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Trip Report Beautiful Belize: 6 days of fun

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We had a fantastic 6 days in Belize. We chose it as a destination because my mom was supposed to accompany us. She has not traveled much internationally and it would be an easy country--they speak English and U.S. dollars were accepted everywhere.
As it turned out, she did not because she lost her passport and didn't realize it until the night before. We still went and had a wonderful time, occasionally punctuated by sadness as we talked of how much she would have liked something.

I also post on Trip Advisor so my hotel reviews are largely repeats of what I posted there:


The Lodge at Chaa Creek, San Ignacio - Way fancier than our usual accommodations (again, picked for my mom). The property is large and beautiful and lush. Every person we met who worked there was warm, welcoming and made an effort to speak to us, say hello, or chat with us. The reception and concierge were both highly attentive. We had an issue with one member of our party not being able to come at the last minute and the Lodge handled the financial aspect of this in a way that we found satisfactory and which was done with courtesy.

We were greeted upon check in with juice and a cool, wet, peppermint-scented washcloth. We were then shown to our room which was strewn with flower petals.

We stayed in two different rooms-#10 and #12 because we wanted a treehouse the whole time but it was only available for part of our stay. So I can compare the two rooms a bit (both were wonderful). None of the rooms are air-conditioned and all have screens instead of windows. That means being a polite neighbor and mindful of what noise you make--it also means Howler monkeys might awaken you at 6 a.m. as they did for us!

The bar and concierge were in the same spot and that's where there is wifi (which you can also pick up at the pool). We did several on-site and one off-site activity. On-site we did the night walk, the early morning bird walk, and canoed into San Ignacio. All were fine and relaxing. Nothing spectacular but nature isn't always cooperative. The off-site activity we booked through the Lodge was a tour of ATM cave, which they then booked with PACZ tours and which was amazing!

The saltwater pool is beautiful and relaxing. It wasn't too cold so we spent most evenings lounging there.

We ate all our breakfasts and lunches there as they were part of our package. Lunches were, too, but we arrived after lunch our first day, had a packed lunch on the ATM day, and opted to buy lunch in San Ignacio on our last full day. The meals we ate were terrific--there was plenty of food and it was all delicious. There was always a vegetarian option on the menu for me.

One negative is that it is a little annoying that they don't have a plan that includes alcoholic drinks. Their beverages were on the pricey side (beer was reasonable by U.S. standards, expensive by Belizean). On the other hand--unlimited alcohol tends change the atmosphere of a place and I wouldn't change a thing about the feel of this hotel.

The other negative is that this hotel is a long way from town and their a la carte food prices are expensive so plan on doing their meal-inclusive package. We heard it costs a lot to get a taxi in and out of the hotel because it is down a long gravel road. Since the food on site was great and part of our package, we were glad to eat there all three nights.

Sea Dreams Hotel, Caye Caulker
So the philosophy in Caye Caulker is "Go Slow" and they take is seriously. We were misdirected by two different shop owners when we got off the water taxi and walked to the complete opposite end of the Caye before we arrived at the hotel--only to find no one sitting at the check-in desk. Frustration. The cleaning staff graciously called the desk person, who returned with her lunch and checked us in. To be fair, I think we were rather early for check-in and our room wasn't ready so we went off to have our own lunch then went into our room.

We actually had a small apartment in Room 1--two bedrooms, sitting area, kitchen and bathroom. It was air conditioned and there were ceiling fans and standing fans in the bedrooms. The place was very nice. The area around the hotel was quiet and the floors in the room were tile so you could sweep out all the sand you drag in with you.

Breakfast was included in our room but when we went to get it we had a bizarre experience--there was another family at the table next to us. They appeared to also be on vacation. After serving ourselves orange juice (terrible and soapy tasting) and having 15 minutes with no acknowledgement that we were even there let alone that food was going to be served, the woman from the other family's table brought out plates from the kitchen of eggs with ham and cheese, fry jacks and beans. As a vegetarian this was basically an inedible breakfast for me. There were apparently no other choices because no one asked us about anything. I have no idea if the person who brought our plates was staff, owner, or just another tourist who had been there a while and gotten comfortable with the kitchen. We bailed and ate at Paradise Cafe down the road.

The other problem with the limited front-desk hours is check-out. We left Caye Caulker on a 7:30 a.m. water taxi and thought we'd check out the night before in case no one was there in the morning--well, no one was there at 8:00 p.m. at night NOR at 7:00 the next morning--we left our keys with the cook in the breakfast area. I assume this was fine but it would have been nice to have been given this instruction at check-in.

Those negatives didn't really detract from our stay there--it is a small hotel and I didn't really expect 24-hour desk service but overall it was a little odd.

Some big pluses, though:
They were terrific and friendly with email correspondence when I booked.
The front desk was very helpful when we needed to print one thing on their computer.
The room was large and sparkling clean and all the staff that we actually saw were friendly.
The fridge is stocked with beer and softdrinks that are reasonably priced and you can order snack to be delivered there, too. Your room comes with a large cooler of fresh drinking water
They have their own private dock where you can swim and they offer beach towel to borrow, bikes to borrow, and snorkeling gear to borrow.
They have wifi included in the room.

The pros far, far outweigh the minor "cons" we encountered and we would stay here again if we ever returned to Caye Caulker.

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