I am finally sitting down to write this belated thank you note and trip report. My family (including 12 year old girl and 16 year old boy) went to Belize in late August and had an unbelievably wonderful time. The suggestions listed here on the board were so helpful, and we wouldn't have had nearly as good a time without everyone's input. So thank you, distinguished members of the board.
We flew in on American - absolutely no problems. We discovered the first joy of traveling to Belize in late August: available frequent flyer seats. With a family of 4 full-fares, that makes a big difference.We had booked a cottage at Chaa Creek (great price at this time of year also), and had arranged to have a driver pick us up at the airport.
Chaa Creek was a beautiful, perfect spot. We all stayed in one thatched-roofed cottage with a large deck and a great hammock. Everyone who worked at the resort was friendly and filled with information,and meals were gigantic and delicious.I usually tried local dishes while my kids were happy with more American choices. My husband loved the indoor/outdoor bar and the easy, relaxed feel of the place. There was a spa that we didn't have a chance to try because we were too busy visiting Tikal, hiking and caving.
The cave expedition, which we arranged through Chaa Creek, was one of the most amazing things we'd ever done. Renan Castellano of Pacz Tours, based in San Ignacio, arrived at 8:00 a.m. to take us and a few others to Actun Tunichil Muknal. Here's an excerpt from a NYTimes travel article:
April 7, 2002, Sunday
On the Trail Of the Maya In Belize
By HERBERT BUCHSBAUM (NYT)
I'M clinging precariously to a sheer rock wall, grasping in the darkness for a handhold that's not there.
The flutter of fruit bats hadn't really bothered me. Neither had swimming in clammy water, nor stumbling upon largely intact human skeletons, disconcerting as they were. But now, as I attempt to wrap my leg around the side of a slick boulder while keeping my footing on a two-inch ledge, trying to suppress the sheer terror of slipping into the black stony river below, I suddenly understand why the Maya called this place hell.
(To see the entire article, go to NYT.com and do a search for the title. They charge you about $2.50.)
We were filthy, sopping wet, exhausted, and totally happy. We swam in wearing our clothes and hiking boots, and ended with a 45 minute VERY brisk walk back through the jungle and across streams (no bridges). My 12 year old handled it with ease, and I only thought that I was going to die once. We loved every minute.