OK, here is my trip report in a nutshell -coconut shell. I landed late afternoon Saturday 9 October, caught a taxi for around $20US to the local Belize City bus station -local is the word here, for an Express Bus to the Cayo District -San Ignacio is the technical name of the town nobody uses. Walked a couple blocks to Eva's, known as a sort of hub for travelers. This town was cool, and friendly, but might look a bit rough to the more upscale travelers. I think adventurous kids come here as a jump off to Guatemala, the jungle, archeological digs, etc. Had a pretty bad boiled chicken burrito and had the owner call Cahal Pech Village Resort to come get me. They did, but thought I was a travel agent, otherwise probably wouldn't have. Cool place, up a steep dirt hill. I'd pad for a couple nights, and it was only around $74 US total including all taxes and "tips". Friendly people, especially one worker named Darwin, who really went out of his way -although I suspect if you asked him about it he'd laugh and say he wasn't doing anything special. Thatched hut w/TV, no AC, but didn't need it in mtns.
Sunday - Nice view in AM of mist over mtns. Call taxis and nobody answers. Sunday morning. Get ride to town, nobody will take me to Barton's Cave to canoe/tube the river, because I"m alone and it's not worth it. This is really the dead tourist season. Finally get a guide to take me canoeing the Macal River -$ paid I forgot. Nice guy -Willy, extremely knowledgable about local plants, but only understand <50% of his pronunciation, and most of that is about $$. Recommend someone else, he was fishing for a US$ tip all day, propositioning me to buy land -!, etc.. I'm gonna give him one anyway, so it was annoying, but overall fun time. Iguanas in trees, toucans, birds, bats, etc. Ditched canoe and walked through jungle to Cristo Rey, village where he's apparently related to everyone. But bitten by mosquitos on feet - use sunscreen and DEET -although it was cloudy I paid with a bad sunburn for days; he fed me a plant that wards off malaria...... walked home, nap, local bus to Xinantunich, hand drawn ferry across river, walk by iguanas 2K to ruins. Really impressive, great view from top, few tourists. Last bus went by as return ferry was almost there, shared a cab with a couple Chinese-Belizian's -common in area- for around $3BZ -things out here prove to be REALLY cheap compared to AC. Hotel owners offer to switch me to newer building w/A/C for no charge. Place is almost empty. Walk downtown to recommended restaurant Hannah's, nice people but I got out of there for around $15 after eating lamb cartilage/bone stew.
Monday - morning walk around Mayan ruins of Cahal Pech, nicer than expected considering what travel books said. Local Express bus to city, taxi -$7BZ to municiple airport for flight to San Pedro -$45BZ?-. Taxi to Banana Beach -paid for 3 nights in advance ~$69 ea.-, nice room w/AC and view from balcony of sea; welcome drink in bar, vouchers for breakfast each morning -or use toward about half of lunch bill. It's national holiday, Pan American/Colombus Day, and most places are dead; almost no tourists. Elvi's for dinner, I felt overpriced and just OK. Specials are really expensive, so ask! Local coconut ice cream -Manleys??. Bartenders advise I cab home, I end up walking beach all the way, felt pretty safe with flashlite, and occassional security guard.
Tuesday - Nearby Marina's Market proves to have best prices for rum - One Barrel liter should be a good start -$15BZ-. Catch ride with local to town, Jambel Jerk on the balcony -old one overlooking beach by basketball court-, really nice waiter Eden; coconut curry fish and key lime pie ~$22US.
Wednesday - drink/read/sleep on beach. Circular saw construction noise from Mata Rocks "almost" disturbing. Afternoon snorkel trip w/Alfonso is the best! Only 7 of us American tourists. Go w/him and only him. -Note to self: next time, bring a towel and dry shirt for boat ride back home while wet; overcast cool day-. To Chicken Drop at night, but the chicken won't poop. I think all 3 were constipated. Fun anyway. W/couple of other Americans to great hotel by Airport -forgot name- who's property goes all the way to sea, eat really good dinner of Snook, bananas, and panty rippers. They have cart, so ride home.
Thursday - water taxi to Caye Caulker, great giant lobster jerk burrito and limeade at Rasta Pasta -Reynold at Banana Beach recommends-. Lady hawker walks me around looking for place, she was very nice and earned a tip, as she took me to a place where she earned no commission. San Pedro is Manhatten compared to this place. There couldn't be a dozen tourists on the island, and all Aussies. Nice 2nd story room overlooking the sea at new Barefoot Caribe -$75? -lots of places were cheaper though, most more "local"-. Walk around island to local market, Belizian honey, etc.
Friday - not really a good beach for laying out or swimming. Water taxi back to AC, nice internet cafe near dock, local ex-pat's Joe and Jesse offer me a ride back to BB. Drink/read/sleep on beach. Walk to town and meet nice American girl, out to dinner at Carumba -good ceviche and chips on the tables, decent coconut conch/lobster-, drinks bar hopping, etc. She has great full apt. for around $90/nt. on the beach -forgot name of place, not too far north of BB-. Storm and power on island goes out...
Saturday 16 Oct. - snorkel at beach, disappiontment after Hol Chan, don't bother! Breakfast is packed, the day I leave = the tourists arrive. Pick up some Marie Sharpes hot sauce and fake Mayan wood carving, etc. Duty free One Barrel rum is a good deal in AP duty free, BTW.
Sorry this is so long, don't know how to otherwise do it! Hope someone gets enjoyment. I'll go back there!