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itinerary help for a single female traveler!

Portland, Oregon
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itinerary help for a single female traveler!

hi everyone,

i've been reading through the forum and am getting some ideas but need some help pulling it all together. until recently i was going to be spending the holidays in cuba, but thanks to mexicana airlines going under, i'm now having to make some quick travel changes.

i arrive in cancun around 3pm on dec. 25 and figure i'd bus it down to chetumal and spend the night there. i would then pick up a bus in the morning to somewhere in belize - haven't figured this out yet - any suggestions?

so here are my questions:

1. any suggestions for an itinerary? my flight leaves cancun around 1:30pm on jan. 8, which i'm assuming would mean i'd have to be back in mexico on jan. 7. with this in mind, would love some ideas as to where to go from dec. 26-jan. 7. i went to the yucatan peninsula on my own years ago and covered cozumel, isla mujeres, playa del carmen and tulum - went from a palapa with no electricity on a beach to a regular hotel to a b&b...loved the diversity of this experience. i had a great time snorkeling (would love to do it in belize), chilling on the beach, and wandering around small towns. i love animals, so chances to see wildlife is a big plus.

i have to say that the cosiness of hickatee looks great, and i'm thinking it'd be worth going down to toledo for that. also like the idea of spending some time on a beach, and from what i've read i'm guessing caye caulker is more my speed than ambergris.

2. being a single female traveler, would there be any issue in renting a car (sounds like i'd need a 4x4) in terms of safety? i drove a 4x4 around the roads (sometimes that term was vague) of costa rica but i went with friends.

3. is it worth spending a little time to cross the border into guatemala to hang out in flores and see tikal?

hoping you guys can help...kind of scrambling last minute (as i know it's high season so have to get it all pulled together soon).

ack!

belize
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for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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1. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

There are a few car rental companies in Cancun who allow you to cross the border with the rental. Ask if you can cross over into Guatemala as well to visit Tikal. If not, you can rent a car in Belize and move around easily, safely and for less $ than planes and less time than the bus. Hickatee is cute and in Toledo district furthest south with interesting divese cultures, river and horse trips, Mayan sites, caves, waterfalls, cacao farms, small town and more. I would then suggest Placencia, a nice beach area with a quaint village just north of PG and easier to reach from there than Caye Caulker. Its safe for a woman to travel around alone, people are friendly and talkative, just use your smarts.

San Ignacio, Belize
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2. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

First of all, smart move flying into Cancun during busy season; I bet you saved enough to pay for much of your trip. What I would do since you have the time, and you mentioned Tikal and Flores, is to do 'the loop.' You could take a bus from Chetumal to Belize City - but don't stay there - and then go to the TEC, and see the zoo. Then you could head down to Placencia for a few nights, then head down to PG. The next day, take a water taxi to Livingston for a few nights, then hit Rio Dulce, which you'll love! Then catch a bus to Flores, and see Tikal. Then a couple of nights in Cayo, and then head on back.

The loop is a fun trip, and you'll have more than enough time for it. That way, you won't have to worry about a rental car, and will experience some cool water taxis.

Have a great Christmas trip!

Placencia, Belize
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3. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

Just be sure you don't get stranded on Christmas day. I like the doc's plan.

www.belizebus.wordpress.com is a good source.

Hickatee is lovely but I think they are booked for Christmas but check out another favourite, Blue Belize, a really nice place to stay in Punta Gorda.

Hopkins
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4. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

1. If you decide to rent a car:

Katie gave you excellent advice. Rent the car in Cancun. It will cost you about half as much as in Belize, and they do have weekly rental rates.

Since you will be traveling quite a ways to get to Belize, I would not want to do too much running around in the few days you have in the country. Go to Toledo and stay at Hickatee and for beach time stop in Hopkins rather than Placencia. It is closer to the parks at Cockscomb Jaguar Reserve and Mayflower, and since you have a car you do not have to pay for a tour guide to go on the well marked trails. Hopkins is only four miles off the highway, so you do not have to drive up and down the peninsula to get anywhere. I would save the visit to Tikal for another trip and do the ATM cave at the same time.

2. If you decide not to rent a car

Bus to Belize City from Cancun then take the water taxi to Caye Caulker.Take the water taxi back to Belize City, taxi to the MUNICIPAL airport and fly to Punta Gorda. The view is fantastic flying down the coast. On the return trip, fly to Dangriga and bus back to Belize City via the beautiful Hummingbird Highway then on by bus to Cancun.

San Diego, CA
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5. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

I would fly r/t from Cancun to BZE via Maya airlines. $299 r/t. Sounds like a lot; however, keep in mind it will give you 2-3 more days in Belize and much safer. Subtract your bus fare & hotel or car rental ( and gas) it's probably close to a wash. They have a special too--get 20% off your domestic flight when you purchase an INTL flight.

This is what i have done in the past: Fly to BZE from Cancun and then head to San Pedro (buy a one way tix to AC and then a one way to belize city). Spend 4 nights in San Pedro and then fly to the city. Have an Avis car rental waiting for you when you get there. Spend the remaining of your trip on the mainland: zoo, runis, zip lining, cave tubing, etc... I would make your way to Placencia for 2-3 nights. Wake up early and drop your rental car off at the INTL airport (BZE) and head back to Cancun. Its a bout 3 hrs from Placencia to BZE.

I did this in March and it was great! Send me a pm if you have any questions.

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

thanks, everyone - your opinions have given me quite a lot to work with...i've got some more figuring out to do, it seems!

cancun was where i was originally going to fly to havana from, and actually secured that flight using air miles back in february! i am now wishing, though, i had picked another city as it seems tough to get from there to belize city via plane. not sure what is up with maya island air as i have gone to their site and it looks like all flights past the end of sept. are not available. does anyone happen to know if you can only book a month in advance with them? if that's the case it certainly wouldn't give me much time to make backup arrangements, especially considering it is high season.

i did look at using air miles to get to another city in the u.s. and then go to belize city from there, but wow...$600-$700?!? dr. feel awesome, now i know why you're giving me kudos for flying into cancun!

if i don't do the car rental option, i've heard varying reports as to how rough of a ride the bus is between cancun to chetumal. anyone here have personal experience?

thanks again to all of you!

lauren

San Ignacio, Belize
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7. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

The ride from Cancun to Chet is a piece of cake. 5 hours, and it's easy to get a 1:00am bus, and arrive in Chet early, where you can shop, eat, and catch a bus to Belize City.

Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

i guess the information i got on the bus was from people that rode it about 6-7 years ago - they said a lot of it was on dirt road and was really uncomfortable. guess it is paved now and not so bad...hmmmm...seems like i have even more to figure out!

thanks sooooo much!

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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9. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

The highway from Cancun to Chetumal is four lane for more than the first hour. The rest is well paved two lane. My best advice for the bus is to bring a sweater or a blanket. I about froze. I noticed all the locals had blankets.

It really isn't a bad ride, although the scenery certainly isn't spectacular.

Just to perhaps add more confusion to your plans, there is also a

water taxi which runs daily from Chetumal to San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. I think it leaves about 3pm, so the timing might not work. The ride is a bit over 1 1/2 hours.

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: itinerary help for a single female traveler!

ah, well, it sounds like the bus ride is much better than it used to be...guess that is the way it is with many things. :)

another question for all of you sages...i'm altering my dates a little of where i'll be when. if you had christmas eve and christmas day to spend somewhere other than belize city but somewhere that was easily accessible from there, where would it be? caye caulker seems more my thing that caye ambergris, but i'm also wondering if there is somewhere else interesting. i would be heading south from there so maybe dangriga? thoughts?

thanks again!