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Teachers on Spring Break--where to go next, Cozumel or Belize?

Teachers on Spring Break--where to go next, Cozumel or Belize?

Old Oct 1st, 2011, 10:04 AM
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Teachers on Spring Break--where to go next, Cozumel or Belize?

Our Spring Break is first week of April--two years ago we (four couples) went to Sayulita (PVR) and last year to Akumal. Some folks want to see jungle for monkeys/birds; others want beach with snorkeling. What's the "jungle life" (outside of the nightclubs) in Cozumel? Can you get both in one place in Belize, or do you split your time between the mainland and one of the Cayes? Don't necessarily want all-inclusive; we enjoy good food. We only have ten days, so Costa Rica is out as it takes 2+ travel days from SFO. Help Fodorites!
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 10:38 AM
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I haven't spent much time on Cozumel, so, I'm not much help. I don't think though that there is a lot of native wild life there though.

You will need to be on the mainland to see wildlife in Belize. You can either split your trip, a few days on the mainland for jungle, ruins, caves, then head to one of the cayes. Or, you can stay on the cayes and do day trips. If you opt for day trips, they are long, and are expensive if you want to do more than one.

Also, look at Placencia, you could stay on the peninsula and do day trips from there. Keep in mind the peninsula is 15 or so miles long, if you want a variety of restaurants/bars, you'll probably want to be in/close to the village, which is at the southern tip.

I personally prefer Ambergris over Placencia, less than a mile to the reef, vs. 19 miles from Placencia. Although the beaches aren't world class, the sand is soft and white, and the water is blue.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 10:57 AM
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With 10 days I'd consider a split in Belize. I get it that it's nice to stay in one spot but with 2 bases you can get the best Belize has to offer without spending much time on the road. Pick a cool jungly place in the Cayo district for hiking, canoing, and Maya ruins (including amazing Tikal just over the border in Guatemala) and an island or beachy place; I'd choose Caulker but Ambergris is by far the most popular. If you let us know you're general budget level we can help you better.

Another option is Roatán, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras; the ruins are too far for a day trip but there's good hiking, beautiful beaches, lots of lodging and eating options, and you can snorkel from shore.

My photo collections with trip report links are below in case you'd like to check them out. Happy trails!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Thanks--as far as budget--probably want to keep it between $3000 and $5000.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 01:55 PM
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robertsgrove.com

cavesbranch.com

Belize best for beach jungle Combo

Cozumel has GREAT Palancar reef diving good beach 0 jungle.

Victoria House is a super nice place in Ambergris Caye

GREAT value... boat ride to jungle though...

Have fun!
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Agree with above posts. I go to Cozumel a lot. While you can do an ATV "jungle tour" there's not much to see. However the water is outstanding. If you want both, you will have to split locations in Belize. We've been to Ambergris. It's very nice, but not the jungle you are seeking. Also, getting to the reefs from Ambergris is a chore. Swimming from shore isn't pleasant. We rented a three bedroom house in Roatan one year. Great reefs from shore, but no monkeys or birds. Easy to get there from Houston.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Thanks Qwovadis! Roberts Grove looks amazing.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 07:09 PM
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We loved Belize; we did jungle time at Chaa Creek and then the beach on Ambergris at Victoria House and loved both. Costa Rica is wonderful too. It's not that much further than Belize, only an hour further via plane. If you ever get a chance, go.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 07:34 PM
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Thanks Volcanogirl--we have been to CR--did language school at CPI in Monteverde and Playa Flamingo for two weeks with weekends in Arenal and MA--so we think 10 days is not enough for CR--but keeping our options open. Lots of great feedback here--keep them coming!
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 07:38 PM
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JeanH--did you mean that the beaches in Placencia or Ambergris weren't "world class"??--as long as there is a lounge chair, a palapa (or good umbrella), an adult beverage and snorkeling--it's all good.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 08:31 PM
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Ambergris beaches tend to have sea grass in the water, but the beach where we stayed was gorgeous with soft white sand, palm trees, hammocks, lounge chairs, nice pool - really beautiful. A lot of the snorkeling is done off the docks or via boat. Don't miss Hol Chan if you love snorkeling.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 03:35 AM
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We stayed in a condo near Victoria House on Ambergris. While the beach was pretty, there isn't any snorkeling because of the sea grass and boat traffic. The real snorkeling is done beyond the cut from a hired boat. We snorkeled a couple of times -- one was the stingray/shark alley place and the second time we went to the Blue Hole with the guys to dive and the ladies snorkeled around the perimeter. I wouldn't rate snorkeling highly on Ambergris.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 05:46 AM
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None of the beaches in Belize is world class. What makes Belize so special is what's under the surface of the water, amazing diving and snorkeling, as well as good fishing. Also, the caves, the Mayan ruins, the rivers, the awesome jungle lodges. The people of Belize are warm and welcoming to visitors.

Not a chain restaurant in the entire country, only a couple of chain hotels (in Belize City).

I enjoy the fact that the visitors and locals hang out at the same places. There isn't the 'compound' feel that you find in some vacation destinations.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 07:21 AM
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I'm no expert and haven't been either place, but I think Cozumel is simply too small an island to have the diversity you are looking for.

My vote goes to Belize with the 5 day/5day mainland and island split.
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Old Oct 2nd, 2011, 07:23 AM
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Hol Chan was only about 10 minutes by boat from where we stayed, and it was the best snorkeling we've ever done - huge rays, sea turtles, lots of colorful tropical fish, nurse sharks - really amazing.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2011, 04:29 AM
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We really enjoyed our 2009 Spring Break trip to Belize. Split between Chaa Creek and Ambergris, it was perfect for us.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2011, 03:17 PM
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Hey teach, if you want to avoid students and that type of spring break wildlife, Belize will have lots less of that and more of the wildlife you see on Natl Geo. I think Coz is a big spring breaker destination.
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Old Oct 6th, 2011, 07:23 PM
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So, we decided on Cozumel and will save Belize/CR and Guatemala for retirement trips in a couple of years when we can go for unlimited, non-summer time. We're doing three days in Piste at Hacienda Chichen, then on to Cozumel. Gracias a todos!
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Old Oct 6th, 2011, 08:15 PM
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We haven't been to Cozumel but considered it before our 2010 trips; here are a few thoughts to help with your planning:

Check out the list available here:
http://www.fodors.com/community/mexi...zumel-list.cfm

And we found the map guides available from this site absolutely invaluable:
http://www.mapchick.com/

My photos and trip reports are below in case you're interested in the stops we made during our 2 trips to the Yucatán Peninsula in 2010:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Happy trails!
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Old Oct 14th, 2011, 07:56 AM
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If you look above, they've already decided on Cozumel. It's buried in with the other responses.
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