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Advice on ATM and cave tours

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Ontario
Level Contributor
49 posts
9 reviews
Advice on ATM and cave tours

Hello,

My husband and I are looking to come to Belize at the end of December and stay for 2 weeks. I have been reading into the ATM and cave tubing tours. We would like to stay in a hostel. Should we drive to SI, book a hostel and then find a tour out of the hostel? What would be the best recommendation? I noticed pacz tours cost about 100/person, can u find a cheaper tour than this? Also, what are the best day to avoid cruise ship tours?

Thanks you for any advice!!!

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
2 posts
45 reviews
1. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

there are many hostels in san ignacio,

http://youtu.be/TfVD14TtV4k

we liked Marthas guest house and if you watch the video you will see the others that are around it .. its a pretty little town.. great places to eat ..

the atm caves are so cool

http://youtu.be/b-4PEgltUGI

we have been to caracol twice and el pilar once ..

http://youtu.be/_eXJBABxDZs 2012

http://youtu.be/KxXwuOKWBBg 2011

http://youtu.be/N5crxTuQqnc el pilar

we have been to belize twice if we can help with any questions please ask

we have a few more videos from our adventures there ... it is a great country and the people are extremely friendly ..

we highly recommend Heri and his company

please use our name if you go with him ..

Ontario
Level Contributor
49 posts
9 reviews
2. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

Thank you for the advice, I appreciate it. I took a look at your video's - it looks nice!

We are planning on going straight to SI from the airport ( we will most likely take a private car) Do you think we should book our tours ahead of time, or should we try to find a company in town and just go from there? We would like to do the cave tubing, the ATM tour and the Tikal tour. We have 2 weeks, so we'll have enough time to do one each day. We are planning on spending the rest of the time on the beach. Also my hubby would like to do some scuba diving as well.

Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
2 posts
45 reviews
3. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

dont book your tours until you get there .. there are lots of companies that do the tours my suggestion is to ask how big a group they take to these sites .. when we go we like it to be us and a licensed guide .. we have not done the cave tubing my wife is not good in tight spaces and depending the rains they have had you can either be banging your but on rocks if its low or if its rain a lot you will be banging your head.. there is an over night trip to tikal its alittle long to do in one day there and back .. but the over night works out well .. tikal was on my bucket list along with Caracol .. Caracol is 3 hours into the jungle from SI and well the trip if you can .. the city is 3x times bigger than tikal .. the cool part of tikal is they have been digging out of the jungle for 150 yrs .. so there is a lot to see .. at caracol you cant see the top of Ka naa the main structure because of they ways its built .. its cool but they all are cool places .. Ambergris Caye is where we go for beach .. water is clear and pristine .. the further down the coast the current pushes all the sea debris south so in Placencia you have to go thru floating debris sea grass etc ... scuba and snorkel are fantastic anywhere on the coast but we like San Pedro .. lots of places to stay at all levels of cost so look around .. all the little towns on the coast have things to offer .. caye caulker is pretty laid back and there are hostel type places all over .. its a cool little place .. all the places we have been to or like are in our videos .. along with recomendations for food and places to stay .. if we can help with anything let us know , we are heading down to ambergris caye in march 2013 for a birthday party for a 91 yr old gent we met in Placencia our first trip down ..

Edited: 7:46 pm, October 26, 2012
The Dalles, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Guatemala, Belize
Level Contributor
9,614 posts
292 reviews
4. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

Belize doesn't have many actual hostels but there are lots of budget and midrange options worth considering. One of my favorites is the Trek Stop, just west of San Ignacio in the village of San José Succotz.

www.thetrekstop.com

You might beat the Pacz Tours price for the ATM cave a bit but not by much; it's worth it, though, imo. You should book full day tours the day ahead if not before; I wouldn't wait till the day of, especially since some of the tours have a minimum number of participants and won't go if they don't have enough. Sometimes there's an advantage of booking well in advance if you're confident about your schedule. For example, our extended family group of 8 book the ATM cave trip well in advance and secured the 1st time slot of the day. It was awesome being the 1st in since the cave can get crowded by mid morning.

Definitely consider an overnight visit to Tikal - there's just no comparing a long, hot day trip where you visit the ruins during the most crowded and hothothot times with visiting overnight and being able to explore the jungle and ruins during the cooler evening and early morning times when the wildlife is active and you practically have the place to yourselves. Consider booking a tour or 2 with archaeologist/naturalist Roxy Ortiz - she's amazing; check out her reviews here on TA.

www.tikalroxy.blogspot.com

Here's a link for looking up the cruise schedules:

…cruisett.com/schedule/…

My photos and recommendations are here:

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Happy planning!

San Ignacio, Belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Cayo
Level Contributor
4,753 posts
268 reviews
5. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

Yeah, not many hostels here, but there are some good budget places around Cayo. Hopefulist has an idea with Trekstop, and there are other places just a few miles out of town, so they have a more natural feel. ATM is great, and Pacz is a good company. If you use another company just because they are cheaper, you might not get as good of a tour. Caracol and MPR is a must. You could rent a vehicle for a day, and see it all on your timeline. I'd hit the cave tubing on your way to or from BC.

I'd split 5 nights each in Cayo, Placencia, and one of the cayes.

Have fun!

Edited: 3:33 am, October 27, 2012
Washington DC...
Level Contributor
20 posts
20 reviews
6. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

Following up with HOPEFULIST's advice: I would also agree that you should wait to book the tour until you actually talk to the tours. I remember being in San Ignacio (traveling alone) and I walked into 3 offices to compare/contrast and see their enthusiasm/ professionalism. I took the tour with MayanWalk and enjoyed it. I remembered I wrote a blog post:

"Prices for tours: for Cahal Pech, just walk up the hill out of San Ignacio and turn left at the sign, then up the hill. Admission is 10BZD. For Xunantunich, take the local bus headed for Benque, pay 2BZD, admission for the ruins is 10BZD

Cahal Pech

. For Actun Tunichil Muknal, it is 120BZD with MayaWalk, which includes transportation, guide, and full lunch . MayaWalk also offers to Caracol and Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve for roughly same price.

Mayawalk was great and I loved the adventure (though I did take it in 2009) so I don't know if they have the same quality of staff.

Also, YES, if you have time and you want to be explore adventure, TIKAL is amazing. I highly recommend it.

San Ignacio, Belize
Level Contributor
87 posts
16 reviews
7. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

There are not much hostels in San Ignacio. But there are a number of places for the budgeted traveler. Some of these would include

Rosa's hotel (tel 501-804-2265),

Martha's Guest House (http://www.marthasbelize.com/),

Casa Blanca Guest House (http://www.casablancaguesthouse.com/), Venus Hotel (501-824-3203),

Rolson's Hotel (501-824-2730),

Plaza Hotel (501-824-2040),

Hi-Et Guesthouse (501-824-2828),

Central 'Otel (501-824-3734)

The Western Hotel & Guesthouse (501-824-2572).

As for tours, you can book your tours when you arrive in San Ignacio. There are a ton of tour companies that you can check with. But if you would like more information, here are a couple of tour companies:

Maximum tours (501-623-4880) tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g291971-d2…

Cayo Adventure Tours

http://www.cayoadventure.com/

David's Adventure Tours(www.mauricefield.net/belize/davidstour.shtml)

As for transportation from the airport, I would say catch a cab from the airport and tell them to take you to the Novelo's Bus terminal. From there you can catch a bus (public transportation) to San Igancio by going on the "Benque" bus (you will come off the bus at San Ignacio).

Hope that helps. Have fun!

Ontario
Level Contributor
49 posts
9 reviews
8. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

Thanks for all the info. It's much appreciated!

Layton, Utah
Level Contributor
181 posts
132 reviews
9. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

I'd wait and book once you get to San Iganacio. Most of the tour companies all have offices withing a block of each other. I'd recommend either BZM or Edwin's Belize Adventure Day Tours. We payed $85pp for ATM (low season price). Mayawalk is a bit aggressive at recruiting customers so their tours tend to be larger. We did ATM with just two of us and our guide and passed Mayawalk on our way out and they had about 10 people. You'll be in the high season so expect a larger tour anyway.

I was told that the cruise ships come mid-week (Tues-Thurs).

We snorkeled in both San Pedro and Hopkins and both were very cool. Seemed to have more of the reef to ourselves in Hopkins but it is a 40 min boat ride whereas its only 5 in San Pedro.

San Pedro has nice white sandy beaches, but in Hopkins we could walk into the ocean because it didn't have the sea grass.

Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
199 posts
36 reviews
10. Re: Advice on ATM and cave tours

Although this trip has already taken place, future planners might look here for this info. We booked our ATM tour through Edwin's Adventure Tours. He's a really nice guy who is dedicated to a career in tourism. He also drove us from San Ignacio to Placencia and it was a good day. You can see what he has to offer here: http://youbelizetours.com/