Need help deciding next trip

Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 09:23 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Need help deciding next trip

My wife and I are looking to go to Central America/Carribean/Bahamas/etc in the near future, most likely the first couple of weeks in January. I'll just give you a quick run down of who we are and what we enjoy so that may help you plan this. We are some what adventurous and enjoy tropical places(just like everyone else). We enjoy doing day hikes during travels. We have been to Cozumel a couple times and enjoyed the beauty in the ocean and also liked the price that came along with the all inclusive but we didn't like how "touristy" it was and how there was really nothing to do besides hang out on the main strip and buy things. We did enjoy going over to Playa and hanging out at Xel Ha but again very touristy and it didn't feel too safe once we got off the beaten path. We have also went to Hawaii a couple times and loved it. We loved everything about Hawaii, the hikes, the water, the rain forest, the cities, the overall beauty and of course the people. The only thing that makes us want to try places besides Hawaii is the cost and we would also enjoy traveling to other parts of the world to see what there is to offer. We looked into some of the countries of Central America like Belize, Honduras, and Costa Rica. We are not really sure where we want to go though. We need someone with actual travel experience in the area to help us out. We want some adventure, some beauty, some relaxation and of course some place safe to go outside the gates. Any help would be awesome.
sjukich is offline  
Old Aug 3rd, 2011, 10:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,230
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've made 2 trips to Belize and 4 to Honduras, each about 4 weeks in length - love them both! Why don't you check out my photo/blog/travelogue link below for ideas. Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
hopefulist is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 07:19 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, I will check them out. Just a quick question, have you been to Hawaii and how does it compare?
sjukich is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 07:30 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,230
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I haven't been to Hawaii so can't help you there. Our priorities when picking a travel destination are (roughly in this order): interesting cultures, ancient ruins, good diving/snorkeling/flyfishing, and hiking. You can see why we keep going back to Guatemala (my favorite), Belize, and Honduras. It's also why Hawaii and Costa Rica don't make the short list. Let me know if there's more I can do to help!
hopefulist is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 08:45 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been to Hawaii three times, Costa Rica twice, and I live in Belize in the winter.

As far as being visually stunning, I'd say places in Costa Rica are comparable to the vistas on Kauai.

I enjoyed my trips to Hawaii, have no desire to return though.

Are you looking for large all inclusive resorts? You won't find them in Belize. There are some in Costa Rica, although not in the areas where I've been.

I don't know where you go to in Hawaii, but, I consider the three islands I've been to at least as touristy as anywhere in Central America.
JeanH is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 08:45 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,438
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We've been to Hawaii and absolutely love both CR and Belize. I think you would love either one. Hawaii is amazing, but pricey and a pretty long flight for us, plus the time change. We were so happy to find CR and Belize. Both have great hiking and adventure activities. If you want wildlife, lean towards CR, and if you want amazing snorkeling and ruins, lean towards Belize. There's been several times where we've been in CR and commented to each other, "Doesn't this look like Hawaii?!" It has that some beautiful green lushness, waterfalls, volcanoes, etc. Belize has that gorgeous water.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 08:48 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Again thanks for all the replies, I agree with Hawaii being very touristy and pricey, it's just all that I've known. I'm not looking for all inclusive resorts since I spend most of my time outside the resort. A split trip between CR and Belize sounds like the best of both worlds.
sjukich is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 09:03 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,438
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For jungle and volcano adventure, we like the Lost Iguana in the Arenal area of CR. For more off the grid, Bosque del Cabo. For beach in Belize, we like Victoria House. For jungle, Chaa Creek. Check those out and see if any of them appeal to you. There are a lot of other options in all those places, but it will give you an idea of what the areas are like. Manuel Antonio is a popular beach area in CR; it is pretty, not sure if it would be too developed for you, but check out Tulemar Bungalows.

In Belize, it's popular to do a combo of one of the jungle areas and then a beach area - San Ignacio paired with Ambergris or another caye. The city part of Ambergris is touristy, but no cars are allowed other than taxis, so there are golf carts everywhere. The area where we stayed was very quiet and beautiful but only a five minute taxi ride from restaurants, etc. Caye Caulker is popular for someone who wants less development.

In CR, first timers often do Arenal paired with Manuel Antonio.

It's kind of fun to see two very different areas of the country. Belize and CR would be a great combo, but would involve some logistics.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Aug 4th, 2011, 04:00 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 95,373
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
I've been to Hawaii 5 times (Maui and Oahu) and Mexico 20+ (Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, La Paz). I *love* them both. They are just different. As far as costs my similar trips to Waikiki and PV come in at exactly the same price. Hawaii does not have to be expensive. Actually I spent more money in Vallarta because I like the bars and restaurants there much better so actually go out quite a bit more.
suze is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2011, 05:38 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 20,929
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Costa Rica is like Hawaii with monkeys. I traveled during discount season and thought it was pricey then. I can only imagine if you go in high season.
mlgb is offline  
Old Aug 5th, 2011, 06:40 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,008
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I've been to Maui and loved it, but it was a free trip. I don't know that I would do it again due to the distance (I live on the East Coast).

We loved Costa Rica, but have never been to Belize. I'm currently planning a trip for next year and we're considering both Belize and CR as well as some of the more remote Caribbean Islands.

I personally would not try to split a trip between Belize and CR unless you have at least 3 or 4 weeks. We had 10 nights in CR (Monteverde, Arenal and Osa plus 2 nights in San Jose mid trip the night before flight to Osa, and the night before we left the country. We felt like we could have stayed an extra day or two in each location!
Deb15July is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2011, 05:12 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 24,438
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That's a great point, Deb - so much to see and do in both countries.

We went to Maui, and we did have some major sticker shock. Food was so expensive there. We even went to a little taco place one night to save money, and for just a few tacos and drinks, it was twenty-four bucks. Then we decided to go to the grocery store and just get some juice, milk, breakfast stuff, etc. and that was sixty bucks. And the hotel costs were astronomical, and gas was about $5 per gallon. CR was a great break for our pocketbook. I do think Maui is pricier than some of the other islands though.
volcanogirl is offline  
Old Aug 6th, 2011, 07:59 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 9
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We stayed in a nice casa in remote area of Tarcoles, Costa Rica....20 minutes from Jaco. Beautiful grounds on beachfront with gazebo; which allowed us to see beautiful sunsets, horses grazed in front frontage of casa. Found this piece of heaven on VRBO - is #75442; had pool and most beautiful landscape with flowers and fruits; resident dogs that we fell in love with. Village lives off the land and this is a fishing village with fish cooperative a 2 minute walk away. We ate most meals at casa, rented car. To stay here, knowing the conversational Spanish most helpful; however we loved this spot of heaven, not commercialized with tourists and were able to live the real Costa Rican lifestyle. We did Zip Line and the best horseback riding ever!! My husband likes to surf a bucket list wish to surf Pacific with US westcoast waters too cold....we went to Costa Rica. He surfed in Jaco and a couple of other beaches. He is not very experience but got better and better. This was a vacation of our lives.
Lelio999 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2011, 12:43 PM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You guys are all awesome! I have so many ideas now, I'm not sure if two weeks is enough time! Thank you all. I hope its ok if I email some of you with more questions
sjukich is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2011, 03:25 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 3,750
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
mlgb - Costa Rica is like Hawaii with monkeys? LOL.

Um, NO.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2011, 09:57 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,802
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We did the typical split between Arenal (volcano area) and Manuel Antonio (beach area) for 8 days in Costa Rica. We found the people friendly, the scenery stunning and the general experience wonderful!

Trip report: http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...costa-rica.cfm
steviegene is offline  
Old Aug 15th, 2011, 11:51 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Haven't don Belize or Hawaii, can only speak of where I live Costa Rica.

I hear Belize is awesome for diving, if that's not a super high priority then Costa Rica might work.

Depending on how long you are here you can see quite a bit. Cloud Forest, Rain Forest, Volcanoes, Dry Tropical Forest, and beaches in almost every color from white sand to black sand.

If you have the time do Osa peninsula to totally immerse yourself in the jungle. This is some of the last low land rainforest in Central America. Check out Tortuguero to see the Sea Turtles nesting or hatching depending on what time you come (January is not best for this FYI)

If you head to CR you can also use the knowledge of local planners. I dig companies here that give back to CR in some charity related way. Here are a few that stand out.
Horizontes – http://www.horizontes.com/eng/ - Very green company, offers packages, involved with community programs, good company & good folks
Crreferals – http://www.crreferrals.com/ - fav for custom planning, has packages, involved with animal rescue, good company & good folks
Actuar - http://www.actuarcostarica.com/app/cms/www/index.php Off the beaten path rural tourism, involved with community programs, good company, good folks.

IMO Costa Rica, but living here I am a bit biased.
Cheers
incabod is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2011, 08:26 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 32
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I have decided to travel to just Belize rather than Costa Rica as I discussed earlier. I figured this way I wont be rushed and I can spend more time in each destination, I was thinking I will leave around May 20th, of 2012 and stay there for 12-14 days. I have done a bit of research and believe that I will probably travel to three different parts of Belize. I was thinking 3-4 days in Cayo somewhere, 3-4 days on Caye Caulker and 3-4 days in Placencia. I like to dive, hike, fish and relax. I'm open for any suggestions. Should I get a car? Public transport? Do those three locations look good? What about things to do? Places to stay? I know it's getting close to the rainy season around that time so I'll have to factor that in. Any info helps. Thanks
sjukich is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2011, 09:39 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 53
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's time to move your thread to the Belize forum. Enjoy your trip !!!
4deckers is offline  
Old Oct 10th, 2011, 10:48 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 4,230
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
No worries about the rainy season - both of our visits to Belize have been in July and/or August and the rain fell almost exclusively at night and hardly at all in 2009. 3 stops sounds great. You might save Caye Caulker for last so you'll be close to the airport for your flight home. My photos and trip reports are below - all my recommendations are there. Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections/
hopefulist is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
3Kubed
Mexico & Central America
19
Mar 9th, 2017 08:30 PM
rlpatterson05
Mexico & Central America
19
Jun 6th, 2013 09:49 PM
jenny19
Mexico & Central America
12
Mar 28th, 2007 11:21 PM
juliedangel
Mexico & Central America
4
Sep 21st, 2005 12:43 PM
rama
Mexico & Central America
5
Feb 17th, 2004 04:28 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:34 AM.