February 15, 2005 8:40 AM   Subscribe

Belize {mi}

We're headed down to Belize for ten days. We've booked flights to Belize City and four nights at Shirley's on Caye Caulker. That's the snorkel, dive, chill, and read part of the trip.

The question is, how should we spend the rest of our time? We're thinking inland excursions, wildlife and ruins. Kayaking sounds marvelous. We're fairly independent travellers, and we don't mind splurging a little if it's worth it. Thank you kindly for your recommendations.
posted by muckster to Travel & Transportation around Belize (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
On a negative note: I wouldn't want to walk around Belize City at night alone. Not after getting mugged by two kids on BMX bikes back in 1998. Really.
posted by AwkwardPause at 9:13 AM on February 15, 2005

An echo to Awkward Pause, spend as little time in Belize City as you can. There just isn't much there. Do Mayan ruins- Altun Ha, Lamanai, Xunantunich, Tikal. If it were me, I'd increase the dive allotment by a day or two, and do day trips to ruins when needing surface time.
posted by ambrosia at 10:02 AM on February 15, 2005

A friend was there recently and told me horror stories about the bugs, especially the tiny ones on the beaches. Bring DEET, use liberally. Also, Citronella candles really truly work well, and so does sitting under or near the Citronella trees growing there.

She did sound like she had a good time, though, so have fun!
posted by Asparagirl at 10:49 AM on February 15, 2005

I spent a bit more than a week in Belize a couple of years ago. Here are my impressions:
- Bring reading material with you. Despite being an English-speaking country, it is virtually impossible to actually buy any books there. So if you like to laze on the beach with a book or magazine, bring your own.
- Altun Ha was completely disappointing and underwhelming, but this might be because I was fresh out of much bigger and more interesting Chichen Itza and Tikal. However, manatee watching on the way to Altun Ha was very cool.
- Belize City is a dump - but then again, I like dumps. Be sure to read local papers to see hpw a nation's biggest newspaper can dedicate 2 full pages to a crazy man rambling about bible.
- On Caye Caulker, drop by Ragamuffin tours shack and see if you can go on a sunset cruise with them. You dont get to see much of a sunset, but you do get to sail around in warm, warm caribbean night while getting silly drunk and listening to reggae music. One of the best nights of my life.
- Bring back a generous supply of Marie Sharps Hot Sauce as souveneers.

Feel free to ping me for more info... oh and here is a important message from Caye Caulker police department:

posted by blindcarboncopy at 11:23 AM on February 15, 2005

I spent a looooong time in Belize. I would cut short the time on Caye Caulker and head inland. (Give Belize City the miss. A dangerous DUMP. Don't even bother to stop to eat there!)

Head over to the Guatemalan border in San Ignacio. If you have time, go to Tikal in Guatemala. You can get day trips from San Ignacio. That should cover the ruins for you.

Parrot's nest is an awesome place to trees! It's right outside San Ignacio.

We did an overnight spelunking trip to Aktun Tunichal Muknal near San Ignacio. There are only 2 companies that are allowed to go there. There's a one day trip, but the two day trip is awesome. The first day you hike all over the rainforest, go rapelling off a cliff, and go caving. You sleep outside in tents right outside the mouth of the cave. The next day is spent in the cave. It's a newly discovered cave with TONS of perfectly preserved mayan pots, skulls, and skeletons in a HUGE cave. You hike for hours into this cave through cold water. Just AWESOME. Totally worth the $$.

We staying in Ek Tun, as well for a couple of days. Just beautiful, very remote, very romantic and very expensive. But worth it for a few days.

We also went up to a bird reserve in Northern Belize which was cool.

Email me if you want more information. I'd love to tell you more.
posted by aacheson at 2:45 PM on February 15, 2005 [1 favorite]

I spend two weeks every January in Belize. I'd agree with getting out of Belize City -- head to Placencia on Maya or Tropic Air, another hundred bucks or so. It's a fantastic town, complete with ex-pats, drug-runners, CIA and DEA retirees, all living off their loot. Find Frankie, he a runs spectacular day-long sail with amazing food, wine, conversation. Hire a ride out to the barrier reef -- it takes 45 minutes or so, and the snorkeling is gorgeous. There are cayes that look deserted, but when they see you coming ashore, a pile of thatch miraculously reassembles itself and becomes a bar, the music starts, and the grill is fired up. Go to Seine Bight, see Mayan culture up close. Skip Robert's Grove, weird colonial vibe. Go to Turtle Inn, Coppola's luxe resort, if you feel like hobnobbing. Rum Point Inn is a pretty great dive 'resort' -- funky and relatively inexpensive, give kisses to Pat and Althea at the bar. I can't wait until next year. Have a great time!
posted by thinkpiece at 1:26 AM on February 16, 2005

Actually, if you like fishing, Belize is quite a famous destination, particularly for salt water fly fishing for tarpon or bonefish. You can probably rent tackle while you are there.
posted by zaelic at 5:00 AM on February 16, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks everybody for your help. It's much appreciated & helped us point us into all kinds of interesting directions. aacheson, I tried to email you but the email listed on your user page bounces.
posted by muckster at 10:28 AM on February 16, 2005

Response by poster: For future reference, I added my research to
posted by muckster at 2:43 PM on February 16, 2005

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