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“Good trip coordinator with a few glitches in execution”
Review of UpClose Belize

UpClose Belize
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Attraction details
Owner description: Born and raised in this jewel we call Belize, we are the Belize Adventure Experts you can trust to help you plan your best Belize vacation. We GUARANTEE that we can create a vacation experience in Belize unique to your interests, while matching your budget. Our itineraries are completely free, and with no obligation to book! Give us a try - there is absolutely nothing to lose and a wonderful vacation in Belize to gain! We have never met a budget we could not match - ever! We have never had an itinerary too complex to complete - including overnight side trips to Mexico & Guatemala!
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Reviewed 11 November 2013

Up Close Belize was a great resource when I was planning my trip to Belize. I had already picked out what sites I wanted to see and where to stay, but I was having a hard time putting together the details and specifics of my itinerary without having any prior experience in the country. Working with Kim to plan my itinerary and finalize everything went very smoothly, and prices overall were pretty reasonable. The highlights of the trip included many experiences planned directly by Up Close, such as the cave tubing and Altun Ha tour; the drivers and guides hired by Up Close throughout the trip were very genial, dependable, and informative. There were however a few miscommunications over the course of the trip - some guides had been told the wrong time to meet or drivers were late, one hotel had forgotten our reservation. A little more information and details about some of the sites beforehand would have been handy, especially for our first stop, Cockscomb, which had very limited food preparation facilities, and nowhere to buy food once you're in the reserve. Sometimes Kim was very easy to get in touch with, and other times it took several tries. This wouldn't have been an issue, except sometimes we needed her to confirm that we had a reservation, or locate a driver who hadn't shown up. At those times it could feel like the whole trip was falling apart, and getting ahold of Kim was the only thing that could set it back on track. These moments were generally uncommon, but shouldn't have happened at all. The most striking example of this was our border crossing experience, where the driver was late, did not have Kim's number (bearing in mind we as tourists had no international service or internet once we're on the road), he didn't know where he was going or who we were supposed to meet, and insisted on only asking other taxi drivers, who were somewhat unsavory.
Overall, Up Close Belize has a lot to offer, but there is room for improvement. Kim is great and very easy to work with, especially before the trip. As far as international travel goes, especially in Central America, this was a very smooth experience, and my complaints are only minor hiccups in an otherwise well-put-together itinerary. A little more attention to detail and direct management on Up Close Belize's part would have made a perfect trip.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank ddannecker2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KimBelize, Owner at UpClose Belize, responded to this reviewResponded 15 November 2013

Hi D - thanks for the comments. Yours was certainly a fun trip to plan and I am glad you had a good time overall.

While reading your notes I smiled, grimaced and literally smacked my forehead.

I really appreciate the candid comments. You made a very good point about my availability.... lately I am either immediately available or I have fallen off the planet. This really hit home for me, especially as I look back over the last few months, and its something I have immediately addressed. This alone really means alot to me and I really do appreciate that you have mentioned it.

The forehead smacking was based on the border experience - one that I always try to be very careful with so I am glad you mentioned it as up to now the driver did not report any issues and I will certainly will be looking into that to ensure it doesn't happen again. Late drivers are one thing but a late driver who doesn't know what's going on while handling my guests on a border crossing is quite another matter. I apologize for that and your overall experience experience with lateness and uncertainty - and wish I could make it right for you.

Thank you for your rating and thank you for the time you took to share your views. Most of all thank you for choosing UpClose Belize. I will certainly pay more attention and be much more accessible than I have been of late.

Sincerely, Kim

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Reviews (44)
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28 - 32 of 44 reviews

Reviewed 25 May 2013

Upclose Belize (Kimberlee) was amazing. Booking our trip was a bit last minute but Kim made everything so seamless. She was extremely helpful and responsive. Kim recommended and booked fantastic excursions for us(Mayan ruins, ATM, horseback riding, diving and snorkeling). I wanted to split our stay between the mainland for the ruins, ATM and horseback riding and San Pedro for the water activities. We stayed at Ka'ana resort in Cayo District and Grand Caribe in San Pedro. Both resorts were SPECTACULAR! I would 100% recommend booking your trip/excursions through UpClose Belize.

We had a bit of a mixup with our first tour to Caracol ruin (was never picked up) no fault of UpClose Belize or Kimberlee. Kimberlee scrambled and booked us a private tour for 2 Mayan ruins (Cahal Pech and Xunantunich) for no additional cost! She definitely saved the day for us! The tour guide (Kevin) was terrific! He was extremely knowledgable of the ruins and even drove us into St. Ignacio for the Saturday farmers market! We tried the local tacos, empanadas, fresh coconut, green mangos with salt and chili...yummmmy! I can go on and on... I would give UpClose Belize/Kimberlee 10 stars if I could!

Thank Harry T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
KimBelize, Owner at UpClose Belize, responded to this reviewResponded 15 January 2014

Dear Leslie,

I can certainly understand your disappointment and I do take responsibility for your experience not working out as it should have. I did not know ahead of time that the airboat company would not honor your tour as they did in fact accept the booking right up until the moment you arrived. Had the airboat company made me aware that they have an exclusive contract with the cruiselines the situation would never have taken place. I do understand that the only reason you booked this tour was for the airboat ride and that if you did nothing else but that tour it would be a great day.

As soon as I was made aware, I tried earnestly to make the most of a bad situation. You and I tried to make several options work and I gladly refunded the money for the portion of the tour that you did not get to do. On our phone conversation you indicated you were not happy with the first refund and I took your comments into consideration. When I called you back to offer a further discount on your tour, you seemed pleasantly surprised with the discount and I had the impression we had at least resolved the payment issue while you were in country.

I sincerely wished that you had communicated your feelings at that time so that you would not have walked away feeling jilted as this is not the impression that I want my guests to leave with.

I would really appreciate the opportunity to work out a resolution of your complaint as I pride myself in delivering an awesome Belize experience.

Sincerely, Kim

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Reviewed 15 May 2013

Anyone wanting a bit of adventure in an underground cave, I would recommend this.

For my readers to really get my point of view, you need to know that I am 6ft tall. I had no idea as to what to expect apart from the fact that it was an underground cave with some Mayan history attached to it. We started on the tour where I saw hand rails so I thought they were going to be present throughout the caves-Nope... after a couple minutes we were literally on our own using helmets with attached torch lights and walking and crouching and stooping in the dark. After about 5 min or more we sat, took off lights and allowed our eyes to adjust to the darkness. My tour guide Francis was the best part of this trip, he was excellent and made this long walk in the almost dark SO interesting and informative. It took us about 3 hours to walk in the caves ! which I did not expect. We walked uphill at times and also downhill and had to find areas to put feet and hands when we could not walk easily.

Now I know what people who rock climb experience to some extent. At one point I sat and told Francis he would have to carry me-we both laughed then :) I was quite tired then but he was so encouraging all the way, I was really glad he was there.
It's not easy at my height to crouch and squeeze through really small places. At a few other points I had to be very careful how I stood since my helmet touched the roof of the caves.

When we started to see daylight I was so happy but Francis kept stopping to explain stuff and I wanted to be outside in the fresh air but he was so intent on explaining stuff that I had to chill and listen.

When we did get outside we had a veggie lunch with some corn tortillas which I really enjoyed. Of course we got some competition from the ants and mosquitoes...
I was so tired then that I lay down on the bench to enjoy the breeze, trees and the general atmosphere while lunch was prepared.

One piece of advice-if you are 6ft tall or taller and also have a neck injury like I do, it could be a bit uncomfortable to try this tour given the amount of crouching involved. Apart from that, I would recommend it for a first time adventure with an excellent tour guide and enjoyable lunch.

Thank Rachael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2013

So we went on a Carnival cruise to the Western Caribbean (Cozumel, Belize, Honduras and Grand Cayman Islands). We had some friends who had heard about UpClose Belize and wanted to do some Cave Kayaking but their ship ended up not being able to dock in Belize and they never went. They did say that Kim was super cool about refunding them since they couldn't do the excursion. We, however, did do the cave kayaking. It was AMAZING!! The water was crystal clear (see right to the bottom) and the river goes in and out of caves which was awesome. We posted pictures. Since we were on a cruise we had to be back by a certain time. Kim at UpClose Belize was great with working with our schedule. We got out of the port and had a driver waiting for us. They drove us to the place to meet our kayaking guide. He was AWESOME!! I wish I could remember his name right now because I'd recommend him. It was just us and the guide - not a huge group of people so he could teach us about all sorts of things with nature and the Mayan traditions. He spoke perfect English so no problems understanding him. Great Experience - Well worth It!!! Honestly, this experience has made us want to go back to Belize with a "Just Belize" trip (not a cruise) so we have more time to be in Belize. It's a poor but incredibly beautiful country. Kim was great to work with and we'd love to go through UpClose Belize again. They were wonderful!

2  Thank ScottishGinger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 April 2013

After weeks of exhaustively searching for the right accommodations in Belize, I stumbled across UpClose Belize and was so pleased (and relieved) to find the kind of trip we wanted at a price we could afford. Kim took complete care of us from picking us up at the airport and booking us into comfy local lodges (which included all our meals) to delivering us each day to our guides and activities (with all the gear provided). It took all the hassle and worry out of traveling and provided an experience to remember. We highly recommend Kim and UpClose Belize if you want a great adventure in Belize.

Review collected in partnership with this attraction
Thank Sheri_Amsel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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