Best Excursion in Belize?

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12,916 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Originally posted by brendrek
I guess everyone has a different experience but we found Cave Tubing dot com horrible. Our guide made homophobic jokes/commments on our bus ride over, which I didn't appreciate. Then we had to wear nasty old life jackets that smelled. You have to hike what seems like miles through the humid rainforest. When you finally get there they link you up feet to armpits with strangers. They pull you through a shallow rocky stream in a big double doughnut chain. You can't see much because of the lying back position with the life jacket restricting head movement, and weak headlamps. Don't forget to lift your backside or you will be black and blue from hitting rocks. One word...never again!
Thank you for your post. So often, people ignore the bad and only report glowing reviews and that gives the reader such a one-sided viewpoint.
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159 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
Originally posted by ratherbtruckin
We were on the Carnival Legend Jan. 2011 and did the River Wallace/Altun Ha ruins trip. We loved it and both felt it was the best of all excursions we've ever been on. The boat ride up River Wallace was incredible. About 1/2 way up the 20 miles it gets quite remote and we felt like we were in the Amazon. There was even a guy poling an actual dugout canoe along the edge fishing. Loved the iguanas, crocs, and howler monkeys we saw. The lunch, at a resort where you transfer from the boat to the bus, was a really neat experience, and cost about $6 person. We walked around the resort (Black Orchid Resort in Burrell Boom) and it was beautiful. We'd love to go stay there. The bus ride to Altun Ha (about 1/2 hour) and then back to the city after Altun Ha (about 1 hr) was amazing. It was really something to see the houses, markets, roadside stands, and schools. Especially loved the armed checkpoint we had to go through. Glad we were on the ship sponsored shore excursion at that point. The ruins were really awesome and we spent about 1 1/2 hrs. there, which was enough. I could have explored a little longer, but it was fine. What an experience!! Can't recommend it enough.
We are considering this excursion for our January 2013 Cruise on the Legend and your review may have sealed it! We are big time beach people but looking for something different in at least one of the ports. It sounds like a great opportunity to see some ruins which we have never done and see some of Belize as well.
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New Orleans
12 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
Cruising is wonderful but be careful. When you get exposed to the country like we did, you may not want to cruise next time. There is so much to see and do you just may want to spend a week on the ground or in Ambergris Caye on the beach.

We used David with Dave's Eco Tours and he acted as our chauffer and personal guide. See something interesting on the way to the ruins? No problem, it's your vehicle. Pull over and enjoy it. Unfortunately, David can only excort one client per cruise ship. We hope you get him.
Hudson, Florida
335 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by askimdog
We found belize, this past January, to be one of our favorite stops of all our cruises. As usual we tried to do something I like, the wife likes and educate the kiddo ( age 7).

We had a private guide hired and had him take us to a local store to buy some local foods and some local liquor ( way cheaper than the Duty Free shops in the Tourism Village). Then for me, we toured the state of the art Belikin brewery in Ladyville. We than had the driver take us to his neighborhood in Ladyville and chatted with locals. Then we headed back into Belize City. Here we checked out great architecture, wandered some streets with our guide and then asked him to find us a place that serves gibnut. We found a nice little shack out of the way, a little open air diner which served the royal rat...fantastic. We also visited a local school.

Then we headed back to the Tourism Village, wandered around but it seemed well... touristy. Since my daughter and I studied Belize before the trip, we all wandered into town some more, chatted away with very fun locals. It looks a bit rough, but all were kind. I wanted to show my daughter how the city was since we live in a very rural location.

We want to head back to Belize, next time seeing ruins, jungles or beaches, but we did enjoy the city much.

Can you tell me who you hired?? I want to do this with my 7 year old, plus I am taking some school suplies for the kids.
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Chantilly, VA
117 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Originally posted by suzinva
We did the Mayan Ruins/River Wallace tour and LOVED it! The ruins were great, and the boat ride down the river was a lot of fun. We saw lots of crocs, howler monkeys, iguanas and manatee. Picked up right at the dock, dropped you off right at the dock. Depending on the ages of your kids, they may not be old enough for the cave tubing. And I had a VERY BAD experience with a local operator (years ago) so just be very careful that your operator is reputable. Mine was, but they were overbooked and "outsourced" our guide. It was a horrific experience (funny, now) so just be careful

We will be cruising on the Carnival Legend in Dec and are planning to do this same excursion in Belize. Did you do this excursion with Carnival or with a local tour?
Carrollton, Texas (dfw)
2,657 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by DGP1111
One ship excursion often overlooked but totally teriffic . . . .

what ships offer this?
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Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by 1cricket
Ok I've read about two cave tubing yours. Charlie Chans and tours. Which one is best?

Hi Here is my two We used VIV tours in August when we went and they were great. When you are walking up to where you get in the river the guide told us about the history of some plants and people. ALSO during this whole time you are NOT carrying a tube as they have already placed them at the top of the climb. The whole time walking and seeing other groups having to carry theirs was WOW so Thankful I am not crarrying one, as is it a steady climb up and no extra weight to carry as I have enough already..LOL

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Joined Feb 2008
Has anyone taken a water taxi to Caye Caulker island? there is a place there called the Lazy Lizard that looked kinda laid back. Trip Advisor had good reviews on it. Just wondering thanks.
5,023 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by scgamecock
Cave tubing through VIV Tours was the best! Half the price of Carnival's tour and you get to tube further & longer. Also, they are the only ones that have the nice locking inter-tubes where you don't have to lock your feet underneath someones armpits.
We used VIV back in April. Wonderful tour, great inner tubes, but the most important thing to me was the feet under the armpit thing. So gross. VIV connect tubes with ropes and carabiners.
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Pittsford New York
117 Posts
Joined Mar 2001
Was wondering who your private guide was? This is something we would like to do. Did you get the guide when you got off the ship or was it pre arranged? Thanks Judy
New Orleans
12 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
We found David Chan while vacationing in Belize a year age. Friendly, informative and extremely caring...David was perfect for us. We recently went to Belize on Norwegian Cruise Lines and the first person we contacted after the reservations were confirmed was David.

He will consult with you and put together a trip that takes into consideration your activity level, interests and his knowledge of Belize. David speaks perfect english and is extremely knowledgeable of Belize and its Creole and Mayan cultures.

I suggest you call David and get introduced early on. You can contact David by going directly to his website (google Dave's Eco Tours) or by going to Trip Advisor at

Tell him that Craig & Debra in New Orleans sent you.
1,487 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
I cannot comment on the quality of tours with David. But I, personally, don't care for the cancellation policy stated on their website:

Full payment is due in order to confirm your tour. A 50% refund will be granted if cancelation is received in 2 days or
( 48 hrs) or more, prior to departure. There will be no refund if cancellation is received less than 2 days or (48 hrs)
prior to departure. Dave’s Eco Tour’s reserved the right to cancel any tour prior to departure under circumstances that
may make operation of tour or (trip) in advisable. All tour’s payment which were received will be promptly refund.
This cancellation policy applies to any reason for cancellation. Personal issues, air line delay.
17 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
We used Vitals company. While our tour guide was wonderful I don't think we would use them again. They boasted that they tied your tubes together with rope, we were the only group that hand our feet under the shoulders of the person in front of you. So we were all in a straight line. We couldn't hear anything he was saying and it made for a very uncomfortable ride.
My son is 10 and he kept falling through the bottom of his tube and ultimately had to do the whole tour sitting on the lap of his sister.
And the entire place was filled to capacity of tubers. Very very loud and we often had to wait for some groups to move before we could.
The lunch was awesome.
This is a good excursion however choose wisely the company you use.
On the way to the caves we went through the worst side of Belize.
I'm not sure it's a place I would go back to because we never saw anything but the rough side of town. Maybe a Eco tour or something next time.
Hope this helps.
New Orleans
12 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
For all of you who are booking shore excursions please be aware that the cruise lines have non-refundable excursion packages. They book guides and guarantee a certain number of tourists.

Likewise, more reputable guides, like Dave's Eco Tours require a commitment that can be non-refundable as your tour date approaches.. Understand that with a private guide, you have booked a person and a vehicle for the day. If you don't show up on the dock, the guide has experienced significant financial loss.

With a group tour, if one of the thirty people don't show up it isn't that big a deal. With a private tour it is.

In my dealings with David Chan (2 tours), I have found him to be more than reasonable with his booking policies. He's just a nice person who loves showing off his country. If you find you are sick or just can't go on the tour, call him. I'm sure he will work with you.

I would suggest that if you feel that you are likely to cancel your day, do not book a cruise based tour or a private tour. Rather, book with a group tour company on shore. They can afford it.

Feel free to email me direct at [email protected] if you have questions or concerns.