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Has anyone ever been to Belize?
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bkkgirl
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Mon Feb 12, 2007 11:40 am      Reply with quote
If so, please share your experience with me. My boyfriend and I are going there to scuba dive in May, and would love to hear about the country. What kind of food do they eat? Where did you stay at? Did you scuba? If so, where did you go? Which dive outfit did you use? Anything else to do there?

TIA!~
TAMgirl99
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Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:31 pm      Reply with quote
Hi! I have been to Belize but unfortunately it was only for a day since it was a cruise stop. However, I think you're going to LOVE Belize! It was one of the most beautiful places I've seen, well the islands anyways. We stopped in Belize City and the people there seemed very friendly, but it's definitely touristy (lots of shops and people trying to sell things).

When we went snorkeling there we just took one of the local outfits that gave us a good deal and went to Goff's reef (I think that's the name). It was awesome! We saw a ton of fish around the reef including a couple of baraccuda!
bkkgirl
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Mon Feb 12, 2007 1:46 pm      Reply with quote
TAMgirl99 wrote:
Hi! I have been to Belize but unfortunately it was only for a day since it was a cruise stop. However, I think you're going to LOVE Belize! It was one of the most beautiful places I've seen, well the islands anyways. We stopped in Belize City and the people there seemed very friendly, but it's definitely touristy (lots of shops and people trying to sell things).

When we went snorkeling there we just took one of the local outfits that gave us a good deal and went to Goff's reef (I think that's the name). It was awesome! We saw a ton of fish around the reef including a couple of baraccuda!


Thank you! I am so excited that someone here went to Belize! I was beginning to think maybe no one ever heard of the country like me. I can't wait to go, too. It sounds awesome. The condos my bf found on San Pedro Island are only for $90 a night for 2 people. They're right in the middle of town, minutes to everything including dive shops.
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:45 am      Reply with quote
I think it's going to be fabulous, bkkgirl.

Unfortunately for me I've never been.. yet! When I spent some time in Tulum, I really got into that area and planned a trip to Guatemala and Belize, so I did some research. Things changed and I couldnt do what I planned.

But I do know that Belize is a great destination, with lots of great food. Seafoods and fresh fruits.

I wish I were going!

Hope you have a wonderful lovely wonderful fabulous trip. Very Happy
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:40 am      Reply with quote
Sounds like a wonderful trip, bkkgirl!

When I'm planning a trip to somewhere new, I go out to www.tripadvisor.com and visit the forum for that country. There are local experts designated for each city or area of the country. The LE's are a wealth of information on night spots, restaurants, best places to stay and what to avoid. The forum members are pretty good at detailing their experiences, too.

Ari

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Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:57 am      Reply with quote
bkkgirl wrote:
The condos my bf found on San Pedro Island are only for $90 a night for 2 people. They're right in the middle of town, minutes to everything including dive shops.


Oh PLEASE report back after you trip on these. Do you have the name? We were planning a trip back to but never started looking into it. Maybe this will get me motivated again. Right now I think we're going to make a trip to Key West for our summer vacation.
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 8:56 am      Reply with quote
The only person I know who went to Belize went there for training as a member of the British Armed Forces. All he said was that it was very, very hot, and that he had to keep drinking constantly.

Mind you, I don't suppose you'll be doing rigorous Army training on your hols, with any luck, so you should have a much more enjoyable time. Laughing
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 9:34 am      Reply with quote
I know an ex army guy who went there to visit some friends too. I think it has quite an ex army ex pat community there.

They know a good thing when they see it.
bkkgirl
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:08 am      Reply with quote
Thank you all for your advice. I'm really excited about this trip. It sounds beautiful. I went to Cozumel, and thought it was very beautiful, too. I love scuba diving. I'm glad Belize will be hotter than Cozumel. Probably not as hot as Thailand!

I will take pics and post them.
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:21 pm      Reply with quote
bkkgirl, I've been to Belize. I went for about 10 days over spring break with a friend when I was in law school, about five years ago. I loved it - we spent about half our time in the jungle near the Guatemalan border (took an amazing day trip to Tikal), and half our time on Ambergris Caye, which I suspect is where you want to base yourselves for diving. I don't dive, but the amazing snorkeling we did off Ambergris made me want to learn. We talked to some divers while we were there, and the Blue Hole is apparently an amazing and popular site off Ambergris for diving. If you have questions about hotels on Ambergris let me know - we pretty much saw them all, as it is pretty small. We stayed at Paradise Villas, which were very nice condos.

I think May might be the rainy season, but I'm not sure. When I was there in March, we had decent weather, it was hot but not swelteringly so (not nearly and hot and humid as it had been when I went to Costa Rica for spring break the year before) but it was very windy a couple of days, preventing some of the snorkeling/diving trips. San Pedro (the town on Ambergris) itself is cute, but nothing special - very walkable, sand covered streets, people driving around in golf carts. There are lots of restaurants - a popular one and our favorite was Elvi's Kitchen. The food was good, we ate a lot of fish. Let me know if you have other questions, and I will try my best to answer them!

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hlg22
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:25 pm      Reply with quote
bkkgirl, I read through too fast the first time and just saw your post about the condos your boyfriend found in San Pedro - I think that's probably Paradise Villas, where we stayed! It was very convenient to everything, there is a nice pool in the middle of the condos, and we enjoyed sitting out on the little front deck with our rum punch!

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Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:50 pm      Reply with quote
hlg22 wrote:
bkkgirl, I've been to Belize. I went for about 10 days over spring break with a friend when I was in law school, about five years ago. I loved it - we spent about half our time in the jungle near the Guatemalan border (took an amazing day trip to Tikal), and half our time on Ambergris Caye, which I suspect is where you want to base yourselves for diving. I don't dive, but the amazing snorkeling we did off Ambergris made me want to learn. We talked to some divers while we were there, and the Blue Hole is apparently an amazing and popular site off Ambergris for diving. If you have questions about hotels on Ambergris let me know - we pretty much saw them all, as it is pretty small. We stayed at Paradise Villas, which were very nice condos.

I think May might be the rainy season, but I'm not sure. When I was there in March, we had decent weather, it was hot but not swelteringly so (not nearly and hot and humid as it had been when I went to Costa Rica for spring break the year before) but it was very windy a couple of days, preventing some of the snorkeling/diving trips. San Pedro (the town on Ambergris) itself is cute, but nothing special - very walkable, sand covered streets, people driving around in golf carts. There are lots of restaurants - a popular one and our favorite was Elvi's Kitchen. The food was good, we ate a lot of fish. Let me know if you have other questions, and I will try my best to answer them!


OMG, you made my day (well, this is after just receiving red roses from my boyfriend which also made my day!). Thank you for the information.

We were trying to RSVP at Paradise Villas this weekend. We did it online, and it looked promising, but when my boyfriend called on Monday, a guy said it was sold out on the days we wanted to go, so he went ahead and booked at the Mayan Princess. Have you seen this hotel while you were there? Just yesterday he got an email back from Paradise Villas that they did have availability, but my boyfriend doesn't want to change the RSVP from Mayan.

I was curious what kind of food they ate in Belize, so I googled it. It sounds like a combination of Mexican and Caribbean.

Belize sounds just amazing. I can't wait to visit. Where did you fly out from, and did you have to make a connecting flight? We are flying out of LA to connect to another flight in San Salvador. The connection time is only 40 minutes, so I hope we make the connecting flight. Once in Belize City, we have to take another plane to San Pedro. Was that how you did it, too?
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Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:26 pm      Reply with quote
bkkgirl wrote:


OMG, you made my day (well, this is after just receiving red roses from my boyfriend which also made my day!). Thank you for the information.

We were trying to RSVP at Paradise Villas this weekend. We did it online, and it looked promising, but when my boyfriend called on Monday, a guy said it was sold out on the days we wanted to go, so he went ahead and booked at the Mayan Princess. Have you seen this hotel while you were there? Just yesterday he got an email back from Paradise Villas that they did have availability, but my boyfriend doesn't want to change the RSVP from Mayan.

I was curious what kind of food they ate in Belize, so I googled it. It sounds like a combination of Mexican and Caribbean.

Belize sounds just amazing. I can't wait to visit. Where did you fly out from, and did you have to make a connecting flight? We are flying out of LA to connect to another flight in San Salvador. The connection time is only 40 minutes, so I hope we make the connecting flight. Once in Belize City, we have to take another plane to San Pedro. Was that how you did it, too?


I remember seeing the Mayan Princess - it is right down the beach from Paradise Villas, but I don't know what the rooms are like. I would check TripAdvisor and see what they say - locationwise they're about equal. The only other difference I can think of is that with Paradise Villas you would have a kitchen, if that's important to you. The units have a living room (with a second pullout bed), kitchen, bathroom, and separate bedroom. Ours was very clean, nice tile floors and typical "islandy" condo decor, and fully equipped with dishes, etc.

I think the description of the food as Mexican/Caribbean is about right, lots of rice and beans. I googled Elvi's Kitchen and they have a website, www.elviskitchen.com, which has their menus. Note that the prices are in Belizean $$, and so aren't as expensive as they look at first glance. The "Fish Alla Elvi" was fantastic - it was like steamed in a banana leaf with spices. We liked the restaurant so much we ate there twice.

As for flights, we flew through Miami - I was coming from upstate New York and my friend was coming from Washington state, so we met in Miami and spent a day there before flying out. We flew into Belize City and then did the inland part of our trip first. To get to San Pedro, we drove back to Belize City and caught a commuter flight. I think you should be ok with a 40 minute connection. It's a pretty small airport, so it's not like changing planes at LAX. Also, the flights to San Pedro are pretty regular and flexible, so you should be able to get on the next flight if you miss yours. My friend and I got to the airport early, and were able to get on a flight leaving about an hour earlier than our scheduled flight, for no extra charge. We got to the gate, and were worried that we weren't in the right place, because there was only us and two other people waiting there. Turns out it was the right place - it was a 6 seater plane! I almost died when they opened a little hatch in the nose of the plane and popped my suitcase in! The other suitcases were just sort of piled in around our feet. I was a little nervous, but the flight ended up being very cool - the color of the water was absolutely beautiful. Flying back, I think we had like a 15-seater plane, and they had to rearrange where people were sitting to better distribute the weight!

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bkkgirl
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Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:23 pm      Reply with quote
hlg22 wrote:
bkkgirl wrote:


OMG, you made my day (well, this is after just receiving red roses from my boyfriend which also made my day!). Thank you for the information.

We were trying to RSVP at Paradise Villas this weekend. We did it online, and it looked promising, but when my boyfriend called on Monday, a guy said it was sold out on the days we wanted to go, so he went ahead and booked at the Mayan Princess. Have you seen this hotel while you were there? Just yesterday he got an email back from Paradise Villas that they did have availability, but my boyfriend doesn't want to change the RSVP from Mayan.

I was curious what kind of food they ate in Belize, so I googled it. It sounds like a combination of Mexican and Caribbean.

Belize sounds just amazing. I can't wait to visit. Where did you fly out from, and did you have to make a connecting flight? We are flying out of LA to connect to another flight in San Salvador. The connection time is only 40 minutes, so I hope we make the connecting flight. Once in Belize City, we have to take another plane to San Pedro. Was that how you did it, too?


I remember seeing the Mayan Princess - it is right down the beach from Paradise Villas, but I don't know what the rooms are like. I would check TripAdvisor and see what they say - locationwise they're about equal. The only other difference I can think of is that with Paradise Villas you would have a kitchen, if that's important to you. The units have a living room (with a second pullout bed), kitchen, bathroom, and separate bedroom. Ours was very clean, nice tile floors and typical "islandy" condo decor, and fully equipped with dishes, etc.

I think the description of the food as Mexican/Caribbean is about right, lots of rice and beans. I googled Elvi's Kitchen and they have a website, www.elviskitchen.com, which has their menus. Note that the prices are in Belizean $$, and so aren't as expensive as they look at first glance. The "Fish Alla Elvi" was fantastic - it was like steamed in a banana leaf with spices. We liked the restaurant so much we ate there twice.

As for flights, we flew through Miami - I was coming from upstate New York and my friend was coming from Washington state, so we met in Miami and spent a day there before flying out. We flew into Belize City and then did the inland part of our trip first. To get to San Pedro, we drove back to Belize City and caught a commuter flight. I think you should be ok with a 40 minute connection. It's a pretty small airport, so it's not like changing planes at LAX. Also, the flights to San Pedro are pretty regular and flexible, so you should be able to get on the next flight if you miss yours. My friend and I got to the airport early, and were able to get on a flight leaving about an hour earlier than our scheduled flight, for no extra charge. We got to the gate, and were worried that we weren't in the right place, because there was only us and two other people waiting there. Turns out it was the right place - it was a 6 seater plane! I almost died when they opened a little hatch in the nose of the plane and popped my suitcase in! The other suitcases were just sort of piled in around our feet. I was a little nervous, but the flight ended up being very cool - the color of the water was absolutely beautiful. Flying back, I think we had like a 15-seater plane, and they had to rearrange where people were sitting to better distribute the weight!


I started to chuckle when I read about your flight in a 6-seater plane. I took a flight like that once from DC to NY, and I nearly had a heart attack. I prayed the entire time. I sure hope this would not be too bad.

I heard the Mayan Princess has a kitchenette and a living room with a pullout bed, too. So it sounds very similar to the Paradise Villas.

Thanks so much for all the info. It really is helpful. I'm going to check out tripadvisor.com as you suggested. Thanks again!
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Fri Feb 16, 2007 4:04 pm      Reply with quote
I was there in 94, also near the Guatemalan border. I loved Tikal -- if you are going there, I will have more input.

I was on the "roughing it" end in Belize -- I stayed in Caye caulker, and only went snorkeling, no scuba.

You aren't as likely to get sick in Belize as you are in Guatemala. I remember eating sea food, and soft fish-tacos, and dishes with coconut cooked into them which i had not eaten before.

People there speak similarly to other Carribean accents, and there is a mix of backgrounds there. Some people from Mexico, even some Chinese.

Go, look around, take in your perceptions for when you come back! I enjoyed my stay there.

I was also there around Feb/March.
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Sun Feb 18, 2007 4:36 pm      Reply with quote
Thank you, Alibabka. I will report back my impression of Ambergris Caye and San Pedro. Smile

HLG22, I just read your message again, and I think you might have misunderstood my post. The connection time of 40 minutes that I was worrying about was in San Salvadore. I don't know if they have a lot of flights out of San Salvadore to Belize City each day or not, so if we missed our flight, we could catch the next one without an hour or so. I hope so! I wouldn't want to be stuck in San Salvadore for a day and waste our vacation time.

Oh, and we somehow got a confirmed RSVP now at Paradise Villas, the owner himself confirmed it for us. I feel really good about the place. The owner is very responsive. He apologized for taking a while to get back to us because of some email system problem. He said he normally took only a few hours to respond. It seems to be the case, and he's helping us arrange the flight from Belize City to San Pedro, and got us connected with the dive shop, too.
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Mon Feb 19, 2007 3:22 pm      Reply with quote
When you go, definately do the "swimming with the sharks" dive if they still have it. It's been about 8 years since I've gone, so I don't remember the name of the company that does it anymore. I actually got to pet a whale shark! You're not supposed to because they see the bubbles from the tank, I guess they look like fishie eggs. I was so entranced by all the schools of fish, that I didn't notice that a huge whopper was barreling towards me. I turned around and it went by, brushing it's ginormous fin against me. On instinct, I reached out. I'm really surprised the thing didn't swallow me whole, because they have a mouth of about 6 feet, or knock me out! Fortunately neither happened, because they filter feed, the poor thing would have choked to death on me for sure Shock

But I've never seen anything more beautiful.

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