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What tours can we do on our own?

Toronto
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9 posts
23 reviews
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What tours can we do on our own?

We will be staying in San Ignacio for 7 nights and have rented a 4 wheel drive vehicle. I know that some of the tours (Tikai) will require us to take a bus tour but since we have our own vehicle can we do the following tours ourself (meaning drive to the location and get a quide a the site or do our own self-guided tour). We are interested in Barton Creek canoe adventure, Caves Branch Cave tubing, Xunantunich tour, Crystal Caves and ATM. I realize that we must have a guide for ATV tour but can we drive to the site and get a guide there or do we have to take a bus ride with a tour company. Since we are paying for a rental car for 7 days we would like to use it as much as we can. Anything else that we should add to our list during our 6 days there?

The Dalles, Oregon
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for Guatemala, Belize
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1. Re: What tours can we do on our own?

I can address a few of those. Some rental companies allow you to drive into Guatemala to visit Tikal and some don't; you'd have to make arrangements ahead as there's additional paperwork and steps at the border. I've never been tempted, in part because you wouldn't have insurance in Guatemala.

No savings in driving yourself to ATM in my opinion. You have to have a guide and would have to arrange ahead to meet the guide there (not possible 'on the spot'). The transportation (van) is included in the cost of the tour and I doubt they'd reduce the price if you drove yourself.

Xunantunich is easy to visit on your own; you might want to add Cahal Pech to your list. No guide needed for the Belize Zoo, either.

www.belizezoo.org

Good luck!

Toronto
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9 posts
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2. Re: What tours can we do on our own?

Thanks for your reply. Yes we were aware that Tikal would be with a tour group and now we know that ATM also requires a guide and will require us to go with the group. Do you know if we can drive to Barton Creek (canoeing), Crystal Caves & Blue Hole, Caves branch tubing etc. on our own. We rented the car so we can do things on our own timetable and stop when we want to and pack more things into each day. However, we are now finding that some excursions require a guide and that guide is not located on site so some days we will be paying for our rental car to just sit at the hotel. So we are looking for some hikes, adventures, sight-seeing that we can do on our own or at least drive to on our own.

The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
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11,151 posts
327 reviews
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3. Re: What tours can we do on our own?

You don't need a group to visit Tikal. Our first visit we just headed to the border, changed money with the money changers, made the crossing, then hired a driver on the other side to take our family to Tikal and to return the next day to pick us up. Or you can arrange transport only or even drive yourself if your car company allows it.

We're visiting Belize for the 4th time in March and still haven't been tempted to rent a car. We did our Caves Branch adventures (but didn't choose cave tubing) while we were staying at Caves Branch Adventure Lodge and walked to the Blue Hole from there. Blue Hole and St. Herman's Cave you can stop at on your own; there used to be problems with rental cars being broken into at those sites but I haven't heard anything like that lately - maybe they've hired people to watch. We haven't done Crystal Caves yet or visited Barton Creek so I can't help with those.

Dallas, Texas
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373 posts
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4. Re: What tours can we do on our own?

Definitely swing by Cahal Pech, if you can. It's in San Ignacio, and is very easy to get to.

Also, don't know if you have considered Caracol? If you're renting a car, that is a drive you can do on your own (we did it with a guide, but there was a family doing it by themselves). You can also do the side trips that the tour groups do on your own -- Rio Frio Cave and Rio on Pools. It is quite the bumpy ride out there! There is a caravan with a military escort that meets up in the morning and returns in the afternoon -- most of the tour groups go with this caravan, though it's not required to drive out there. I'd recommend going with the caravan -- not because anyone has any problems with poachers, but because the road is so bumpy that it can cause car trouble (one of the vehicles in our caravan broke down, and the military escort was able to get it back up and running). Bumpiness aside, it is a beautiful drive and an awesome site! Plus, when we were there, there were only 11 people at the entire site! We saw quite a bit of it without running into anyone! Don't think they have tour guides on the spot to hire, so if you go out there on your own, you can just explore on your own.

5. Re: What tours can we do on our own?

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