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Family trip to Belize

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Baltimore, Maryland
posts: 2
Family trip to Belize

We just got back from a full week staying at Maya Mountain Lodge with our 3 children - ages 3, 5, and 7. It was a great week. The people were very kind and loved kids. We had a great time hiking in the caves, canoeing in the rivers and climbing up the pyramids of the ruins. We did go to Rio Frio cave which was mentioned in another posting - fortunately, we did not have any experience like that at all. We felt very safe everywhere we went. We had the same guide, Luis Godoy for the whole week. He was great with the kids!! He was very knowledgable and had an archaeology background.

Don't plan on exploring on your own, the roads are very rough and there are no signs. The lodge gave us plenty of water and a packed lunch for every excursion that we did, not to mention the awesome breakfasts and dinners that were included in our package!! The food was prepared carefully with purified water, so we didn't have to worry about any thing that we ate there. They were also nice to bring bread or bananas to the table in case the kids weren't feeling adventurous to try new foods.

Barton Creek Cave was the highlight of our trip!!!

new york
posts: 1,866
reviews: 18
1. Re: Family trip to Belize

Thanks for your trip report. Would love more detail on Barton Creek Cave. We will be traveling with children as well and were wondering how difficult some of the excusions were for them. We do plan on renting a 4x4 to save on the cost of the excursions and to be able to do things at our own pace and stop and see what we want. Was the rough roads your only deterance to exploring on your own. Is it possible to take a guide with you? Thanks for your help so glad your family had a great trip.

Baltimore, Maryland
posts: 2
2. Re: Family trip to Belize

To: Snorkling

I would really recommend not renting a car and just go with the guides. You can find package deals that are very reasonably priced for what you get - ours included food, transportation and the excursions. It really included everything. When I looked into renting a car, it was quite expensive and the gas is VERY expensive. There's also rules about insurance, so if the car is damaged, then you'll likely have to pay for it. The lodge we stayed at often gave us rides into town if we wanted to go out, then we'd take a taxi back.

As far as the kids go, we were told not to go on the ATM tour, it's dark and quite deep in the water, so we passed on that. Barton Creek was great, the canoeing was easy as long as the kids can sit still in the boat. You really only need one paddler for that trip. We also paddled on the Macal River, which was mostly calm with a couple of minor rapids, which the kids had fun in - nothing challenging for the adults. If you plan to go to Tikal, best to take a guide with you to navigate the border crossing.

Also, on the guided tours, the guides can point out all of the wildlife that you would never see on your own. They're all well trained and very knowledgable.

Just know that basically no roads are paved, often they're washed out with giant ditches that you need to drive over. Signs are few and far between and there are NO services in jungle once you're off the highway - no food or gas stations.

Another place that was recommended to us was the Log Cab-Inn which is owned by a Belizean family in San Ignacio - they have an all inclusive deal as well.

Cork, Ireland
posts: 684
reviews: 22
3. Re: Family trip to Belize

Snorkling - the roads in the area are really rough (especially the road to the 1,000 Falls), so if you do not have much experience in driving on rough gravel roads, I'd recommend you reconsider. In addition, the commercially available maps of the area are not detailed enough, we got a hand-drawn map from our host at the Pine Ridge Lodge which was really useful.

As for the costs, the rate for a Suzuki Grand Vitara was US$80 per day, insurance was US$14 per day. Gasoline was about US$5 per gallon, and as you will be driving in slow speeds, the fuel consumption will be high.

If you do decide to rent a 4x4, make sure you check the vehicle

properly before accepting it. Remember to take a look under the hood, check the fluids, the condition of the fanbelt, whether the battery looks OK and so on.

I'm stressing this because we had some trouble with the 4X4 we rented (from a company located in San Ignacio, not one of the big chains). The battery, which clearly should have been replaced ages ago (the battery poles were very badly corroded and the terminals loose), went flat while we were exploring the Mountain Pine Ridge area, and we were left stranded in the middle of nowhere. If it wasn't for some wonderfully helpful locals and British paratroopers who happened to drive by and helped us, we would have been in big trouble. It's not like mobile phones work there... We also had some trouble with the car later on the way to Maya Beach, when we had problems getting the car started after a stop, so the battery wasn't the only thing that was wrong with the car.

So far, we haven't received any compensation for this, not even for the time the vehicle was unuseable while we waited for the rental company's mechanic to come and replace the battery, and I'm not holding my breath - first they dodged the issue and now they are simply ignoring my emails. Fortunately, this was our only negative experience in Belize.

new york
posts: 1,866
reviews: 18
4. Re: Family trip to Belize

Nettle,Thanks for your response. I think with all the trouble they are having with bandits we are holding off on any firm plans for now. Thanks for your great reply, I appreciate all the info...

5. Re: Family trip to Belize

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