Sunday, September 13, 2009

Exploring our options

The one thing that K seemed to mind the most about our last big trip, the one we took last year to Costa Rica with the kids, was too much time travelling from spot to spot.  Me, I think that's part of the fun.  I like to see parts of the country and think driving or flying within the country is part of the vacation.  K thinks it's wasted time.  It's tiring and he wants to just get to the next spot.  So I wanted to find a bit of a compromise here.  K has fondly named my vacations Shelley's terror tours!  I don't do well just relaxing...I like to do!  I like to explore - get out there and see the places we're at.  I'm a different person when I travel.  At home I don't seem to have much motivation to do much at all.  When we're travelling I can't wait to get up and get moving!  Show me the world!  Even if it's just going to the pool or the beach, I can't wait to feel the sand, or feel the breeze in my hair!  Just get me out in the world!

So, Belize has so much to offer.  This wasn't going to be a lay at the beach, drink in hand and relax all day type of vacation.  Nothing wrong with that, we've been on plenty of those,  But this was a see the world type of trip.  But I had to do it right.  I started looking at where I could find a combination of relaxation, excursions, jungle, wildlife, sealife and the luxury we both wanted and needed.  Much of my research comes from Fodors.  Especially their forums.  I've received such wonderful travel advice from the people there!  In addition to the website, their printed guides are some of the best I've found.  I also use Trip Advisor quite a lot too.  I use their website mainly for the reviews of the different hotels, not as much on the forums, but I still browse them for information. 

After much research, I knew a few basic things that were not to be missed on our trip.  A visit to Guatamala to see Tikal, exploring the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave and spending time on one of the Cayes.

With those decisions made, finding our resorts, although resort probably is the wrong word...was the next decision to be made.  Belize doesn't really have the big All Inclusive resorts that you'd see in places like Playa del Carmen, Mexico, that's not the style there.  The lodging ranges from backpacking accomodations to jungle/luxury.  Some of the nicest eco-lodges in Central America are located there.  There seemed to be hundreds of choices!  But as with any area you plan to travel, some names just start to come up over and over.  Once we knew the areas we wanted to go to, it was much easier to narrow down our accomdations.  We chose the Cayo district, outside of San Ignacio as our inland destination because of it's proximity to Tikal and the ATM Cave and the number of accomodations to choose from.  We chose Ambregris Caye as our beach destination.  There are several Cayes (which is pronounced as key) and some are more laid back, some have more to do, some more hotels, some more restaurants.   We chose Ambergris Caye, but the north end "above the cut" so it was north of the town of San Pedro, still able to go into town for activity and restaurants, but quiet and relaxing being north.

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