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Altun Ha & The Olde Belize River
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Ranked #2 of 68 things to do in Belize City
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed April 15, 2014

Make sure you make your way to the pond - it seems that during the mayan times, people were thrown into the crocodile infested pond to be sacrificed! The walk to the pond is about 10-15 mins away and it's worth the walk, it's so beautiful out there.

1  Thank SharronChan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2014

If you can drive yourself this is an easy afternoon visit to one of many Mayan sites within Belize. There are signs to encourage you on, and a large parking area at the destination. Craft shops line the walk way to the ticket gate, so wait until you've walked the ruins before shopping. Climb the pyramids to get a nice high view, and if you have a smart phone ,this is a great place to take panorama photos.

3  Thank globalcamera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2014

We took this Princess excursion and it was the worst excursion we have ever been on. We took a tender to Belize, then the river boat cruise seemed to go on forever. It was a small boat and also smelled of fumes. The lunch was chicken (dark meat), rice and beans. Horrible and hot little shack with some venders. The we took a bus for a very long bus ride. When we reached the ruins, there was just not much to see and it was unbearably hot. We looked around and found a little beer joint and enjoyed a cold one while waiting for a long bus ride back. They must have better excursions in Belize. Not worth the money we paid.

3  Thank Sharon S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 24, 2014

Just returned (March 2014) from our Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas cruise during which we (42,44,12,and 9) opted for the RC excursion Belize Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace contracted out to CHUKKA tour operator. As with all tours, the success of a tour begins and ends with the guides... and our CHUKKA guide Gilbert Lewis did not disappoint!

After tendering 20 minutes to the Belize pier, we were greeted by GIlbert and herded with our group to use the restrooms nearby. After which, we were handed life jackets (which were in great condition - mine even brand new) and then boarded the open air boat right there in the pier. We sat up close to the front on the sides- 2 of us on the right side, 2 on the left side. Don't sit in the middle.

We immediately head out to the river entrance where we spotted at least 6 manatees! The rain clouds were setting in and ponchos were handed out ($2.00 US if you opened/used them). Luckily, it never did more than spit during our entire trip.

Our first mate was Lewis who spoke predominately in Creole to communicate to GIlbert what he spotted. And man could he spot animals with the boat flying down the river! In our short outing, we saw several dolphins, lots of monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, porcupine, termite nests, cranes. Once the animals were spotted, the captain slowed down, turned around if needed and then everyone got an opportunity to spot the wildlife. GIlbert was full of information that was not only factual, but also interesting.

I must mention that other boat tours were flying by ours, or would just briefly stop to look at wildlife. Gilbert, Lewis and our captain gave us lots of time to spot and take pictures. I wish I could remember our captain's name (maybe Juan? wore a red knit cap) as he was very professional. He even stopped at one point to even up the weight in the boat before continuing. He never made jerky movements and always seemed aware of his surroundings and water conditions with the other boats.

The river itself is a beautiful- quiet, clean, lush and adorned with locals who waved. The boat ride is smooth. I'd recommend a hat that tightens such as a Columbia style wide brim hat. In the Spring, (if you're from the South) a windbreaker/rain jkt could be useful ;)

At the end of the boat ride, we exit at our lunch stop. Now on RC our lunch was not included. $10.00 bought us 1 plate of chicken and rice with beans, and 1 coke. They also have hamburgers, hot dogs, and beer. There are a few vendors selling their wares and plenty of restroom facilities. Food was good and local and the place was clean!

Next, we boarded our air conditioned bus and headed to the Mayan ruins. This is a bit of a ride and the roads are bumpy, but our driver was excellent! Also on the bus was a guide's assistant who took a turn telling us about the local economy, history, and such. She was very eager and informative! Details like their national minimum wage is equal to $1.50 USD! And a gallon of gas costs the equivalent to $14.00 USD! So that explains why the roads are so poor.... can't really complain now can we!

Once we arrived at the ruins, we were given a little information from GIlbert and then given 20 minutes free time to climb the ruins, shop, wander around. This is more than enough time if you use it wisely! Honestly, I wouldn't want anymore if it was during the summer months that I was taking this tour. My husband and daughters climbed to the top of the ruin using the back man-made staircase ( you don't climb the front stone steps). We took pics around, then visited the vendors, used the restroom and boarded the bus. Everyone was on the bus in plenty of time and no one had to be rounded up.

Our return trip was a perfect time to catch a quick nap. Our bus driver took great care in navigating the bumps in the road. Gilbert talked a bit and then left the rest of the ride to allow for us to nap. The bus dropped us right at the security entrance inside the secured pier area.

**This is a long day, so I wouldn't suggest it for anyone under 8 that is not a seasoned traveler.
**Bring cash (small bills) for the vendors, lunch and TIPS for the guides

On the return tender, if you sit below, don't sit next to the "windows" stay to the middle because the spraying sea water drenched all those next to the open air parts down below.

If you decide to take this tour, I hope that your guides are as fantastic as ours were! It is a LONG DAY with lots of continual movement (tender, boat, bus, walking, bus,tender), but even I who am prone to motion sickness made it thru the entire excursion without a complaint.

5  Thank TxNative
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2014

FROM NCL description:

Port: Belize City, Belize Tour Code: BZE_06
"A tender transfer to Belize City and an enjoyable boat ride take you several miles inland by way of the scenic Olde Belize River. En route you may see iguanas, several varieties of birds, crocodiles and howler monkeys. Enjoy a Belizean lunch at a local restaurant, then board your tour bus and drive to Altun Ha (Mayan for 'Rock Stone Water'), where Dr. David Pendergast of the Royal Ontario Museum uncovered the famous jade head Kinich Ahau. Note: Boats are exposed to the elements."
Adults from Children from Approximate Duration Tour Features
$89* $69* 6 hours

NCL does a great job with variety of excursion offerings. Overall I was pleased with the NCL excursions but unfortunately my family had a real train wreck in Belize. Sounds extreme but inland excursions off the beach should not be offered by NCL for Belize. We took the boat ride up and bus back from the Altun Ha Mayan ruin. The boat driver was great in spotting wild life and we could see a couple of crocks but the open air boat reeked of gasoline the whole way. The exo park lunch and pool were excellent although the food portions were sparse. At the ruins we were told we could either climb the mound OR shop but not both. By my calculation we were not running out of time so why the rush? One of the guides actually went in the rest room to get my wife out and she came to me all panicked that we had to leave at once. (We were not the last on the bus.)The slow bus ride back was so rough over the "paved" road it almost shook the teeth out of my head and made my family of five carsick. Additionally, the scenic drive was two hours of poverty- ugly, soul crushing poverty. I live in Memphis, I see poverty in Memphis but not like this. I wanted a vacation from all that. This experience really stressed out my family caused a big fight back at the boat. I really regretted the hundreds of dollars spent on this trip in Belize (with NCL’s endorsement). Here lectures, better descriptions or access to videos ahead of time would not have helped. Belize needs to get on par with the other cruise destinations. NCL and others should insist on Belize at least improving the road infrastructure and adding, “Long, adventurous, rugged, raw reality” to the description. No one comes away liking Belize off the coast, trust me. NCL needs to delist this interior excursion. NCL should at least put their excursions guides on this trek. None I spoke to had done it.

5  Thank rdfaber
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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