Mexico/Belize/Guatemala or Costa Rica WITH KIDS

Old Apr 26th, 2020, 04:01 AM
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Mexico/Belize/Guatemala or Costa Rica WITH KIDS

Hi there, I wonder if you could help. We are planning a trip in March next year (all being well) with our kids who will be 2 & 4.

we were originally looking at Costa Rica but are tempted by Mexico/Belize and Guatemala. Was looking at flying in and out of Cancun, hiring a car and driving down the coast, through Belize, into Guatemala and back up through Mexico to Cancun. Is this too much driving with kids and would there be much to entertain them?

We will have about 3.5/4 weeks. Appreciate your help.
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Old Apr 26th, 2020, 11:36 AM
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Not all car rental companies allow you to drive from Mexico into another country, America Car Rental in Mexico which has offices in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Merida, does allow this but you must arrange it with them in advance and buy your own separate car rental policy for Belize. America will include the Mexican car rental insurance in their quote.
https://www.america-carrental.com/

You can expect to pay about $40 per day for a small sedan with full insurance coverage (liability is mandatory) and avoid using a third party like Expedia, etc. You'll have to ask about car seats although for the 4 year old you can bring an inflatable booster seat.
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Old Apr 26th, 2020, 04:47 PM
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That would be too much driving for me, especially with littles in tow. Depending on where you plan to visit in Belize and Guatemala, a rental car could be a hinderance rather than a benefit. I think I'd either stay in México or start in Guatemala and fly out of Belize or Cancún. If you don't have one already, in my opinion you should get your hands on a guidebook and devour it, even an older 1 from your local library would work. They have good historical and cultural background sections and suggested itineraries in addition to travel, tour, food, and lodging specifics. When you have a better idea of what you’re wanting, you can get more updated info from the internet and come back with more specific questions so we can help you better.

In the mean time here's a link to my photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection - all my recommendations are embedded there.

Happy planning!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

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Old Apr 26th, 2020, 08:59 PM
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Costa Rica is our favorite destination, but that being said, I think it's better suited to older children unless you plan on going somewhere like Manuel Antonio to enjoy beach time and seeing all the wildlife like monkeys and sloths.
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Old Apr 26th, 2020, 09:44 PM
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Thank you for your responses. We think we may stick to Cost Rica this time around as thinking about all the driving, we may have been a bit optimistic! My boys love beaches, animals and just seeing new things.

Which part of CR should we focus on? We don’t necessarily like to go to overcrowded touristy places and would like to go (safely) off the beaten track a bit. Also don’t want to spend too much time driving although appreciate that we will have a fair amount to do but will split it up and stop off in places. Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 27th, 2020, 04:42 AM
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Not to steer you away from Costa Rica, but just chiming in to say you could easily spend your entire 3.5 to 4 weeks in any of the countries you name, minimizing drive time by choosing a handful of amazing bases and day tripping out to explore. No need to commit to a huge loop with many transition days if that travel style doesn't suit you. Happy trails!
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Old Apr 29th, 2020, 04:13 AM
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Thanks for your comments. I really really would love to travel Mexico if I had a choice but am worried about the safety of it all. We would love to go to Mexico City and explore along the west coast. Would this be advisable or should we plan to come back when the kids are older? I’m not interested in the touristy places such as Cancun particularly. We love exploring new cultures.
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Old Apr 29th, 2020, 06:25 AM
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IMO the notion Costa Rica is "safe" is outdated by about 15-20 years. Beaches in particular are where you can't leave anything in sight, or in your car, and invasions of lodgings and daylight robbery (or the tire slashing trick) happens. The relocation of the drug trade routes via Costa Rica and adjacent countries hasn't helped.

You can read the various State Department advisories. And remember that Mexico is a big country. Yucatan State is considered the safest in Mexico (whereas there has also been a crime wave in QR near Cancun/Playa del Carmen).

You can ask on TripAdvisor but with a grain of salt, many of their forums are dominated by those with blinders or financial interests in tourism (Costa Rica forum was particularly bad as was Puerto Vallarta, with former Destination Experts being in the biz).

Who even knows what things will be like by next spring, but I agree that you might want to devour a few guide books.

I would love to return to Mexico City and Puebla, if possible, but I don't know that it will be.

Last edited by mlgb; Apr 29th, 2020 at 06:30 AM.
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Old Apr 29th, 2020, 08:27 AM
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If by the west coast of Mexico you mean Oaxaca and/or Jalisco & parts of Colima, you should be fine. But it's a good idea to avoid Guerrero & Michoacan.
Public transportation in Mexico is abundant, comfortable and relatively inexpensive. But if you're planning on renting a car, you can safely explore areas that are otherwise difficult to get to by public transportation. One such area would be the Sierra Gorda in Queretaro, and the Huasteca Potosína in neighboring San Luis Potosí. The scenery is stunning, and the Huasteca is known for its turquoise rivers and fantastic waterfalls. With 3.5-4 weeks, you've got lots of options. I wouldn't rent a car in Mexico City.
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Old Apr 29th, 2020, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by baldone View Post
But it's a good idea to avoid Guerrero & Michoacan.....
baldone: any concerns with traveling to Taxco from Mexico City? I have that on my itinerary for later this year. I've read of problems in Guerrero state but understood those were primarily in Acapulco and surrounds and that Taxco and the road to it from CDMX is safe.
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Old Apr 29th, 2020, 11:58 AM
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Minn, I wouldn't hesitate to visit Taxco. In fact, I too had been scheming a short Mexico City/Taxco trip for some time in June before COVID hit the fan. We haven't been to Taxco for several years. So much for that.
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