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First Time Belize

R R
Las Vegas, Nevada
3 posts
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First Time Belize

Our family of 4 adults are planning a 7 day Nov trip to Belize, mid range budget, mainly for snorkeling and beach time but will include a trip or 2 to the Mayan Ruins. Would really like to stay where we can snorkel from the beach in addition to boat trips. Would like to visit Hol Chan marine reserve. Initially thought all inclusive and to stay on Ambergris Caye. Now after viewing so many comments I'm not sure, maybe Caye Caulker or mainland stay would be better. Would appreciate any suggestions/opinions on this, also on water taxis versus air travel to the Cayes. Thanks!

Saint James City...
Destination Expert
for San Pedro
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15,559 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: First Time Belize

Very few all inclusives in Belize. I'd just eliminate that from the start.

On Ambergris, the only good snorkeling from shore is on far north Ambergris at Tranquility Bay. Beautiful place, lovely beach. Far enough north that the water taxis don't run that far. If you're interested, contact them and find out if tours to the mainland are feasible from there.

Caulker doesn't have good shore snorkeling either. People snorkel at the Split, but, it's not much, if any, better than snorkeling off the docks on Ambergris.

The other good walk in snorkeling is at the atolls or Southwater and Tobacco Cayes. They're literally on the reef. Trade off is, no access to mainland tours.

I've always flown to Ambergris and Caulker when arriving from the US. I have taken the water taxi to Belize City on other occasions. I don't much care for it, when I've been on it, it's been crowded and relatively uncomfortable. You don't see much either.

You could consider splitting your trip. Arrive in Belize and head straight to the Cayo district, in/around San Ignacio. Spend a couple days seeing the sites that you'd like to see. Then, head to one of the locations where you can snorkel from shore.

San Ignacio, Belize
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276 reviews
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2. Re: First Time Belize

You should definitely split between Cayo, especially if you wanted a few days to hike around the ruins, caves, rivers, and waterfalls, and Caulker or Placencia, for your beach time. Placencia has the best beach. AI really is not the way to go, and there are only a few anyways.

If it's the off season, AC isn't too crowded, but I had friends just go there, and while they had a good time they also mentioned how much they disliked seeing traffic jams and jumbotrons. I recommend Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and you can do that from either Caulker or AC. I did recently talk to people that stayed at TBR, and I want to stay there sometime. They really talked it up.

Good luck!

R R
Las Vegas, Nevada
3 posts
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3. Re: First Time Belize

Thank you both for your helpful responses! I think flying into AC after exploring some of the ruins will work. AI information esp helpful, the planning is now easier. I checked out TB website. It sounds really nice, I liked the seclusion but seems like it's a bit far for walking or bike rides into town for eating/exploring? I checked web site for the Pelican Resort as they looked close to town and had suite/condo type accommodations. Definitely want to take some snorkeling excursions, probably some fishing for my dad and husband. Any hotel or tour guide suggestions? Also, it is possible/reasonable to rent kayaks for nearby self guided exploring?

Saint James City...
Destination Expert
for San Pedro
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15,559 posts
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4. Re: First Time Belize

Tranquility Bay is, I think, about 13 miles from town. Lovely property, but, a place to stay only if you don't mind the isolation.

Pelican Reef is a nice property, about three miles south of town. I wouldn't stay there unless I was going to rent a golf cart.

Closer to town, look at Banyan Bay, Xanadu and Caribbean Villas. Higher end, look at the Phoenix.

Many places rent kayaks.

Annapolis, MD
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6 posts
99 reviews
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5. Re: First Time Belize

Xanadu has complimentary Kayaks for their guests (we stayed at Caribbean Villas). We just came back from Belize and split our time between San Ignacio and AC for this very reason. You are better off not booking a hotel on AC ahead of time during the off season and just showing up and asking for the walk up rate (which can be about 50% less).

Ambergris Caye
Destination Expert
for San Ignacio, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
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6. Re: First Time Belize

For other fun stuff to do on the island...

Barefoot Skinny's music and Joke night Mondays at roadkill

Trivia night on Thursdays is fun and alternates between roadkill and Pedro's weekly.

Touring Marco Gonzalez ruin site or doing the CSI Crock tour

"Jan Brown" <janbrownbz@hotmail.com>,

http://www.marcogonzalezmayasite.com/

Cherie

"Cherie Chenot-Rose" <acesnpo@hughes.net>,

americancrocodilesanctuary.org/csicroctours.…

Hopkins
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783 posts
6 reviews
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7. Re: First Time Belize

R.R., Post #1 gives you excellent advice and is very comprehensive. For the beach portion of your trip, I think you have to decide between snorkel off the beach or night life and eateries. If you go for the snorkeling, look at South Water and Tobacco Cayes. Tobacco is more affordable and South Water has nicer resorts. These are the real Pirates of the Carribbean islands. They are AI, inasmuch as meals are included. The snorkeling surpasses anything I have seen off Caye Caulker. Hol Chan, however, is unique, as the fish are so tame they come to the boat as soon as you arrive, it is like swimming in an aquarium.

8. Re: First Time Belize

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