Potential Trip to Belize

Old Sep 24th, 2007, 02:01 PM
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Potential Trip to Belize

I'm trying to assist in the planning of a family vacation to Belize in March of 08. We're not set on Belize as an official location but it is something we've all agreed on, which seems to be a good start so far. There will be 5 of us, the youngest being 20.

So far Belize looks like a great location, the photos I've seen show some stunning scenery and I like that it is a smaller country compared to others. I also like that it is an English speaking country which will assist my mother and aunt since they don't speak Spanish, though the rest of us can speak conversational Spanish.

We're looking for a safe location for 5 women. We have a decent budget but don't want to spend a fortune as the flights will be really expensive. My mother and my aunt really want to be able to rent a moped and go out for a little ride around town. Can you do that in Belize? I've heard that traffic laws can leave much to be desired in some of these countries and I want to avoid any potential mishaps along the way.

We want a place to stay on the beach and want a few fruity drinks here and there. We also want to go snorkeling, but none of us are into scuba. A few of us want to go horseback riding and I want to do some deep sea fishing. Other than that, we really plan on being lazy on the beach and might do a few tours.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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Dangit. I hit the wrong button. I meant to edit.

My mother, sister, and I stayed at the Barcelo in the Rivera Maya of Mexcio and would like to try a different country. We've also been to the Bahamas which I didn't care for. My cousin and my aunt have been to jamaica and would go there again but we're trying to find somewhere new. We don't want to go towards Aruba and Barbados because of incredibly long flight times as 4 of the 5 of us will be coming from northern Minnesota.

If anyone could think of a reason why Belize wouldn't be a good fit, I'd like to know. We're certainly open to other locations if they seem like they'd work better. We just want a little week long getaway. Thanks for the help!
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 02:18 PM
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I think Belize is a great destination. The snorkeling and diving is the best in the Western Hemisphere. Most people head to Ambergris Caye but even so it is pretty quiet and laid back. You can rent mopeds but most people travel around by golf cart. Belize is more expensive than a lot of places in Mexico but cheaper than most Caribbean destinations.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 03:01 PM
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For one, you do NOT want to stay in or immediately around Belize City though you land there. Safety is an issue every where including St. Paul but more so in Belize City. In the interior or down the coast or out on one of the little islands that have resorts you are safer than in most towns in the US, is my guess having been to Belize 4 times over the years. Our last trip was in 2005.You want Air conditioning and you should try not to go to a speciality dive resort for they sometimes forget about the snorkelers.A coupleof sites to look at are Almond Beach Resort,at the moderate end , the Hamananasi Adventure & Dive Resort. They do a pretty good job with snorkelers or out 20 miles (go by small plane in a 10 minute flight) to Amerergis Caye that is a larger island with dozens small of resorts and a number on condos. Here you can drive to town on a skooter if you wanted. I personallyfind it a little to touristy. I like the resorts on the mainland right at thewaters edge where you can have te beach and snorkeling but also a little hiking and bird and small animal sightings. Our experience has been that 6 or 7 nights is ample and March is a good time to go. If it can be late March the waters may be a little calmer but do ot get me wrong anytime in Dec.-July 1st is usually fine.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 04:45 PM
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Belize is a small country, easy to move around, friendly and relatively safe. I travel all over, alot on my own and feel a good degree of personal safety. I would look at the Cayo district for mainland activities like Mayan sites, cave trips, waterfalls, river and horse trips. duPlooys has great accomodations for a group your size that offer very good value for the money. For the beach, look at Ambergris Caye which has many nice condos (1-4 bedrooms) and hotels. You can rent a car on the mainland and a golf cart on the island.
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Old Sep 24th, 2007, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for all of the suggestions and help! I really appreciate it. We will certainly stay away from Belize City, I remember reading that across many websites I've looked at.

So if we stay on one of these little islands how long does it get to the main part of Belize? We don't want to be tied to the resort for every meal (unless it is really good) and want to go out and experience other places. Can any of you suggest a great place to eat? What is the shopping like? Not that we're going to do a ton of it, but just to browse around a bit.

I think what our goal is to find a place that isn't the best and then spend our money doing excursions and such. We won't spend much time in our rooms, just for sleeping and getting ready in the morning and we plan on spending the rest of the time doing everything else.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 06:51 AM
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You don't need to stay at an all inclusive resort. On Ambergris, you might like Banyan Bay, which has two-bedroom suites and a nice pool on a good stretch of beach. Hop on your golf cart and you're in San Pedro in a few minutes. Plenty of good restaurants to choose from -- I thought the Blue Water Grill was the best by a good margin. Shopping, well, we're not shoppers. There were a few windows to look in.

The hotels can arrange visits to mainland sites. What we did, though, and what a lot of people do, is to split the trip between mainland and island. I went to Chaa Creek in the Cayo district, and visited local ruins as well as Tikal. There are a number of alternatives. It's much more convenient than travelling from the islands.
 
Old Sep 25th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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Ambergris Caye is only a fifteen minute flight from BZE.

Shopping isn't the best in Belize. Since everything is imported prices are higher than in the USA. I would recommend a day trip to Tikal in Guatemala. Prices are much cheaper there.

Good restaurants depends on where you stay. In San Pedro on Ambergris Caye there are many good restaurants.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Wow, I really like the look of Banyan Bay. Are they still around? I couldn't get the website to load and I thought they were having problems until I went on trip adviser and they couldn't pull up hotel photos. Maybe a glitch? What does the hotel offer as far as amenities? Can you snorkel right there?

Wow, I didn't even think about going to other countries. I'd love to be able to check out other areas. So much to think of! Thanks again!
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 06:19 PM
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We just returned from Belize last night. Banyan Bay is definitely there. Lovely pool, nice stretch of beach. Restaurant and bar on site.

I don't know about snorkeling there, but the pier at Caribbean Villas is less than a 10 minute walk away and there's some ok snorkeling there. We saw lots of small fish and a decent sized nurse shark there last week.

Banyan Bay is maybe 1 1/2 miles south of town. Maybe too far to walk every time you want to go in for food or drinks, but certainly an ok stroll at times.
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Old Sep 25th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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Your hotel can arrange a day of snorkeling -- I think the rate is about $25 -- 30 a person. They'll take you to a couple of places each trip and there are two or three different trips available.

We did some light tackle fishing for bonefish -- other guides will do reef or deep-sea charters. Your hotel can arrange it.
 
Old Sep 26th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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Not on Ambergis Caye is Jaguar Reef Resort where you have easy accesss to snorkeling and tours of interior.
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 10:02 AM
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Sorry I haven't been back in a few days. I've been really busy researching. I was really confused until I found a really good map of Belize and now everything makes much more sense to me. I think we'll be staying on Ambergis Caye. Still undecided about the specific location as of yet.

I have a silly question. What kind of night life is there in Belize? My sister and my cousin want to be able to go out. I don't know if they're looking for a Cancun experience or what. I think they just want to do some dancing and have a drink or two. Do most of these villas have a bar or do you have to go into San Pedro?
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Old Sep 30th, 2007, 12:06 PM
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I don't know of any type of night life on Ambergris, other than in San Pedro. There's live music some place every night, usually more than one place. Also a couple of later night 'club' type places, but I've never been out late enough to go to any of them.
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Old Oct 17th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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Well, I think we gave up on the whole nightlife bit. Which is a good thing, I think.

Anyways, we're looking to book in the next few days and my mom found Belizean Shores Resort. It has some great reviews on Trip Advisor, so I feel confident that it is a good choice.

However, I was looking on the website while going over rates and it said that the max number of people in the suites is 4. There will be 5 of us. So would we have to get 2 suites then? Or do they have two bedroom units?

I also just noticed that during peak season (when we'll be there) you have to stay a minimum of 6 nights and I think we'll only be there for 5. Back to the drawing board!
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Old Oct 17th, 2007, 07:16 PM
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we stayed at banyan bay 2 years ago, it was pretty unremarkable. the beaches in Ambergris are not at all what you think when you think they will be- really not swimming beaches or lying on the beach type beaches. the snorkeling is great from a boat though. if i were to go back to belize i would go further south to Turtle Bay- a Francis Ford Coppola property- we stayed in Blancaneaux- one of his inland properties for a few days and it was amazing- when we got to banyan bay- a real let down. kind of like a hotel resort you would find on the west coast of florida.
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Old Oct 18th, 2007, 05:31 AM
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BS only has one bdrm units. Look at el Pescador close by which has really nice 3 bdrm units. Other options further north like Legacy, Blue Reef and upscale Azul. Banyan Bay is great as is Xanadu and Banana Beach for other condo options.
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Old Oct 19th, 2007, 07:15 PM
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Well, we booked last night at the Belizean Shores. We ended up with 2 bedrooms, that way each family can break off for own quiet time. We found a great price through Expedia but it ended up going up quite a bit over night. In the end we booked right through the hotel and Continental airlines and got some really good prices.

Now we just need to book a flight from Belize City to San Pedro. How long should we need after we land before we take off again? I can't imagine the airport is large and it shouldn't take too long to get our bags.

We also got our passports today and it took less than a month to process them, on routine service. Not bad!
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Old Oct 20th, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Both Maya Air and Tropic Air recommend an hour between when your international flight arrives and the domestic one takes off. I've made it in 40 minutes, but it depends on how slow your luggage is getting off the plane. If you only have carry on, you'll be through immigration and customs in about 15 minutes.
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Old Jan 11th, 2008, 08:22 AM
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I finally booked a flight from Belize City to San Pedro. It was almost $600 for the 5 of us. Its kind of annoying that we're paying over $100 a person for a 20 minute flight, but we're told that we'll miss the last boat with our afternoon arrival time.

Has anyone else found any luck on saving a bit of money on these flights?
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