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tour prices and hotel choice

United States
posts: 709
reviews: 25
tour prices and hotel choice

I'm considering staying at either Clarrissa Falls, Iguana Junction, Macaw Bank, or Moonracer Farms. Are all of these "jungle lodges"? Which should I pick (I'm open to any other hotel suggestion as well)? Is the Macaw River still polluted from that Chillito dam issue?

There are 3 of us so we can't get a cabana Iguana Junction (we'd have to get a room).

The difference in hotel prices don't really seem all that great to me but the tour prices are what make the real difference (with Clarrissa Falls having much cheaper tours offered than the other hotels). If the tour price difference is really that great, I'd pick Clarrissa Falls - but does tour price really matter? If I booked through a separate company instead of through the hotels, could I get just as cheap (though same quality) tours regardless of which hotel I stay at?

Thanks. Having such a hard time choosing a hotel since so many seem so wonderful.

Edited: 6:19 pm, February 08, 2010
Maryland
posts: 6
reviews: 4
1. Re: tour prices and hotel choice

I don't think you need to worry about the tour prices in choosing your hotel. You can use an independent tour company and have their guide pick you up at your hotel. We recently stayed as Ka'ana Resort and loved it. But their tour prices were high, so we did research before we traveled and found a guide who was right for us. We took two extraordinary tours with Elias Cambranes of Belize Culture Tours (K'atun Ahaw). Because he is a dual citizen he, unlike other Belizean guides, is licensed not only in Belize but also in Guatemala. On other tours to Tikal, you will change guides at the border, but Elias was able to be our guide for the entire trip. He has been leading tours to Tikal for at least twenty years, and is knowledgable and enthusiastic. We also took a private tour with him to ATM and I felt very confident and in good hands with him as our guide. (Only 30 people are licensed to lead tours to ATM, and you are required to have a guide to visit this cave). For both trips, not only was Elias a fantastic guide, but his prices were very reasonable and included everything, such as border taxes, park entrance fees and lunch.

Edited: 2:52 pm, February 11, 2010
Texas
posts: 327
reviews: 8
2. Re: tour prices and hotel choice

I don't know if this the issue with these particular hotels, but often a hotel's tour prices are higher because it is more isolated or further from sites than another hotel and the transportation costs are rolled into the price. We had this experience, for example, when we stayed at Black Rock Lodge (which we LOVED). Its about 30 minutes drive just up its "driveway." If you don't have your own rental car, getting out to San Ignacio takes some effort. So tour companies have to go further to pick you up, therefore higher price. We learned that even if we booked our tours separately, the base price would be cheaper, but we'd have to add on a transportation/pick-up fee that made the price very similar to the one charged by our hotel. So our main consideration was:

a) stay somewhere more isolated and know that we will pay more for transportation/tours or b) somewhere closer to town so tours are cheaper but we don't get that "jungle lodge" experience. We went with a and were very happy we did! Of course another option is a rental car, but that is not cheap either and for the 4 days it turned out cheaper to pay the higher prices for the tours including pick-up/drop off.

Carmel, California
posts: 2,480
reviews: 11
3. Re: tour prices and hotel choice

Tour prices will vary depending on where you stay. If you book through independent operators, tours are generally priced as departures from San Ignacio. If they have to pick you up outside of town, there will be a charge which depends on how far you are.

4. Re: tour prices and hotel choice

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