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Belize/Costa Rica in August #15165
07/15/02 12:39 AM
07/15/02 12:39 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8
sdhannah Offline OP
sdhannah  Offline OP
My husband and I have 12 days in August for vacation, and have been planning a trip to Belize. After research, including lurking quietly about this board, we are thoroughly confused and need advice!

Our plan was to spend roughly half our time in the jungle (Blancaneaux or Chaa Creek), and half our time on the beach (Hamanasi or Kanantik). However, there seem to be mixed reviews of the beaches in Belize. Some say the beaches are great, others report that they are full of seagrass and trash. We are not divers, but wouldn't mind trying it for the first time, and would like to snorkel. However, our main focus for the beach half of our trip is to relax on a clean scenic beach where the water is inviting. We're not really looking for any sort of happening social scene (Cancun is my worst nightmare). From what I've read, Ambergris Caye doesn't seem to be what we're looking for, and the photos I've seen of Placencia look a bit grim (sorry if that's harsh) since the hurricane. Hamanasi and Kanantik are in/near Hopkins. I would appreciate any information/opinions/advice regarding the differences in the beaches in all these areas.

Has anyone stayed/been to Kanantik? I read one review by Lan Sluder, but haven't seen much else. Money isn't a huge concern, but it is seemingly the most expensive place to stay in Belize with the least information available. We don't mind spending the money, but for $600/night (all-inclusive for two) my expectations will be pretty high, especially considering that the price of accomodation anywhere else doesn't even come close!

Because we have read very mixed reviews about the quality of the beaches in Belize, we have been thinking about splitting our time and spending the first half of our trip in Belize in the jungle/mountains, and the other half on the beach in Costa Rica. Any thoughts?

Also, I realize August is "off-season." What does this mean in terms of realistic expectations for sun?

I ended up with more questions than I thought I had! I appreciate your advice/comments.


Re: Belize/Costa Rica in August #15166
07/15/02 01:21 AM
07/15/02 01:21 AM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 288
Seattle, WA USA
trina Offline
trina  Offline
You might want to try some of the places at Maya Beach, which is "up the road" (north) from Placencia, and weren't hit hard by the hurricane. This area is very secluded, private and quiet. Pretty beaches. Not much in the way of "night life", but very relaxing. I don't know anything about Hopkins, so I can't advise on that. I have only ever been to Belize in June, so I'm not clear on weather in August, or what "off season" means specifically in that regard. I would NOT go in September or October; that's when they get storms.

[This message has been edited by trina (edited 07-15-2002).]

Re: Belize/Costa Rica in August #15167
07/15/02 10:15 AM
07/15/02 10:15 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Asheville, NC USA
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Lan Sluder/Belize First  Offline
Costa Rica's beaches, especially on the Pacific, are "prettier" than Belize's. That's because Costa Rica doesn't have a barrier reef. So if all you want is wide sandy beaches (mostly khaki or tan colored) Costa Rica would be your better bet.

I'll doubt you find many (or even any) reviews of Kanantik on-line. It just opened and hasn't exactly been swarming with guests. My son and I stayed there, and I thought it was very nice, though I'm unconvinced many people are going to pay US$600 a night double even on an all-inclusive basis.

--Lan Sluder
Belize books and publications by Lan Sluder:
Belize First Magazine (
Fodor's Belize & Guatemala Guide (new 4th edition coming this summer)
Adapter Kit: Belize (the first and only comprehensive guide to living, retiring, working and investing in Belize -- a best-seller on
San Pedro Cool (the first and only visitor guide to Ambergris Caye)
Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize
UpClose Central America
Belize Book of Lists

Lan Sluder/Belize First
Re: Belize/Costa Rica in August #15168
07/15/02 10:58 AM
07/15/02 10:58 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 137
San Luis Obispo, Ca. USA
SeaJay Offline
SeaJay  Offline
sdhannah - here's a few pictures and our "view" of the Placencia area of Belize:

Yes, Placencia (the village itself) still has a ways to go to recover from Hurricane Iris, but some areas not far from the village are in very good shape. We stayed at Mariposa (approximately 2 miles north of town). Granted, I'm sure there was more beautiful foliage before Iris, but since we didn't see it BEFORE, we could barely tell Iris had even been there. There were a few palm trees with their tops missing, but the other damage has been cleaned up and they have done a lot of replanting. There aren't HUGE expanses of pristine white beaches as in some parts of the Caribbean, but we found the beach gorgeous....and very very private. In my eyes, it was perfect for "relaxing on a clean, scenic beach". Sea grass does wash up, but it is raked up and taken away daily to prevent sand fleas, etc. As far as "trash"....the only trash I saw was 1 plastic lid that washed in while I was swimming. I have heard Costa Rica is beautiful and we want to go there in the near future, but if you want to avoid the extra traveling on this trip, you might want to reconsider this area.

[This message has been edited by SeaJay (edited 07-15-2002).]

Re: Belize/Costa Rica in August #15169
07/15/02 01:48 PM
07/15/02 01:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8
sdhannah Offline OP
sdhannah  Offline OP
Thanks for the quick replies! I appreciate all of the advice. SeaJay, thanks for the photos - they're terrific!

We have already booked our tickets to Belize, and would prefer to stay in Belize for the entire trip, and save Costa Rica for another time. However, it is enough of a priority to have some quality time doing nothing on the beach that we are willing to go to the expense and trouble of incorporating Costa Rica into the trip if good beaches cannot be had in Belize. Don't need a huge beach, or a wide beach, but definately do not want mucky water or litter. Just want to be lazy, and if we can pull ourselves from a sitting position, maybe snorkel.

I have read on this board and others that the beaches off some of the hotels on Ambergris Caye are not very appealing. But I have read some comments that the beach at Victoria House is nice. How does that compare to the beach at Hamanasi?

Thanks again for your input.

Re: Belize/Costa Rica in August #15170
07/15/02 09:52 PM
07/15/02 09:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 128
Dangriga, Stann Creek , Belize
d-jon Offline
d-jon  Offline
sdhannah, the beaches off Hamanasi, is very nice. They maintain it.

There are some special deals going on for the fall at Hamanasi.

August is usually when most resorts closes to do maintainance.

For a choice between BL and CC I'd go for CC.

contact for more details
[email protected]

Hi, trina I would suggest the Orange Walk area. There is a lot to offer there. In particular there is the Lamanai Outpost lodge that offers exactly what you're looking for. You can contact me if you need more info at [email protected]
Re: Belize/Costa Rica in August #15171
07/18/02 06:18 PM
07/18/02 06:18 PM
Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 713
Fremont, CA, USA
susangg Offline
susangg  Offline
If money is no object, why not pick Cayo Espanto? That's where I would go if I could afford it....I can't imagine any place more beautiful and luxurious....if it looks anything like its photos, which I am sure it does.

Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: [email protected]

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