We are a family of four, two kids 13 and 8, going to Belize for the first time. Our trip is in March and we will be there for 7 nights. After hours of research, Cayo for three nights, South Water Caye for two nights, and Ambergris Caye for two nights are emerging as our anticipated best combination for a diverse Belize experience. (though I have been distracted by Chanchich, Chaa Creek, Glover's Atoll, Placencia and Hopkins!)
1. Is this a good diverse destination combo for jungle/ruins, beautiful beach/snorkeling, and lively local culture?
2. Currently targeting Mariposa Jungle Lodge in Cayo and Pelican Beach on SWC. The Phoenix in Ambergris looks incredible, but is really expensive - would probably rather spend the money on the unusual experience of being on SWC.
3. Should we consider renting a car? Transfers, taxis and boats/ferries to all locations (airport to Mariposa; Mariposa to Dangriga; Dangriga to Ambergris Caye ferry) are adding up. We thought we might like to be able to drive ourselves to Maya ruins, or into San Ignacio for dinner from our jungle accommodations. If we had a car, it seems like renting at airport, leaving it parked in Dangriga while we are on SWC and then dropping it off at the airport before we take a taxi to the Ambergris Caye ferry dock might be a plan. does this sound reasonable?
4. Caracol, ATM and Butterfly winery are sticking out in my mind as peak experiences in the jungle - any additions in the time we have, such as hikes or waterfalls? We would like some time to "just be" and to cherish the experience of spending time in a jungle setting with our kids.