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#18313 - 06/18/04 02:44 PM Placencia, Caves Branch, Caulker Trip Report
Spicolicpa Offline
Just wanted to complete the karma circle and add my experiences to those that I relied so heavily on in preparing my trip.

My wife and I had the time of our lives. The hardest part was having to leave. Man what a wonder adventure.

We flew in to Goldson and took a hop to Placencia. When we landed it was very hot and humid but we were able to get taxi'd to our hotel/beach cabana with ease for $10 us.

Tradewinds was perfect. I would recommend this establishment to anyone. We met people that stayed at Maya Beach and they complained about the distance from town. Tradewinds was everything I imagined and Janice "Miss J" was cool.

Wendyís for Burgers; The Galley by the Soccer field for Dinner; our best meal was on Laughing Bird Caye with Sea Horse Dive.

I dove with Sea Horse, they were OK, not the best choice for me as it was my first dive after Certification and they did not really "guide" and I just felt it was a loose operation. Laughing Bird Caye was OK but I would recommend not going there if you have other options.

3 days @ Placencia and we proceeded to Fly from Placencia to Dangriga and then take the bus up Hummingbird Hwy to Caves Branch. A couple of things here:
1) Take bus from Placencia to dangriga to Caves branch, save your money for belekins.
2) Call ahead to Caves Branch and see if you canít arrange pick up. We just got off the bus and had to walk 1 mile to the hotel with our luggage. (Luckily it was not raining!)
3) Caves Branch is expensive. You might think about staying in Belize City and Taking a day trip to Caves Branch and then returning home.
4) The Last boat to Caye Caulker leaves at 5:00pm or 5:30 pm so after your adventure (3;00pm or so) if you leave for Belize City right afterwards there is no way in hell you will make it to the Boat Terminal for water taxi to Caulker. Donít even try.
5) The Caves are impressive and the artifacts are in my opinion genuine.

From Caves Branch we bussed to Belize City via Belmopan. Take the express bus in Belize whenever possible. Itís worth waiting 45min extra and paying $2 more.

We stayed at the Best Western Belize City as we missed the last boat to Caulker. This hotel was nice and a reasonable value.

Water taxi to Caulker the next day! Buy round trip boat tickets and save $5.

Caulker was great. Iguana Reef was $100 a night but had air-conditioning which made our stay much more comfortable. I would recommend Iguana Reef if it fits in your price range. Frenchies Dive was good. I had a hard time with Dive Boats as in the off season they sometimes do not have enough Patrons to justify a dive. To guarantee a Dive to the Blue Hole I contacted Los Amigos Del Mar Dive on Ambergris. IMPORTANT: the first person I talked to there said they do not pick up divers on Caye Caulker, I immediately called back after talking with the Owner of Iguana Reef (Cool Guy) and it was on. Amigos are a sound dive operation and I felt well guided and safe the "hole" time!

The best place for Chocolate Mouse on Caulker: This new Italian Place "Tratoria Someting"

Best BBQ: Walk the beachwalk towards night/dusk and you will see a woman BBQ'ing in the open with some tables set up. THIS IS THE SCORE, her chicken is delish!

Beware: Habaneros delivered a case of food poising to a British girl we met.

Rainbow Bar and Grill is also very good

I would recommend Diving the Blue Hole. Many people I talked with said it was a disappointment and a ďnoveltyĒ dive. I felt it was visually stunning and worth the $180 I paid which included 3 meals, all the drinks, 3 dives a 3 hour boat ride on a very nice boat. I hate to take business away from the locals on Caye Caulker but for the same price I would arrange pick up with Amigos on Ambergris.

Thatís a lot of info I tried to dump here for the curious. I will also post on Lonely Planet, but feel free to ask any specific questions you may hive I will try to shed light.

Betta Belize it

Peace, waves, solitude on a budget

#18314 - 06/23/04 12:24 AM Re: Placencia, Caves Branch, Caulker Trip Report
chattykathy Offline
I have to agree with you on the Blue Hole Dive! I had no interest in going and just my husband and son (17) were going to go. At the last minute, my daughter(20) and I decided to go since diving had been only fair off of San Pedro and very windy conditions. Not only was the Blue Hole so incredible with the stalagtites, but the over 20 sharks were mind blowing!!!!! It really was one of my best dives ever and I am not a thrill seeker, but have done a lot of diving. I usually enjoy shallow diving where the light shows off the colors of the pretty fish. smile The additional 2 dives at the other Cayes were outstanding...SO much better than off of San Pedro. It was by far one of our most favorite days!!! We dove with Ramon's who was sending us on the Amigos del Mar boat, but they had engine problems so ended up on Ramon's boat with their divemasters...very good.


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