We traveled with Allen and Leah as our tour guides to the Altun Ha ruins in August 2013. We got off to a somewhat frustrating start since some of our fellow passengers on our Carnival Dream cruise decided to sleep late. So, we were waiting in Belize City with Allen and Leah for some other cruise passengers to get off of the tender, which leave the ship in the order of when you get your number at the designated tender gathering point on your ship. If this happens to you, you can ask Allen to start the tour of the city on time, and the rest of the passengers on your ship who decided to sleep late can catch up to the bus after the city portion of the tour is complete, and when the bus is ready to travel to the ruins. The tour of Belize city was an hour. Then, an hour drive to the ruins, spending 1.5 hours at the ruins, and then one hour drive back to the port. So, the tour was 4.5 hours total. Allen is an excellent tour guide, and Leah was great. Both grew up in Belize, and are so knowledgeable. Allen saw a person riding a bike along the road wearing a hat and sunglasses. It looked like nobody to me. Allen explained that the person riding the bike wearing a hat and sunglasses was a member of a certain political party who had recently held office, and who was recently voted out of office in Belize. To anyone who was less knowledgeable it would have appeared to be just a person on a bike with sunglasses. There were so many things that Allen and Leah shared with us that impressed me, I was trying to soak in all of the great pieces of knowledge about this unique country. At $45 per adult, and $25 per child, this tour was a good value, and children under age five are free. It included cold beer, water and soda, but no lunch. One person on our tour needed a potty break on the way to the ruins. So, we asked to stop and we stopped at what appeared to be like a convenience store. We got juice, chips, cracker jacks, snacks, etc. I am so glad they asked to stop since this turned out to be our lunch. I enjoyed the convenience store since it was a glimpse at real life in Belize, and not just life at the Mayan Ruins, which is obviously a tourist destination. The convenience store items cost $22 Belize dollars which translated to $11 US dollars, and they accepted my credit card so the transaction was easy. The lunch at the Mayan Ruins was optional to purchase and we did not buy it, but bought a few bags of M&Ms instead there. The optional lunch area at the ruins was not appealing to me, as sanitation was uncertain. To summarize, Allen and Leah have been tour guides for nine years, and they only do trips to Altun Ha now. I highly recommend them as knowledgeable guides. We even got to see their neighborhood where they live currently, and also the neighborhood where Leah grew up. However, you will have to tender into this port of Belize from your cruise ship. Tendering takes much patience, and my advice is to get up early to be on an early tender. Ask Allen for the tour to start on time, and the late risers on your cruise just miss some of the tour that includes Belize City. Enjoy, as this was my favorite part of my entire cruise! Now, I feel like I know so much more about the unique country of Belize which became a country in 1981 .....(P.S. English is the language of Belize!) Also, the tender back to the ship went quickly and was very easy. So don't hesitate to tender which means you can hire a private guide that you have researched and conversed with over the internet. Leah answered many of my questions over the internet before we even left home.
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