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#16472 - 04/05/03 09:36 PM San Ignacio Ideas
We5play Offline
Hey- I need a bit of advice and expertise. I am travelling to Belize with my three kids, I know some of you know how old they are since I have asked a lot of questions - but they are 9, 11 and 16 and are great adventurous travellers. We will be driving from Belize City to San Ignacio on Sept. 28th. I am planning to spend 2 days in San Ignacio. Have thought Clarissa Falls for lodging sounds great and since folks rave about the soup I will need to try it. What would be best to do? I would like the kids to explore Mayan ruins and learn a bit about them. They would also like to try cave tubing. I have read a bit about Ian Anderson but seem to think he does trips for days rather than just 1? Is this correct? I have read about a variety of caves- anyone have advice about which would be best? What suggestions do you experienced travellers have? I am trying to save a bit of the cost of going from AC on these trips since there are 4 of us. We will hang out on AC for a week after the mainland jaunt. Any ideas would be great. I have been reading a lot of guide books but would love to hear it from all of you.

Thanks - Mo & group

#16473 - 04/05/03 10:08 PM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
BettyGib Offline
Sounds as if you have a wonderful time in store! When we were in the area, we stayed at the Aguada Hotel, a true bargain and most enjoyable. We went on our own to xunantunich, a fine trip. You would be close emough to do Tikal--can give you no advice there except that it's a place we very much want to visit. There are butterfly farms in the area as well as intriguing rivers. Have a wonderful time.

#16474 - 04/06/03 03:20 AM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
kmgentry Offline
I recommend the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave trip. Your kids will love it! You can do Ian Andersons cave tubing as a day trip, but the cruise-ships are offering that tour. So it can be very crowded. The Barton Creek cave tour is great too. You don't have to book tours a head of time though. You may want to just take a walk around SI and see what the tour guides are offering before you decide.

#16475 - 04/06/03 06:26 AM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
Marie Offline
Hi WePlay5! I'm so glad you are driving. Look, if you want a travel agent, get one, but really you can do this, all but the cave tubing, on your own, and if you check Lonely Planet, you'll find a guide right there, or ask your local hotel to set it up. Think adventure!!!!!! As I mentioned to you before, its about 80 +/- miles to San Ignacio on very good roads. Re San Ignacio, you could stay at Clarissa Falls, its nearly right there. The only other place I stayed in the area was Midas, and it has been the source of laughter to my husband and I ever since! Give them credit...they warned us. God knows, I love my out-of-the-way kind of places, but this and Mrs. Gonzale's up by Lamani almost extinguised that for me! It was two rooms, separated by a wall that only went to within a foot of the ceiling. So, you get the dubious opportunity to share, in every way, all your neighbor's doings. In every way! EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY WAY YOU CAN IMAGINE.

Having said that, it was very nice in other ways, clean, good breakfast, etc. I think they have other rooms, more private, you could check on that. Really, unless you really like tours, you can do this on your own! It will be an adventure. Don't miss Xauntanich...which can be easily done on your own. The kids will love the hand ferry over it. If you go cave tubing, I'd suggest you check into the Five Sisters Lodge at Mountain Pine Ridge, and they can arrange the tubing from there. Your gonna love it. Needless to say, check on all this...its been two years since I've been to this area. Have a great time! Don't forget the zoo!

#16476 - 04/06/03 10:11 AM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
bonjoe Offline
Stayed at Caves Branch (Ian Anderson's place) a couple of years ago. They do do single day trips. They will pretty much build a tour around your needs.

#16477 - 04/06/03 11:08 AM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
The folks at Clarissa Falls are great, but prices have really gone up there. Depending on which lodging you get, it could cost you almost as much as staying at one of the better jungle lodges. Ian Anderson's is great for active travelers and does do one-day as well as longer trips.

I think most people would agree that Actun Tunichil Muknal is the must-do accessible caving experience. Lots of other things of interest to kids as well -- canoeing, waterfalls in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Maya ruins at Caracol, Xutanunich and elsewhere, Green Hills butterfly farm and of course back at Mile 30 of the Western Highway the Belize Zoo.

--Lan Sluder
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#16478 - 04/07/03 08:06 AM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
Marie Offline
If you are willing to wing it, you can always go to Bob at Eva's Restaurant in San Ignacio. I think their email is Evas@btl.net. He has connections to everyone in that area. He got us a wonderful room at Chaa Creek for 50% off. And, you are going kind of off season, so that might be a real option. I don't know if he can do anything in advance, short of regular rates, but you can check. We just wing it when we go.

Re Clarissa Falls, I would check on it even though Lan says its getting more expensive. Its a terrific place to take kids.

#16479 - 04/07/03 12:00 PM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
seashell Offline
I didn't recommend Actun Tunichal Muknal because I thought it might be a bit strenous for the 9 year old. Go with what the guides recommend in this regard.

Cuz otherwise, I think it is FANTASTIC.
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#16480 - 04/07/03 11:50 PM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
We5play Offline
Thanks for all of the advice. I appreciate the sensitivity to their ages- the 9 year old is my most adventurous one. She was disappointed when we left Bali because she couldn't haggle for everything back in the US. She will be my traveller. I have gotten in touch with Caves Branch- they do do day trips, actually mentioned that they do not have lodging there during Sept. - Oct. so the day trips are the only option.

How about going to Tikal? Has anyone done this? I think my group would really like to see this up close. I read about getting on a bus in St. Elenas ( I think that was the city)- any suggestions. I read that the rental cars aren't allowed over the border.

Thanks! Mo

#16481 - 04/08/03 07:14 AM Re: San Ignacio Ideas
Marie Offline
Hi Mo! My suggestion, fly in. I say this only because there has been some problem in the Peten area with banditos. Anyone who knows me on this site knows that I totally espouse winging it and driving on your own and finding a place when you get there. Its never failed for me anywhere in the world. But, this may be one not to wing it, especially with children. Tikal is wonderful. There are two hotels, not fancy, and I think I mentioned this to you before, right there (Lan, where are you when we need you!!!!!!!!). You can stay in Flores and bus in, but there is much to be said for staying near the place to wake up to the sounds of it. Do make sure you pick up the "Lonely Planet" book. It will give you a wealth of information on the site.

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