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#429067 01/30/12 09:25 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

Ok�project manager time. While I don't necessarily believe in planning every detail of a trip, this time around I have a lot of it planned out already because we are only in Belize for a short period and I want to make sure my Mom gets as much out of it as she can. I suspect this will be her one and only trip there, so I want to show her the sites I already love and have a couple of new experiences myself.

So, in case you are wondering here is what we have planned (I reserve the right to change any of this during our trip�I refuse to be inflexible when I travel).

1/29 - Leave our homes.

1/30 - Meet up in Houston for the last leg of our trip. We arrive in Belize City mid-day and I've arrange shuttle transportation with William (he was my transportation last time�he is fantastic…email address at end of post) for our ride to San Ignacio. I'm hoping we'll have time to check in with Pacz Tours and maybe hit one of the local Mayan ruins (Cahal Pech or Xunantunich). I realize this is a lot for one day, but I've told my Mom she can sleep when she gets home. Dinner will definitely be at one of my favorite places, Hodes (conveniently located to where we are staying).

1/31 - Guatemala to see Tikal and to go zip lining.

2/1 - Caracol and Rio on Pools.

2/2 - Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) cave.

2/3 - Once again we'll be with William trekking from San Ignacio to Hopkins. If we leave later in the day, we'll try to do the other local Mayan ruin. If we leave early, we'll have time to get our bearings in Hopkins and maybe track down a local tour company to go snorkeling with.

2/4 - Relax and check out Hopkins. And, visit some family friends that have a place there. We may even venture to Placencia.

2/5 - Snorkeling at Glovers Reef (if we can arrange it).

2/6 - Transportation to Caye Caulker. This leg is a little complicated and I don't know how we'll get there. One thought was a taxi to Dangriga and then fly. Problem is the flight from Dangriga to Belize City and then the flight to Caye Caulker do not align well and we'd be trapped in Belize City for a while. There are always the local buses, but since we are only there for very few days I hate to waste one sitting on a crowded bus all day. The final (and maybe the most likely) is to hire a driver. I figure that William might be able to suggest someone. By bus or driver will require us to also take a ferry from Belize City for the last leg. If by chance we have time once we are on Caye Caulker, I'd like to take the ferry to San Pedro.

2/7 - Manatee tour. I'm hoping we can go see the manatees with Chocolate who is a local legend and started the manatee reserve. I tried to go with him last time, but he doesn't plan ahead and never ended up going out while I was there. Charlie at Raggamuffin Tours said she would help me find someone if Chocolate doesn't go.

2/8 - Hol Chan snorkel with Raggamuffin Tours, which also includes Coral Gardens and Shark/Ray Alley.

2/9 - Hang out on the island. We don't leave Belize City to head home until early evening, so we'll stay on the island and take a flight right before we have to leave. I did this last time and it was totally worth it. I was the only passenger on the small plane and the views we breathtaking. If we decided not to fly the option is a ferry to Belize City and then a taxi to the airport. I would never do that�too much time and you don't save a lot of money.

So there you have it. How to travel in Belize and get the most out of it with very little time. This kind of busy itinerary is not for everyone, but I love to go-go-go when I travel (actually a couple of rest days would be nice). The one saving grace is that in most cases we'll be done with the tours for the day by 5pm or 6pm, so we can grab dinner and still get to sleep early for our next day's adventures.

Travel, Photography, and Other Fun Adventures<

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

Snorkeling Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Video from our snorkeling trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve in the Belize Barrier Reef, where we swam with green turtles, schools of nurse sharks and sting rays, and a pair of lazy manatees!

Snorkeling with Sharks, Sting Rays and Manatees in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

No trip to Belize is complete without a visit to at least one of its Northern Cayes in the Caribbean - either Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker (or both if you have enough time!).

Being the second largest reef system in the world, it's no surprise that snorkeling and scuba diving the Belize Barrier Reef is the top attraction for visitors to the chilled out islands. The most popular snorkeling excursion in the Belize northern cayes is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley.

As you can see in the short video, our snorkeling trip was filled with marine wildlife and colourful soft coral reef.

After an unsuccessful attempt at swimming with whale sharks in Placencia, we were pretty excited to have witnessed a pair of manatees swimming in their natural habitat.

With a face like a bulldog, body like a sea lion and a tail that is flat like a beaver, the cute and fat manatees spend most of their day resting on the sea floor, surfacing for air every 15 minutes (which is the best time to spot them). They are without question the most unique marine mammal we have ever seen.

The visibility of the water near the manatees was quite cloudy, but we did manage to catch one good photo with our underwater camera.


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