Ready to book Belize trip, does it sound ok?

Old May 1st, 2009, 05:29 AM
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Ready to book Belize trip, does it sound ok?

This is our first trip to Belize and it's a fairly simple trip - but I just want to get some feedback. We'll fly in on 8/19, with hopefully an early arrival, around 10:30 am if we get the flights I'm looking at right now, and go to Chaa Creek. We're going to do their Inland Package plan. After pricing it out it seems that the package plan is more cost efficient. Their plan includes round trip airport tranfers, a visit to the Belize Zoo, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Taxes, Gratuities, activities on their property and we'll spend 6 days/5 nights so for that amount of time we'll get 2 full day tours and one half day tour. Those tours will include Tikal, ATM and a half day tour we haven't picked yet. The Tikal and ATM tour won't include the entry fees, but it includes the actual tours.

Then we'll transfer back to the airport and I think we've decided on Portofino in Ambergris Caye. We'll get their Summer Island Package for 6 days/5 nights. This also includes the roundtrip transfers from the airport to the resort. It includes one dinner, but all breakfasts. I like that option so we have the flexibility to eat at other restaurants if we want to. They have some other packages that include all meals. Is the location of Portofino one that is good for dining at other locations, or would the package that includes all meals be a better option? I know you have to take a water taxi to get to San Pedro, and the resort has their own water taxi provided. But is there anything close by that is more convenient?

A snorkel trip to Mexico Rocks and a Sunset Sail Cruise as well as all taxes and government fees is also included in the package. I think we'll also do the Hol Chan Snorkel while there. Would the Lamanai Ruins be redundant after going to Tikal? I know it's a different type of trip, but having not been there before, I can't really get a feel for if another full day trip would be a redundant experience.

Our flight home leaves at 11:30 am - that shouldn't be a problem to leave directly from Ambergris Caye should it?

I keep hoping airfares will go down with all of the flu talk, but so far they haven't I guess I'll just go ahead and book everything now. I'd love to hear any advice or opinions.

Thanks in advance!
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Old May 1st, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Very different from the trips I've planned for our family but I'm guessing it will be perfect for you. In addition to the ferry across to Ambergris Caye, you can also fly if you have more money than time. I'm splitting 5-6 weeks between Guatemala and Belize this summer and will be flying home from Belize on 8/20 (last stop Caye Caulker). Have a blast and be sure to post a trip report for us. Happy trails!
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Old May 2nd, 2009, 08:53 AM
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Here is what I know:
To get into Tical costs about $20 US; you pay that to the Guatemalans. I'd like to argue and say those are VERY different ruins from the Mayan ruins in Belize, but that could just be me being biased. The truth is, Tical is massive in comparison to the ones in Belize, but I think they have more of a pyramid type shape while the ones in Belize are a bit wider, not as tall.
Fun fact, Caracol ruins in the Mountain Pine Ridge area of Belize actually ruled over Tical at some later period. Caracol is Belize's largest Mayan ruins, and the Mountain Pine Ridge area is beautiful. There is the Rio Frio Cave, and Rio Frio pools I think it's called. Basically it's this nice area a bit away from a tinny water-fall-like-point where there are tons of little boulders and you can sit in the river (it’s kinda cold) and just have the water pouring on you. It's nice, you can climb up the rocks and get up to a more secluded point. All of these are in the same area, so over all you can cover Mountain Pine Ridge in about a day. Cayo district.

As for San Pedro, when you said the water taxi would be provided by the resort, did you mean from Belize to San pedro, or once in San pedro, you'd get their water taxi to the part of the island where the resort is?
As far as I know, you have about 2 taxi services from Belize city to the islands. It costs about .. $45 bz, ($22 US) round trip if you go with Caye Caulker Water taxi (across from the post office in belize city) and I think a bit less if you go with Tripple J water taxi which you can catch across the bridge from the Caye caulker water taxi, and is located in front of the Bliss Institute of performing arts. I could be wrong about the costs, as in I expect it is a bit less, but $45 is a good estimate.

I know this is not in your tirp, a lot of the things I am mentioning, but I only say them in case you guys can pencil them in, or wanted a bit more perspective. In so saying, when it comes to San Pedro, I prefer the other island, Caye Caulker, as in it is way more quiet, and less populated (by all these new resorts and tons of piers that San Pedro now has which I feel steals from it’s niceness). In terms of catching tours however, I think it is cheaper to get the from san pedro, b/c san pedro is closer to the destinations you’ve mentioned.
You can walk along the beach of san pedro and find (do feel free to haggle btw!) for about $35 (US I think…) tours out to Hol Chan, and Shark Ray alley with snorkel gear included. Shark Ray alley is kinda cool I guess. You swim with the sharks and sting rays. I think Hol Chan is beautiful, you can read up about it online. (there is a reef park fee for all tourists of $10 bz). I really hope you guys make it out to the Belize reef and not just the mexican rocks, b/c last I checked Belize had the second largest barrier reef in the world, so it’d be a shame to miss it.
I have a lot of international college friends and I always end up being their tour guide, so I’m a bit familiar with these prices as you can see. I’m actually heading to belize in about an hour for part of my summer. I’m from there, so if you have any questions I can try and answer them. I hope you guys have a really nice trip.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 02:11 PM
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We just were in Ambergris and Hol Chan/Shark Ray is a much better time then Mexico rocks. We had fun on both and are glad we did them but Hol Chan is a "not to be missed"
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 05:42 PM
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I actually enjoyed Mexico Rocks (really nice corals, two sleeping sharks, and deserted when we were there) much more than Hol Chan/Ray Alley (lots of well-fed rays, but I don't know anyone who's actually seen sharks right there lately!); the park and "alley" seemed very crowded and altogether too controlled to me. (Also, good luck with haggling; we couldn't even get several companies' tours in low season unless they got their minimum of heads, and were told firmly that the price was the price.)
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Old Jun 14th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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We saw sharks at Hol Chan, eels, rays, beautiful fish, turtles. It got crowded later. We were the only ones at Shark Ray alley when we were there.

Also, Lil Alphonse will take small groups.

Mexico rocks was good but not much in the way of fish.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 05:23 AM
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Don't have anything to offer on your trip to Belize but will be interested in reading a trip report since we are headed to Belize after CR....

Posted here hoping you'd see it - saw on CR board that you had fold out CR wildlife guides for your kids...where did you find those? great idea.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 06:19 AM
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While I wouldn't miss either location, I also preferred Mexico Rocks to Hol Chan. Far fewer people, and I can do without the stagey shark feedings and handling. On the return from Mexico Rocks we stopped at a reef Alphonse didn't name. There I saw a leopard ray (officially, a spotted eagle ray) -- most beautiful sea creature I've ever encountered.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:19 PM
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I've visited Hol Chan and it is really nice but on my more recent trip i visited Placencia Village in the south of Belize. I stayed at Paradise Hotel have nicer, cleaner rooms and service than all the hotel i have stayed at Ambergis caye. They had everything a large scale hotel would have at less than half the price restaurant, bar,dive& tackle shop, mini spa, a/c, hot & cold, hot tub on the roof, golf carts & kayaks. I had some wonderful days fishing and diving and also did a waterfall and mayan ruin trip with them. The south of Belize is still pretty much untouch. Highly recommend website:
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 04:08 PM
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We love San Pedro. We usually stay at the Sunbreeze Hotel, right across from the airport. The food is great and the pool is wonderful as well. It is easy to walk everywhere. To explore, we rent a golf cart or bicycles. We also love Placencia. Our favorite place to stay is Chabil Mar. A small condo community at the end of the "sidewalk". Placencia is a sleepy, beautiful village. The permit fishing is great. It is a fantastic place to relax. There are many good restaurants. We always fly from either the International Airport or Municipal Airport to either San Pedro or Placencia. I agree that Caye Caulker is not to be missed. You will love Lamani. It is totally different from any Mayan ruin you will ever see! Have a great time.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Shell, have fun; I can't wait to hear what you think of Belize. Your trip sounds amazing.
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