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#388379 - 09/23/10 05:12 PM Planning my first trip to Belize
MikeTooms Offline
Hello board! Newbie here...

I'm thinking of coming to Belize for the first time, and would appreciate any help or advice. I know that info is available on the internet, but I'd rather hear it from people that have experience. My reasons for choosing Belize are these:

I love the Caribbean.

It seems so be more out of the way than the likes of Cancun, Cabo, etc. I'd rather have kick-back & mellow than rowdy.

There a lot of Mayan ruins in the area, and that interests me a lot.

Now, here are my questions:

What are the best (reasonably priced) places to stay? I'm kind of young, so I'm not rich. But I also don't mind staying in Hostel-type places if there are any available. I'm looking at staying for 4 weeks.

Is it possible to survive without eating every meal at a restaurant? Again, I might be good-looking, but I'm not wealthy.

Is Ambergris a good place to stay if I plan on touring Mayan ruins? I definately want to go to Tikal, but I'm flexible on the other ruins I visit. Keep in mind that I'd give up a little bit of convenience to stay on the island rather than the mainland.

Is there a decent nightlife where a 24 year old can be entertained? Like I said before, I prefer mellow, but I might want to step out a few nights.

And finally, Is November a decent time to go? I'd like a trip around my birthday, and even if it's cooler then, thats fine because I'm really sick of the Arizona heat.

Sorry this is so long, but I really appreciate any help you guys can give!

Michael.







Edited by MikeTooms (09/28/10 11:10 PM)
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#388383 - 09/23/10 06:02 PM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
Katie Valk Offline
Take a look at www.toucantrail.com with places to stay under US$60.00 per night. Caye Caulker will be less $ to stay on than Ambergris would and is geared towards budget to moderate travelers. For mainland, look at the Cayo district from where you can visit Tikal and other impressive sites, has great cave, river and horse trips,interesting culutures, rainforest, waterfalls and many budget oriented places to stay and other travelers you can connect with to travel and share costs with. Other areas to look at would be Placencia for beach and the Toledo district for more beach and caye trips.
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#388385 - 09/23/10 06:23 PM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
divingcowgirl Offline
Mike,
Here is my 2 cents for what its worth.
Places to stay:
Pedro's Inn- Cheap, clean and affordable. Just a little south of town but within walking distance to where you want to go.
Ruby's- Cheap, clean and affordable. In town. Close to everything.
Nightlfe- There are quite a few places that I'm sure you will enjoy.
Pedro's Bar always has something going on from poker games to sports on the big screen TV's (has yummy pizza) Just don't ring the bell. (trust me on this one)
BC's- Sunday has a live jam going on w/ Dennis Wolfe and his band
Crazy Canucks - also has a jam going on (not sure which days) with Drummer Dan and Derrick (an amazing young man that plays a mean bass guitar) make sure you check them out.
Road Kill Bar (across from Crazy Canucks) live music and Karaoke (I think)
Tackle Box, Wet Willies and I know there are more that I'm forgetting that are close to town. There are many more bars to go to that are north of the bridge the Palapa Bar, Legends and a few others. You can get there by bike or golf cart. (bike will be cheaper)
Food wise.. yes you can get by on the cheap between the street vendors and other places that have good and relatively cheap food, such as Waraguma's (HUGE burritos that will feed 2 ppl) Ruby's bakery, George's Kitchen and a few other places that I can't remember the name of, but I'm SURE other board members will be chiming in.
The only ruin that I went to (and HIGHLY recommend) is Lamanai. I went with Tanisha Tours and they did an amazing job. Daniel Nunez is an experienced guide and I truly enjoyed my trip with him. He not only pointed out all the flora and fauna along the way, but he has extensive knowledge of Lamanai and its history.
I would love to visit Tikal also, I just have never had the time to make it there. But one day I will.

I've been to Ambergris Caye 10 times in the past 4 years. I've been there in February, May, June, August, and November. November is a nice time of year to be there. (then again, anytime is a great time to be there)

Hope this has helped you some and as I stated earlier, more will be chiming in. Have fun and enjoy getting to know the island and her inhabitants. You will not be disappointed.

Lydia
aka - Spurs, DCG
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Take the road less traveled

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#388399 - 09/23/10 07:40 PM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
Bing Crosby Offline
It seems so be more out of the way than the likes of Cancun, Cabo, etc. I'd rather have kick-back & mellow than rowdy.

Don't worry at the rate AC is going it will be just like Cancun and Cabo in no time.

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#388405 - 09/23/10 08:28 PM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
seashell Offline
Based on what you are telling us you want out of your vacation, in my opinion, Katie has given you the best advice.

I've been returning to Belize many times a year for many years and spend most of my time on Ambergris Caye, but have also stayed on Caye Caulker and the mainland. Caye Caulker is more chill than Ambergris Caye, but there's still a bit of nightlife to be found, if that's what you want. Ruins, caving adventures and such, are all better reached from actually staying on the mainland. The most fantastic adventure I ever enjoyed was what is often referred to as the ATM cave trip (Actun Tunichil Muknal). Look it up, very cool experience.

Taking inland adventures direct from the island, instead of staying on the mainland, will really bite into your budget.


Edited by seashell (09/23/10 08:29 PM)
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#388411 - 09/23/10 09:10 PM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: seashell]
MikeTooms Offline
Originally Posted By: Katie Valk
...Caye Caulker will be less $ to stay on than Ambergris would and is geared towards budget to moderate travelers. For mainland...


Thank you, I will check into Caye Caulker, but I really prefer to not stay on the mainland.


Originally Posted By: divingcowgirl
Mike,
Here is my 2 cents for what its worth...

(tons of great info here)

Lydia
aka - Spurs, DCG


Thanks, Lydia!


Originally Posted By: Bing Crosby
...Don't worry at the rate AC is going it will be just like Cancun and Cabo in no time.


frown


Originally Posted By: seashell
Based on what you are telling us you want out of your vacation, in my opinion, Katie has given you the best advice.


I totally agree.


Quote:
...Taking inland adventures direct from the island, instead of staying on the mainland, will really bite into your budget.


Thank you, but I'd rather spend a few extra bucks to stay on the island..

Thanks everybody for the great advice so far...
_________________________
“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.”

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#388427 - 09/24/10 02:28 AM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
Barbara K Offline
Tikal is really not feasible from the island, if you are on a budget. If you really want to go there, you should do it from the mainland. The day trip from the islands is $330, from San Ignacio it is $85. You can do a day trip to another ruin from the islands for less - Lamanai for about $165 or Altun Ha for about $135. Just so you know what you're looking at....

If you really want to do Mayan ruins but stay on the beach, you might want to consider Placencia or Hopkins on the southern shore, instead of the cayes. Once you are out on the islands, the ruins are all expensive day trips involving a boat or flight back to the mainland where the ruins are. That said, there is a small ruin just being excavated and "fixed up" on Ambergris called the Marco Gonzalez site.


Edited by Barbara K (09/24/10 02:33 AM)
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#388428 - 09/24/10 02:42 AM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: Barbara K]
SnoopysMom Offline
ATM is really an adventure you need to try to go for. 4 weeks you should be able to do plenty, but I recommend ATM as my #1 for sure.

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#388430 - 09/24/10 02:47 AM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
Luvinlife Offline
Hey Mike! Barbara is right it is not cheap to go from AC to Flores via Tropic or Maya. We did it and it was so worth it, It is awesome. Words can not desrcibe how amazing it is. None of the other ruins even compare. If you are in central america, it is a must. However AC is a must as well, CC not so much. Good luck and have a fabulous time, which would be hard not to in paradise, just go with the flow, and I concur Pedros's sounds like a good place for you. The pizza is out of this world.... (garlic shrimp is our fav) let us know how it works out.

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#388475 - 09/24/10 03:58 PM Re: Planning my first trip to Belize [Re: MikeTooms]
MikeTooms Offline
Thanks everyone for all of the great tips!
_________________________
“No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.”

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