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Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
51 posts
18 reviews
Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

We have decided to rent a car (rather than taking a flight or shuttle from Belize City) on our upcoming trip to Hopkins. Since we will have access to a car the whole time, we are wondering if we should venture out on our own for activities such as the Jaguar Preserve, Mayan ruins, cave tubing, etc. or go through a tour guide. We are used to being pretty independent travelers...we went to Costa Rica several years ago, rented a car, and explored completely on our own. Still we are not sure how road access/conditions are for some of the parks and sites we want to see. Thanks for any tips you can provide.

5 replies to this topic
Woodlands Texas
Level Contributor
171 posts
10 reviews
1. Re: Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

go on your own. the roads are in pretty good shape. We stayed in Placencia earlier this year and did all those sites on our own with a 4WD rental (except tubing). If you get to a site and still want a guide, there is usually someone there who can assist for a small fee. We probably put close to 500 miles on our rental and had no issues even going through 4 "police checks" the week we were there.

Hopkins, Belize
Level Contributor
109 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

Agree, most tours you can go on your own and you save quite a bit of money and get to do it as your pace.

If you like cave kayaking, you must have a guide. It's worth it and much better than cave tubing because you don't have to sit in cold water! I recommend Maya Guide Adventures. However, they do cave tubing too if that's what you prefer.

If you go to Xunantunich, you can hire a local guide at the site that is not very expensive. It's well worth it because it adds to the experience (as there is not much printed material about the ruins.) It also employees a local which is also a good thing.

As far as police check points, in Belize, the police are usually checking to make sure the driver has car insurance as it is required by law. If someone doesn't have insurance, their vehicle is seized and they are arrested. Most of us see it as a good thing.

Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
51 posts
18 reviews
3. Re: Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

I don't think we will have four wheel drive. Are the roads still going to be okay since it is the rainy season? We had some pretty rough roads in Costa Rica but still never needed four wheel drive.

Hopkins, Belize
Level Contributor
109 posts
7 reviews
4. Re: Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

It should be fine going without 4WD unless an unusual amount of rain. Most places give you an update on their condition (at the park entrance, etc.) Or other tourists and even your hotel as they go out to the places fairly regularly. Radio also notifies if there are any closures, etc. Highways are paved and so is entrance, etc. to Xunantunich.

Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
51 posts
18 reviews
5. Re: Go on a tour or on our own for sight seeing

Thanks for the feedback. We are home from our trip and went to Cockscomb on our own without any problems. We opted to go with a guide out to Xunantanich and the cave tubing because we did both on the same day and didn't want to do all the driving ourselves. Gas was definitely more expensive than we realized. The price we paid for the tour of Xunantanich and St. Herman's was probably worth it given that it included the gas, entrance fees and guides at both places, and lunch...plus it supported someone local in Hopkins (Kulcha tours).

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