I'm very sorry to see this family has taken this route, when I had already blessed them and let go of it the day they left.... being stiffed for US$300.... but I can't really sit by and allow such statements to be made without offering the truth of the matter. While claiming to be accomplished travelers, I can see in their wake, waves of tourism professionals vowing to leave the tourism industry forever.
The only charges that this party had on their tab at departure were for drinks, which are NEVER paid in advance, and for a transfer and tours which had NOT been decided upon and paid when they made their reservation. Absolutely nothing else, no "hidden costs" unless you call tax and service charge "hidden costs." Despite the fact that the website has not been updated in almost 2 years, this party was aware that some prices had increased slightly (for example by $2.50 per person on a local transfer), and it still clearly states that quoted prices "do not include beverages other than juice served with meals".... this party had $56 worth of additional margaritas, which could in no way have been misconstrued as "included" or "on the house." The website also clearly states in the transfer section "quotes for optional side trips are available upon request" ..... though evidently this family expected us to pick them up and use my slave Remo and LandRover the entire day, touring around to different attractions in the area, for the same price as a half-hour transfer from Windy Hills. Our policy also clearly states that we give no refunds for unused tours or services and that we are not liable for the late arrivals of any transportation or any schedule change or delay.... I expressly requested that they not duplicate tours booked with us while they were at Windy Hills, yet they went to a butterfly farm one day with Patrick, so did not want to do it again on our tour as been pre-arranged.... another day they went to Che Chem Hah, and the 4-year old was not able to go to the cave so father and son stayed back while the others went, obviously expecting not to get charged for anything, the whole day.... Anyone who has spent any time here (or has traveled in a developing country) knows that it is impossible to operate without occasional delays... in fact, one of my half-hour delays was due to trying to connect to the Internet and send an email to the husband's father in Israel to inquire about his mother's operation... which I also got blamed for (thank you BTL)! In addition, this was during not only the holidays, but a long, rainy period which made everything ten times more difficult. Border crossings were time consuming, shopping for provisions was a daily necessity, and everyone's resources, both inner and outer, were stretched to the breaking point. It didn't help that the 4-year old was not up to the rigorous schedule the parents had designed, and even though we tried to have dinner early every day of their stay, could not compromise the food quality for other guests to accommodate them. The child was not able to stay awake for a single evening meal. They allowed no time for naps, and I don't know how the poor child survived. Interesting that they didn't mention our willingness to TRY to have dinner early, or to keep his purge medication refrigerated and warm up milk for him every morning and evening. And no mention that I let the lodge laundry lapse in order to do their personal laundry (at no extra charge!!) ... or that while shopping in Guatemala, listening to the poor kids wishing they had some pocket money to spend, I hired them on the spot to help wash the canoe when we got back, and paid them in advance so they could buy something.with their own money (and of course the canoe never got washed, but who cares?). Also in Guatemala, I took them to the place most likely to find something of real value to take back, and as luck would have it, the wife then later found something in the market similar, but not nearly so nice for $5 less... and threw an absolute fit.... practically accused me of taking them to that shop so I could get "kick-backs," so I offered to buy everything from her at the price she paid, so she could buy the cheap stuff, but she declined....
These people started working with an agent who occasionally books us after they contacted me, and she tried to assist with their other arrangements and finally gave up....this is what she had to say about them (before they arrived) "So, they can figure out what to do. I have to get past this one. It has totally exhausted me and has affected my attitude and enthusiasm."
They have called me a liar, unethical, "colonial" (whatever that means), accused me of purposely having dinner late to make people drink more, and made me think things about people that I've never wanted to think. At this point I can calmly and concisely say that I'm glad they won't be returning to Ek' Tun, and hope that none of their families or friends ever come here, and anyone else out there who is like this can also take this as a loud and clear signal to stay away.
If anyone has any doubts about this, and you'd like to see what 99.99% of the people who come to Ek' Tun think about it, please check out http://www.ektunbelize.com/guestlog.htm
And while I'm at it, politics, religion, sex (not necessarily in that order), as well as many other "taboo topics" are discussed freely and frequently around the dinner table, so if you don't have an open mind, think twice about coming to Ek' Tun.