Trip Report 08/20/11 – 08/27/11
Day 1 – We arrived at roughly the same time Tropical Storm Harvey did. We were the 2nd to last flight to land on Saturday. Good thing we booked William’s shuttle in advance as bus service was cancelled and taxis at the airport were at a premium. We stayed at the Cahal Pech resort – definitely book a cabana vs. staying inside the hotel, which has really thin walls.
Day 2 – We were planning to do the ATM cave but due to the rainfall the previous day, cave tubing and ATM were closed. We booked the Tikal day tour with KAT tours – great tour company. Two advantages of booking with KAT is that he has cheaper prices than Pacz as well as smaller group sizes. Elias Cambranes escorts you across the border and knows the site inside and out. He mentioned to me at one point he had done the Tikal trip 52 days in a row. On the way there, we had the opportunity to see some of the Guatemalan countryside (prettier than inland Belize) and see a local village. While inside the park, we were able to witness wildlife even though it was during the middle of the day. I would have liked to have done an overnight, but we were on a relatively tight schedule. Terrific day.
Day 3 – Cave tubing at the Caves Branch region – a nice relaxing trip through the caves guided by David of KAT tours. He was very funny and gave us a lot of good insights into what life is like for the locals. We were on the water for about 1.5 hours, there were lots of surreal images entering and exiting the caves.
Day 4 – ATM Cave with Elias – I can’t really say anything that hasn’t already been said. An absolute must if you’re adventurous and travel to inland Belize. Definitely do this tour with a smaller group, there was only two of us and Elias. It helps having a guide show you the best way to maneuver amongst the rocks and I feel like some of this would have gotten lost in translation in a larger group. We were the first two people in the cave for the day. When we reached the beginning of the dry cave, we all cut off our lights and Elias explained the origins of the world according to Mayan culture.
Day 5 – Traveled to the ferry with William. Again, if you don’t want to take the bus, book with him. Very entertaining and highly recommended. We checked into our hotel on Caye Caulker, Seaside Cabanas. We were very pleased with our stay there, highly recommended.
Day 6 – We booked the Coral Gardens / Shark and Sting Ray Alley / Hol Chan snorkel with Ragamuffin tours. There were 20 tourists/travelers on the boat which was great for meeting other people, not quite as good if you’re looking for a more “personal” tour. (My wife and I are relatively easy to please and actually like to do both) Having that many people at a relatively small stop like Shark and Sting Ray Alley was also challenging to maneuver around. Hol Chan was by far my favorite of the three as we split up into smaller groups of 3 and the reef was more interesting than the previous two stops. On the way back, we drank rum punch and talked with the other passengers.
Day 7 – Lazy day. We checked out some of the bars on the island. Personally, I didn’t care for the bartenders at the Lazy Lizard so we went to the Iguana Reef Inn to have a beer and watch the sunset. There’s also a chicken drop on CC now at the Bamboo Grill. They had several “drops”, but after betting on it once, that was enough for my wife and me.
All in all, we loved our trip to Belize!