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#133947 - 01/26/01 11:17 AM New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 4
Mike the Cat Offline
Mike the Cat  Offline
I recall, who's song was it, Sting? "Message in a bottle?" Seems somehow appropriate. My wife and I are in our early fifties and are not exactly the most seasoned of travelers, although we aren't strangers to it either. Like Ed McMahon used to say to Johnny Carson, "in that one small Carribean country of Belize you will find everything you could possibly want in a vacation!" Well, sure, it looks like it, swimming, snorkeling, fishing, ruins of ancient civilizations, eco-tourism, affordable accomodations with air conditioning, and some people tell me "Belize breeze," unless they are misinformed, and some pretty great sea food. I am soliciting advice from people our age about what to expect. We want to have a really good time - and it looks like we'd have to be dead not to enjoy ourselves in Belize - but we don't want to hurt ourselves. We aren't yet candidates for the old folks' home, but why hasten that day with a broken leg or something? We once went to St. Amelia island in Florida and were eaten up by those GD "no-see-ums" something we hadn't expected and never till then new existed. Are there similar little vexing things like that we should know about? I take it there isn't much crime, although I recall hearing about a big business in stolen cars on a CBS 60 minutes report a few years ago. Should we go to the jaguar reserve should we beware of something like poison ivy? I know we should bring lots of insect repellent. What are the trips to the Mayan ruins like? I guess it's safe enough, I can't recall hearing of anyone being attacked by jungle cats or Zapatista guerrillas. Are there places Americans should really avoid? What about shark attacks? Are there any hidden costs by way of local traditions that we should know about? What about tipping? 10%? We went to Bon Aire last year and were very disappointed, nobody told us how much damage hurricane Lenny (?) had done there. Has Belize suffered similarly? I don't expect that our budget will allow us to stay in really first class spa-glitzy-maid-service-tourist hotel, but that aside, can we get decent accomodations without centipedes or scorpions? What are the medical facillities like? I damn near drowned at Bon Aire and although their hospital was small they took good care of me.
I have seen tourist packages that take one to the jungle to see the ruins, down a river, to the beach, then to the cay for a few days of relaxation, etc. Would you recommend that or striking out on your own with a rented 4x4?
I don't think I can ask any more questions - this is getting to be as long as a dissertation! Can you give advice, please?

Also, has there been any hurrican damage to Belize within the past 6 months, and if so how extensive? I can be reached at over the weekend.
Mike the Cat

[This message has been edited by Mike the Cat (edited 01-26-2001).]

#133948 - 01/26/01 11:30 AM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 716
Richard Chambers Offline
Richard Chambers  Offline
I suggest that you make a LARGE pot of coffee and spend one nite reading the other segments of this board! The info provided by the individual testimonials will answer almost all your questions, except for that on poison ivy.

#133949 - 01/26/01 11:40 AM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  

yes, i agree with richard, take the time to read the section of the board on A.C.. also, i am a few yrs younger, but i understand what you want. my best advice to you is, dont go with huge expextations. it is a third world country. things are not U.S. luxury standards, for the most part. yes, bring lotsa bug stuff, and i hear baby oil works for no-see-ums. the nature is great, as are the ruins. but again, it is not the US. expect to hike, climb, and there aint no gard rail or guide ropes anywhere. bring your sence of adventure if you go to the mainland. it is a blast if you just dont expect to be pampered. the locals are wonderful. everybody is nice and smiles, and speaks english. bring band aids, ziploc bags, and benedryl cream for those bites! if you snorkel, it is wonderful there. if you like to sit and look at the ocean, great for that too. if you drink, even better. there are some very good restaraunts, and there is no reason to get dressed up to go anywhere. heck, we didnt wear shoes most of our visit! good luck.

#133950 - 01/26/01 11:43 AM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  

oh, there are no shark attacks, they are mostly nurse sharks, and i never heard of anyone getting eaten by a jaguar, you are lucky if you see one, i believe they are nocturnal? geez, i went to great adventure safari park in NJ and the baboons shit all over my truck. (my kids thought that was hysterical). you dont have to go to bz for that!!

in bz, you do as much or as little as you want.

#133951 - 01/26/01 01:24 PM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 4,268
Denny Shane Offline
Denny Shane  Offline
Jane... in many parts of the world having your truck shit on by a baboon is a good luck sign. [Linked Image]

#133952 - 01/26/01 01:46 PM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 360
Big Frank Offline
Big Frank  Offline
Do not rent a vehicle as the roads and conditions are too dicey.
Highly advise to go jungle for a few days than to AC. Absolutely safe and well thought-out tours.
Do not bring big hiking boots--an old pair of sneakers that you maybe leave there is best.
Have a travelers medical kit

You can be as lethargic or adventurous as you like.
The cost is comparable to Mexico--reasonably priced
Most tours cost $75-125 us.
Beer is $2-3 cocktails $5 Dinner$12-25
Tryb Belize First Mag and Lan Sluder's new Guidebook. I like Moon Pub. Guide to Belize.
I envy you your trip!

#133953 - 01/26/01 02:02 PM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 197
Jericco Offline
Jericco  Offline husband and I are your age so I will give you my perspective on our trip. First of all, we spent very little time on AC having chartered a catamaran for a week and were at sea but we did spend 3 nights in San Pedro and loved it. One night we couldn't sleep and walked on the beach, starting at about 12:30AM, cut into town, meet the street ladies and had a snack, were offered a ride by a policeman in a golf cart, etc., etc., and arrived back at our hotel around 3:30AM and had a wonderful time. I would have felt comfortable doing this as an older lady alone. San Pedro is the most welcoming, friendly place you can ever imagine! We went on the Lamania tour up the river and then to the ruins. I will say this...the stairs at the ruins are a bitch and they have no hand rails. If you suffer from vertigo or have heart/lung problems, you might not be able to climb to the top of the ruins, or at least the ones we went to. My husband and I made it to the top, and we are both smokers, but several of the group had to return to the bottom. The walk thru the forest was wonderful, the guides were especially helpful and informative, the food was great and it was a wonderful adventure. My advice is don't let your age stop you from seeing this wonderful paradise, especially Ambergris, unless you have some specific medical problem that might need specific care. We drank the water, ate the food, played with the children and froliced in the sea and were better from the experience. We are going again in just a few short weeks.

Hope that helped......Valerie

#133954 - 01/26/01 03:36 PM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  

i challenge that we really enjoyed renting the vehicle and driving around, but yes, the "roads" were not paved, and often pretty muddy. also, at the time, we were only around age 30. i do understand the roads are better now, and drivers are easy to hire and will take you where you want to go.

franks favorite thing, since it was not our jeep, was to see how much mud we could get to fly up around the jeep. (we actually got stuck once, but it was part of the adventure). i have a great photo of him standing next to it in the pine mountain ridge park, and it is covered in mud. he was proud!

the ruins we went to were xunantunich. we did climb to the top, (it wasnt so bad, unless you have vertigo or fear of heights, but again, no guard rails or ropes. i was proud to make it to the slippery top (it was drizzling), but the view from the top was magnificent. could see the whole rainforrest.

#133955 - 01/26/01 04:25 PM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 2,090
Debbie Offline
Debbie  Offline
Mike, I'm in my mid 40's and pretty out of shape. I never would have thought I would have lasted through our adventures (Jungle,walking, hiking, walking, snorkeling, walking, boating, walking, dancing until the wee hours) BUT it is AMAZING how invigorating and energizing a nice vacation is. I hadn't felt that good in a long time. No problem. Don't worry. You'll see....... [Linked Image]

#133956 - 01/26/01 09:01 PM Re: New visitors seeking advice & tips - the Belize Vaction thang  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 4
Mike the Cat Offline
Mike the Cat  Offline
I'm not certain to whom it is I'm replying - but, Belize looks like a winner. Any more stories? I'd love to hear them.

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