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Old 02-23-2013, 06:38 PM
 
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We're planning a trip to Belize around early May and are interested in visiting San Ignacio and
Tikal Ruins in Guatemala. Any tips on Tikal? We're comparing a Day-Trip Bus Tour or an Overnight
Bus Tour pkg. where we spend the night at a hotel on the Tikal Park grounds. One service offers
an all-inclusive but it's waay pricey per person at around 4 Benjamins per person. I can appreciate
paying a certain premium but that would be a considerable chunk out of our 10 day budget for seeing
the rest of the country.

Safety and Security are a concern so we don't want to do a Chicken Bus or deal with too many hassles
getting in and out of the country. Any first-hand experiences with the San Ignacio to Tikal Ruins visits
will be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:04 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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There's no reason to spend that much to stay at one of the hotels in Tikal. Especially considering they tend to be moldy and over-priced even without a package tour. How long were you planning to stay at Tikal? You'll want a bare minimum of 2 full days, if not 3.

It's going to be REALLY HOT in May....

For future reference, the bus trip from Belize to Palenque, along the Mex/Guat border is breathtaking! So many ruined cities, right and left, literally.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:21 PM
 
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thanks for your reply... The 4-bills per-person / all-inclusive involves a shuttle-bus from our hotel in San Ignacio to Tikal Park, overnight stay on the park with all meals, 3 tours and shuttle back to S.I. The plan was to arrive in San Ignacio, go to Tikal for an overnight stay.... arrive and enjoy the late afternoon, early evening at the park. Stay in one of the hotels in the park, wake-up sunrise tour then head back to San Ignacio late afternoon. But at 800USD total, I feel that's a bit rich for our blood, I'm sure it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience but our focus was to travel and tour at a more moderate cost-level.

I'm sure we could enjoy more time there but the Tikal trip was something of an afterthought after learning about it on weblinks when researching San Ignacio. I'm somewhat iffy about visiting Guatemala after hearing about hwy robberies of tourists along the road. I'm sure it doesn't happen as often as it sounds but it does happen and with some regularity from what I gather.

I've been thinking a less-costy/less-time spent method may be to just stay in Belize and check out what's closer to San Ignacio and other areas incountry. Wife does want to see some ruins as she studied anthropology at university as an elective so I'm sure we'll find Mayan ruins to fit the dancecard in Belize.

But Tikal still has some allure from the significance aspect as being the Mayan center of influence back in its heyday!

Thanks again!
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Canada
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400 per person is way too much for an overngiht trip...I think it might be a better idea to go to Flores, Peten, spend a afew nights there....There is some decent hotels there. There is also more ruins to see in Peten aside form Tikal, if your in that area, you should also check out Nakum-yaxha-naranjo park. Also the ruins of la Blanca are worth a visit. you can organize your trip to the ruins from Flores.

Check out this site.
Cafe Arqueologico Yaxha: Maya Tour Operator and Spanish School
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:58 PM
 
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Thanks for the link and suggestitions. I'll take these under consideration.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:09 PM
 
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You might be interested in checking out Caracol, I rented a vehicle in San Ignacio and drove to it, (If you do that get a four-wheel drive). You can also find tour companies to take you there, one is Everald's Caracol Shuttle (501/804-0090 or 603-5705, caracolshuttle@hotmail.com), it will be a day trip as camping out there isn't allowed but still very fun, you can camp out somewhere along the way back on the Pine Ridge though if you drive yourself. Its a massive place and very interesting, the pyramid of Canaa is one of the tallest structure in Belize.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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Thanks again for the Caracol tip!
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:48 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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You can arrange to fly into Flores. Before your trip, reserve a room in one of the hotels in Tikal for a couple of nights. From Flores you can get a shuttle to Tikal. This will be a lot cheaper than the rip-off package you found. In Tikal, you can make arrangements for a day trip to Uaxactun. Don't do this side trip if it's been raining recently (the guides in Tikal can advise you as to whether the road is passable). Leave some flexibility in your schedule in case you want to spend an extra day in Tikal (to make room for that day trip, for example. Someone's usually driving to Uaxactun every 2 or 3 days.) If that day trip doesn't pan out, you can go back to Flores, and do a day trip from there to either Yaxha, or to Ceibal and Sayaxche, in the other direction from Yaxha. The Ceibal trip involves a motor launch trip on the Pasion River, which is nice.

"Chicken buses" aren't a big deal, OP, especially on the run from Flores to Tikal. Very tame. But if you fly into Flores, there will probably be a microbus (minivan) driver waiting to collect tourists for Tikal.
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Old 03-03-2013, 01:02 PM
 
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Thanks again for the trip tips.
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Old 08-03-2013, 02:23 PM
 
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POST-TRIP FOLLOW-UP:
We spent about 10 days in Belize divided among Placencia, San Ignacio, Caye Caulker and Buttonwood Bay (last day/night before airport). Had a great time. Here's what we did regarding transportation:

BZE AIRPORT to PLACENCIA:
Flew Tropic Air from Goodson Int'l to Placencia and hotel shuttle van picked us up at airport Got a 20% discount using a broker from San Pedro who booked our reservation and sent us a voucher via e-mail. When we arrived at Tropic Air counter, we showed the voucher and paid 20% less...not a bad deal! PM me for the info.

PLACENCIA to SAN IGNACIO:
Caught Ritchie's Bus from the MnM Hardware Parking Lot at 6:15AM, you can buy tickets in advance at the Placenica Tourism Business Office (easy to find...just ask). This bus stops a lot on the peninsula but after that it's pretty direct to Dangriga and then on to Belmopan. If you're not going to Belize City, you'll need to get off at Belmopan Bus Station and catch a bus to Benque' which stops in San Ignacio. We were originally going to have a private van from Placencia to S.I. which was going to cost about $180 USD. But we were wanting a "local experience" and it cost $15BZE ($7.50US) each from Placencia to Belmopan. From Belmopan to S.I. it was about $6USD total... the total cost of bus trip from Placencia to Belmopan to San Ignacio was $21USD for two adults. We left at 6:15AM and arrived in San Ignacio a little after 12 noon.
Not bad at all.

SAN IGNACIO TO BELIZE CITY / Caye Caulker --Water Taxi Terminal:
Arranged a private transfer through our hotel which was pretty much what we were able to figure was typical. $85US + 12.5% tax and I gave a $10 tip so abuot $107US total. I could've probably gotten a slightly cheaper deal with a local driver but didn't want to take any chances as we were on a tight schedule.

I suggest you buy your water taxi ticket R/T to save about $3.50US a person. Takes maybe 40 minutes to/from Belize City to Caye Caulker ...a bit longer to San Pedro. We rode the water taxi back to Belize City and caught a cab to our B&B in Buttonwood Bay for about $10US. Didn't really check out Belize City much as it's not recommended for tourists for safety reasons...but we caught a cab to a newer restaurant near the waterfront near some nice hotels and called a cab when we were ready to head back. Caught a cab to the airport (about $25USD)

Overall we had a great trip. The Ritchie Buss ride was okay... not too hot albeit no A/C but a good breeze through the windows. This bus is used by tourists and locals alike and it was a fun ride...you get to see a lot of the country this way. There is another bus that you can catch that comes from Punta Gorda but you have to take the Hokey-Pokey Water Taxi to the mainland to catch it. This bus may have A/C but I really don't know.

Hope this helps.
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