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One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

Redwood City...
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One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

I am planning a trip with a friend (we're both in our early 30s) for the end of November. We have a week (arrive Friday at noon, depart the next Friday at 1pm). I think we're going to do go the Cayo area for a few days (maybe 4 nights). We're trying to figure out where to go for the second part of the trip - Ambergis/Caulker Caye (would pick one) or somewhere in the South (Placenia, Hopkins Village?). What do you recommend?

I don't scuba, but I do like snorkeling, sitting by the water, beaches, etc.. I also like ruins, adventure, rivers (cave tubing or waterfalls), and the jungle. But, we should get a lot of that in the Cayo area (but if there are good experiences elsewhere, I'm open to doubling up on these activities if it seems worth it). I like cultural experiences and small towns where you really get a sense of the country and the people. Has anyone ever stayed with a Mayan family?

I have been to Tikal, so we won't be going to it on this trip.

To give you an idea of budget, we won't be going for super luxury, but we're not going to be staying in hostels easier. So, somwhere in the middle, but we'd splurge if it was for a great experience.

So, where should we go for the second half of our trip (1st half is Cayo)?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

I think I'd pick Caulker, though Hopkins is a good option, too. On Caulker you have easy access to snorkel tours because it's practically on the reef and you're closer to the airport for your flight home. Hopkins is trickier to get to if you don't have a rental car or hire a private shuttle ($$$).

You can see my photos and recommendations below if you're interested. Happy trails!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Edited: 07 November 2011, 00:09
Placencia, Belize
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2. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

You could check out the deep south, Hickatee Cottages specialises in offering inexpensive cultural experiences, although they are inland they are close to the sea. and they can organise trips to the beautiful and unspolit cayes of the south.

Hopkins
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3. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

Easy to get to Hopkins from San Ignacio by bus: San Ignacio to Belmopan, then take a bus to Dangriga and enjoy the beauty of the Hummingbird Highway. The bus to Hopkins ($2.50) leaves Dangriga at 5:15, or you can take a taxi to Hopkins from Dangriga ($80). When you are ready to leave you can bus or taxi back to Dangriga then fly directly into the International Airport for your flight home.

The Dalles, Oregon
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4. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

Potlikka, it's not that hard if you have some patience and the schedule works for you. We've never wanted to wait for the 5:15 bus and the taxis are surprisingly expensive. From San Ig you can bus clear to Belize City in a fraction of the time and walk or (cheap) taxi to the dock for a ferry to Caulker. Then you're just a ferry/taxi away from the airport in the even of an 11am flight out. That said, I love Hopkins more than Caye Caulker. :-)

Hopkins
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5. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

Hopefulist, glad I read your post and got a chance to reread mine. I have the US and BZ dollars all mixed up. The taxi from Dangriga to Hopkins is $40US (or $80BZ). Taxi drivers may negotiate for less. When you are ready to fly home, you can take the 7:00a.m bus from Hopkins, or $40US taxi, back to Dangriga and a 17 min. flight right to the International Airport.

Redwood City...
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6. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

Do you know if shuttle companies offer shuttles between the Cayo area and the South (Placencia or Hopkins or somewhere else)? Can you go straight, or do you need to go through Belize City? How long does it take?

If money wasn't a factor (though time still is), which you go to Caulker/Ambergis or the South?

Edited: 09 November 2011, 18:13
The Dalles, Oregon
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7. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

If you can afford a shuttle (lots of companies happy to oblige) and a taxi/flight to BZE for your flight home, I'd pick Hopkins. It's a laid back, fascinating village and we've found the people to be welcoming and the beaches lovely. You don't have to go through BC to get there by bus or shuttle; you'd take the Western Hwy to Belmopan and the beautiful Hummingbird Hwy from there. I'm guessing ~4 hours? We stopped for an hour or so in Dangriga enroute to meet family at the airport so I don't really know/remember how long the trip would have been without that side trip.

If you have a private driver, you could stop along the way, maybe buy a melon from the Mennonites or take a dip in the inland Blue Hole. Check out the Hopkins Inn - we love that place:

www.hopkinsinn.com

And don't miss an evening of Garifuna drumming at the Lebeha Center:

www.lebeha.com

All that said, if snorkeling is a big priority I'd pick Caulker since the reef is so far from Hopkins.

San Ignacio, Belize
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8. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

I've used William at Belize Shuttles to go from Cayo to Placencia, and he stopped along the way at the Blue Hole.

9. Re: One of the Cayes or somewhere in the South?

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