Belize Hotel Tips by Bwana_Brown Top 5 Page for this destination
Belize Hotels: 172 reviews and 216 photos
Questionable spelling - but unique
For the rental vehicle part of our Belize trip, we had not pre-booked any accommodations. Even though I had decided in my mind that I wanted to stay in Hopkins, I was not sure what the highway situation was like or what attractions might slow-down our progress. In the end, we joined up with two Canadians we had met on Caye Caulker a few days before and headed southeast anyway. We had tried to call ahead from Belmopan while we were having lunch there, and found that all the low to mid-bracket lodging in Hopkins were full - except we had not been able to get through to the 'Whisling' Seas. When we finally turned up in the village, one look at their sign indicated that this was going to be rustic accommodations! However, we were not complaining when the owners said they happened to have two cabanas left at US$41 each per night. The second photo shows our two cabanas lined up and, the strange thing is, I had brought this exact view with me from a Hopkins page print-out of an accommodation tip by VT-member "paradisedreamer"!
Unique Qualities: The concrete cabanas were basic, but functional. Each came with two double beds, a small refrigerator, standing oscillating fan, TV (we never even turned it on) and a shower & toilet. The louvered windows did not close tightly, so it was a bit chilly the first night but things warmed up the next night and we needed the fan running all night. The curtain rod on the window at the head of the bed was a flimsy plastic pipe, letting the curtain sag down onto the pillow and causing the contraption to fall on me the first night (I threw it aside and went back to sleep). A defect in our shower drain allowed the water to drop through the floor straight onto the sand below - strange to stand there looking down through the shower floor! We only had one plastic lawn chair to sit on outside, and one arm was broken on it making it difficult to use. It looks like there was once a thatched beach bar/restaurant but it was boarded up and no adequate seating was available for maximum beachside enjoyment. However, the sun was shining and the water was fresh, so we enjoyed our two nights here - even if it wasn't fancy!
Address: Southside, Hopkins Village, Stann Creek District
Comparison: about average
Directions: Turn right when entering Hopkins and you will find it on the left a few hundred feet down the road - next door to the Supermarket
The Row of Double Rooms from our Doorway
Our 2-day trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala was completely unplanned, so we took a chance and headed for the 3 hotels located at the centre of the park, findng that 2 of the 3 were already full. The Jungle Lodge is actually the hotel closest to the trail leading into the Mayan temple site and it consists of 50 rooms situated on lush tropical grounds. I was totally amazed at the quality of the buildings and grounds that we suddenly found ourselves in! There are a number of separate bungalows spread around the property as well as the row of cheaper double rooms that we managed to get ahold of. The shared bath was very plush, separate rooms for 'Girls' and 'Boys' with tiled floors, very nice sinks, big mirrors, clean toilets - couldn't ask for anything better.
The hotel also had a spacious dining room with attached bar (2nd photo) which also accepted credit card payments - lucky because I only brought a limited amount of Quetzales (7.6 Q = 1 US$) with us. Our room had two separate beds and a ceiling fan to help the louvered windows with the cooling. Because the hotel is located in the middle of the jungle, along with everything else at Tikal, power is supplied by a diesel generator from a nearby research lab and is switched off between 10 PM and 6 AM.
Unique Qualities: With our late morning arrival at the Jungle Lodge, two long afternoon walks to the temples, darkness by 6:30 PM, another morning walk and then check-out before 1 PM, we did not have a great deal of time available for a proper look around our choice of accommodations. It was therefore with some regret that we discovered the beautiful hotel swimming pool (3rd photo) as we waited for our return mini-bus ride back to Belize! Never even got to dip our feet in!
We did however enjoy sitting out on the chairs in front of our little room. It was nice to stare out into the jungle, watch the Oscellated Turkeys as they strolled past and we could also hear the echoing crys of the male Black Howler Monkeys in the tree-tops as they staked out their territorial claims.
Note: on the 'Other' contact email address below add a ".com" on the end - VT does not allow enough space for the full goods!
Address: Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Comparison: about average
Directions: One of three hotels located at the central area of Tikal National Park, only a 10 minute walk from the entrance to the Mayan temples
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Lodge lakefront and Tour boats
After finishing up in Hopkins and returning our rental vehicle, we headed north and inland to the village of Crooked Tree. The 18-room Bird's Eye View Lodge is generally regarded as the best of the three high quality establishments located in the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. After crossing the freshwater causeway from the mainland, the Lodge is off to the left about a mile or two as you pass through the village, with a beautiful location on the shore of Crooked Tree (or North) Lagoon. It was about 1:30 PM by the time we arrived via their shuttle van from the International Airport (US$25), following our morning drive back from Hopkins on the southeast coast to return our rental vehicle. We already knew this was going to be good as the shuttle driver pointed out many different species of birds as we drove along! Two months earlier, I decided that we should spend a couple of nights here to see how good the birding really was, and had put down a US$120 deposit on the room (the US$66/night for a double was the highest rate we paid during our 3-week trip, but we decided to 'splurge' on this one!).
It did not take us long to meet the Belizian lady, Miss Verna, who manages the Lodge and is also a one-person army when it comes to running the establishment! We were alloted a lakeside ground floor room in the separate block of rooms to the left in the 2nd photo. Most of the activities take place in the white building to the right, which contains more rooms, the restaurant, office, a small lounge for guests and an upstairs outdoor patio-bar. Among other things, the Lodge can arrange walking tours of the island or boating tours on the surrounding lake and creeks - with both featuring plenty of bird sightings as well as a few other creatures like lizards and crocodiles.
Unique Qualities: It was a nice quiet spot too, especially with the lodge located some distance from any nearby inhabited buildings, including the main block of the hotel where all the action was taking place. I had a nice afternoon snooze here after our 5:30 AM wake-up to get ready for the early morning birdwatching tour on the lake!
Our double room (3rd photo) was very nice, with comfortable beds and a ground level view out onto the lagoon. It was equipped with a ceiling fan and also an air conditioner, which did not work when we tried it (likely because it was not yet the 'hot' season so not really required!). The bathroom was large and very solidly built with tiles and quality fixtures to go along with a very large and well-working shower.
Address: Crooked Tree Village, on a small island formed by surrounding creeks.
Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: About 55-km (30-miles) northwest of Belize City, just off the Northern Highway between Belize City and Orange Walk.
Other Contact: email@example.com
Seaside Guest House from the waterfront
As our shuttle van drove into the heart of Belize City on our next to last day in Belize, we could see a shift from the other places we had been. Most of the buildings looked very dilapidated and all of them had a fortified appearance, with locked doors at ground level and burgler bars on virtually all windows. Alighting on the sidewalk with our backpacks, we rang the buzzer and one of the Seaside staff came out to unlock the street access door.
The Guest House is more like a hostel in many respects, a two story affair with various ramshackle rooms, some of which contain multiple bunk beds and others which are more like 'normal' rooms. The downstairs kitchen has a large table where guests can have meals that are made in the same room, or they can play on the dial-up internet connection while sitting at one of the table chairs. We paid US$44 for our double room with private toilet/shower.
Unique Qualities: The window in our bedroom opened up onto the second floor balcony that ran across the whole front of the building, a spot that provided a great view of the harbourfront (2nd photo). The 3rd photo shows Sue sitting out there in the afternoon, along with Lauren (an Australian lass) and Steve (British) who had both been at the Seaside for a couple of days. We all had a really great time chatting away as we sipped on cold beers in the ocean breezes during the heat of the afternoon. By the way, Lauren's head is next to our bedroom window with the smaller window next to it belonging to our toilet/shower. We retired to our bedroom early on Sunday night, managing to get undressed in our room as other guests sat on the balcony chatting outside our open window! Their conversation and the rattling of the blind in the wind soon saw me drifting off to sleep.
The (4th) photo of our room makes it look about three times as good as it did in real life, thanks to the camera flash illuminating the place instead of the single bare lightbulb! The window at the end of the bed was nailed partially open so it could not be closed, and when I tried to adjust the rusted metal venetian blind, the whole contraption fell down! Off to the left was our small room with a toilet and shower - only one fawcett handle worked in the shower but at least the water was lukewarm.
Address: 3 Prince Street, Belize City
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: South side of the Swing Bridge and follow along the harbour front for about 5 blocks until reaching Prince Street.
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Me on the balcony of our No. 7 Large Cabin
Oh man, was I ever glad I spotted this place in my research for our trip to Belize! The Trek Stop was a fantastic place to spend a week in Belize, located as it is in the countryside beside a sleepy little village! The 22 acres of forested grounds are very nicely landscaped, even to the extent of small signs pointing out different types of trees and plants and what their medical and other uses are. This place is run jointly by a laid back long-time American couple, John and Judy, and their Belizian partners - and they really know what they are doing! I would definitely go back there any time.
As described in the books, this really is a back-packers paradise with a choice of tenting (US$5), five small cabins (US$12-20 see 2nd photo) and three large cabins (US$24-34) with all these using shared shower facilities. In addition, there are two large cabins with private showers/toilets (US$35-60) with the price range in all of the above depending on how many people are staying in each cabin. People in the 'shared facility' cabins use any of the four composting toilets, shower water is provided from rain catchment barrels and these facilites were all very clean and worked extremely well. The Trek Stop has a restaurant serving meals all day long from about 7AM-7 PM, as well as a separate kitchen area where you can prepare your own meals if you feel like it, a 'common area' where guests can sit and mingle, read from the extensive library or use the free internet facilities on three computers! Also on the grounds is a Frisbee 'golf' couse cleared in the jungle and an educational centre describing the history, geology and plant/animal life of Belize. We paid US$25 per night during our one week stay at the Trek Stop. This is how good they were - when we did our overnight trip to Tikal National Park in Guatemala, they let us leave our gear in our cabin for no charge! It does not get much better than that for customer satisfaction.
Unique Qualities: Our cabin was nothing fancy, but it did the job. It contained (3rd photo) one double bed (with a two-inch thick piece of foam on wooden slats for a mattress) and a bunk-bed arrangement that was not made up for sleeping, so we used it to throw our clothes and other things onto. Screened windows with wooden louvers on each side-wall provided a breeze and the building was also partially shaded by the abundant trees on the property. The front door was lockable and the custom was to simply leave your key hanging on the pegs in the 'Common area' office when you left the site.
What was really unique about this place was that it is very eco-friendly. All the toilets were deep pits (4th photo) with a bowl of wood chips sitting inside each one. Once you were finished with your business, a handful of chips was to be thrown down the hatch to help with the decomposition. The toilets worked very well - they were very clean, usually nobody else there at the same time and there was not much in the way of smells either.
Comparison: least expensive
Directions: On the eastern outskirts of the hamlet of San Jose Soccotz, about half-way between San Ignacio and the Guatemala border.
Other Contact: email@example.com
Price: less than US$20
Half of our Hut hidden by foliage
As we were leaving Caye Caulker for Ambergris Cay, our new-found hotel mates, Norm and Jan, mentioned to us that they would also soon be leaving and planned to spend some time at the Belize Zoo, located in the forest part-way between Belize City and Belmopan. I was not even aware that accommodations were available there until they mentioned that the nearby Belize Tropical Education Centre (TEC) has about 10 guest houses as well as a restaurant and organized tours of the Zoo. Since we were planning to be in the area about three days later, I made a note of the necessary phone number and mentioned to them that we might be seeing them soon!
Sure enough, after we had picked up our rental vehicle and then finished with the Community Baboon Sanctuary, we somehow found and arrived at the TEC as promised, buried as it is in the Belize forest! A staff member greeted us as we approached an official looking building and, after a short conversation, mentioned that we were confirmed for their last remaining hut! After a short tour of the facility and then checking-in, we then bumped into our Caye Caulker friends who were comfortably settled into their nearby stilt-built 'tree house'! We very quickly convened on their deck with a few cold Belikin beers as we caught up on our adventures since we had last seen each other. This view shows the screened verandah of our hut, fronting onto a tropical pond located on the TEC premises.
Unique Qualities: From the 'Moon Handbooks Belize' - "the TEC...was created to promote environmental education and scientific research. Meetings are held here for zoological news, reports, and educational seminars attended and given by people involved in zoology from around the world. The Center is equipped with a classroom, a library, kitchen and dining area and dormitories that can accommodate as many as 30 people. Great nature trails weave through the 84-acre site, and bird-watchers can avail themselves of a bird-viewing deck. Also available are canoe trips, nocturnal zoo tours and natural history lessons" All we had to do was to venture out to our deck to observe two crocodiles eyeing us from across the pond (2nd photo)!!
We were given an extra large bungalow because it was the last accoms available - at US$40 for the single night we spent there (credit cards accepted). The 3rd photo shows a jumbled mess as we prepared to leave, with our bed at the right side and the toilet/shower area in the middle. Beyond it, in the distant darkness, is another large room available for more guests and (out of sight) to the left is the fridge/kitchen area. After arriving back from the night tour of the Zoo, we four 'Caye Caulker friends' sat out on the deck sipping Belikins and listening to the night sounds of the forest until about 11 PM, as we discussed the amazing day we had enjoyed.
When we checked into the TEC, we had booked our single night accommodation, an evening meal, a guided night tour of the Zoo, breakfast and a day tour of the Zoo (this is free if you take the night tour) for a total of US$90 (for two people) - an excellent bargain! By the way, the staff are extremely friendly, knowledgeable and helpful !
Address: On the Western Highway, very close to the Coastal Road junction, half-way between Belize City and Belmopan
Comparison: about average
Directions: From Belize City, just before the Zoo, turn left onto a dirt road by the big blue TEC sign. Turn left again at a T-junction & after about 0.5-mile you will find an entrance on the left with a sign: "Beware armed guards and attack dogs" - this is the TEC!
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our small balcony door peeps thru the Palms
Based on the summary in my 'Moons Handbook' on Belize, which said that the Hotel del Rio was "one of the best bargains" in San Pedro on Ambergris Cay, I had booked one of their two economy guest-house rooms way back in December, for the second leg of our Belize trip following 'Caye Caulker'. You could tell that we were now on a higher real-estate valued island, because even this basic accommodations was US$51 per night. The photo shows our small second floor balcony with it's only 'window' toward the beach being a narrow gap past a building on the adjoining property, with the second photo showing our actual view from the balcony.
The Hotel del Rio is located almost at the very north end of San Pedro, only one block from the San Pedro River which actually cuts the town off from the remainder of Ambergris Cay. This is at the 'rougher' end of San Pedro, where most of the locals live, but we never had any problems coming or going on our 25-minute backpack walks from and to the Water Taxi terminal located in downtown. The hotel required a one-night nonrefundable credit card deposit when I booked it, and I paid the remainder of our planned 2-night stay on our second day there.
Unique Qualities: The hotel is very nicely landscaped with palm trees (3rd photo) and it fronts onto a section of beach, with a private Hotel del Rio dock. A beach 'street' of sorts runs all along here (Boca del Rio), so the lounging area at the hotel is divided from the actual water's edge by this thoroughfare. We really enjoyed the Belizians who ran the place, and had a great afternoon chatting away one afternoon beneath the shade of their thatched roof common area (see 'Things to Do').
The room itself (4th photo) was very basic, with a double bed, one dresser, a ceiling fan and three louvered windows that did not have an air-tight closure. This, combined with a single thin blanket, led to a chilly first night's sleep as a cool and breezy spell of weather had swept in on the day we left Caye Caulker. We periodically awoke to the intermittant sound of distant dogs barking and the rattle of the nearby palm leaves in the wind. The shower was not too bad, but there seemed to be only one water temperature which was, fortunately, lukewarm!
Address: Boca del Rio, San Pedro
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: On Boca del Rio Drive, one block south of the San Pedro River
Other Contact: email@example.com
Early Morning view from Sand Box Restaurant
The Trends Beachfront Hotel in Caye Caulker has a single cabana at ground level (at the right in this photo) and a block of six double rooms, three on each floor (they also have a few non-beachfront rooms and their main office a few blocks away in mid-Caye Caulker). We had the middle room on the top, but sort of wished we had a corner room because they had hammocks slung on their outside deck, making an excellent relaxation spot. The side rooms also had the benefit of windows on a front and side wall, helping the ceiling fan to deal with the heat of the day. Still, I wasn't complaining because there was a huge private sandy area in front of the building that was available for our enjoyment down by the palm trees waving in the breezes as life passed by on the beachfront!
The Trends is owned and run by one of the local islanders, Trenton, who greeted us on our arrival from the airport. He showed us our room and gave us the key but said never mind the paperwork until tomorrow. I was surprised to learn that the Trends Hotel adjoins the Sand Box restaurant, which is also run by Trenton. That made meals very convenient as well! It was already looking relaxing, especially at only US$40 per night!
I had phoned ahead about 2 months earlier and used my credit card to confirm a room. This is not totally necessary, because there are quite a few places to stay in Caye Caulker if push comes to shove.
Unique Qualities: The hotel room itself (3rd photo) was basic with two double beds, a mini refrigerator, ceiling fan and a shower/bathroom area in a small room at the rear (which also had a window to allow a through breeze from the front louvered windows). Actually, with only a single sheet cover on the bed, our first night was a bit chilly (I guess I should not have left the ceiling fan on #2). However, that did not happen again in our final two nights as the temperatures had returned to normal. We really did enjoy our time spent at the Trends Beachfront Hotel during the daytime, check it out on my 'Things to Do' tip!
Address: At the end of the Water Taxi dock, on Front Street
Comparison: about average
Directions: On the beachfront and located in the downtown 'action' zone for restaurants, shopping and activities.
Other Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 501-226-0094 or 0307
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