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Trying to plan a family trip during winter break

Menlo Park...
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Trying to plan a family trip during winter break

We have up to 8 people, kids but none younger than 12. We're from Northern California and looking for something around 7 days (maybe a day or 2 longer if need be) just after Christmas. We're looking mainly for some beach time with various excursions possible. While we do know there's a lot of culture here, we've got members w/ limited energy/motivation so I've got to plan w/ what I've got to work with...

Looks like we can manage an 8 hour flight with a quick layover in San Salvador.

Lodging

Ramon's Village Resort was recommended by a friend and it appears to fit the level of particular ones in our party. Granted we're not stuck on this but this is the type we'd be looking for.

Activities

Snorkeling for sure. Relaxing on a nice beach. We don't have to swim in the water, just go in to cool off. Diving/fishing not a must. Caving looks intriguing, so does visiting some type of Mayan ruins just to respect the local culture. Anything else is a plus but not required.

Areas of interest

- Ambergris Caye looks like a good spot.

- Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley

- Place w/ good restaurants outside of resort

- Belize zoo

That being said, looks like San Pedro is a workable location. Friends have strongly suggested splitting time in Belize City to get some other areas in.

Questions:

1) Would it be workable (or worth it) to split the trip between Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye? Or are they too close? Looks like some day trips to the mainland are accessible from Caye Caulker.

2) I see that Ramon's does do day excursions to the mainland. How long is that travel time?

3) From the main airport, how would we get to/from Caye Caulker?

4) From the main airport, how would we get to/from Ambergris Caye?

4 replies to this topic
Saint James City...
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1. Re: Trying to plan a family trip during winter break

Caye Caulker and Ambergris are only 20 minutes apart by boat.

If you want to split your trip, spend a few days in/around San Ignacio, see the zoo, see the Mayan sites, maybe cave tubing.

Then, head to either Ambergris or Caulker. I prefer Ambergris. It's bigger, it's busier, but, there are many more choices for food and lodging.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: Trying to plan a family trip during winter break

) Would it be workable (or worth it) to split the trip between Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye? Or are they too close? Looks like some day trips to the mainland are accessible from Caye Caulker.

I will strongly recommend to spend some time in each place especially key Caulker.

2) I see that Ramon's does do day excursions to the mainland. How long is that travel time?

Day trips from ambergris are very long are you will arrive back very tired most of the time it takes 12 hours to go and come back.

3) From the main airport, how would we get to/from Caye Caulker?

From the main airport in Belize City you take direct flights to key Caulker or San Pedro.

4) From the main airport, how would we get to/from Ambergris Caye?

There are direct flights from the main airport to ambergris key. By the way tropic air the airline is fantastic

The Dalles, Oregon
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3. Re: Trying to plan a family trip during winter break

1) Would it be workable (or worth it) to split the trip between Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye? Or are they too close? Looks like some day trips to the mainland are accessible from Caye Caulker.

>>You can do day trips from either island but - as noted above - they'll be long days. Since you have an interest in multiple mainland activities, I'd consider splitting your time as Jean suggests in order to reduce the time and expense. ATM cave, the Belize Zoo (maybe combined with cave tubing or ziplining?), and the Lamanai Maya site would be day trips. If you split your stay and start with a few nights in San Ignacio you could hit the Belize Zoo coming or going and visit a Maya site or 2 closer to SI instead of Lamanai. ATM cave is awesome:

pacztours.net/actun-tunichil-muknal/atm-cave…

I'd choose between instead of splitting between the 2 islands; we prefer Caye Caulker and here's where we stay: www.colindacabanas.com

We've also enjoyed Tranquility Bay Resort which is very secluded near the north end of Ambergris Caye; one of the few places in northern Belize you can snorkel from shore.

www.tranquilitybayresort.com

2) >>I'll leave this to others since I always split my trips in order to visit mainland sites from the mainland instead of an island.

3) From the main airport, how would we get to/from Caye Caulker?

>>"Due to severe deterioration of the runway, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air will suspend all scheduled flights to Caye Caulker effective October 1, 2017." You could still fly between BZE and Ambergris Caye or you could take taxis to the dock (or arrange a private transfer in advance) and take a water taxi to Caye Caulker.

4) From the main airport, how would we get to/from Ambergris Caye?

Flights or the taxi/water taxi route. You could also taxi to the municipal airport and fly from there to save some cash. Links to the airline and water taxi websites here: www.belizebus.wordpress.com

My photos with blog, travelogue, and review links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Happy trails!

flickr.com/photos/staceyholeman/collections

Edited: 17 September 2017, 12:33
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4. Re: Trying to plan a family trip during winter break

Ramon's is perfect for a young family, that will be really fun for them!

The flight information from Tropic air about canceling flights around Caye Caulker is temporary and they'll definitely have flights up and running again for high season by November or December. The runway on Caye Caulker is a little messy right now and needs to be repaved.

Flying is definitely the easiest way to get to San Pedro when flying into the Belize International Airport as it is only like a 30 minute flight. If you wanted to taxi a taxi/van to the water taxi's in Belize city, the water taxi business names are the Ocean Ferry or San Pedro Express. Its about a 30 minute taxi to the water taxis and 1 and a half hours to San Pedro from Belize City.

A day trip to Caye Caulker is super manageable for the kids to hang out! It has a big backpacker scene and quite a bit of drinking at night so it's not the greatest place for kids to roam, I never really saw that many young families when I was there actually.

Don't hang out in Belize City! Try to avoid it actually. If you wanted to hangout out on the mainland, hotels like Ramon's should be able to help you organize a trip to the Zoo and an overnight in San Ignacio if you wanted to spend 2 or three nights out there! It's a great opportunity to see Mayan Ruins like Xunantinich and Cahal Pech. Two great hotels are Cahal Pech Resort and San Ignacio Resort. You can check my other reviews in my profile for other reccos.

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