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Planning last minute, low budget, Costa Rica or Belize honeymoon for a young couple

Planning last minute, low budget, Costa Rica or Belize honeymoon for a young couple

Old Mar 25th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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Planning last minute, low budget, Costa Rica or Belize honeymoon for a young couple

The bride is a dear friend of mine... like a daughter . Groom is planning the honeymoon and needs some help. The dates are 7/2-7/9/07 from Chicago or Milwaukee.

They are in their mid 20's, both extremely adventurous and environmentally conscious... they love to hike and camp, anything outdoors... he proposed at a campfire . She trekked through New Zealand on a 3 month backpacking trip last year.

They'd like equal time enjoying the beach for chillin' and hiking/exploring. A good canopy tour would be a sure highlight... fishing and snorkeling not important.

Luxury accomodations are not an option... although nice, clean budget hotels would be perfect. They are considering an all-inclusive in Belize for the cost benefit, but knowing their wanderlust spirits, I suggested asking my fodorite friends for a bit of planning help. They're all for it.

This is where y'all come in. Those of you who are familiar w/ both countries, what itinerary, including hotels would you put together for your "son or daughter's" honeymoon?

Remember that they are on a very low budget... I know that's vague, but let's just say as low as possible, w/o staying at hostels or camping. Maybe a super low budget hotel in one area, w/ a little more splurge in another?? Also, keep in mind that this will be green season in both countries.

Thanks much for your expertise... let's try to help them plan a great honeymoon!!! ><

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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 08:13 PM
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I'd recommend a few nights in the San Ignacio area (we loved www.thetrekstop.com - GREAT budget place) for hiking and ruins (Tikal in Guate is amazing and just a few hours away) and the rest on Caye Caulker. Check out the www.belizeforum.com , especially the Toucan Trail section with budget to mid-priced hotel options. Another splurge worth considering for adventurous types is www.cavesbranch.com .

Hope they find the perfect fit!
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 03:44 AM
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Another idea for the San Ignacio area is Macal River Camp, see http://www.belizecamp.com/home.html

For $100 per day they get a tent lodge and 2 meals. In addition the get all of the activities from Chaa Creek Lodge. I suspect that you could pay for a candlelight dinner at the main lodge one night as a surprise gift to them

Obviously July will be the "green" season for both countries. Rain will be expected part of each day and night - though that time of year it shouldn't be raining all day, every day.

They could then go into San Ignacio area for booking some tours, but by staying on the site there are hiking trails that are included.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 06:27 AM
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We loved Macal River Jungle Camp, too - such a beautiful setting, sweet cabins, access to hiking and canoing. The food was great and we loved the camp host, Dolcio. The downside there is it doesn't have easy access to public transport for visits to places like Tikal or to set up adventure tours like the ATM cave.

We traveled in Belize from mid July to mid August 2003 and the rain fell almost exclusively at night. In nearly a month we just had one day when it rained hard all day plus a few other days when sprinkles cooled us off. Happy trails!
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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 05:09 AM
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Hi there,

We stayed at the Corcovado Tent Lodge in the Osa before our wedding day. Loved every moment.....can't say enough about the service and the beauty of the location.

http://corcovadotentlodge.com/
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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 08:36 AM
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Thanks so much. These are great options. I'm familiar w/ Ambergris Caye, but that's as far as we went in Belize.

I haven't researched Costa Rica near enough, and I'm dizzy over all the options. Corcovado looks amazingfor them. Would the tents provide enough privacy? ...remember honeymoon quot;>

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 04:32 AM
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The tents are a white, fairly heavy canvas. There is also a hedge around the tent as well, so I didn't have a problem at all with privacy. That being said, the candles they provide you with make for interesting shadows on the tent wall at night..... ;-)
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 05:28 AM
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I was doing some personal research on Belize and came across these two websites and thought of you and your friends.

First is Cockscomb Preserve Cabins http://www.belizeaudubon.org/html/parks/cbws.htm which is a jaguar reserve that has self-guided hiking trails, waterfalls, etc. The cabins $54 per night have kitchens - but another website mentioned that Maya Center (nearby town) caters food - or they can pick up their own supplies.

The other website is http://www.ize2belize.com/belize/ize...watercaye.html that is a research/educational place. Here they could be right over the reef for snorkeling. I realize that IZE's package deal would be too expensive because of the airflight to their Blue Creek Rainforest Lodge runs up the cost. But their Southwater Caye water taxi is from Dangriga which is 20min from Cockscomb Reserve.

What makes these places very affordable is the fact that they would not have to pay for any additional tours - they are right there. Considering most tours are $50pp - this will add up very quickly.

Just another random thought about IZE tour package. I bet they could do their own transportation (public bus or private bus) and bring the eco-tour package within reach. Talk with IZE - they work with students all the time which means that they are experienced with inexpensive ways to travel Belize and they do custom packages (less days, etc).
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 05:53 AM
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We are planning a trip to Belize in near future so I have been looking at a lot of prices there. But to be honest, we went to Costa Rica last year AND everything is cheaper there. Hotels, restaurants, etc. There are many diverse options in Costa Rica from surfer towns to high end resorts and incredible national parks and even a volcano. If I was on a budget and could get very similar experiences (with the exception of scuba diving in Belize), I would definitely look into Costa Rica and save Belize till they have a few more dollars.

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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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The reality of travel in Belize is a little more complicated than it looks on paper. That's not a bad thing, more like a cultural experience, if you have more time, but a week won't give them much wiggle room.

We stayed at Cockscomb in 2003. The trails are really beautiful. There are several waterfalls for cooling off and we saw (didn't hear) howler monkeys. It's possible to rent tubes (set it up ahead in Maya Centre) to float the river. The reservation system is iffy, or at leastwas 4 years ago - they gave our original reservations away to someone who wanted to stay longer (reserved 10 months ahead and found out when we tried to confirm the week before) so we planned to camp, then the camp ground was full. Luckily, they had a cabin free after all and we had just enough cash to pull it together. The mosquitoes there were the worse we've ever seen - huge and clouds of them wherever we went. The kitchen area (not attached to the cabins) is nicely screened; be sure to rent dishes and utensils before the office closes as there's not much there. They'll need to pack in water or have a purifier or plan to know the rules for boiling to purify.

To get there, they could take a taxi to the bus station, bus to Belmopan, then switch to a bus heading south on the Hummingbird Hwy (less frequent) and ask to get off at Maya Centre which is about 10 miles away from the reserve. The only store in Maya Centre is extremely limited, so they'd have to stock up on groceries in Belmopan before heading south. There are several small places to eat tipica food. You can also arrange a taxi to take you in to the reserve and to drive you where you're heading next if desired; we used Gregorio Chun. We hired him to take us on a night tour, too, though we didn't see much wildlife. Wonderful, interesting man who grew up in the area before it was a reserve. His family has nice, basic cabins in Maya Centre called Tutzhil Nah: http://www.mayacenter.com/ Dangriga is more like 45 minutes or an hour away, even by taxi ($50 maybe?).

Unless they're going to fly to Dangriga and back, it's kind of a long haul on buses both ways. Depending on when they land and fly out it could eat up most of an additional day each way.

As I said, I'd shuttle or bus to The Trek Stop and use that as a base for adventures like ann overnighter to Tikal and the amazing ATM cave (a jungle trip to a cave with swimming and Maya artifacts and bones), then head back to Belize City to take a water taxi to Caye Caulker for the rest of the trip.

Please keep us posted - I'd love to hear what they decide!

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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 06:20 AM
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Hi there - I think someone alreay mentioned Belize's Toucan Trail - it's a listing of small hotels and cabins that are $60 and less per night. But here is the website and they make it really easy to search by area and amenities. Lots of neat options - several of them caught my eye. Again I would pick an area that they don't have to pay for the tours - like the reserve and a small caye on top of the reef.

http://www.toucantrail.com

Let us know what you decide to recommend!!
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 06:25 AM
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Hi hopeful - clouds of mosquitoes - yikes! what time of year was that?? do you think it made a difference on the season or did the locals say it is like that year round? we might rethink our plans.
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Thanks much for the recs... I've been pouring over these links as well as recent trip reports... I was hoping to figure out a low cost CR itinerary... we'll have to sit down and look at all the options. These Belize links are perfect.

You guys are great. I'll keep you posted. Many thanks.
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 07:59 AM
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We were there in late July. That area has a reputation for bugs (as opposed to the Cayo area where most folks don't have a problem year round) but they were probably at their worst when we were there. The only other place we visited where bugs were a problem was the Sittee River/Hopkins area, not too far away. We hiked the first day we were in Cockscomb and the 2nd day the rest of my family hung out and read in the kitchen area, unwilling to face the mozzies. I hiked 8 or 10 miles that day, during most of which it POURED, our only hard day of rain in 4 weeks. No mozzies in the rain! We stayed in the "private cabin" which, at least at the time, was not bug proof. The setting is lovely - little gray fox kits played around in the grass. Be sure to read Alan Rabinowicz' book before you go there. I could email a few pix if you're interested.
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Hi makai1,

I would think your friends could do CR for as cheaply as Belize. I have not been to Belize (yet... ), but I did go to CR last December.

When I was originally trying to choose a destination for last year's vacation, Belize was on the short list (as was CR). Airfare was always significantly cheaper to Costa Rica from where I live (Florida), which was one deciding factor.

I could not possibly have been more delighted with Costa Rica! Absolutely loved it!! I'm actually online tonight plotting and scheming for my second trip down there later this year.

We did the popular Arenal/Manuel Antonio loop. We saw volcanos, rain forests, beautiful beaches and lots of amazing flora and fauna. We mainly stayed in hotels that ran ~100$ per night (including breakfast). However, I know there are cheaper, decent lodging options available.

If your friends like the idea of visiting Costa Rica, you might want to touch base with Pat Hewitt. He's a travel consultant that puts together customized Costa Rica packages for his clients based on their interests, budget, etc... He's currently helping me with my upcoming trip. He's a very nice guy; helpful and responsive. He posts occasionally on this forum and several other posters here have used his services and been happy with the results (hence my decision to work with him for my next trip).

Here's a link to his website:

http://www.lovecostarica.com/

There's also a current thread discussion that mentions him (and lists a few other good travel resources).

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...6&tid=34970113

I'm sure your friends would enjoy either Costa Rica or Belize. Both destinations have a lot to offer.

Best wishes to them.
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Old Mar 29th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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Thanks so much... this is exactly what I was looking for. You've been a great help...

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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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Well the groom decided on Seaside Cabanas in Caye Caulker, Belize for 5 nights... for lazing around and barefoot days, Hol Chan, and wherever the wind takes them...

http://seasidecabanas.com/default.htm

and then on to the Trek Stop Eco Lodge, Cayo District, Belize for 4 nights... to explore til their heart's content.

http://thetrekstop.com/index.htm

The bride told me last night how excited they both are to have the "honeymoon of their dreams" even tho they couldn't afford it.
AMAZING how wonderful travel is?!! The groom can't wait for the wedding... he's thrilled about the honeymoon!

Thanks to all who had input... this is a great testimony that you can plan a budget honeymoon, and experience some great destinations.

Thanks again!!



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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 05:37 AM
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So great! I hope they love The Trek Stop as much as we did. Thanks for the update!
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Old Jun 7th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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hopeful, obviously the groom loved your suggestions... they thought they wouldn't be able to afford what they would really love to do, and were so surprised to plan something in their budget. I love that!!

I'll see if I can get them to do a trip report, or at least a recap for me to share.

Thanks again!
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