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in the jungle?

Posted By: slomom

in the jungle? - 12/29/04 12:02 AM

My head is swimming with all the info I've been reading here lately!! I've narrowed down the choices, can you help?? We're bring our kids (13,8,9) for 3 days, then on to AC. It's between DuPlooys, Crystal Paradise, Parrots Nest or staying in San Ignacio. Is it easy to get to town and arrange tours from these places to save money over what the lodges charge? the kids want to do horesbackriding, see some ruins (maybe Tikal) and night walks in the jungle. I need to watch my money, I don't need great digs, just some barriers betwen me and the biggest jungle creatures!
Posted By: Sir Isaac Newton

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 12:11 AM

duPlooy's .... the kids will love it!
Posted By: SuzyQ

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 02:40 AM

slommom, My husband and I are staying at Aguada in Santa Eleana which is right near San Ignacio.
We chose Aguada because I want the jungle experience when I want it and not when I don't. Shalue is our host and she has been wonderful. She will be helping us make arrangements for our trips, including Tikal. I'm not sure how entertained the kids will be, a lodge sounds great for them but Aguada does have a pool:) If your watching your pennies, you might want to check it out. They have a web site, Aguada.com
Good luck!
Posted By: slomom

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 05:59 AM

Suzy Q,
how far from town and the "jungle" are you? sounds like that might be a good compromise...how do you like your accomodations?
Posted By: SuzyQ

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 10:49 AM

Slomom, Not far from what I am told. This will be my first trip to the Cayo district. I know that San Ignacio is suppose to be within walking distance and the local ruins are close. We are renting a car so that we can make the trips to some of the areas attractions on our own. Shalue at Aguada is helping us arrange the trips to places like the caves and Tikal. Aguada got good reviews in Fodor's, the travel book. I have been reading this message board for months and have seen postings before and after trips. Go with the recommendations of these guys. They know what they are talking about! Where are staying on AC? When are you going?
Posted By: Sir Isaac Newton

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 05:51 PM

Aquada is nice. In a residential area. Short drive for horseback riding and other activities.

duPlooy's (from your choices) is your best best for the jungle experience. Horseback to Xunantunich in pretty incredible.

The duPlooy's family really do it right. The restaurant's deck sits up in the jungle canopy overlooking the Macal River a hundred feet below.

Chaa Creek is a short hop away (next door). The Natural History Center, Butterfly Farm, Ixchel Medicine Trail and Chaa Creek Spa are located here.

The highway and San Ignacio is a 20-30 minute drive.
Posted By: streetchie

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 07:14 PM

duPlooy's for sure. Say hello to Heather and Shela.
Posted By: slomom

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 07:21 PM

Sir Isaac,
thanks for your info, can you tell me, do most lodges drive you somewhere to begin your tours? I guess my big dilemna is why pay for a jungle lodge if we're only sleeping there and leaving every day to go and do tours, horsebackriding, caving etc. we'll see alot of the jungle on the tours during the day, and it seems I could save alot staying in town. can you visit the butterfly farm, natural history centre, etc if you are not guests of the lodge?
can you shed some light on this?
thanks
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: in the jungle? - 12/29/04 07:59 PM

If you are staying in the jungle at a lodge, you will end up doing your tours with them. Would not save you $$ getting into town to start from there (example - about $35 taxi fee duPlooys to SI) unless you plan to rent your own vehicle. Staying in town or at a place like the Aguada is considerably less $$ than staying at a lodge and will have cheaper tours as well. Longer drive getting to the sites usually but more choice of restaraunts, etc. Depends on what you are looking for. I have stayed at the Aguada and Crystal Paradise with my 2 kids (6 &11) and they liked both. The lodges have more of a jungle "on site" experience (birding scopes, canoes on the river, cool bugs, etc. But the town hotels usually have more creature comforts like TV, A/C, pools. Personally I think CP might be a good choice for you as it is lower priced than some of the lodges and includes breakfast & dinner in the prices. Run by a large Belizean family so very family oriented and usually kids on site. Good tours, horses on site. Aguada has kids on site too and a pool & playground. Feel free to contact me for more info or specifics, and check out several years worth of photos at http://photos.yahoo.com/barbsbelize
Posted By: Sir Isaac Newton

Re: in the jungle? - 12/30/04 12:11 AM

It is really something special waking up in the jungle right at daybreak.

No unatural noise polution, no matter how faint.

Its equally amazing when the night comes, listening to the various sounds of the canopy.

Some tours start at the lodge, like the river excursions, horseback and hiking.

Chaa Creek's attraction are open to the public, guests and non-guests pay admission.

Renting a car is a very smart idea no matter where you stay. It's a pretty good hike to town from Aguada.

If you are looking for the full jungle experience, you may want to stay in the jungle. It may not seem like too much more if you compare it with your overall vacation expenditure.

The Aguada is a very nice property also. A good friend of mine operates the resort.

SIN
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: in the jungle? - 12/31/04 02:50 AM

My take (and, by the way, I wrote the Fodor's guide Suzy Q mentioned, along with a half dozen other guides to Belize):

All the properties mentioned in this string are good spots, though they each have pros and cons.

For value, cleanliness and overall appeal in the budget range in and near San Ignacio, you can't beat Aguada (across from Loma Luz hospital, a short taxi or bus ride from San Ignacio town), Martha's and Casa Blanca Guesthouse. Nefry's, a new place, I hear good things about but haven't stayed there myself. Also, Cahal Pech village is staging a comeback. For value outside San Ignacio, The Trek Stop is great. Ditto several places on the Mopan River, like Clarissa Falls, Cohune Palms and Parrot's Nest (though the shootings and such at Bullet Tree Falls are starting to bother me).

For value in the a-step-up lodge category, I like Crystal Paradise, Black Rock and the safari camp at Chaa Creek. Back near Belmopan in this mid-range, I'd choose Pook's Hill and Banana Bank.

I definitely agree that if staying outside town and properties along the highway like Trek Stop it's good to have a car. Otherwise you'll spend a fortune on taxis or a lot of time bumming rides.

--Lan Sluder
www.belizefirst.com
Posted By: Ivana Snorkel

Re: in the jungle? - 12/31/04 03:43 AM

What will we find on our first trip to Cahal Pech Village at the end of the month? I'm curious about it staging a comeback. We will have our two boys ages 4 and 6 with us. We will be there three nights; Lenny the manager has been fantastic over the phone and via email.
Posted By: Barbara K

Re: in the jungle? - 12/31/04 06:38 AM

you will love it. New pool with cool fountain. great views. good food. walking distance to ruins. take a taxi to Hode's for dinner one night - has great inexpensive food and a playground!
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