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Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

Beloit, Wisconsin
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Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

We are an older couple (age 60) with lots of energy and sense of adventure, but on a small budget. We're flying to Cancun late Saturday night and planning to take a bus to Chetumal (probably after a night in Playa del Carmen), but the rest of our itinerary is pretty loose. We know we want to go to San Ignacio and Tikal, and also Placencia or Hopkins. We are not interested in partying or the tourist scene -- so we'll probably avoid Ambergris Caye, but we would like to see ruins, go hiking, kayaking and snorkeling. So far, I'm interested in the Parrot Nest or The Trek Stop near San Ignacio and the Sea Spray in Placencia. Does anyone recommend any quiet but inexpensive hotels or activities that should not be missed? (And by inexpensive I mean around $50/night.) Is it possible to go snorkeling from shore? Do hotels rent snorkeling equipment, or do we have to take a tour? Can we enjoy Tikal in one day and without a tour?

Basically, any suggestions to enhance our budget vacation would be great!

belize
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for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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1. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

belizeexplorer.com for rooms US$75.00 and under

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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2. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

There really isn't a budget way to have snorkeling from shore in Belize. If that's a priority, consider stopping in Akumal on your way south. From Hopkins or Placencia the boat trips are pretty long - 10 miles or more. We enjoy Caye Caulker - lots of budget options, laid-back Caribbean style, and - though you can't really snorkel from shore, it's only a few minutes to the reef. We loved this full day sailing/snorkeling trip from there:

http://raggamuffintours.com/hol-chan-snorkel/

In Hopkins we love the Hopkins Inn - may be a bit over your budget but may be worth it:

www.hopkinsinn.com

In Placencia we really enjoyed One World Rentals. Although it also might be a bit over your budget and it's not on the beach, we loved being right in the heart of town and having a full kitchen so we could shop locally and prepare most of our own meals.

http://oneworldplacencia.com/

I'm a Trek Stop fan. You can get to Tikal without a tour but if you can book a visit to the Maya site with archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz it could be the highlight of your trip:

www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com

I recommend you stay overnight in the park. My favorite hotel there is the Tikal Inn which is likely over your budget. You can stay more cheaply in El Remate or Flores but then you can't do the sunrise tour, or at least you couldn't last summer when I was there. Consider adding the Yaxhá Maya site to your list; it's pretty much enroute back to the Belize border and very special.

If snorkeling from shore is a main priority, check out this site:

http://www.glovers.com.bz/

It gets mixed review and is not for everyone - barely a notch above camping, no electricity or running water - but may be the closest thing to budget paradise in Belize.

My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. I've also pasted my favorite Belize links below. Happy trails! flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

___________

My travel blog starting in 2012 (earlier ones linked with the photo collections):

http://hopefulistinlatinamerica.blogspot.com/

My descriptions and reviews on Trip Advisor:

tripadvisor.com/members-reviews/hopefulist

Guidebooks I like: Moon Handbook, Fodor’s Guide, and Explorer’s Guide.

Laminated wildlife identification cards: rainforestpublications.com/belizeFieldGuides…

A very cool checklist book for Belize for the young or young-at-heart: amazon.com/Play-Belize-Mesa-Somer/…

- - -

Budget to midrange lodging site: http://www.belizeexplorer.com

Great island and lodging downloads: http://www.belizefirst.com

Informative transportation blog: http://www.belizebus.wordpress.com

- - -

Shuttle recommendation: www.parrot-nest.com/belize-shuttle.html

Zoo: http://www.belizezoo.org

Great jungle camp in Cayo: http://www.belizecamp.com

Great budget lodging in Cayo: http://www.thetrekstop.com

Great value hotel with pool in Cayo: http://www.aguadabelize.com

Don't miss cave trip: http://pacztours.net/actun-tunichil-muknal/

Another, less-visited amazing cave option in Cayo: http://www.actunchapatadventure.blogspot.com/

Lodge with lots of adventures: http://www.cavesbranch.com

- - -

Roxy Ortiz - fabulous, fun tour guide: http://www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com

My favorite hotel at Tikal: http://www.tikalinnsunrise.com

Good choice in El Remate, Guatemala: http://www.30minutesfromtikal.com/

Favorite midrange places in Flores: http://www.corpetur.com

Good value budget option in Flores: La Mesa de los Mayas, mesamayas@hotmail.com

- - -

Great inn in coastal Garifuna town: http://www.hopkinsinn.comf

Garifuna drumming center: http://www.lebeha.com

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Apartment on the beach on Caye Caulker: http://www.staycayecaulker.com/sailwinds.html

Another Caye Caulker option: gocayecaulker.com/accommodations/maxhapan-ca…

Great day snorkeling trip: http://raggamuffintours.com/hol-chan-snorkel/

- - -

Secluded resort on N. Ambergris Caye with snorkeling and flyfishing from shore: http://www.tranquilitybayresort.com

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Very rustic atoll experience, cheap if you have a week: http://www.glovers.com.bz/

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Great jungly place near Punta Gorda: http://www.hickatee.com

Rental apartments in the heart of Placencia: http://www.oneworldplacencia.com

Good Monkey River Trip guide: Jason Williams <wjason628@yahoo.com>

Good Placencia area fishing guide: Wayne Castellanos (dial 011 501 1st from US): 661.1151 or 634.2852

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Off the beaten track diving and snorkeling, Sapodilla Cayes: http://www.reefci.com

(haven’t stayed there yet thanks to Hurricane Ernesto in August 2012)

Philadelphia
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3. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

I also highly recommend spending one night at Tikal Inn. I did both the sunset and sunrise tour of the ruins. Both were great, but if you can only do one, go for the sunrise.

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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4. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

Tobacco Caye for budget rooms on an island on the reef with walk in snorkelling. For a few bucks more, the much nicer neighboring South Water Caye. Or on northern Ambergris Caye, Tranquillity Resort

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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5. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

Good points - I'd kind of forgotten about the Tobacco Caye option. South Water and Tranquility Bay would be way out of their budget range, even in low season, I'm afraid.

Edited: 26 June 2013, 18:50
Hopkins
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782 posts
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6. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

Hopkins Inn is temporarily closed for routine maintenance. Check out some of the other beach cabanas in Hopkins on BelizExplorer. IZE on Southwater Caye, which used to cater to school and research groups, is now accepting reservations from the public; might be just what you are looking for.

Beloit, Wisconsin
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27 posts
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7. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

Thanks for all the suggestions. We leave tomorrow and can't wait to experience some of these places for ourselves. I don't think the budget limitations are going to be too big an issue -- except for Tikal, where we're spending a little more to stay at the Jaguar Inn, everything is under our $50 limit. We're planning to spend our first night in Playa del Carmen, and not sure of the second night -- but it will be somewhere between Playa and San Ignacio. Any suggestions? My friend is very interested in the Rio Bravo Conservation Area, but we can't seem to find a budget hotel nearby. The third night will be at the Parrot's Nest near San Ignacio so I can sleep in a tree house. Next, we'll stay in Flores, then Tikal before heading to the coast -- either Placencia or Hopkins (again, can't decide between the two.)

Thanks again!

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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8. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

Google Programme for Belize, La Milpa for lodge in Rio Bravo

9. Re: Budget travel/adventure for an older couple

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