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Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours

Posted By: UDIVEGIRL

Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/11/05 11:42 PM

We are coming to AC in February for the first time! We can't wait. There's so much we want to do but we don't have a lot of time to research tours, so I have some questions.

1. Which Mayan Ruins would you suggest visiting? (It seems Tikal is the largest(?) but it's in Guatamala. Probably not available as a day tour from AC, huh??

2. Is there a Zip Line tour offered from AC? Is there more than one Zip Line? If so, which is the best tour (if more than one)?

3. We're also interested in some sort of jungle tour with the best possibility of seeing wildlife in natural habitat, not a zoo.

4. Also, where is the best place to hopefully see manatees? Are tours offered from AC?

5. We are also interested in the cave tubing. Which is the most adventurous?

We will be on AC for 2 weeks. Would it be best to stay on the mainland for a couple days in order to do the best tours or do the tour companies on AC offer the same tours?

I appreciate anyone's 2 cents.

Thanks!!

laugh

P.S. Our main activity will be diving. Good luck fitting everything in our itinerary, right!!? (sarcasm here)

laugh smile
Posted By: Kra-Z-K

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/11/05 11:57 PM

as far as adventurous on the caves, I recommend cave hiking vs. tubing for adventure. AMAZING experience, incredible. ATM caves.

I recommend staying in San Ignacio 3 nights since you have the time, do that tour from there and it is MUCH cheaper and less than half the time to get to it.

You can do the Tikal tour with any hotel in San Ignacio quite cheap and it is only about an hour from there. Easy to do in a day and they bring you back.

Zip lining is a Jaguar Paw, again close to San Ignacio.

I think you definately should stay 3 nights in San Ignacio or Mt. Pine Ridge area since you have the time. It is beautiful.
Posted By: Kra-Z-K

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/11/05 11:59 PM

and since your main activity will be diving, um, you don't want to get me started on my opinions and recommendations cause I might get yelled at for stating who I feel is superior. So do a search on diving or dive operators. I am taking a break from responding to that question. lol.
Posted By: marge

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 12:34 AM

Your opinions are valuable. State them if you wish. We all have them. Opinions that is.
Posted By: Kra-Z-K

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 02:13 AM

Marge, thank you. Glad you didn't feel I was too strong on my opinion on my fav dive shop in previous posts.
Posted By: clover

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 03:08 AM

Ocean Adventures Tours does all of the tours you are interested in. www.oceanadventurestours.com A good place to start to get an idea of the cost of the tours.....then go shopping.
Posted By: Matt Miller

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 05:12 AM

It's been a while since I've been down that way (too long), but here's my take on your ruins and wildlife questions.

I stayed for 2 weeks in San Pedro and took a couple of mainland tours from there. The Lamanai trip was a great day trip. They pick you up at your dock, boat to the mainland, up a river, take a bus, then another trip by boat to the ruins. It was a great trip and I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend Tikal in Guatemala. I took it as a day-trip. It was incredible but it would have been better if I made it an overnight. If you're in Belize, you're in the neighborhood and it really is something you should see. Go. You won't regret it.

The Tikal and Lamanai trips aren't real wildlife treks, but we saw quite a number of animals in their native habitat such as howler monkeys, spider monkeys, cuoti, a green jay, a toucan, a (big) crock on the bank on the boat ride back from Lamanai, numerous birds. The boat driver knew where there was a bat "hang-out" so we saw a bunch of bats hanging around. The best wildlife item we saw wasn't actually an animal. In this case, that's probably a good thing. During the Lamanai tour, there was a rain storm (whoda thunk, rain in a rain forest? ;-)) and after the rain stopped, we continued the tour. Not five minutes back on the hike, we spotted a very fresh jaguar print that had to have been made sometime just after the rain stopped.

A lot of people say the Belize Zoo is not your typical zoo and I've heard people really like it. I didn't see it so I can't tell you from personal experience.

Take a Blue Hole dive trip. The dives that are typically done during this trip are the best I've had. The lunch break we took was on Half Moon Caye which serves as a bird sanctuary for a few species of birds (spinakers, blue-footed boobies and one other, if I'm not mistaken). There is a tower you can climb to the canopy level and see them flying and nesting in the trees.

Here I am rambling. Can you tell I'm wishing I could get back there?
Posted By: clover

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 04:01 PM

Serious divers should consider Protech also.
Posted By: CodeBoy

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 04:08 PM

Just back from a trip to San Ignacio and Caye Caulker. My wife and I stayed at the Cahal Pech Resort Hotel at the top of San Ignacio. I can't recommend them enough for their tours. Tikal and Caracol run just under $100US each with all taxes, fees etc... including meals. Each is a full day trip about 2 hours from town. We jumped in on a Tikal tour the first full day we were there, it was just our guide and one other couple for the trip. Caracol was just my wife, myself and our guide Bruce, who used to work at the Caracol site.
If you stay in San Ignacio be sure to check out the small ruins at Cahal Pech. Their stated hours are 8am to 5pm, but I was there at 6:20am and they were open.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 09:02 PM

The best thing to do about diving is to wait till you're here, then walk around and check out the dive centers. Choose a real dive center (one that does the diving itself instead of simply selling it on) and you should have no problems. Lots of people have strong preferences, for positive or negative reasons, but to save KE any possible embarrassment let me say that Amigos del Mar is certainly one of the best. If I were a visitor to San Pedro I might well dive with them. But it isn't the only good one.
Posted By: UDIVEGIRL

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 09:23 PM

Thanks for all your input.

I was able to research the dive companies and we believe we know which company we're going through. We're going to decide once we arrive, through.

It's the tours I haven't thought much about yet or taken the time to look into.

Any info is appreciated! Thank you!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/12/05 11:19 PM

I think everything you cite can be done in day trips from San Pedro (with the possible exception of jungle tours), but you'll have long days with a lot of travelling and limited time doing whatever the target activity is. It'll also cost a great deal more than doing it from an appropriate base on the mainland. Personally, I would have my dive vacation first, and then go and stay in or near San Ignacio for the inland bit. Apart from anything else, the cost of living there is on all fronts much less than on Ambergris Caye. In two weeks you could do your diving and get to Tikal, though you'd have to sacrifice some of the other activities.You really want to stay at Tikal overnight if it is at all possible. From Tikal (actually Flores) you could fly directly to Belize City for your return home, though this is not as cheap as it is convenient.
Posted By: UDIVEGIRL

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 02:19 AM

Sounds like a good idea. I think we'll try to stay inland 3 days during our second week. There's some really cool sounding overnight tours of Tikal.

Thank you. It's just a matter of getting my bearings on time, location, etc. Things are really starting to click now.

One other question I had re: diving is are there any dive companies that practice "look but don't touch." I noticed a lot of the posts and pictures on this site talk about and have photos of divers that were handling the marine life. I was shocked of a photo of a diver on board a boat holding a conch shell, which I hope they threw back into the water.

I was a little surprised by this. We're very firm believers in the "look but don't touch" philosphy and would feel much better about using a tour operator that practices the same.

Thanks!
Posted By: clover

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 03:04 AM

I can name at least 3 excellent dive shops in San Pedro......as good as I would expect in the States....and maybe a little more attentive.
I am a repeat customer and use 3 different touring companies...base on what I want to do base on my experience with each company.......trust this.....you probably cannot fail....you'll do well and be happy if you use your own best judgement.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 03:46 AM

UDIVEGIRL, it's hard to find that kind of op in San Pedro. Perhaps Pedro2's has that policy.

As for the conch shells, I think you'd better get used to that idea fast. smile
Posted By: WhiteWater

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 05:59 AM

Wait until they grab a shark and hold onto it while everyone gets a chance to pet it. :-)
Posted By: Kra-Z-K

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 06:30 AM

pedro2, sure agree with you on both comments you made. adm is great and there are certainly many others great too.

As far as saving me embarassment, it is very hard to embarass me and doubt much could embarass me on the message board. wink You could try, pero soy una chica fuerte.
Posted By: lacysbeach

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 08:02 AM

Ke, I'm not going there!!En Espanole!! didn't you say Panama would be great
Posted By: lacysbeach

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 08:09 AM

I have read lot's of posts. I tend to agree!! There is a time spent between SP and CAYO and there are the factors of your best trip ever..Rivers & Beaches!!
Posted By: UDIVEGIRL

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 03:07 PM

I know, White Water. I've seen many a dive operator grab ahold of completely harmless nurse sharks and try to put on a show! I'm not naive to Carribean diving. I've been diving for over 10 years all over the world.

Seashell, as far as the conch shells, I am well aware. I love to eat conch and I know they're plentiful and are beautiful.

I just prefer a RECREATIONAL dive operator that leaves everything as found.

I don't need lectures. I just thought I could find an eco dive company. If not, so be it. It's no big deal. I'm not a PETA weirdo or anything so don't get the wrong idea.
I'm just well aware of the depleting coral reefs, etc., etc. and try to be conscious of it everywhere I go. I thought my eco awareness would be a benefit to other countries but maybe not.
Posted By: marge

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 03:14 PM

I feel the same way. We were moritfied in Jamaica, when we were snorkeling and they told us to stand on the reef to get our bearings. How horrible. We do look don't touch too. If only everyone would realize the importance of "look don't touch" then we'd have these reefs to dive on for years to come.
Posted By: WhiteWater

Re: Mayan Ruins, Zip Line, wildlife tours - 12/13/05 05:04 PM

No lecture here, sorry to suggest it. I just recently saw that for the first time and it shocked the heck out of me. The other places that I've snorkeled/dove (Hawaii, TCI, and Bali), they were very strict about keeping your hands and fins to yourself.
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