Backpacking Advice in Belize
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 21, 2012 9:00 PM Last Post By: shadowclaw
Nov 20, 2012 12:48 PM
Backpacking Advice in BelizeHello all,
I've been to Belize once before with my college as part of a field biology course on hummingbirds. We stayed in Crooked Tree and spent the majority of our time birding, but also made stops at the Belize Zoo and Altun Ha. I'd really like to go back to Belize for spring break in March, but this time I'd like to have a backpacking experience. The only backpacking I've ever done is the kind in the woods with dried food and a water purifier, so I don't really have any experience backpacking in a tourist kind of way!
I'd like to stop at Crooked Tree again (it was such a pretty place and there were so many birds!), but I'd also like to visit a caye and the jungle. If my budget allows, I'd also love to go cave tubing and snorkeling. I believe I will be able to be in Belize for 6 days, and I am not opposed to riding buses or camping (although it would be nice to get a shower at some point!). So basically, I am looking for any suggestions of specific places to visit, and any recommendations for cheap lodging or camping. My budget is around $800 for food, lodging, and travel expenses once I get there.
I'd also like any practical advice for a single female traveler. I might be traveling with a friend, but it depends on her financial situation. I've traveled alone before and not had any problems, but not in Central America.
Nov 20, 2012 3:49 PM
1I've pasted my personal CA safety guidelines below and my favorite Belize links below that. Happy planning!
Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes with one or more of my kids and/or my husband, sometimes with a group in tow. I don't feel overly paranoid but have never had a problem and would like to keep it that way.
Here are my concessions to safety when I travel in Central America:
:: I avoid the big cities as much as possible
:: I don't "party"
:: Where recommended I take specific transportation (ex: Hedman Alas in Honduras, avoid chicken buses on the mountain runs in Guatemala, take taxis after dark)
:: I know where I am and where I'm headed and make major transitions with plenty of daylight left
:: I don't wear jewelry (not even my wedding band) and try not to flash camera equipment or money around
:: Some trips I carry a “throw down wallet” with an expired card or 2 and the day’s cash in it
:: I keep important documents and cash under my clothes (except what I need for shopping, buses, etc. for that time period) and keep close watch on my things, especially in crowded places and when I’m tired
:: I ask locals about safety in an area - evenings, hiking, etc.
:: I travel really light so I don't feel vulnerable getting my bag off and on buses, shuttles, etc.
:: I continue to build skills in Spanish (doesn't apply to Belize)
My photo collections with blog, travelogue, and review links: http://www.flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections/
My travel blog starting in 2012 (earlier ones linked with the photo collections):
My descriptions and reviews on Trip Advisor:
Guidebooks I like: Moon Handbook, Fodor’s Guide, and Explorer’s Guide.
Laminated wildlife identification cards: http://rainforestpublications.com/belizeFieldGuides/index.html
A very cool checklist book for Belize for the young or young-at-heart: http://www.amazon.com/Play-Belize-Mesa-Somer/dp/0615198546/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1330549187&sr=8-2
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Great island and lodging downloads: http://www.belizefirst.com
Informative transportation blog: http://www.belizebus.wordpress.com
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Great jungle camp in Cayo: http://www.belizecamp.com
Great budget lodging in Cayo: http://www.thetrekstop.com
Great value hotel with pool in Cayo: http://www.aguadahotel.com
Don't miss cave trip: http://pacztours.net/actun-tunichil-muknal/
Another, less-visited amazing cave option in Cayo: http://www.actunchapatadventure.blogspot.com/
Lodge with lots of adventures: http://www.cavesbranch.com
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My favorite hotel at Tikal: http://www.tikalinnsunrise.com
Good choice in El Remate, Guatemala: http://www.30minutesfromtikal.com/
Favorite midrange places in Flores: http://www.corpetur.com
Good value budget option in Flores: La Mesa de los Mayas, email@example.com
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Garifuna drumming center: http://www.lebeha.com
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Another Caye Caulker option: http://www.gocayecaulker.com/accommodations/maxhapan-cabanas
Great day snorkeling trip: http://raggamuffintours.com/hol-chan-snorkel/
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Great jungly place near Punta Gorda: http://www.hickatee.com
Off the beaten track diving and snorkeling, Sapodilla Cayes: http://www.reefci.com
(haven’t stayed there yet thanks to Hurricane Ernesto in August 2012)
Rental apartments in the heart of Placencia: http://www.oneworldplacencia.com
Secluded resort on N. Ambergris Caye with snorkeling from shore: http://www.tranquilitybayresort.com
Nov 20, 2012 6:01 PM
2Only 6 days!?
For snorkelling, go to Caye Caulker. There are 2 hostels (Yuma's House and Bella's Backpackers) but you can camp at PAWS Cat Sanctuary.
For cave tubing, go to the Cayo District. You can camp at Cosmo's Camping. Tours can be arranged with tour companies in San Ignacio (Pacz gets positive comments).
For transportation, look at the Belize Bus & Travel Guide (the link, BelizeBus, is on my profile page).
Nov 21, 2012 7:45 AM
3Hopefulist - thanks for the wonderful list of links! There's a lot of great info on there that I will definitely use.
Misterbee - alas, yes, only 6 full days (7 if you include the day I arrive and the day I leave). I have looked in Caye Caulker - that seems like an excellent place to visit. Thanks for the link to your bus information. I really like your specific instructions on what to do on the bus!
Nov 21, 2012 8:04 AM
4I could have added a few hundred of my Belize links, but the last time I added a link to bus schedules, the LP Moderators said was a breach of forum guidelines (links to personal websites & blogs, commercial advertising). I don't know how some members seem to get away with it?
Nov 21, 2012 8:27 AM
5I think you could have a very fun trip splitting 6-7 days between the Cayo District/San Ignacio and Caye Caulker. We did 11 days last fall and added Tikal to that itinerary. Would second the note about Pacz tours - we had a great experience with them, doing both the ATM cave and a cave canoeing excursion (water level was too high for cave tubing when we were in the Cayo). Snorkeling is great off Caulker, and you can meet lots of fellow travelers there. More details about our trip are on my blog, which is linked to my profile. Have fun!
Nov 21, 2012 8:41 AM
6Shadow, I agree 100% with the above posts, but will jump in with what I would do with 6 days (not necessarily what I think you should do, because I don't know). I would skip Crooked Tree, because if I have been there once I would rather go to a place where I have not been. Because I did not visit the sea (cayes or mainland seaside spots), I would go directly to Caye Caulker or Hopkins. If I really wanted to go cave tubing, I would spend one night (or two) at Ian Anderson's Caves Branch and tube from there. When traveling in Central America, I like to take one-way domestic flights (to/from the international airport to/from Caye Caulker or Dangriga), unless getting there is part of the adventure ( water taxi to Caye Caulker or bus down the Hummingbird highway).
Nov 21, 2012 2:21 PM
7As usual, Hoprfulist is the bomb of information. I only have one suggestion. The ATM cave experience is on the top of my travel list. Would not let that pass if I was in Belize and wanted an experience that can't be found in much of the overly cautious western world.
Nov 21, 2012 3:01 PM
8As usual, Hoprfulist is the bomb of information
Several forum members can provide the same list of links (and more), but forum moderators have terminated the accounts of members who have previously listed some of the exact same links. I know because I am one of them, and the reason given was "commercial advertising" and adding links to personal websites are breaches of forum guidelines.
So what gives, LPTT moderators?
Will the rest of us be allowed to post all our links, or will hopefulist be terminated for the same reason you terminated me?
Edit to add...
I just noticed something.
#1 hasn't even included LP guidebooks in her list of favourites.
Edited by: misterbee
Nov 21, 2012 9:00 PM
9Thanks to everyone who suggested the ATM cave. Somehow I never heard of it, but after looking it up, it seems like a great idea! Even better than cave tubing. Since you all seem to recommend Pacz, I think I will probably at least do the ATM tour with them, and maybe a canoe/kayak trip.
I think I have a rough idea of what I want to do... probably go to Caye Caulker after flying into Belize for two days (I'm actually not a huge beach person, but I really want to snorkel), then head to Cayo for a few days. I still would like to visit Crooked Tree again, even though I've been there already. Plus, I'll have some friends staying the week there on this year's hummingbird trip, and I'd like to see them. But with all there is to do in Cayo, I'd probably only spend a day in Crooked Tree!
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