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Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 12
OP Offline
question on the jungle area near belmopan. we want to get off the ac for a side trip and see some ruins. chaa creek and blancaneaux sound awesome but pricey. are they more of a destination in themselves or a place to stay if visiting Tikal. Is Tikal better than El Pilar?

Is chaa creek worth the money? do you drive out here or fly?

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Tikal is far, far more interesting than El Pilar. Indeed, El Pilar is not even the most interesting Maya site in Cayo -- that would be Xunantunich.

All the places you mention are great places to stay. Cayo District is a tremendous destination in itself, well worth up to a week or more for caving, seeing Maya sites, rainforest and mountain hiking, horseback riding, birding and other activities.

Besides the lodges you mention, which are expensive but worth it, I also recommend (among others) Ek 'Tun, duPlooy's, Five Sisters, Mopan River Resort (if you want a high-value all-inclusive) and, near Belmopan, Ian Anderson's, Banana Bank, Pook's Hill and Jaguar Paw.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize
(288 pages, more than 75 photos and maps, available for $14.95 from

Lan Sluder/Belize First
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 48
I have to recommend Hidden Valley Inn in Cayo as a great destination as well as a base to see Tikal and other great sites. Fantastic and I think less expensive than Blacaneaux.

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 2,090
I agree with Lan Sluder. DuPlooy's is just wonderful. We stayed there last May/June. It's on the river, up a cliff side, so you can even swim. They have canoes so you can canoe into town and they will pick you back up. The grounds are absolutely incredible. They have botanical gardens on site. They bend over backwards to get you the tours you want, and arrange everything. Even a box lunch if you need it. They have a deck that extends out into the jungle canopy and they send fruit out by pulley every morning to attract the birds. Tucans and everything!! The rooms are fabulous and the little Mayan ladies in the kitchen do some fabulous things with food. We were delighted. Try their web site!

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 94
If you are at all physically fit and enjoy hiking, tubing, etc., I cannot say enough good things about Ian Anderson's Caves Branch, near Belmopan ( -- and about the physically fit part, I am 45 years old, slim but never work out -- and I loved it and would go back in a heartbeat. It's a great place, great setting and a real jungle experience. Smooth communications in all media
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 16
Hi there, We just got back from A/C and Tikal (31 dec, 2000).

What I would suggest if you want to see ruins (that was our main goal) is to plan on 4-5 days in Flores, Guatemala. From there they have lists of tours that you can take. And it's a 7.x to 1 US dollar exchange. nice and inexpensive.
You do have to pay a 30 USD departure tax for leaving Guatamala and 20 USD for leaving Belize, so, try to leave each only once.

I have a town map of Flores at work, email me at [email protected] if you want some hotel numbers.

Flores is an island, very small, and clean.
We likes Flores more than anything else on our trip. Which was a BIG surprise!

Kerri Hallbeck
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 12
OP Offline
Just dropped you an email but looking for additional advice. We're trying to use Frequent Flyer miles into Belize and are having some difficulty. We've found some into Cancun so could drive south to spend some beach time on the Mexican Caribbean near Tulum but also really like the sound of the Cayo district and Flores. Do you know if you can fly from Cancun/Tulum area to Flores and how expensive it might be? Airline suggestions? Do you know if you can fly into San Ignacio or Belompan from AC or is it better to drive/bus?

We'll only be on vacation for 8 nights so are trying to not make the trip too choppy, consumed by too much travel and not enough R&R.


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