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Pre and post liveaboard suggestions

Discussion in 'Belize' started by OMGinger, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. OMGinger

    OMGinger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Calgary
    17
    3
    3
    Hey guys,

    Just looking for some suggestions on pre and post liveaboard activities in Belize. We'll be heading there in January and having never been I'm looking for some suggestions. The wife and I are pretty active and getting to Tical sounds like a great time, we also haven't dove for a while and doing a refresher before hopping on the boat will be good. We have 4 full days before setting off for the week on the boat and will have three days after disembarking.

    Some of the things I'm putting on the list to read into some more are:
    •Off the Wall (Glover's)
    •Placencia
    •Turneffe
    •Caye Caulker
    •Cookscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

    If anyone has comments in the above and/or more suggestions based on their experiences I'd be happy to hear them.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    8,606
    1,190
    113
    Another thing to put on your read list - a map if you haven't studied one already to learn where these places are, and what area things you'd like to see are in. I'd suggest picking just one place to pretty much base yourself for your first 4 days, and one to base yourself the last 3. Part of your planning needs to be how and when you will get between these places - it's not necessarily hard and the places you decide to stay may arrange things or at least help with info - but it's a big place with sometimes crappy roads, so not always trivial either. You'll probably want to come up with a plan with reasonable logistics.

    For example, if you decide you'd like to stay at one of the atoll resorts like Glovers or Turneffe, realize there are no ferries. The resorts out there do private transfers. You may find some only do transfers on Saturdays at a certain time, which won't work for you unless you want to hire a private boat to take you one way for $$$. Or they may also have a midweek transfer, but you need to see how their regular transfer days/times line up with your schedule.

    The liveaboard will get into port midday Friday. Keep in mind, you don't have to stay on the boat the last night. You might miss an afternoon of hanging out and watching dive gear dry (or the land excursion options they will generally arrange for the afternoon.) And last night drinks and dinner with the gang. And a bed for the night that you've already paid for. Also, you'll miss getting kicked off the boat early Saturday morning. :wink: But, leaving the boat sometime Friday for your next spot may also free up the whole next day to actually do stuff, or just make things work better somehow. It's something we have done a few times when staying around after a liveaboard. (For instance, on St. Maarten we got off and rented a car, drove to the St. Martin side and found/settled into the place we were going to stay, then drove back to meet everyone for dinner. So we didn't miss much and were ready to go diving Saturday morning with the op there.)
     
    OMGinger and Downing like this.
  3. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,802
    539
    113
    Great advice above.

    I'd consider doing land based activities in two different areas of the country as the cayes are mostly about hanging out and diving, which you'll be doing plenty of on the liveaboard. There are two puddle jumper airlines in Belize, Maya and Tropic, which can get you anywhere you want to go in about thirty minutes. No real difference between them. You can also rent a car at the airport if you really want to drive or you can wait to rent one in either of the villages I'm going to talk about below. Although Belize isn't hard to get around by car, I usually suggest first timers fly to their base and hire drivers to show them around, so they can get the lay of the land first before striking out on their own. Plus the driver can double as a tour guide and you'll learn a lot more about what you're looking at. If you do choose to drive, gas will cost about twice what you pay here so be prepared for $100 fill ups.

    I'd suggest going to Placencia or Hopkins for the first three days. From there, you can do easy day trips to The Blue Hole, Cockscomb, cave tubing, zip lining, the Nim Li Punit ruins (where the crystal skull was supposedly found), the Spice Farm (way cooler than it sounds), the Uxbenka ruins, and maybe even visit Punta Gorda, probably the most authentic least touristy Belizean village of size in Belize. If you make it that far south, be sure to stop at Colemans in Big Falls for lunch. And if you hang a right at Dump, instead of turning left to go down to PG, you can drive to the Guatemalan border on one of the two prettiest roads in Belize plus check out the Rio Blanco Falls.

    After the liveaboard, I'd suggest San Ignacio, known as the Cayo District. From there you can do Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) ruins and say hi to the Crystal Maiden, Xunatunich ruins, Barton Creek Cave, Tikal (long day trip or spend the night), Caracol or just hang out at one of the many eco-resorts in the area.

    Drive time from the airport to Placencia is about two and a half hours. Drive time to San Ignacio is about an hour and a half.

    For a more intense stay in the jungle, I'd suggest Chan Chich. It's deep in the jungle and not close to any other tourist excursions except the Mayan ruins on site. You could drive there, but I definitely don't recommend it for a first timer. The only way in and out is over some private roads and you need to get permits in advance. There's no real map so you also need a good sense of direction and be willing to risk getting lost in the jungle--don't worry too much because someone will come along eventually, probably, to help you. But you can also fly to Sir Barry Bowen's estate, where they'll pick you up and take you into the heart of darkness only a few miles away.
     
  4. OMGinger

    OMGinger Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Calgary
    17
    3
    3
    Thanks for the suggestions Damselfish and Downing.

    Funny that you mentioned a map, shortly after the OP I went to get a map of Belize as I do with all my other trips (I find the water resistant National Geographic maps are handy because you can use dry erase markers on them and they offer a bit of erasability..)

    I just booked our trip for Jan 26 on the BA III and am very excited, just need to sort out the rest of the trip, so thank you for the suggestions!

    Also, if anyone was looking for a good price for, BA III went on sale at a $700 discount for all their January dates!!
     
  5. Downing

    Downing Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Portland, Oregon
    1,802
    539
    113
    Have fun figuring out your itinerary.

    As you can see, there's a ton of stuff to see and do, mostly to the south and to the west of Belize City. If you go north, not so much except for the Altun-Ha and Lamanai ruins and the Baboon Sanctuary.
     

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