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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 29
DonnaF Offline OP
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These are old questions which have most likely been answered many times before - So - Please forgive me.

This will be our first trip to Belize, looked at it many times, but continued to our old favorite of Costa Rica.

We always travel in Jan or Feb, due to my husbands farming operation, this is generally the only time available for travel. In reading much information I am concerned, is this going to be a bad time?

At first glance, we were compelled to choose Ambergris for our home base. But now after all my reading am considering possbibly Placencia.

We love to snorkle, (never get much of that in Costa Rica) so this is a major drawing card for Belize. We love white water rafting, so would probably enjoy some river trips although it is not white water, exploring ruins, exploring small towns, experiencing local cuisine, I love quite time and a book on the beach, he loves high adventure. Did I mention we love to eat! Enjoy a beer at the local spots, but not much into major nightlife. Our days seem to stay well packed, thus a bit tired by late evening.

I have read everything on the BelizeFirst website! As well as several others and a couple of books.

So bottom line - Is Jan/Feb going to be a bad decision?
And - Can anyone sum of the differences in AC and Placencia? Mostly concerned with the fact that I do not want to limit my trip to a beach.


Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,062
why do you think Jan/Feb would be a bad decision? In my book. ANYTIME in BZ is a good time

_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 269
My wife and I go every year in February(I am also a farmer). We think it is a wonderfull time to go. It is the dry season so weather is very nice. It is also high season so lodging is a little more expensive, but I wouldn't consider it crouded.
We usually base ourselves on Ambergris Caye and do a trip or two while we are there. Placencia is nice but a little too laid back for us. It is also a longer trip out to the reef for snorkeling or diving. I guess it depends on what you want to do while you are in Belize.

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 280
"Placencia plus" - you will be on the mainland and will be able to do most of the things you want easier from there than any of the Cayes (except for snorkeling). Even though I love San Pedro, I would think Placenca would be better for you. February is definately a good time to come! Enjoy!

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 29
DonnaF Offline OP
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klcman wrote "why do you think Jan/Feb would be a bad decision?" -
In reading many of the post it seems this is the most windy time to come down. And the coldest!

crockhunter wrote "I guess it depends on what you want to do while you are in Belize." -
I just thought it may be best to schedule some time in Placencia for inland tours to the ruins and jungle?

kippe wrtoe "you will be on the mainland and will be able to do most of the things you want easier from there than any of the Cayes" -
Exactly but it seems a shame to miss Ambergris!

It seems we may need to split our time between the two areas.


Joined: May 2000
Posts: 3,281
If you are going to split it up, do AC OR Placencia & somewhere inland like Cayo. Placencia is on the mainland but still basically beach - not very close to ruins, rivers, adventure tours, etc.

Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 11,062
listen to her - she knows of what she speaks

And, it's not cold in Feb ( esp in comparison with your locale). I've spent half of January and the entire month of Feb there and never once needed my down jacket

_ _ _ _ _ _ _________________ _ _ _ _ _ _
But then what do I know, I am but a mere caveman
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Here's my standard list of pros and cons for Placencia and Ambergris Caye. I agree with Barbara -- if you're going to split, I'd say choose either Ambergris Caye or Placencia, (or substitute Caulker for Ambergris Caye if you're budget-oriented) and add Cayo.

--Lan Sluder


A few of the differences between Ambergris Caye and Placencia:

AMBERGRIS CAYE (often referred to as San Pedro):

* The biggest island in Belize (originally a peninsula jutting down from the Yucatan) -- northern Belize

* Settled by Mestizos from Mexico

* Most popular destination in Belize (for many good reasons)

* 7,000 residents on the island

* Mostly sand streets, no building over 3 stories

* By FAR Belize's widest selection of restaurants and hotels

* Among the best top-end hotels: Victoria House, Mata Chica and Portofino and condotels Villas at Banyan Bay, Banana Beach, The Palms, Xanadu

* Among the best mid-range lodging: Mayan Princess, Corona del Mar

* Among the best budget lodging: Ruby's, Pedro's Backpacker Inn

* Some shops, sizeable groceries, lots of bars and places to hear live music

* Very nice beaches though like all beaches inside the reef somewhat narrow and with some goop bottoms and a good deal of seagrass

* Beaches along most of the Caribbean side (20+ miles)

* Reef just a few hundred yards offshore

* Decision required about locations -- more remote North Ambergris requires water taxi, south end or in/near town

* Lots of snorkel tours and day trips to the mainland to visit ruins

* Good diving locally and excellent diving on day trips to Turneffe or Lighthouse atolls

* Get there by flights from international (US$47) or municipal airstrip (US$26) or by water taxi (US$14)

* Safe and friendly (though usual cautions are in order, and with growth crime is increasing some)

* Transportation on the island -- bikes, rental golf carts, cabs, water taxis

* Hotels from US$15 to $500+ a night

* Small condos and vacation rental houses available US$100 to $500+ a night

* Great golf available on nearby Caye Chapel (but expensive -- US$200 a day)

* Tennis available at sports club and at a couple of hotels

* Water -- safe to drink from municipal system or RO/wells as remote resorts

* Good fishing -- tarpon, bonefish and other

* Very little snorkeling from shore (best snorkeling requires a short boat ride to Hol Chan Marine Reserve (including Shark-Ray Alley)

* About the same amount of rain as Atlanta, Ga.

* Significant new development taking place especially from town to about 2 miles south of town


* 16-mile long peninsula in southern Belize (Stann Creek District)

* Access from Belize City via road by rental car (3 1/2 hours, US$55+ a day), bus (6+ hours, US$8), air (40 minutes, US$70 from international, US$55 from municipal)

* Placencia village is 25 miles from the Southern Highway on an unpaved road

* Two villages on peninsula -- Placencia (Creole) and Seine Bight (Garifuna)

* Peninsula population about 3,000

* Wide choice of hotels from budget hotels in Placencia village to upscale resorts farther north

* Hotels from around US$15 to $400+

* Few condos but some vacation rental houses, US$100 to $300+ a night

* Among the best to-end lodging: Inn at Robert's Grove, Turtle Inn

* Among the best mid-range lodging: Kitty's, Mariposa, Barnacle Bill's, Nautical Inn

* Among the best budget lodging: Tradewinds, Ranguana, Seaspray, Manatee Inn

* Some good restaurants in Placencia village and elsewhere, though most of the better restaurants are at hotels

* Transportation on peninsula -- taxis or your rental car

* 15+ miles of very nice beaches along Caribbean side -- best beaches on mainland but not much different from those on Ambergris Caye

* Day trips to mainland to visit Cockscomb jaguar preserve and to Maya sites near Punta Gorda

* Day snorkel trips -- reef is 15 miles out, though snorkeling is also available at islands and patch reefs closer in

* Little snorkeling from shore

* Few shops, only small groceries

* No golf; tennis for guests at Robert's Grove

* Safe and friendly (though usual precautions are in order)

* Water from municipal system safe to drink

* Good fishing for permit, bonefish, tarpon and other

* Access to small islands offshore for day or overnight visits

* Good to excellent diving on day trips

* Limited nightlife

* More rain than Ambergris Caye (especially during rainy season June - November)

* Sandflies can be irksome

--Lan Sluder <Fodor's Belize & Guatemala, San Pedro Cool, Adapter Kit Belize, Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize, etc.>

Lan Sluder/Belize First
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 269
To add to February weather topic...........two years ago february was very warm, in the 90's most days. Then last year,we had a record low of about 65. I have still never worn a jacket or long pants while in Belize. We have seen a few windy days and also a few dead calm days. Spliting time between the ocean and the mountains is a good idea. San Ignacio is a good location to base out of for inland adventures. You can either stay in the jungle or right in town, there is a wide range of accomidations.

Where ever you decide to stay, visit bars in the evening and get to know some locals. They are extremely friendly and can give you a lot of suggestions about things to see and do in their area. We have many longtime friends and they have given us much advice about Belize.

My only other advice is, leave your watch in your suitcase and be flexible in your plans.


Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 29
DonnaF Offline OP
OP Offline
Thanks everyone for your advice and your much needed help. Sounds like a wonderful place to be.
Now if I can find some decent airfare and we can get the rest of this cotton out of the fields - we may just make it to Belize!
Crockhunter - 90 degrees I hope - I love hot weather, when it drops below 70 I get cold! However a cool breeze in the evening, sitting out on the balcony is refreshing. (as you can see I am in a daydream)
And sitting in the bars day or evening - not a problem - it is always one of the highlights of our trips - getting to know the locals.
Thanks to everone.

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