We had an excellent time! Where do I start..
First off: Our travel agent was AWESOME! I let her know what the purpose of the trip was, how much I was looking to spend and what we planned on doing. She worked with us on everything and was very informative. My wife was in a different state while planning the tour and she was always more than willing to hop onto a three-way call and talk to my wife and me at the same time. She took down notes on what we wanted, was very cautious to work within my budget and planned everything out perfectly. Even after the last payment, our agent made sure to keep in contact to make sure we had what we needed and made some reccomendations! How awesome is that?!?!
All this is based on our perspective of course:
We stayed at the Chaa Creek Hotel. One of the most beautiful hotels we had ever seen. Amazing staff service and lots of great things to do. It turns out, no matter which room you take, all of them are pretty much going to pass your expectations and still be in awe.
We did take some time to do some great activities, and some of them were very budget friendly, and some were not.
On our second day at Chaa Creek, we went to visit Xunantunich, an ancient Mayan site. That was probably one of the most fun, budget friendly activity we did. There was so much to see. The staff warned us that there would be a ton of hiking and climbing, however, my wife and I didn't see it that way. It seemed pretty easy and lots of fun. We even saw some Howler Monkeys!
Over the next couple of days, we did a walk at night. That was very interesting. We had a guide who took us around walking and would educate us on every creature or plant we came across. The guide was VERY informative and resourceful. We then also went horseback riding through a trail owned by the Chaa Creek Hotel. My wife and I have done horseback riding with groups in the past, but this was by far the best one. There was so much beauty that we came across. It was very much like a rain forest. Just incredible scenery.
One thing I did not like, was the city. My wife and I wanted to go to the city to explore a little and see the culture. In the day time, it's nice but very small and very limited to what you can actually see. At night time, it seemed very dangerous. San Ignacio did not give the impression that it would be OK to be outside past 7 pm. There was one day that we actually were worried and felt so much safer when we got back to the hotel.
We stayed at a hotel in San Pedro. When leaving the Chaa Creek and going to the small airport, it was actually a very easy and smooth trip. We had no trouble and within a couple of hours of departing Chaa Creek, we were at the hotel.
My wife and I were pretty much speechless upon arrival. It was very different than Chaa Creek. Completely different atmosphere. We went from a jungle to a beach. It's hard to put into words our initial reaction to San Pedro. The city was beautiful! The hotel and staff were very welcoming. We were greeted with a cold wet towel and ice cold lemonade (perfect for that heat and humidity).
We then were taken to our room. While the room was much smaller than it was at Chaa Creek, it was just as beautiful but in its own way. I remember looking at pictures online when we were sent the itinerary and saying, ok... it looks nice. When we actually got there, it was more of a WOW. The fact that while laying in bed, you can see the end of the room to the grass to the beach to the palm trees to the sea just made it so much more enjoyable.
The hotel staff had asked us what the purpose of our trip was and when I told them it was our honeymoon, they offered to give us a complimentary bottle of Champagne. I told them that was very generous of them, however, my wife and I do not drink alcohol. The next day while we were out, they had come in, cleaned up a little and left us a complimentary bottle of Apple Cider. That was so nice and generous of them! My wife and I were absolutely grateful and celebrated that night with a non-alcoholic beverage.
It turns out that in San Pedro, most people do not drive cars. They drive golf carts. That was very different, and I thought it was plenty of fun. My wife, however, did not see it that way. She did not like the golf carts and at most times could not wait until we reached our destinations so she can get out.
The hotel does rent out golf carts and at any time of the day. You could rent it out for an hour or for a day. The price does vary. For an hour it was $17 US dollars or $75 for a whole day. During our stay, we took it by the hours since we figured we didn't need it for much more than a few hours a day.
While in San Pedro we did snorkeling, ate out every day, and went swimming at the hotel. San Pedro felt much safer than San Ignacio, so we did go out at night and we felt very safe. There is also so much more to enjoy in San Pedro, such as gift shops, candy stores, and restaurants.
To end this lengthy review, I would say that Belize overall was an amazing country. I would highly recommend the country to everyone who wants to go experience a new country, with delicious food, amazing hospitality, and a different culture. I would also caution people on San Ignacio city though. The prices there are also high, Belize pays a lot for customs so things there are not cheap. Also, I would recommend that before purchasing anything from the hotels, to actually price them the same things out in the city. We found that if you take a taxi and ask them for whatever it is you're looking for, they will get you the best prices that they know of. Examples:
Snorkeling at the hotel: $175 per person plus $75 ticket fee. For me and my wife: $500
Snorkeling from most other places in San Pedro to the same location: $150 per person, no ticket fee.
Dinner for two at the hotel: $125 (includes appetizer, dinner, and two drinks)
Dinner for two at a classy restaurant in San Pedro: $75 (includes appetizer, dinner, and two drinks)
Renting a golf cart at the hotel: $17 by the hour/ $75 for the day
Renting a golf cart in San Pedro (they will pick you up from your hotel and drop you off at the hotel): $10-$15 by the hour/ $45-$65 for the day.
Snorkeling, horseback riding, the Xunantunich ruins, and the delicious food!
I would have looked at prices from outside of the hotel first. The hotel prices anywhere seemed to be double if not more than most other places in the city.
I would have bought some bug repellents with me. The island is packed with bugs, so I would recommend to everyone to take bug repellents.
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