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“Got Dumped by Major Tom”

Cavetubing with Major Tom
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Major Tom is a guide in Belize for 27 years assisted now by His two sons Minor Tom a guide and Julian. He provides visitors to Belize with tours consisting of the ultimate mix of ecological, friendly, dependable, and informative adventures. Guests are Informed of the rich history of Belize as we tour the country side, tour pristine rain forests of Belize, and even enjoy a lazy river float through the underworld dwelling places of the Mayan Gods.
Guelph, ON
Level 6 Contributor
119 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Got Dumped by Major Tom”
Reviewed December 31, 2012

I have mixed feelings about this review. I liked the cave tubing itself - I didn't like the circumstances around it. First of all, I can't really review Major Tom, because he dumped us on another tour operator once we got to Belize, but since I had pre-booked with him, he gets the "terrible" review.

We pre-booked with Major Tom online, and paid 10% down before our trip (cruising on Carnival Legend - which seemed to have an earlier "last tender" than the other cruise lines). It is MUCH cheaper to book privately than through the cruise ship - if you are cruising. However, when we arrived in Belize (4 cruise ships were there in total), we were told it was really busy that day, and the guy who said he was Major Tom took us to another cave-tubing operator and dumped us on them ("Butts Up!"), without really explaining - we found this out later. There weren't enough seats on the bus, so we had to meet another bus (which was held up waiting for us just outside of Belize City - we were glared at by the people already on this bus - I don't blame them, but it wasn't our fault!).
Near the end of the river tubing, Butts Up 'realized' we were with the Carnival Legend, and basically ran us down the river, ran us to another bus, and took us back - not before stopping for 30 minutes for everyone to pay them (and get a 'take on the bus' meal). I had to argue with them to reduce my payment by the 10% I had already paid Major Tom, and they finally did. There were not enough seats on this bus as well, and three of our family had to sit on coolers in the aisle of the bus for the entire 75 minute ride back.

As a side note: the people that booked cave tubing PLUS either the zip line or ATVs only got to do one of the three - it was too busy. There were many annoyed people on the way back to the ship.

We were an hour late for the last tender. Many of us were totally stressed. However, like other posts here, we too found out that a Carnival booked trip to the Mayan ruins was late, and the actual last tender got to the ship nearly two hours late. You can't help but be stressed when you are constantly told you are going to be left behind if you don't book through the cruise line, despite the fact that the local tour guides keep telling you it will be OK.

Overall the jungle walk and cave tubing were interesting - kind of like a real-life 'lazy river' at a water park. We REALLY enjoyed that part. For us, the water was plenty deep, cool but not cold, and we didn't scrape our hands/clothes etc. Our river tubes were linked up with ropes (not our feet) and had little head rests. No complaints with these. The Butts Up tour guides were friendly and fun.

Would I recommend it? Yes. Just know what you're getting into.

Visited December 2012
4 Thank LucySlater518
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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341 reviews from our community

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English first
Lebanon, Indiana
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Had a great time! 11/6/2012”
Reviewed November 17, 2012

We arrived in Belize on the Carnival Legend and met with Major Tom outside the cruise port area. He was very easy to find and was very organized. I was a little nervous at first because I thought we were going to be the only ones from our ship since there was a large group of people from a Royal Caribbean ship also sharing the bus. That wouldn't normally bother me except that they had a 2 hour later departure time than our ship. We waited for about 20 minutes for the entire group to be amassed and then we were off. There were 6 total people from our ship so I relaxed a little. The ride out to the site was about an hour but the scenery was pretty in an air conditioned bus, so it was not as bad as people say. When we got to the site we all got issued head lights, life vests, and tubes. Since it took a while getting together at the port, the six of us from the legend had to kind of rush up the trail, with omission of discussion of wild life and such. Not a big deal, as I just wanted to make sure we made it to the boat.
The river tubing itself was very interesting and beautiful. The water was pretty much freezing, and since it was pretty hot outside, was quite refreshing. Minor tom was our tour guide with Mark, the driver, out in front. I took about 30 to 45 minutes to make it all the way through the caves. When finished, we made our way back to the common area of the park and changed into dry clothing for the zip line portion of the tour. They do have decent restroom and changing facilities there at the park. Mark kept all of our personal belongings locked in the bus while on our tour, so we didn't have to worry at all.
The zip line was absolutely awesome! I guess in the back of my mind that it was going to be a hike up to the platforms. When I started my hike, i realized how hard it actually was. That being said, I'm over weight and out of shape. My girlfriend was laughing at me, calling me "old man" making our way up the trail. Once on the line, It was sooooo awesome going thru the jungle! definitely the highlight of our Belize stop! We booked it through all 8 runs and went back to the parking lot/gift shop area. We made our way the stairs to the little cafe where we had a little Styrofoam pack with red beans and rice, jerk chicken, and slaw. It was an ok lunch with one little cup of juice. I was so hungry from all the work I slammed the whole thing down in no time. Not long after that we were on our sleepy way back to Belize city and to the cruise port. Now carnival said the last tender to ship was at 3 pm with a 4 pm sail time. Some older lady was milling around the cafe area and caused our delay leaving the park. NOW I AM VERY NERVOUS! we didn't end up getting back to Belize city until 330 ish. At this point there is nothing we can do but just relax since we cant do anything about it. Minor Tom assured us that they do this every day, and Carnival sells a trip to the Mayan ruins, and ANY WAY YOU GO, that trip takes 8 solid hours. Sure enough we saw that bus from the Mayan ruins about 10 car lengths back. I was not worried when i saw them, because carnival won't leave a carnival sold tour behind under ANY circumstance! They still had tenders running and LOTS of other tours didn't make it back at Carnivals time either. SO DON'T WORRY FOLKS! THEY WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU! We were supposed to sail at 4 pm and didn't set sail until 640 pm. I would definitely recommend using these guys! They were fun, professional, and knowledgeable!

Visited November 2012
2 Thank Jason R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Zip Line and Cave tubing”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

This was a great excursion with a few drawbacks. The zip line and cave tubing were really good. The hike to the start of the tubing was very informative. The guide showed us some termites and said they had a mint taste. He eat one, so I did as well. They did taste like mint. The tubing was relaxed and alot of fun. This was the first time my wife and myself did a zip line and we loved it. If we had the time we would have went again. The drawbacks were a very long drive to the site in an older bus. We did get to see the county side so that did make up for the long drive. The lunch was so-so as we were late in time so had to eat on the bus and parts of the road were in bad shape. Overall I'm glad we did the excursion and if we go back it might be worth taking the kids. They would have a blast.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank William L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Good time cave-tubing and zip-lining with Major Tom on 10/16/2012.”
Reviewed October 22, 2012

We paid roughly half what the cruise line (Carnival) was charging. Upon arrival at dock, we had to exit the Carnival-controlled area to meet up with our transportation (outside where the taxis wait). We climbed into some well-worm Ford extended vans and spent about an hour driving VERY rough roads before arriving at Nohoch Che'en Caves Branch Archeological Reserve. We were immediately taken to the zip-line area, where we were fitted with harnesses and led to the starting line. The zip-line experience was fantastic! We soared at speeds of 25 to 35 mph over and through the rainforest, at times over 100 feet above the ground. Just a warning: There are lots of stairs and climbing involved.

After the zip-line we were instructed to change into water clothes, then we picked up our caving helmets and tubes. We carried them on a hike of about 30 minutes through the rainforest to the mouth of the caves. After splashing about in the river to get used to the water temperature (slightly cool, but pleasurable), we began our ride through the caves, which was fascinating and relaxing. The tubing lasted about 30 minutes and ended where we began the hike, so it was a short walk back to the parking lot. After dropping off the tubes and helmets we sat down in the restaurant/bar area and ate lunch, which consisted of a smaller cup of some fruit juice beverage, rice & beans, coleslaw, and a piece of chicken. After lunch we piled back into the van and were back at the dock in plenty of time to get back on the cruise ship.

What I liked: The experience on the zip-line, the pleasure of the cave-tubing, and the guide (Major Tom is fascinating and VERY knowledgable!)

What I didn't like: It is a long bumpy ride to the park (all the tour companies use the national parks, they do not own the caves themselves, so regardless of your tour company, you go to the same place). And the 'lunch' left much to be desired.

Overall, we had a wonderful day and I would definitely use Major Tom's service again.

Visited October 2012
2 Thank Mike W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Parker, CO
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Major Tom - Go With Another Vendor For Cave Tubing”
Reviewed October 19, 2012

Went cave tubing with these folks a couple weeks ago and I'm not sure why they've been so highly recommended. There were 13 of us stuffed in a van for an hour + ride to our destination. They also had no step stoll to get into the van for the shorter, stouter folks. We had ppl in our group that wanted to drink @ 8AM, which wouldn't bother me, so they bought a bunch of beer whilc we waited (30 min) for the van. Then we needed to stop for another beer run and of course a bathroom break.

We got to the park a couple of the ppl fell into the river that we needed to cross ...maybe too much beer. Then we were under the impression that lunch was going to be at the park, NOPE...Major Tom stated that he doesn't like the food at the park anymore and we'll go to a place that he likes. Cool...back into the van we go, about 30 minutes away (maybe 1:30 or so) we stop at another place and were asked to stay in the van. Lo and behold, Major Tom and company begin bringing out styrofome containers...our lunch. REALLY!!

We weren't even told what it was, but I'm guessing chicken (?), rice/beans and coleslaw. I just love eating in a stuffed van. Anyway, I'd never recommend these folks. It's a shame since the cave tubing itself was great. Just use another provider.

Visited October 2012
1 Thank afcj1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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