Travel agent for Central America

Old Dec 13th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Travel agent for Central America

I am having trouble getting my travel plans together. I am thinking of Costa Rica, Nicuragua or Belize for Feb. I am already so confused as to which country to choose, which cities to stay in, etc. Does anyone know of a travel agent specializing in this area who would be able to help me with my plans? I live in NYC. I am aiming for a trip with a combination of beach/relaxation and sightseeing/adventure. Thanks!
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 12:08 PM
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If you could be more specific in terms of what adventures you're looking for and your general budget, we could give more helpful responses. Belize is a wonderful place to visit; here is a link to our travelogue to give you some ideas:

http://www.belizeforum.com/cgi-bin/u...;f=10;t=000362

We loved everything we did during our 4 weeks in Belize. Because I have a strong interest in Mayan ruins and indigenous cultures, Costa Rica and Nicaragua aren't high on my list, but I've loved Honduras and Guatemala.

I have never used a travel agent to plan a trip to Central America and probably never will. I read forums and guidebooks, then hit the internet and the forums again for specifics. A U.S. based travel agent will usually just hook you up with one of the resorts they know about which isn't always the best place to be (not to mention the cost). Planning the trip is half the fun for me - little mini vacations throughout the year. If you decide on Belize there are several great websites including www.belizeforum.com to help with your planning. (The internet thing is much easier with Belize than with the other countries because the national language is English.)

Keep us posted! As you narrow down your choices you'll get lots of great advice on this and other forums.

Happy trails...

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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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In terms of budget, I was thinking around $1500-$1800 per person for 1 week. Ideally this would include transportation and lodging. I don't know if this is at all feasable or wishful thinking. I'd love to see the rain forest, and other natural phenomena. I'd like to go zip lining, possibly horseback riding and some water activities.
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Old Dec 13th, 2005, 02:32 PM
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That's more than twice as much per person than our whole family of 5 spent per day - you can have a lot of fun and a bit of luxury for that price. If you only have a week, two ideas that would work well would be an inland/island split in Belize (side-trip to Tikal in Guatemala is awesome and easily done from the San Ignacio area) and LaCeiba area in Honduras for rainforest, ziplining, rafting with some beach time on Roatan.

Here's a link to a place we loved near San Ignacio, Belize, Macal River Jungle Camp: www.belizecamp.com . It's not fancy, but the cabins were nice, comfortable beds, kerosene lamps for atmosphere, fabulous food and the jungle setting was amazing - toucans, motmots, parrots, and iguanas in the trees. We hiked the trails, canoed down the Macal River to San Ignacio for an afternoon to explore, and visited the natural history museum and butterfly farm at the Chaa Creek ( www.chaacreek.com ), the resort associated with the Jungle Camp. The cost is, I believe, $55/night/person which includes dinner and breakfast. They have great tours to area ruins, Tikal, and caves which are a bit spendy but might fit your budget. This is only one of LOTS of options in the area. Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old Dec 14th, 2005, 06:18 AM
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Actually there are some good travel progessionals out there that do not just hook you up with a resort. Yes, there are many travel companies that do nothing more than book packages. But you are looking for someone that deals specifically with Central America and not a vacation package seller.

So for Belize, Katie Valk (who just posted) would be tops on my list. She has been a wealth of info and gave us several suggestions and choices. Unfortunately this will not be the year that we get to go to Belize.

For Costa Rica (which would certainly fit the adventures you describe) - I would suggest Pat Hewitt, US based but travels Costa Rica extensively. Also has several people in CR to help in the event of a need while you are traveling. We used Pat to plan one of our CR trips, everything went perfectly. He has an 800 number, here are his 2 websites. www.lovecostarica.com
www.truecostarica.com/index.html

Nothing to share on Nic. But Morgans Rock is on my must do list.
www.morgansrock.com

If you choose to utilize the skills of a professional, you are not whimping out. You still will have plenty of research ahead of you. Plus the cost of using a professional was no different than booking on my own.

Your budget will be fine.

February is a very busy time for travel to both Belize and CR - you may already have trouble getting reservations for your top choices. The year we used Pat Hewitt, we were organizing our trip a bit late, he sure saved me lots of headaches.

Whatever you choose - these are some very interesting places.
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Old Dec 14th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I think Belize sounds like a great idea. Now to figure out an itinerary...
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