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#219644 - 07/19/05 05:02 PM July Trip Report
tdohe Offline
My wife and I spent July 3-10 on Caye Caulker and had a wonderful time! Wanted to post a trip report for future Caye Caulker visitors to reference. We stayed at the Iguana Reef Inn, which was absolutely wonderful! They really have beautiful facilities! Jim, Mario and Isabel were great in answering all of our questions and arranging our mainland tours. We did a day-trip to Tikal (via air) and really enjoyed that and were impressed with the Mayan ruins. They also made our arrangements for cave tubing with Tom Greenwood and we also really enjoyed that.

We dove 3 days and tried 3 different dive shops - Belize Diving Services, Paradise Down and Frenchie's. I had done some research and queried this board before and there didn't seem to be one obvious choice. We ended up having a good experience with all 3 dive shops. The dive masters were all very professional and safe. Paradise Down had the largest boat with a bathroom, so that was nice when we went to the Blue Hole, as it was kind of choppy between the atolls. We dove first with Belize Diving Services and they were super as we had not been diving in a couple of years. We might have stayed with them, but they were not going to the Blue Hole or the Turneffe Elbow this time of year. Frenchie's was the only place that was going to the Elbow, so we used them our 3rd day. Again, they did a great job. If you like smaller dive groups, Frenchie's and Belize Diving Services probably fit a little better.

As for restaurants, we loved Don Corleone's and Habeneros (they give large portions). Barefoot Caribe and the Sand box were pretty good.

As for money, we brought a lot of US traveler's checks, but didn't use them much, as most places took VISA/MC. Merchants took US currency without any issues. The 2:1 exchange rate makes it simple to understand prices. Never needed to use the bank on the island.

For those of you who like a good massage, Eva gave an excellent massages to both my wife and I. She even came to the Inn.

Unfortunately, I got sick for 1 day, but was able to get some anti-biotics at the Pharmacy and bounced right back. A doctor was also available, though I didn't feel bad enough to visit them.

Our only negative experience was using the International phones on the island, and I chalk that up to ignorance or lack of investigation on our part. We made a couple of calls back to family in the US and charged it on credit cards. When we got back we saw we were billed $35 (US) for a call < 5 minutes and $65 for a 13-minute call. We should have done our home work. I did call the billing company (actually a US company) and was able to get it reduced some. I would definitely recommend purchasing a calling card or using email if you can. The calling card will be more expensive than US cards, but it will still be cheaper that the credit card calls.

All of the people we meet on Caye Caulker (tourists and locals) were very friendly and made our trip very enjoyable! We loved the very laid-back atmosphere. Glad to see Caye Caulker escaped Hurrincane Emily. Hope to visit again some day!

#219645 - 07/19/05 05:14 PM Re: July Trip Report
Thank you for updating us on your experience! Tom G. is an absolute star, and I'm glad you were able to go cave tubing!!!

It was the highlight of my trip, and because my husband didn't go with our group into the jungle, I'll have to drag him back very soon.

#219646 - 07/21/05 09:19 PM Re: July Trip Report
JC_Austin Offline
Sorry about your telephone experience. We had a similar problem two years ago in the Bahamas. We made a short phone call from our hotel, using a credit card, and it cost us around $36.00. I phoned the company to complain about the excessive fee and was promised a partial refund, but it was never credited to our account. I sent a complaint to the FCC but never heard back from them – guess it was too small an issue. I chalked it up to experience and didn’t think about it again until I saw your posting.

We were in Caye Caulker last week and noticed that several of the regular BTL phones were replaced with blue international phone units. They look very similar to the phone we used in Bahamas. For that matter, the phone at the C.C. hotel we stayed at also had one of those phones. If the phones are the same, they’re probably owned by NCIC (, a Texas-based telecommunications firm that specializes in operator-assisted international calls and inmate telecom services. You can see their rate structure here:

It’s a legitimized scam, since they have their exorbitant rates for everyone to see. I’m not sure how they determine which of the 12 calling plans applies to you, but the rates range from $17.50 to $32.50 for a 5-minute call. All international calls have a $10.00/call surcharge.

These are some of their company’s selling points (from their web page):
“CIC has developed a comprehensive package for the hospitality/tourism industry that allows hotels and tour providers to gain back revenues lost to mobile provider and international calling card providers.” “Whether the service is provided from a hotel room, your public phones or even distributed to your clientele directly, we provide the services and the accounting tools that help you realize the gains from our products.”

We bought a BTL calling card and that’s what we used for all of our international calls from Caye Caulker (just punch in the numbers on the blue phones like any other phone). It cost us a fraction of what it would have had we used the phone company’s “service.” Please spread the word on this.

#219647 - 07/22/05 04:52 PM Re: July Trip Report
No offense intended to the two posts on the telephone billing. But with all due respect, when I learned that there were Internet cafes on the island, I let my family know - Do not expect any calls from me. Instead, check your e-mails. I also managed to IM a couple of times.

For $3.00 BZD for a 15-minute slot, I was able to read and reply to any e-mails I needed to address, as well as send e-mails to my family. While hearing a loved one's voice is...priceless, as a frequent traveler, I am well aware of the international phone charges, so I'll do my best to limit this spending...or in the case of my CC visit, avoid it altogether.


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