Two wonderful weeks in Belze....
Belize | Nov 28 - Dec 12, 2023

belinda m.
Denver, CO | Reviewed on Jan 21, 2024

We spent two wonderful weeks in San Pedro, San Ignacio and Guatemala with one other couple. Our vacation was arranged by Eduardo. Eduardo took care of everything for us. During our vacation he kept in touch with me to make sure all was going well. He genuinely wanted to make sure we had a good trip. One thing I greatly appreciated was that for most of our tours Eduardo planned them for just the four of us. We were very lucky to NOT be part of the big groups. Being this was our first time to Belize we were really unsure of where to go and what to expect. Our transportation was all pre-arranged which took a ton of stress off of me. Our first driver, (Cameron) was waiting for us at the airport and took us to the water taxi to get us to San Pedro. He was full of conversation and pointed so many things out on our way. He was wonderful. We started our vacation in Belize on San Pedro. We stayed at Tres Cocos Resort. This is a very clean resort. The staff, be it office or grounds, they were all so nice and went out of their way to help us. We went night snorkeling and also did a whole day snorkel with Inland and Sea Adventure (Eric and Maya). We had a really good time going to Hol Chan, Shark Ray Alley, and Caye Caulker for lunch. We were able to see manta rays, sea turtles, mannatees, and lots of different fish. The water was a little rough which made for the water being murky and having to deal with alot of human "trash". The tour company was wonderful. They made sure that we all had a really good time and of course safety was number one. The main transportation to get around San Pedro is a golf cart. Do know that the roads are full of pot holes and very rough. We ate at a couple different restaurants that in my opinion are worth mentioning: 1. for dinner Caramba 2. for breakfast Tres Cocos Waffles and Smokehouse. One thing to be prepared for while on the island: Things are very expensive. For example a pound of butter was $21.95 BZE. After spending 5 days on San Pedro we headed inland. Our next destination was San Ignacio. On our way there we again had Cameron as our driver. We learned so much from him. We made a stop to do a river tubing tour. Our guide for this tour was Victor. He was always talking and sharing his knowledge. I do wish that he had slowed down a little as my husband and I were a tad slower on the walk to the river and we missed out on most of his conversation. We also felt that we were rushed during the tubing part of the tour. Not sure we would do this again, but perhaps the kayaking instead. While in San Ignacio we stayed at the "Falling Leaves Lodge". I can't say enough good about this lodge. I absolutely loved it. ALL of the staff were so friendly and helpful. We ate breakfast there every morning, delish... One of the chefs is Mo. He personally came out of the kitchen at every meal to make sure that we had enjoyed everything. Paula (the manager) is the most wonderful person. She went out of her way to make our stay memorable. She really should be proud of her staff. The grounds are well kept and it is a very beautiful layout. The pool was not finished when we were there (December 2023), but it was being worked on between rainy days. We definitely will be staying with them on our next trip. On a side note there is a ruins that is just a walk from Falling Leaves Lodge: Cahal Pech. This is a self guided tour, but definitely worth it. A most interesting tour was the Cacao Farm and Chocolate making. If you want to know where chocolate really comes from and not a "Willy Wonka tour" this tour is for you. Adrian took us to the small farm where the cacao trees grow and then his family demonstrated how the Mayans make chocolate back in town at their shop. One tour that you do not want to miss is the ATM cave tour! There are many different comments on this tour about it being hard, and what you can bring with on the tour. I am 58 years old, not in the best shape: I did it!! You do have to cross 3 "river spots", but there is a big ol' rope to hang on to. There is a bit of swimming, but most of it is "walking" through the water. There is climbing on and through rocks (water shoes are a must). There is one spot where you have to climb up rocks, but there are so many helping hands in the groups to help, everyone makes it up and also down. Our driver, Hugh, stayed with the van and had a most delicious lunch waiting for us. Now as to what you can bring on this tour: Nothing, no wet bag, water, camera or anything. The guide carries it all in their bag. The one thing that you will need is an old pair of socks that you can throw away. You can bring a change of clothes as you will get wet. But that is left in the van. After you get to the top of the one climbing spot you may NOT wear shoes, that is where the socks come into play. Our guide here was Gonzo. Talk about a great guide, he is the best! Our next couple days were spent in Guatemala, heading to Tikal Lodge. Our driver to the border was again Hugh. As always he is so pleasant and full of knowledge as he is a retired tour guide. He made sure we got into Guatemala without trouble and found our connecting ride and guide. At the border on both sides there are many currency exchangers waiting to make sure you have Guatemalen money. Do make sure you get small bills not just large ones as the small shops aren't always able to make change. On our way to Tikal Lodge we stopped for lunch. Please know that Spanish is the main language in Guatemala so ordering lunch was a bit of a challenge since we don't speak Spanish. After lunch we headed to Yaxha Maya Ruins. This is an out of the way ruins. But boy is it worth seeing. Our guide, Oliver, was hoping that we would be able to see the sunset here, but due to the incoming rain, we missed out on that. This is one place that we got to see the howler monkeys and various birds. One suggestion I have is to leave earlier than 10 a.m. from San Ignacio if you are heading to Guatemala to do this tour. The travel time is a bit long due to ALL the "potholes" and rough road. We stayed at Jungle Lodge Tikal while in Guatemala. This was a clean lodge But... be prepared for no hot water, they shut the lights and electricity off at 11 p.m. (as they are basically off grid) in the rooms, the only internet is at the lodge not in your room, the restaurant is fair (it seemed that they were out of things on the menu and usually things we wanted to order) and again they only speak Spanish which makes things difficult. The staff wasn't overly friendly either. We were scheduled to have a free day in Flores on our own. Had it not been for our guide, Oliver, offering his services for the day it would not have been such a fun day. Again, we don't speak Spanish and it would have been a struggle without him. His helpfulness with the language barrier was most appreciated. He also took us places that we never would have known about, such as a wood carving school where the students are able to sell their projects and get the money, the animal sanctuary (Arca's) and another off the beaten path ruins. Our main reason for going to Guatemala was the sunrise tour at Tikal National Park. The nice thing about staying at Jungle Lodge Tikal is for the sunrise tour you're right there to start the walk to the temple. So with that in mind we would over look some of the down sides and stay here again so that we are right there for the sunrise tour. One thing to bring is a flashlight or even better a head lamp so your hands are free. One thing we wished is that we had allowed a couple days for Tikal, as our guide told us that about 2-3 days is what you need to see it all. We really didn't get to see much of Tikal because we didn't realize it was such a huge ruins. After getting back to Belize the next day we did a horse riding tour of Xunantunich Maya Ruins. This was alot of fun with our guides, Elio and Miguel. You get to see a bit of different scenery off the beaten path . One thing to remember this is a half day tour so there is no lunch provided. We ended our vacation with a Cooking Class in San Ignacio at Marie Sharp's Tourist Center. This was a blast! We were taken to the market by William (our instructor). He shared alot of information about San Ignacio while at the market. We all pitched in and helped prepare our lunch which was very tasty chicken, rice, bread pudding and other tasty things. This was a hands on cooking class. One thing to remember about Belize and Guatemala even though you go during the "dry season" this does not mean it won't rain. We found this out on many days. Our vacation was incredible! Alot of the credit goes to Eduardo for planning things out so well. We can't wait to start planning our next visit to Belize and Guatemala.

Local specialist: Eduardo Celada
Eduardo Celada
Local specialist in Antigua, Guatemala | Replied on Jan 26, 2024

Hola Belinda,
I want to thank for your words. I make feel happy because i know you and I built a great experience and of course that you enjoyed and you will remind this forever. I will be alway happy to assist you with the destinations we promote.
I'm highly glad you had a great time on the Program activities you and I built for this unforgettable tour. Be sure to spread the word to your friends and family, the more people know about Guatemala the better. Hope to see you back again soon, cheers!