I would have bet money that I would take a group out to Black Bird Caye, sight unseen. However, I had grave concerns about the safety of my people going up to the Guatemalan border. Boy, was I wrong on both accounts. (See my post on Black Bird Caye). From what I had read I did not consider the border a safe place to be. I was mostly concerned about rural roads. Well, The Royal Mayan Resort is accessible up a very short, steep hill right on the edge of Benque. The architecture is impressive. I had heard that the rooms were small and they are, but they are adequate for what you need a room for. The bathroom is actually two rooms, tub/shower and toilet in one and sink with mirrors all around in the other. There is a door that opens onto a private patio that has a wonderful view. There's a comfortable bed, phone and TV with a jillion stations in each room.
Out side my room was a path where one section split off to a large deck, partially covered, with a spa and the other section takes you up some steps to another covered patio with a 360-degree view. Awesome! The other side of the resort contained another spa and swimming pool. At the entrance there are wide stairs leading to a 2nd floor open-air bar. The entire structure is of what appears to be adobe bricks with Mayan images jutting out or carved into the surface.
It was incredibly quiet.
We were served fresh orange juice upon arrival and soon after a nice lunch. There were only 4 guest there that night and we were served a fine dinner. The next morning the guide took the only guest staying over for the days outing and "Junee" arrived in his van to take us back to Belize City. We spent some time driving in circles looking for the right gas station. The streets in Benque and St. Ignacios are narrow and not straight. St. Ignacios would be a wonderful place to do black and white photos.
We stopped at the Belize Zoo, but since it had been raining for some time (yes, rain forest) it was way to muddy for my liking so I slept in the van. The couple who did go in came back very pleased and would like to go again, when it's not raining. Is that ever?
Then be backtracked up the highway to "CHEERS". Yes, they have a sign exactly like the one on TV - I guess no copyright law applies down there. Their special for the day was bar-b-q ribs. YUMMMY! The meat literally fell off the bones. And of course, cole slaw. If you have not been to Belize you may not realize that cole slaw is served with every meat meal. And I haven't found a bad one there yet.
We took the American couple to the International Airport then me to the Muni.
I love the way they think down there. A boat ride from Belize City to Ambergris Caye is $12.50 and takes an hour or so. The plane from Muni airport takes about 20 minutes and costs twice that = $25.00 and the plane from the international airport that takes 15 minutes costs twice that = $50.00. (Come to think of it, I think each of these has gone up slightly - but same formula applies). Sometimes, when you board at Muni you stop at international to pickup passengers.
On Thursday Kathy, the gal who went up to the jungle with me, arrived in San Pedro. She raved about the service she had received. Although she was the only person they did not cut back on her trips. She loved the day to Tikal and the other day to the caves, etc. Said she would love to go again. I think some of my people will go in March without me.
All in all I would not hesitate to send anyone to the Royal Mayan Resort.