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Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

Wisconsin
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135 posts
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Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

Just in the very beginning stages of planning - which is always the overwhelming part...but SO much fun!!

Okay, so looking at a 9 day trip in April which happens to fall over Easter (11 yr old son's spring break...not flexible). So, likely flying in on Good Friday - thinking of 2-3 nights in San Ignacio, 1-2 nights in Tikal and the remaining 4 at the beach - either Ambergris or Caulkers Caye.

Questions:

- Is that too much moving around for 9 days? How long of a trip between each of those locations and what's the best mode of transportation for each?

- Suggestions on accomodations in each location?

- What are the "must-do's". Our son has never been out of the country - this will be his breaking in the passport trip...he's outdoorsy and adventurous and smart and will love it...can't wait.

- ANY suggestions, recommendations, tips/tricks appreciated!!

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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11,537 posts
327 reviews
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1. Re: Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

That doesn't seem like too much to me and will offer a good cross section of what Belize has to offer. Probably smart to head inland 1st, then to the island after Easter Sunday. I'd try to book soon if you have strong preferences since the coolest and best value places will fill.

I've pasted some of my favorite Belize links below - let me know if I can answer questions about anything on the list. Happy planning!

__________________________

My photo collections with blog, travelogue, and review links: 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

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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

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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…

Where we've chosen to stay next spring on Caulker: http://colindacabanas.com/

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

Wisconsin
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135 posts
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2. Re: Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

Thanks, Hopeful! Would you recommend 2 nights each in Tikal and San Ignacio, or is there a better split? I feel like between the travel to Tikal, the ruins and the wildlife there, one night may not be enough...but also want to fit in some jungle activities...cave tubing, ziplining, etc...and hear the market in San Ignacio is also neat...

Would there be any recommendation on where to go first? Straight to Tikal from Belize City or stop in San Ignacio first?

If we landed on Friday afternoon - get to San Ignacio that evening, Friday night in SI. Saturday and Sunday days in SI and then maybe travel to Tikal Monday morning...so we have most of Monday and Tuesday in Tikal. Head back Tuesday early afternoon and head to Ambergris or Caulkers Tuesday late afternoon/evening..

Thanks for the info on the shuttle, looks awesome, will definitely look at that for the transportation from BC to SI. What about transportation from SI to Tikal? Or to the Cayes?

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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11,537 posts
327 reviews
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3. Re: Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

I think I'd stop in San Ignacio 1st, then head to Tikal. I think you'd need 3 nights in the SI area to do a caving trip (see above) and maybe some canoing, see the market, iguana place, etc.

I would try very hard to hire Roxy Ortiz to for Maya site tours - I schedule my trips around her availability. You could consider seeing if she could meet you at the border, take you to Yaxhá (very cool), then overnight in the park at Tikal, do a sunrise tour, and head back over the border. You could make it clear to the dock in Belize City if you string the shuttles and buses together successfully or you might want to consider shelling out for a private driver; it's about 5 hours from Tikal to the dock so you'd have to leave Tikal late morning to make the last water taxi. It's possible to fly from SI and Belmopan now - you could look into that.

We like the local buses and then fill in with taxis and shuttles when the schedules don't work for us; they'd work well from SI to BC, then taxi (or walk 10 minutes) to the ferry dock. You can arrange transportation only with some SI tour agencies to Tikal including Pacz. You'll find lots of info in the belizebus link, above. Happy planning!

Hopkins
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782 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

The week up to Easter Sunday (Santa Semana) is a big deal in Guatemala. Tikal will be full of Guatemalan families sitting out on the main plaza and enjoying the site. For me that enhances the whole experience. Easter is culturally very quiet in Belize, in fact Belizeans generally will not travel on Good Friday; however on Holy Saturday they all start to head for the beach (San Pedro, Caye Culker, Hopkins, Placencia) for their big family long weekend (Easter Monday is holiday). While the market in San Ignacio is probably the best in Belize (and Saturday their busiest day), it does not compare to Mercados in Mexico or Guatemala and I would not plan any part of my vacation around it. In fact, I would much rather be in Guatemala at Easter and for that reason, would go straight to Tikal first and San Ignacio second. I get the feeling that you want to plan much of your vacation around your son's interest, so you might want to look at Hopkins or one of the "Pirate Cayes" for your beach stay. Check out one of the guide books for a short history of Belize, including the visits by the real pirates of the Caribbean.

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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5. Re: Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

I would land and catch the 3:40 flight to Flores and travel direct to Tikal. Then move to Cayo, where you might want more than 2 nights

6. Re: Beginning planning - 9 day family trip in April

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