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First time to visit Belize

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kansas
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176 posts
23 reviews
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First time to visit Belize

I am researching Belize and know nothing about this area. I have seen and read various posts and do not know where to begin. We are looking to come for Thanksgiving with two kids 22 and 18. Like to lay by the beach, snorkel and taste the local cuisine. Any help would be great. Budget would depend on accommodations. Also curious about how to get from Belize City to San Pedro. Curious about average food cost. Last vacation was Grand Cayman. Is Belize about the same or cheaper?

San Diego, CA
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421 posts
61 reviews
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1. Re: First time to visit Belize

I have been to both Belize and Grand Caymen--Belize every few months and GC once a year-actually just booked a trip back today.

Your kids would much prefer San Pedro than belize mainland IMO. Best to get to San Pedro is by flight--$120 per person. Hotels are more like condo's and a 2 bedroom can range anywhere from $350--$450 depending on the season. The popular ones are Phoneix, Xanadu and Victoria House--for the higher end. Food wise would be very similar to grand cayman prize wise in the restaurants, however, the portions are less. Belize is actually very pricy I would say similar to grand Cayman.

As far as the beaches--they do not even compare to GC. There isn't much of a beach in San Pedro because the proximity to the reef. Belize and grand caymen are completely different in every aspect. GC is very much Americanized, safe, clean, outstanding beaches, etc... While Belize, San Pedro, is more of a divers destination. It's not Americanized in the least. Very small--no rental cars--golf carts. I would have no problem with kids going out by themselves in GC, but would not allow them to go out In San Pedro alone. I love Belize more so than anywhere on this planet, but it's not for everyone. If you are looking for something similar to GC--Belize is not for you. Hope this helps!

kansas
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176 posts
23 reviews
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2. Re: First time to visit Belize

thank you so much for the info. You have given us a lot to think about. I was looking for a different experience than Grand Cayman and it is good that you did such a comparison for me. I have continued my search and looked at the hotels that you mentioned. This information helps in understanding just what we would be considering vacation wise. We have wanted to check out Central America but are unsure as to where to go. The research will continue.

Colorado Springs...
4 posts
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3. Re: First time to visit Belize

I have been to Belize 9 times. The beaches in the Hopkins area are nicer than San Pedro or Caye Caulker, and the condos are less than half the price. My 4 children, ages 13-23 like the mainland because there is a variety of things to do. On the islands, you have only water sports. Hopkins has a marina where the boats leave to go 10- 12 miles out to the reef (45 min boat ride), for fishing, snorkeling or scuba diving. But, on the mainland there are also ziplines, tours of caves, many beautiful waterfalls, where you can swim in the pools at the bottom or rappel down, ATVs, horseback riding, and Mayan ruins to see. There is also the Belize zoo and other places to observe monkeys, beautiful birds and other wildlife, such as iguana, coate mundi or ant eaters. There is also the only jaguar reserve in the world, where you are likely to see footprints, but not likely to see a jaguar. There are many animals that make the reserve their home, and night hikes are available to see some of the nocturnal ones. There is an abundance of local restaurants that always have meals for $3 - $ 4 per person. There are some really great chefs at the resorts 1 mile south of Hopkins, if you want a gourmet meal, for $10 - $25 per person. There are also many local grocery stores, beach bars and a produce stand. You can have a case of beer or soda delivered to your door. Check out the condos in the Hopkins area. I think your family would have a great vacation! You can rent a car at the airport and have an easy, scenic drive down to the Hopkins area - 2 1/2 hrs.

Saint James City...
Destination Expert
for San Pedro
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14,322 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: First time to visit Belize

I've never been to Caymen, I try and avoid beach destinations that are too 'Americanized'. Plus, I've always heard it was very, very expensive.

So, I was surprised to read that food costs are similar to San Pedro. We live here in the winter and eat out fairly often. At the very high end places, you can certainly spend US30-40.00 for a meal, but, we rarely do.

I can get fresh fish, either whole or filleted, as a dinner for well under US$20.00.

I love fried chicken, I know, not very tropical, but, I get 1/4 fried chicken for US$7.50, including a small salad and a baked potato.

And, that's at a tourist oriented restaurant. At local places, food is cheaper. Grilled chicken dinners for US$6.00. Burritos from the food stands in the park for US$2.00 or so.

Beers are US$2-3.00. Rum drinks about the same. Imported liquor is expensive. Wine is expensive, although I guess it's relative, US$7.50 really isn't that much for a decent glass of wine. I'm just used to beer prices.

Victoria, Canada
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156 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: First time to visit Belize

I haven’t been to Belize but have done a lot of research for our May, 2013 trip. I have been to Cayman 3 times and I can tell you that you will pay a lot more to eat out in Cayman than it seems you will in San Pedro. I know that you can find inexpensive places to eat anywhere but it seems that generally it is quite a bit cheaper in SP. The cost of restaurant meals in Cayman is one of the reasons so many people choose to stay in condos with full kitchens. It is also expensive to drink in Cayman. No way you are getting a $2 – 3 US beer in any bar in Cayman. As far as safety goes, Cayman is very safe. I have read the threads on safety in SP and it seems that late at night you should take the usual precautions that you would take in most any city. I would not hesitate at all in allowing adult children to do some exploring on their own. From the research I have done, accommodation, food and drinks will all be cheaper in SP than any trip we have taken to Cayman. Love Cayman and am very excited about spending time in Belize.

San Ignacio, Belize
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4,753 posts
271 reviews
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6. Re: First time to visit Belize

If you wanted a nicer beach, I'd look into Hopkins, like mentioned above, and Placencia too. But there's no comparison because the beaches here are all coral beaches. Belize is cheaper than GC, and much less americanized. No chains here, not one. Not a lot of billboards ruining the landscape either.

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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6,597 posts
10 reviews
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7. Re: First time to visit Belize

The mainland coastal and peninsula beaches are formed mostly from river aggregage, which is flushed out during the rains. That is why its important to balance river water for irrigation and mining of sand, so that there is a beach.

Edmonton, Canada
2 posts
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8. Re: First time to visit Belize

I'm thinking of going to Belize in March for spring break. We're flying in from Cancun. We'd like to stay in an all inclusive. Seems like Hopkins is the place to be? Anyone have any all inclusive recommendations?

Edmonton, Canada
2 posts
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9. Re: First time to visit Belize

We're going to fly to Belize from Cancun for Spring Break. We'd like to fly. Anyone have any suggestions on which airline to use? We'd also like to stay in an all inclusive as well. So far Hopkins seems like the best place? We're a younger couple without children.

Dayton, Ohio
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2 posts
8 reviews
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10. Re: First time to visit Belize

We thought belize was cheaper than the caymans. The cayes are more expensive. We chose to fly from belize city international to San Pedro. It only takes 15 minutes, plenty of flights available. We flew on Mayan air. Tropic air is another option. We were not able to book these flights on our own, so we used discovery expeditions. I did hear another passenger saying that she booked by calling airlines directly.