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Central America and still remote (and diving)

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Central America and still remote (and diving)

1. Posted by Cholerica (Budding Member, 7 posts) 17 Oct '04 07:51

Cholerica has indicated that this thread is about Belize

Hi there,

I am a bit unsure whether to go to Belize and Guatemala for 5 weeks starting December tru to Jan 05.

How is it there at this time and is it jam packed with (package) tourists? Do you have any advice how to miss these people and which places are best (and remote) to be in touch with nature and animals (if there are any left?).

How would you judge a trip arriving in Cancun and going over Yucatan to Belize and Gua e.g.?

Considering Diving: Where is the best spot?

Bye and Thanks! Cholerica

P.S. Any other advice e.g. "if you look for this a trip to the centre of Honduras is advisable" will be appreciated!!!!!

Thanks even more of all insiders!

2. Posted by WatchMan (Budding Member, 9 posts) 17 Oct '04 13:45

Your Cancun and points south approach is very sound...bus service as far as south end of Belize is frequent, fast, and cheap. Best diving is probably on Cozumel...although my "as long as you are there, don't miss" tip would be Isla Mujeres, a quick boat trip from Cancun, very laid back, excellent walk-in snorkle-depth diving and many cool boat dive trips available. Also cheap accomodations. Cozumel is a tourist trap for dive-bums (but there's a reason for that).
In Belize, the cities suck bigtime, you need to go to keys. Caulker is the laidback one, but diving all involves boat trips. The best of Belize is probably out on the South Cayes, check out outfitters in Dangriga for trips (expensive) to atolls. Or get a boat over to Tobacco Caye...a tiny island with several lodging places that is actually a part of the reef. Rent kakaks there for insanely beautifyul trips to nearby islets.
Don't forget to stop in Tulum for a night or two...and look into diving in Cenotes...the Secret Sinkhole Cesspools of the Gods. Not to mention several big "themepark style" dive spots like XCaret and Xel Ha.

3. Posted by SimAngel (Budding Member, 13 posts) 19 Oct '04 12:50

Yes, Tobacco Caye is good option for you. You will not find hordes of tourists there. But even Caye Caulker is a nice place to stay. It attracts slightly younger travelers than San Pedro does and seems to be more popular with Europeans (San Pedro is mainly American). If I were you, I would do the diving in Belize. There are some incredible dive sites.

Taking the bus from Cancun is a good and cheap option, but during your stops in Mexico you will encounter the "hordes of people" that you seem to want to avoid. We just went to Chichen Itza and couldn't believe our eyes. The place was filled with tour busses & entering the park reminded me of a visit to Disney World. Still, that doesn't take away from the fact that it is a beautiful site to visit (just avoid the high season)

Guatemala & Belize will be more "up your street", I think. Lots of unspoiled nature and the chance of being the only person at some of the most incredible sites, like the Mayan temples, waterfalls, etc.

Enjoy your travels, Simone

4. Posted by eve3981 (Full Member, 34 posts) 22 Oct '04 12:13

Hi I was out in Belize and Guatemala in Feb this year and had a fantastic time. I found Mexico especially Yucatan and the archeological sites there really heaving with tourists which quite spoilt the atmosphere. If you can visit Yaxchillan and stay at the ecolodge at Bethel. Lots of wildlife to see there, Bonampak and Tonnina are also wondefully peaceful sites and Palenque although quite busy, most atmospheric. A bit of advice though. Do not got treking in the jungle areas on your own. It is easy to get lost and the flora and fauna may be exciting but some of it is downright nasty. Tikal is busy but so immense that you can escape the crowds. It has great wildlife Oscillated turkeys, Orapendulas, Coatimundis etc . If you are interested in birds, take Petersons guide to the birds of Mexico. I got a second hand copy on Amzon. The ecotravellers guide is good too but bulky to carry with lots of text.
Belize is fantastic too. Caye Caulker is really laid back and it is easy to book trips out to good diving and snorkelling areas. The locals know the best spots to take you to and hire out all the equiptment you will need. Can recommend the sandbox on CC for a meal. Not the cheapest but boy the food is good. San Ignacio is a really great place to visit with some interesting caves (the bats are wonderful), river trips which give the opportunity to see the wildlife and some great sites. I had to miss Caracol due to time limits which is one reason I am going back.
I had such a great time that I am going back to Belize and Guatemala in Feb/Mar. Hope you have a wonderful time there.