Trip Notes


Bring a lot of cash. The people of Belize are happy to accept American dollars, but they always give you change in Belize currency. The exchange rate is always 2 Belize dollars to 1 US. Because we didn't want any Belize dollars, we brought a lot of ten, five and one dollars bills and tried to pay the exact amount so we got very little change back.

I expected to pay cash for restaurants and gas stations, but many of the tour operators also requested cash. Sometimes they added a surcharge for a credit card transaction. Fortunately, we had a lot of cash with us so we did not run out.

You need a car when touring on the mainland. An economy car is fine, you only need four wheel drive if you plan to visit some of the more remote sights. We hired tour guides for places like Caracol and Cockscomb and they drove us in their vehicles. I don't recommend trying to drive to either of those places on your own.

You will not be able to take your rental car across the border into Guatemala.

Do not stay in Belize City. There are no attractions there, the traffic is terrible, the roads are in terrible condition, few of the streets have signs, and crime is reputed to be greatest there.

You can avoid Belize City in your rental car if you head north after exiting the airport. Look for a sign to Burrell Boom on the left side, it will be visible shortly. Take the road toward Burrell Boom (it is paved all the way) and then turn south to get back on the main highway.

Don't drive at night. No one in Belize wears reflective clothing, but there are a lot of people (and animals) using the road at night. Also, when you drive into a town, there are large speedbumps that are quite difficult to see in the dark. Most (but not all!) of these speedbumps are accompanied by warning road signs. So slow down in the towns. You are on vacation, there is no hurry!

Most everyone speaks English, it was an English colony until 1981 (up until that year, Belize was called British Honduras) so language is not a problem

Mosquitos aren't too bad in the dry season, though my wife got bit by some biting flies that left some nasty welts.

If you go birding, hire a guide. The birds are almost impossible to spot on your own. Plus, the guides can readily identify each species.

There is an $40 US exit fee to leave the country, but it is included in the United Airlines plane ticket

Never ever use carrentals.com. I had a bad experience trying to use the voucher that I had paid for at the Avis rental desk. It is much smarter to book directly through the rental car agency website. Basically, carrentals.com charged me $640 and then gave me a voucher that was worth $420, and I had to pay the difference at the counter. Eventually, my credit car company refunded the difference and dinged carrentals.com, but I will never deal with them again.

Bring a waterproof camera!

Item

US dollars

Funds

Comments

Round trip tickets to Belize City$1319CCardUnited Airlines, through Houston
Taxi from airport$30.00CashIncludes $5 tip
Belize Express Water Taxi$90.00CCardTwo round trip tickets Belize City to Caye Caulker
Taxi back to airport$30.00CashIncludes $5 tip
9 days compact car rental$640.00CCardAvis rental at airport of Hyundai i10
Airport Exit Fee$4.00CashYou must pay this to get out of rental car lot
Shell Station$17.00CashFill up just outside of Dangriga
Esso Station$20.00CashFill up just outside of Independence
Puma Station$22.00CashFill up just outside of Belmopan
Orange Walk Bridge Toll$1.00CashTwo crossings
Shell Station$20.00CashFill up just outside of airport

Transport Total

$2193

Iguana Reef Inn$370CCardTwo nights on Caye Caulker, includes 9% tax
Tutzil Nah Cottages$48CCardTwo nights at Cockscomb
Villa San Juan$115CCardOne night at Belmopan
Western Guest House$117CashThree nights in San Ignacio + 1 load of laundry ($7)
Birds Eye View Lodge$80CCardOne night in Crooked Tree
Orchid Palm Inn$38CashOne night in Orange Walk

Lodging Total

$768

Tsunamia Adventures$137CCardFull day snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Belize Zoo$30CashTwo Admissions
Guanacaste National Park$5CashTwo Admissions
Cockscomb Night Hike$100CashGuided night hike.
Cockscomb Bird Walk$100CashHalf Day guided walk.
Lubaantun$11CashTwo admissions + map
Billy Barquedier National Park$8CashTwo Admissions
St. Hermans Cave National Park$8CashTwo Admissions
Cave Kayak Adventure$190CashFull day trip with Maya Guides
Actun Tunichil Muknal$190CCardFull day trip with Pacz Tours
Caracol$190CCardFull day trip with Pacz Tours
Xunantich$10CashAdmission
Xunantich Guide$25CashPersonal guide around the site
Xunantich Ferry$3CashTip (Ferry is free)
Cahel Pech$10CashAdmission
Altun Ha$10CashAdmission
Maya Site Guides$10CashOfficial brochures for ATM, Xunantunich, Cahel Pech, Altun Ha, Caracol
Lamanai river cruise$100CashJungle River Tours
Lamanai $10CashAdmission
Community Baboon Sanctuary$14CashAdmission
Belize TShirt$15CCardAirport Souvenir

Entertainment Total

$1176

CChip muffin at Houston Airport$2.00Cash
Caye Caulker Dinner at Rainbow Grill$30.00CashTwo fish & chips dinners
Caye Caulker Dinner at Rainbow Grill$30.00CashArt: Fish fajitas, Mel: Fish & Chips
Dinner at Tutzil Nah$14.00CashChicken burritos
Breakfast at Tutzil Nah$13.00CashPancakes
Dinner at Maya King Bar & Grill$10.00CashChicken burritos
Breakfast at Tutzil Nah$13.00CashPancakes
Belmopan Supermarket$6.00CashBottle Water, Diet Coke, ice cream bars
Belmopan Dinner at Blue Moon$30.00CashArt: Fish fajitas, Mel: Fish Fingers
San Ignacio Dinner at Flayas$15.00CashArt: Jerk chicken, Mel: Chicken burrito
San Ignacio Dinner at Mr. Greedys$23.00CashLarge Hawaiian Pizza
San Ignacio Dinner at Wingstop$15.00CashBurgers + fries + wings
Crooked Tree Dinner at Birds Eye Lodge$30.00CashBuffet dinner
Ice Cream Treats at Ice Break$7.00CashOrange Walk dinner
Donuts$2.00CashOrange Walk bakery
Ice Cream Bars$2.00CashLadyville supermarket

Food Total

$242

Grand Total$4379
Here are some websites that I used when researching Belize:

http://www.destinationsbelize.com/tours-and-attractions/

http://ambergriscaye.com/index.php

http://ambergriscaye.com/pages/mayan/mayasites.html

http://www.triposo.com/loc/Caracol

http://www.archaeological.org/interactivedigs/cahalpechbelize/about

http://www.beyondtouring.com/

http://www.caracol.org/include/files/chase/glimmers.pdf

http://www.academia.edu/1475152/The_Carved_Monuments_and_Inscriptions_of_Xunantunich

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