Need advice -- 1st time to Belize

Jun 29th, 2008, 10:50 AM
  #21  
 
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The charter flight from BZE to CC was $626 for TWO people. The plane only held the 3 of us so having more people to lower the cost didn't seem like an option. They also have a baggage weight and size limitation so be sure to check on that before packing.

I have done a ton of research for other jungle lodges in Belize. The only two locations that we felt we might try some day would be Lamanai (about the same $ as CC but has the ruins) or Mamanoots. Not much information on Mamanoots so it is hard to tell exactly what to expect.

Here is a link to another forum with tons of belize experts:
http://www.belizeforum.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi

EDH_Traveler is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 11:14 AM
  #22  
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Thank you Jean and EDH,

I'm trying to sort through the information. Had forgotten how hard it is to plan when you really don't have a "feel" for the area. Maybe I just need to decide if we'd rather walk in and snorkel (and not do much else but R&R)-- or have the town of Ambergris to explore along with biking riding and a snorkle trip--is that about the long and short of it?

We love a hotel that's right on a nice beach where the surf is steps from the door and you can wade right in. . .does that bring anything to mind? I'm thinking we are going to have to choose between that and having a town nearby for a bit of a diversion. . .???
shillmac is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 11:23 AM
  #23  
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Jean, in reading your response to another poster, I'm looking at Hotel Del Rio and thinking one of the nicer Casitas might be a good fit for us. What is your take on the hotel and its location?

Am now looking at arrival on March 16, 2:55 in the afternoon, heading to San Pedro for 3 nights. On the 19th, flying over to Chan Chich for 4 nights. Return flight home doesn't leave until 3:30 in the p.m., so we should be able to get back to BXE in plenty of time, right?

How does that sound for a mix for a couple who want to see some ruins, do some birding at a more "luxe" hotel, and stay at a moderate hotel on a good beach for lounging and good snorkeling opportunities?
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Jun 29th, 2008, 11:42 AM
  #24  
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Nervous as a cat here. I've got the res. on hold for 24 hours.

The only concern I have is a 55 min. connection in Dallas, and I'm positive there will be a change in terminals. What if we are late on our original departure!?!?

I've lost the better schedule by not booking early yesterday, but can still manage with what is there (although will have to overnight in Dallas and take an extra half day from job). Am afraid to wait longer for fear I won't be able to do it at all!

BUT I've managed to get 7 nights instead of 6--that has opened up some new doors! So now I feel I have time to work out the other details with less urgency. . .

Thanks, all--if you think of anything else or want to add to something I've said, please do!

This forum is such a life saver and I'm so glad to be a part of it!
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Jun 29th, 2008, 11:44 AM
  #25  
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Meant to say "BZE"--no telling where BXE is!
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Jun 29th, 2008, 12:22 PM
  #26  
 
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Hotel del Rio is in the north part of town, still south of the 'cut' though. On that end of town, there is some vehicle traffic on the beach. More right now, since they're working on paving (cobblestoning) the main road in that part of town.

That stretch of beach is really shallow. I don't think I've ever seen anyone in the water there. Nice views though, and maybe a 10 minute walk to ok swimming.

I would stay at Hotel del Rio, if I could get one of the ocean front cabanas.

That said, take a look at Corona del Mar. It's such a cute place, the people who stay there always seem to be nice. There's usually a game of horse shoes going on, and we get invited to join in almost every time we walk by.

Also, maybe look at Exotic Caye, the beach does look nice there, although once again, it's very shallow water.

I am such a worrier that I've always avoided those one hour connections in Dallas. However, most of our flights into Dallas have been on time. And the flight to Belize City seems to be late more often than it's on time, at least when we fly. Downside is, if you miss it, you lose an entire day. Where do you fly from?
JeanH is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 12:44 PM
  #27  
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We're flying out of Amarillo, TX, which is a very non-busy airport. Just thinking mechanical problems (which almost never happens) or some such. I avoid anything less than 1.5 hr. as well. Had just the perfect flights yesterday, lost them from FF availability. This is the best I can do. And it is such a bonus (if all goes well) to get in a day earlier to get that extra night.

You see, I have no "feel" whatsoever for Ambergris, so when you describe it to me, I have a hard time visualizing. I'll look into the hotel you suggested. . .we do want to get in the water!

Thanks!
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Jun 29th, 2008, 12:56 PM
  #28  
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Jean, am I being too picky? Corona del Mar looks great, but do we want to be on a wharf? Is the swimming good there? Can you tell me a bit more about it? Thanks!
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Jun 29th, 2008, 02:15 PM
  #29  
 
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No pool at Corona del Mar, or at Hotel del Rio, for that matter. The pier at Caribbean Villas is maybe a seven minute walk, that's where I do most of my swimming/snorkeling from shore.

I've avoided mentioning it, but the condos where I own are nice, but, at least for now, no pool. They're in between Corona del Mar and Caribbean Villas. We have absolutely awesome views, one of the hurricanes greatly enlarged our stretch of beach some years ago. Coral Bay Villas is the name. I'm not trying to 'sell' my condo, we'll be there the month of March.

I'm having a hard time figuring out what kind of place you're looking for. If walkin swimming is your priority, Ramon's has a really wonderful beach, and an artificial reef off their dock. Expensive though. We used to stay a couple places down the beach, at Belizean Reef. Nice condos, but, once again, no pool. The Palms is right there too, more expensive, but really nice condos, and it does have a pool, but it's in back.

Banyan Bay also has a great stretch of beach, but I think all their units are two bedroom. Close to there is Banana Beach, nice place, a bit too resort like for me, but it's got a very good restaurant, and is close to that great stretch of beach.

I've been to the Amarillo airport, only because we were fogged out of Dallas, and circled so long we had to refuel. That was the trip we were heading to Grenada and ended up having to spend the night in San Juan.

Check out the lodging section of this site:
http://ambergriscaye.com/
Also, there are some good maps that show where things are in relation to each other. If you want to e-mail me, I can send you some pictures, [email protected]
JeanH is offline  
Jun 29th, 2008, 02:36 PM
  #30  
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Thanks--this is extremely helpful to me. I'm not sure we're big on having a pool. Definitely will check out your place. . .it would be nice to meet you!

I guess we just want nice beach out our door--and a view. Ability to get in the water and swim. We can alwyas do a snorkle trip. Not interested in artificial reef. I'll keep checking--and will probably go "underground" with you via e-mail--if you don't mind me "dogging" you!

Thanks so much--Jill
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 05:16 AM
  #31  
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It seems a group has Chan Chich booked that entire week that we will be in Belize. I am quite bummed.

They have us in the #1 waiting spot, and say there's a 50/50 chance someone will back out by Sept. 1 deadline for final commitment. Birders, I'm sure. We're a stubborn group!

SO, supposing we get bad news come September 1,and there is no availability still, any other suggestions for a combination with the beach? Still interested in birding at least some. . .

Thanks!
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 05:33 AM
  #32  
 
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Jill, Chaa Creek is another one I've heard good things about - don't know much about it, but I'm sure the Belize experts could give you more info.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 06:51 AM
  #33  
 
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That's a real bummer. I wish I could be of more help. I would e-mail Lan Sluder and see what he suggests. I know I read a wonderful review of a birding spot in Belize that wasn't Chan Chich. I'll keep trying to find it.

http://www.belizefirst.com/ That's Lan's web site.
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 08:13 AM
  #34  
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Thanks to both of you!

vgirl, don't you have PACKING to do?
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 08:17 AM
  #35  
 
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Chaa Creek is a very comfortable resort in a great location. You have easy access to Mayan ruins, caves, rivers and other Cayo attractions. They offer bird walks but as these are not a particular interest of ours, I can't comment on their quality. No pool, but the river runs by the property and they have a fleet of canoes. We took a day trip to Tikal, wish we'd made it an overnight.

On Ambergris. We stayed at Caribbean Villas, because our first choice, Banyan Bay, was full. The Villas are functional, nothing luxurious, and do not have a pool. The pier is useful for swimming and a bit of snorkeling. Better snorkeling trips can be arranged by the hotel or on your own. Half-day trips to Mexico Rocks or Shark/Ray alley are the usual choices. I found the snorkeling excellent, although the ray and shark bit was crowded and felt "packaged." Note that you are not going to find surf or long stretches of pure white sand.

We were picked up at the airport, and driven to Chaa Creek. We stayed three nights, then were driven back to Belize City (via the zoo) to the municipal airport for the short flight to Ambergris. The cost, by the way, was half of what it would have been from the international airport. Not sure why.

Ambergris boasts a small town, San Pedro, with a sandy road running north and another running south. It's a very relaxed, sandals and shorts kind of place. I thought it was funky and charming. Some call it touristy, but I thought the "tack factor" was pretty low. Blue Water Grill was our favorite restaurant. The Villas we stayed at are south of town, slightly closer in than Banyan Bay or Victoria House. Only transportation you'll need is a golf cart.

We enjoyed our trip to Belize and hope to return. I'm sure you will too.



Fra_Diavolo is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 09:28 AM
  #36  
 
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Chan Chich looks very nice. However, having stayed at Chaa Creek, I don't believe you'll be taking a step down. We really really enjoyed Chaa Creek. We didn't have time to make it to Tikal (wish we did), but did tour Xunatunich (very close to Chaa Creek). Though not Tikal, we had a great time at Xunatunich (sp?)....they let you climg on the ruins. We spent 3 nts at Chaa Creek and 6 nts at Banyan Bay on Ambergris Caye. The snorkeling from Amgergris Caye is wonderful!
Enjoy!!
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 10:29 AM
  #37  
 
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This is all great information. I may be able to drag myself away from Costa Rica and try Belize! Jill, I am notorious for packing the morning that I leave; my husband packs a week ahead of time, so every day he asks if I need help packing. I think I'm torturing him.
volcanogirl is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2008, 02:02 PM
  #38  
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me, too!
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Chaa Creek is beautiful, I'm not sure if it is as "birdy" a trip (not that they aren't around...of course they are!) but at Chaa Creek you will have all sorts of different travellers, not the primarily birder group you may have at Chan Chic. It's a very nice place though. Another place that is particularly birdy is DuPlooy's. Not as upscale. You may also look up Mama Noots. Definitely not upscale, but, a great place for a birder.

We visited Ek'Tun which is near Chaa Creek. You won't have a bird guide there, and it is very very private (only two cabana's) but quite lovely. Black Rock Lodge further up the river from Ek'Tun is a bit bigger, and you might want to take a look at those.

Don't blast me, but Chaa Creek just felt like another beautiful resort...it didn't feel like "Belize." Does that make sense? Maybe I'm nuts.
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Jul 2nd, 2008, 05:20 PM
  #40  
 
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Chaa Creek is highly regarded based on my research but we wanted a place with more wildlife which Chan Chich supposedly has. Of course, Chan Chich is regarded as the best place in Belize to see a big cat in the wild (we saw two ocelots and probably a Marguay).

However, with that being said, Chaa Creek has activities that you can't do easily from Chan Chich (caving, tubing, big ruins, etc).

So, figure out what matters to you. I don't think you can make a bad decision between these high end lodges.
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