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#32965 - 01/07/01 04:52 PM Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
dawnskers Offline
Hi! We returned from a trip to SP in mid-December, and I thought maybe someone might like to benefit from our experiences there...We really enjoyed Estel's; we had breakfast there a few days. I highly recommend the Mayan eggs...yummy! Tell Charley that Dawn and David from Englewood said to say "Hello"! Hope your trip is as wonderful as ours was- would love to go back again! We did dive the Blue Hole-the trip out was a bear; quite rough on my hubby's back. (He's had 3 surgeries already at age 44) But the dive was awesome- went with Amigos Del Mar, and they took excellent care of us. Saw 6-8 bull sharks at around 100 ft- too cool! Didn't find a wetsuit to fit my husband, so he dove without, but said he was comfortable. I was glad that I wore my shortie- We recommend a trip to Capricorn's- well worth the price and the water taxi. Had the surf and turf- best lobster I've ever eaten! (Including Maine!) Also enjoyed Jambel Jerk, and the restaurant at Victoria House. We called for a reservation, and they sent a taxi to come pick us up at our resort, AND they picked up the tab! Also took the advice of another message boarder and bought a case of Belikan from the distributor- much cheaper than the price we were charged at our resort, even leaving the empties and the deposit for the crate. Can't wait to return someday- everyone we met was very nice, and genuinely friendly. We also extended our stay in Belize, and rented a car out of the airport in Belize City for a bit of exploring on our own. Highly recommend doing it if at all possible- we stayed at Chaa Creek; pricey, but beautiful. Took a day trip out to the Pine Ridge area, and saw the Rio Frio Cave (truly awesome!) and the Rio On Pools, as well as Blancaneaux Resort, and lunched at the Five Sisters...what a view! Had lunch at Clarissa Falls one day- the falls are quite small, but really liked the food and the atmosphere. Would think that this would be a nice place to stay if you didn't want to spend the big bucks for one of the fancier lodges, but still be centrally located for exploring the ruins, etc. Don't buy slate carvings from the people at the entrance to Cahal Pech- MUCH cheaper at the ferry over to Xunantunich! If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to e mail me at dawnskers@yahoo.com- I had a great time in Belize, and know you will, too!

#32966 - 01/07/01 05:27 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
Virginia Offline
sounds like you had a great trip. we are planning on going to both ambergris and the belmopan area at the end of Jan or Feb and would like some advice...

how was ambergris looking post-keith? we'ver heard a lot of foliage was destroyed? where did you stay on the caye? would a snorkeler enjoy the locale as much as you divers? can you lay on the beach anywhere (we understand swimming is best off boat and dock)?

#32967 - 01/07/01 05:35 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
Virginia Offline
question this time on jungle area...

did it seem like the trip from chaa creek to the ruins in guatemala was the way to go or should we inquire about staying on in/around tikak? thanks for your opinion on what makes best sense financially and what would make the best trip vacation-wise...

was chaa creek worth the money?

#32968 - 01/08/01 05:36 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
dawnskers Offline
Hi Virginia- Yes, AC did receive a lot of wind damage to the foliage. Many stripped trees, etc, but many of the resorts have already done substantial replanting, and things are looking better all the time. The beaches on AC are not very plentiful- the only ones I saw were owned by Ramon's and Victoria House. I never actually laid out on one of their beaches, but doubt that anyone would have kicked me out of Ramon's, anyway. (We walked by there just about everyday on our way into town, and did try out of of their hammocks the last day on the island )
We stayed at the Belize Yacht Club thru a timeshare arrangement, but know they also rent rooms. I hear that they are quite expensive- you can likely do better, and stay someplace just as nice for less $$. Snorkeling is great- many shallow reefs close-by, but you do need to get there by boat. We went to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley, and had a wonderful time, again with Amigos Del Mar. Great group! Chaa Creek was worth the money in my opinion- I wouldn't spend the extra bucks for dinners there every night, tho. They charged $26 US per person for dinners, and they weren't all that great, but the grounds are gorgeous, and I would take advantage of the amenities like guided birdwalks in the a.m., and a sunset canoe trip- both bargains at $12 US per person. We didn't go into Tikal because we had rented a car, and they won't let you take a rental over, but I've heard good things about the Chaa Creek excursion over there. Maybe you could make friends with another couple, and go in on the cost of the trip together- I think the fee is the same whether it's a single person or up to 4. Have a great time- hope I've been of some help!

#32969 - 01/08/01 05:58 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
munichchick Offline
Dawnsker! Can you go caving from Chaa Creek or is there no caves in the area?

#32970 - 01/08/01 08:15 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
dawnskers Offline
Hi Munichchick- I know that Chaa Creek offers caving excursions; we talked to a couple of women at dinner who had just gone with them to a place called the Crystal Cave, I think. It was a ways off, but a good day trip, I think. They thought it was really incredible, but did mention that it got quite cramped in spots- had to crawl thru on their hands and knees, and also very damp and muddy. Wasn't my idea of a good time, but if you're a caver, you'd probably love it! Contact Chaa Creek directly- they have a website at www.chaacreek.com. We loved it there- ask for "The Screamer" cottage if it is available- you'll love the view!

#32971 - 01/08/01 08:30 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
Virginia Offline
hey dawnskers - sorry to get in the nitty gritty but we are trying to decide b/w ac/cayo and the tulum area of mexico for our trip. concerned that the hurricane stripped ac bare and while the reef is beautiful and intact the rest of the caye would look horrible? we get away seldomnly so to some degree asthetics are important. god that sounds shallow. is ac still beautiful or is it really in recovery mode and will be another 6-9 months before its even 75-80% back to normal. we've heard tulum didn't get hit by keith, is beautiful but that the snorkeling is esentially non-existent because of the strong currents. any clue? does this mean its too strong to swim in tulum too?

so if we are snorkelers vs divers and just want to soak up the sun, lazily drink margaritas but not too much of a wild, dancin' time, whadda think? do you sit on the docks to catch sun or do you need to rent boats every day?

sounds like cayo was great. did you drive from belize city out there? bumpy? are car rentals expensive?

thanks for the tips.

#32972 - 01/08/01 09:02 PM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
munichchick Offline
Hi Virginia! We have been to the Tulum area many times and it is beautiful. You can swim in the ocean there and the beach is beautiful with soft white sand. The water is clear and turqoise but there are waves and no reef to swim out to. If you want to snorkel you would have to drive to Akumal, Tankah Bay, XelHa or to one of the many cenotes for some cave snorkeling. If you want to be close to good snorkeling, swimming some restaurants maybe you want to stay in Akumal. It is quiet there with a very nice beach and the snorkeling straight out from the old Spanish Canons is very good. We are going back to Belize in June but we are also planing trip number 10 to the Mexican Carribean in September. We love both places but did invest in Belize because we don't trust the Mexican government. They also allow to much environmental destruction which we have a big issue with. But than again Belize is great!!! Maybe you need to make 2 trips this year.

#32973 - 01/09/01 10:17 AM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
u24rs45 Offline
We have been to Akumal 4 times and it is beautiful! It's a quiet little town with beautiful beaches and not many people. The Mayan people are wonderful. There's a great lagoon to snorkel in - but they now charge $5 to get into the park area. There are many condos/villas to stay at in Akumal - All are very nice. We have always rented a car at the airport and were able to visit Tulum, Playa del Carmen, etc. From what I have read, Akumal is a bit less expensive (logding/food, etc.) Don't need a passport for Akumal either.

We have never been to Belize and are leaving 1-16-01. We have looking forward to seeing AC and experiencing a different venue for vacation.

Either location would be a good bet.

#32974 - 01/09/01 10:35 AM Re: Just a quick review of our trip to Belize FYI
Debbie Offline
We've been to the Mexican Riviera several times as well. Very near Tulum is a little village or marina called Puerto Aventuras. This place is awesome. There are only three hotels there, and you can snorkel right outside the hotels. One in particular (I'll get back to you with the name) had FABULOUS snorkeling. And it was walk in and swim a short way to the reef. It was VERY convenient to everything. XCARET was only a short taxi ride away. As was Tulum, XELHA, etc. Being a marina, deep sea fishing boats were right there. There was also a large ferry that docked there that went to Cozumel daily. The marina has a type of board walk around a gorgeous lagoon, and the lagoon has dolphins in it. You can have lunch on the lagoon and watch the dolphins play. I can't say enough about the place. Even the shopping was good. As for Ambergris, the entire place was wonderful. So relaxed and has such simple beauty. The reefs were way better than the ones off Cozumel, and shark ray alley was an experience I will never forget. You can't go wrong either place. Have fun.

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