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“Belize snorkeling”
Review of Belize

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Santa Cruz, CA
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
121 helpful votes
“Belize snorkeling”
Reviewed June 14, 2010

Comparing the boat snorkeling here at Turneffe reef with the shore snorkeling at Roatan and Cozumel, and the boat snorkeling at Cayman, this was #4 out of 4. Boat was great; included friendly guides, rum drinks, and nice stop at Bannister Island. But water was cloudy; and quantity and quality of fish and coral was just OK. I realize that people rave about snorkeling the Turneffe reef but I was disappointed.

4 Thank Milocat007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
“Friendly people”
Reviewed June 8, 2010

My daughter and I had the opportunity to stay @ Jackie's place a few months ago during our visit in Placencia,Belize. The accomadations were comfortable and clean.We enjoyed being near the village to walk or bike in to pick up supplies and enjoy seeing the sites.Waking to the fresh smell of bakery goods plus samples was certainly a plus to enjoy with our morning coffee.Everyone their was most friendly and helped to make our stay enjoyable.I would recommend anyone in Placencia to check it out and let Jackie know how you came upon her place. Most of all enjoy your stay. It is a unique experience. Kathy

Thank navaeh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 helpful votes
“Unspoiled Beauty! Jungle Savannah Mountrains and White Sand Beaches”
Reviewed May 7, 2010

Belize is very unique and diverse. Savannah, Jungle, Mountains, and of course white sand beaches.
David Hemmings a well known bird photographer and I travelled March 2010 with our main goal of photographing the remarkable diverse bird species especially the Orange Breasted Falcon. We started off our trip on the right foot with excellent customer service from the car rental place across from the airport (walking distance). Everyone is very helpful with directions and making sure your trip starts off right. From the airport we drove to the northern part of Belize experiencing perfect climate and marsh and swamp settings. Perfect for photographing landscapes and water fowl.
In the Crooked Tree area see the basic and simple life style of the local communities always with a smile. Our trip continued driving along bumpy roads and along farm fields to a changing diverse landscape into the jungle. We photographed grey fox, deer, howler monkeys, over 80 different species of birds on our journey. Fantastic if you are into tropical birds and landscape photography. The last part of our trip we drove through the Mountain Pine Ridge area and found our main attraction, the Orange Breasted Falcon with only 16 pairs in Belize we were lucky! Not only did we take some amazing photos we also have a video of it before it took off to hunt. Send me an email as I haven't had a chance to upload it yet.
Accommodations: Depends what you are looking for. 5stars then stay at Chan Chich Lodge more rugged then any other cabana place should do. Be sure to bring bug repellent. If you are tired of the usual all inclusive resort vacation this is the place to be a bit more adventurous. End your stay on one of the keys for the white sand beaches. We travelled Very safe and everyone speaks English.
Need more info just send me a note.

1 Thank PhotoBunny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, British Columbia
2 reviews
9 helpful votes
Reviewed April 1, 2010

Planning a trip to Belize after seeing the gorgeous fake pics. and giving in to the hype? Well, stay away unless you want to be thoroughly bored and disgusted. Not only is this country really expensive but it's a complete tourist trap once you are on one of their "beautiful" cayes (islands) on the caribbean sea with the filthy beaches and water full of seaweed and the pathetic resorts that charge exhorbitant rates for 2 star dwelliings. Most of these so-called "resorts" are owned by either egotistical Canadians and Americans who retired to Belize but have obviously no conception of resort management. The country is full of washed up musicians and displaced westerners who do nothing but drink themselves to oblivion from sunrise to sunset everyday because of the boredom of the country!
The country reminded me of a typical ex-colony where the Belizeans work for meager wages and struggle to survive while the foreigners control their livelihood. This country is ripe for a revolution and it is only a matter of time - it's a ticking time bomb as is evident with the growth of gangs and gang violence in south Belize City where even the local police are afraid to venture. This is a beautiful and lush country but you can see the pain and misery in the average persons eyes and faces.
In my opinion, there are far too many other more desirable places where I can enjoy a real vacation without being gouged at hotels, restaurants and anywhere else you turn. If drinking cheap rum and smoking cheap pot for your entire vacation is your thing, then by all means - go to Belize!

9 Thank Peace448
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Juneau, Alaska
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
96 helpful votes
“Enjoyable first trip to Belize with Anniversary Celebration”
Reviewed March 9, 2010

In mid-February to early March 2010 my wife and I spent our 32nd Anniversary in Belize, a country we’d not yet visited. We were glad we did as we discovered Belize is full of warm and friendly people, tour guides who enjoyed what they did, pleasant places to stay, and some tasty food. Below I mention the great tours we took.

We visited the cities of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, San Ignacio inland, a mere 6 miles from Guatemala, and Seine Bight, a small village on the Placencia Peninsula, about 5 miles north of Placencia Village.

For transportation we flew in and out of Belize City’s International Airport on American Airlines, internally we used a ground shuttle service <http://www.parrot-nest.com/belize_shuttle.html> as a form of private tour. We met people who rented and drove themselves, but we prefer being driven by a local guide so we both get to look at the countryside and neither of us has to fumble a tour book trying to figure out what we are looking at. Plus, local guides know a lot of local color you’d never find in a guide book. We used Maya Island Air <http://www.mayaregional.com/> to fly between Placencia (a brand new paved airport) and Belize City. Tip: if you are just flying domestically within Belize and are headed to/from Belize City, always fly to/from Belize City’s Municipal Airport, it is cheaper due to reduced airport fees. And, the Municipal Airport is right downtown. Finally, we used water taxi’s <http://www.cayecaulkerwatertaxi.com/> and <http://www.aguallos.com/hokeypokey/> since we personally enjoy being on the water (water is, maybe the sun too, why you go to Belize), and you get a lot more sense of local culture than always flying an air taxi.

Yes, Belize is a cash economy, everyone likes their tips in cash, and in the smaller villages, stores, and some lodging, cash is the only option. But generally, we found credit cards pretty commonly taken, with VISA accepted everywhere and American Express taken about 3/4th’s of the time. If you travel, carry more than one company’s card, you never know whose computers or networks might be down just when you need them. An advantage with American Express is they have representatives worldwide where you can walk into their office for emergency cash. This is a survival tip, not an advertisement.

For cash, at least where we travelled, ATM’s were easily located as Scotiabank, Belize Bank and Atlantic Bank had branches in the three areas we went, and seem to have a sense of competition, so where you find one, you’ll usually find the other two. We never found an empty ATM, though I could see that happening at the airport where just one ATM exists just past where you leave the baggage pickup area. That ATM has a limit of BZ$500. Both Belizean and USA currency is used everywhere, but you’ll probably run out of the latter. It is useful to take a pile of US$1 bills for tips.

We deliberately carry an unlocked GSM cell phone which allows us to buy any company’s GSM SIM card and install it, thus giving ourselves a local phone number. Since we were in Belize almost three weeks, traveling independently making our own lodging and tour arrangements, and like to stay in touch with family back in the USA, it really made sense. At the International Airport, outside, across the parking lot is a BTL <http://www.digicell.bz/> office. For only US$27 we got a prepaid SIM card with BZ$10 on it. It was wonderfully useful to us and our guides who needed to contact us, plus the cost to call back to the USA is cheaper than using roaming with a USA carrier. Critically this meant Belizean’s could call us as a local call for them, rather than a long distance call through a USA carrier.

I admit that with English being the commonly spoken language, it was convenient for us English speaking and reading tourists. We do have a smattering of Spanish ability, but it was not needed. My wife could hear the spoken Creole language way better than I. It is a sort of pigeon English, you can catch some words by listening carefully. I’m told if you grew up in the deep South USA you do better with this.

The CDC <http://www.cdc.gov/> does mention Malaria for interior Belize and certainly Guatemala. One of our guides mentioned he had Malaria and it was interesting learning about the Malaria Clinics available to infected Belizeans. Confer with your physician on whether to acquire and take anti-malarial drugs. Without fail, take some insect repellent and in the interior it was uncommon to see people wearing shorts, clothing is always a good first defense.

We really enjoyed every area of Belize. In San Pedro we used three different guides, consider SEARIOUS <http://www.seariousadventures.com/index.html> especially for the Bacalar Chico tour, and his was the best beach BBQ food we had in Belize. For heading out to the Blue Hole we used AquaDive <http://www.aquadives.com/> as they run a 57’ boat out there, its a 45 mile run one way. They provided both Dive and Snorkel Masters. In San Ignacio we used Cayo Adventures <http://www.cayoadventures.com/> for visiting Tikal, their Tikal Guide was astonishing in his knowledge of Tikal and the Mayan Culture, and PACZ Tours <http://www.pacztours.net/> for ATM, a spelunking adventure only for the physically able as it involves wading, often waist or chest high, in a stream filled cave to reach a dry chamber the Mayan’s used ceremonially. This was a true privilege to view. On the Placencia visit, we used the Garbutt Bros <http://meweb.net/monkeyriver/> for the Monkey River trip, Terry was great, they are a family born and raised in Monkey River Village, so their knowledge and guiding was really fine. Their Village received electricity only two months ago.

It is hard to review restaurants since the Chef we ate under may not be the same Chef you eat under. Belize used to be the British Honduras and the British influence is still strong, including the lack of a specific cuisine. Amazingly, delightfully, we never did see one single “fast food chain” in Belize. Probably the most local food we ate was out of the deli at a local supermarket’s hot case. Try a different restaurant each night and even each meal, especially the hole-in-the-wall types. We never had a meal that disappointed. Certainly San Pedro had the most expensive entrees, with San Ignacio and Placencia menu entrees typically about half the San Pedro prices, but then San Pedro’s restaurants could be considered a notch up in entree complexity and presentation.

If you imbibe, beware, Belize really socks on the import duty to any liquor not made in Belize. So you will find non-Belizean spirits, wines and beers sufficiently expensive as to convince you to enjoy the Biliken Beer (try the stout) and drinks made with Traveler’s Rum (try the Five Barrel). All the local stores carry beer, wine, and spirits.

That’s it, read some other reviews, but definitely go visit Belize, you’ll be happy you did, and don’t forget to always tip, and tip at least 10-15% and more.

10 Thank Northern-Observer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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