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Crystal Paradise Resort
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Reviews (287)
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All reviewstut familyeric tutcrooked treehonor barthe riverbelizean familybird watchinghome stylefamily stylebirding tourfamily that ownsgreat birdsother guestsgreat birdingbreakfast and dinnerdining areacave tubing
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Reviewed 30 March 2014

We booked a week long birding package with 'Birding in Belize', run by the Tut family which also runs the Crystal Paradise Resort. We cannot say enough good things about the birding package, the resort, and the Tut family. The accommodations, and meals, were wonderful. The cabanas have tall thatched roofs with large ceiling fans that keep the rooms cool day and night. The property includes nature trails, canoeing and horseback riding. Dinner is family style in a large open area dining room. They feed the birds each morning and afternoon so you can see these beauties up close. The family is knowledge about everything in the beautiful country of Belize and have truly talented birders in the family. We were lucky to have Eric Tut as our bird guide for the whole week, as dedicated to birding as our family. Highly recommend staying at this resort.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with family
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Thank leigh0718
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2014

This is my third stay at the Crystal Paradise Resort and it won't be my last. I have led college trips of @20 people and 2 Becoming an Outdoors Woman trips (19 and 12 people each) and we stayed here for several days. I love the fact that this resort is owned and staffed by local people - the Tut Family. The rooms a clean and spacious, the grounds are beautiful, the birding is great and the food is amazing! Carolita is wonderful! It's worth the bumpy ride to get away to this Paradise!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Sue K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2014

Crystal Paradise is great value for money. A piece of paradise- if you are plannning a romantic trip, this is the answer!

Location:-
The location is perfectly off the beaten track, nestled within the mountains and rain forests. The accomodations are thatched cabanas, all separate from each other- in a very serene atmosphere.

Nature:-
A great spot for nature lovers:-
1. All kinds of tropical flowers can be seen on the property and there is also a rainforest medicine trail that is clearly marked with all the trees labelled. If you are pressed for time or budget, I would say avoid going to the other rainforest trails and get all your kicks here.
2. Birds- From the resort dining area, which is essentially a large open terrace that looks out onto its beautiful lush gardens, you will be able to spot many beautiful tropical birds, from the collared Arakari to the Rufus-tailed hummingbird.

Staff:-
Very friendly, courteous , and a temperament like honey- everything abou this place reminds you of paradise.

Tours:-

The place offers tour packages with very friendly knowledgeable guides. Tikal- one of the most spectacular Mayan ruins on the other side of Central America- is only a few hours away. On the resort itself you can also go horseback riding in the picturesque setting of the landscape.

At $90 / room to start with, this place is a great deal!

Room Tip: Thatched cabanas at $90 are a great deal- very well- maintained.
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sagheer F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2014 via mobile

Just returned from a truly extraordinary birding expedition that included a stay at the Crystal Paradise Resort. After a prior bad experience with another so-called birding tour in another country, there was doubt whether Birding in Belize would live up to expectations.

It did so and then some. In all, we saw 215 of Belize's 585 reported bird species, including in a secret location the rarest Belizean bird, the lovely cotinga- a brilliant turquoise blue and purple bird in the case of the male. If Eric had not been our guide, it is doubtful how many birds we would have spotted on our own. He is incredibly gifted and talented in spotting and listening for the various bird species. Moreover, Eric may even be considered the "bird whistler" with his uncanny ability to mirror their songs and calls that would lure many birds out into the open. He would go to great lengths to make sure we were able to view the various birds.

Eric also provided some excellent recommendations on binoculars and photographing the birds. In fact, just ordered Vortex binoculars 8 x 42 based on Eric's recommendation. If you are planning a trip with one of the Tut brothers, please bring them lens cleaning solution, which is not sold in Belize.

In terms of the Resort, it lives up to its Paradise name. You will feel like your in paradise with the excellent Belizean food, surrounding forests and gardens, birds, wildlife, and the Makal river.

One night, we went for a canoe ride on the river, which is strongly recommended. The view of the stars, including the Milky Way, was fabulous. The canoe ride also allowed us to see various nocturnal creatures, such as the kinkajou and four-eyed possum. There were also some other amazing wildlife sites that one will discover.

The last part of the expedition was to Caye Caulker Island for birding and snorkeling. The island is quite interesting with golf carts serving as the primary vehicles on the island. There is some concern that it is being over-developed, but it is still worth the trip. The Reef and marine life are incredible. We saw two green sea turtles and one loggerhead, as well as green moray eels, spotted eagle rays, sting rays, nurse sharks, and many brilliantly colored fish.

Jeronie, Eric's brother, warned us beforehand to keep applying sun tan lotion while on the boat. Unfortunately, the SPF30 lotion was insufficient and now have returned to the US resembling a gumbo limbo (traveler's) tree. Strongly recommend bringing and applying a suntan lotion SPF 50 or greater.

In all, it was an unforgettable and most enjoyable trip! Hope to return one day to Belize and the Crystal Paradise Resort.

Stayed: March 2014
Thank New4comber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2014

We stayed here for 3 nights in the Heliconia Cottage, which we selected because it is the only individual unit at Crystal Paradise—the other cabanas are duplex. From the outside the cottage looks rather utilitarian next to the charming thatched-roof cabanas, but inside it's very nicely decorated, and has lots of desk space for your gear. In addition to a very comfortable queen bed, the cottage has a single bed, which we used as a handy platform for our suitcases. The bathroom was spacious, the only real negative being the spluttering flow from the sink tap and the shower faucet (presumably due to air in the line). We quickly figured out we needed to run the hot water for 5 minutes to reach a comfortable showering temperature, no great hardship when you consider you've come to a jungle lodge, and easy to work around once you're forewarned.

The Heliconia Cottage is also the only room at Crystal Paradise with air conditioning, which we appreciated upon returning to the cottage each night for rapidly dealing with the heat that had built up during the day. That said, other guests we spoke with reported that their room fans were perfectly adequate for keeping their cabanas pleasant. However, another advantage of the air conditioner was that it masked the thumping bass infiltrating from neighbouring properties until around midnight on both weekend nights of our stay (thankfully, no partying was evident on the Monday night).

This unwanted music aside, the resort was all about nature. Hummingbird and fruit feeders on the main deck adjoining the dining area were always well stocked, so we were kept entertained at mealtimes by a nonstop procession of exotics, including colourful tanagers, orioles, motmots, and aracaris (a medium-sized toucan). Most of the other guests were birders, and our conversations with them greatly enhanced our overall experience of Crystal Paradise.

The grounds of the resort are attractively landscaped and well maintained. There's an elevated platform on the property with benches for comfortable birding up in the tree canopy, a nature trail through the woods (keep an eye out for an agouti, a rabbit-sized rodent), and a path down to the Macal River where one can see birds, butterflies and turtles.

We had all meals during our stay at the resort, and they made us a sandwich lunch for our birding tour (about which, more below). Although there was a set menu each meal, we enjoyed everything we were served, and the prices were very reasonable. Dinners included appetisers, main course and dessert, and coffee was prepared upon request at no additional charge. We also appreciated the honour bar; relaxing on the deck with a cold bottle of the local Belikin beer while watching the birds was bliss!

We had prepaid a tour to the inland blue hole, but the resort had no objection to us converting this (at no additional charge) to a tour to Mountain Pine Ridge in search of the rare King Vulture. Thanks to the expertise of our guide, Fernando, one of the Tut family sons, we not only found our King Vulture but also numerous other charismatic species, including Violaceous and Black-headed Trogons, Swallow-tailed Kites, and White Hawks. Best of all, Fernando located another elusive bird, the Lovely Cotinga, one of the most extravagantly beautiful species imaginable in its shimmering sky blue and purple plumage. We didn't do any tours with Fernando's brothers Eric and Andy, but from conversations with them and with other guests whom they'd led it was obvious that they are also experts. Personality-wise, Fernando was a better match for us, very professional, modest and patient, and I'd recommend serious birders and wildlife photographers request him when making guiding arrangements through the resort. However, younger guests might well prefer his more ebullient brothers.

Although the road to reach Crystal Paradise Resort from the Western Highway is in very bad repair, our rented 4WD had no real problem and most cars should be able to manage. During our stay, we were the only guests with our own car, but visitors who aren't generally nervous behind the wheel should consider self-driving to have more flexibility getting around. Roads in Belize are in poor condition, but the local driving style is courteous and not aggressive.

Room Tip: Book the Heliconia Cottage if you need air conditioning, and want more privacy
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank WMarkR
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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