighter to Tikal and the rest on an island would be great.

My photos and travelogues are linked below if you're interested. Happy trails!

http://flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 04:30 AM
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Thanks! I do want some beach time-I don't dive or snorkel, but love kayaking and marine life. I'd like to be at around $2000 land cost. I'd be anxious to hear from those who've done ATM-can claustrophobes like me handle it?
Yes, I'd like to do all the things you've mentioned, hopefulist. Maya Mountain has excursions to all of the above, except overnight at Tikal. I've also seen packages that divide time between San Ignacio, Flores and Guatemala City, but the cheap ones spend two nights in Guatemala City. Worthwhile?
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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Where are you, hopefulist? Im counting on you! It's -10 degrees here and I need to talk jungle!
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Old Feb 10th, 2008, 04:11 PM
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Sorry - replumbing the kitchen sink!

I definitely wouldn't spend 2 of only 7 days in Guatemala City. I think you should focus this trip on Belize with the side trip to Tikal and plan to head to Guatemala another time when you're more used to Central America and you have more time. No beaches to write home about in Guatemala, either.

IMO you really don't need a tour or agency, but a good guidebook would be nice. I recommend Lan Sluder's 2008 Fodor's Belize (you may have to cut and paste the link):

http://www.amazon.com/Fodors-Belize-...1095224&sr=1-1

He has some good itinerary suggestions and lodging reviews. The latter are also available on his website:

www.belizefirst.com

Check out the Belize Forum:

www.belizeforum.com

Your budget is really generous so I would pick and choose where to save and where to splash out.

Here's an idea. Have Chaa Creek www.chaacreek.com pick you up at the airport and see if they'll stop by the zoo for an hour or 2 enroute. It's a very highly rated resort but a bit too fancy and not jungly enough for me. I'd recommend you stay at their Macal River Jungle Camp, a beautiful jungle setting, sweet tent/cabins, a lovely open-air dining palapa, great food, wonderful camp host, Dolcio, hiking and canoing opportunities abound and you'd have free use of the internet, natural history museum, and butterfly farm at Chaa Creek. I think the cost is $55/person/night plus taxes and includes dinner and breakfast.

I'd skip the ATM if you're claustrophobic, but I think Chaa Creek takes trips to Chechem Ha which would be less adventurous and "tight" yet still offer a beautiful guided jungle hike and a cool cave with Maya pots and altars. They also do an overnight to Tikal which would be very good, and could arrange to get you to the airport or ferry to head over to Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. Chaa Creek's tours are spendy but excellent and if you're only paying $60/night +/- for lodging, dinner, and breakfast you could afford it.

Can't really help you on the islands but the links at the top will. I'd do 3 nights at Chaa Creek or Macal River, an overnighter to Tikal, then head to an island for the last 3 days. You can fly from there to the airport for your flight out. If you can swing 4 days of island time that would be better.

There's your jungle talk for now with a few too many opinions thrown in, perhaps. Happy trip planning and keep us posted!!
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Old Feb 11th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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Thanks so much-that's exactly the kind of help I was hoping for!
And it confirms my original plan to stay in Belize for my too short week.
I have ordered a couple of guide books-I tend to plan things to death. Sometimes I'm afraid I enjoy the planning as much as the trip
I will keep you posted. Thanks again.
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Old Feb 11th, 2008, 11:10 AM
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Glad to help. Let me know if there's more I can do.

I'm the same way with planning - I'm working on 5-6 weeks in Honduras this summer and I'm already daydreaming about Guatemala/Belize in 2009. I don't enjoy the planning more than the trips but the planning feeds me for months or years ahead and the trips always fly by, so I enjoy it longer. Looking at the photos and rereading my travelogues is great, too. Sigh...
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