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Any suitable excursions in Belize


kyriecat

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I just found out that our Grand Cayman stop will probably be changed to Belize for the Oct. 24th Rhapsody sailing. I don't know for certain yet that Grand Cayman is out, but based on the photos I've seen posted of the island, those poor people really took a beating from Ivan.

 

I'm traveling with my mom who is in a wheelchair. Are there any good places in Belize to visit? I want to have a plan in place just in case we end up there. She can transfer to a van but not climb stairs to get on a bus. I've seen postings about private tour guides with vans (Margaret, Nacho, and Reggie) but am uncertain where to go - city tour, zoo, ruins, etc. or which one is best. I think the cave tubing and snorkeling are out.

 

Anyone been who can help? My group has 6 adults to help the wheelchair along if we have a few rough spots.

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We were guests on the first ship to be deviated from a Grand Caymans adventure and taken over to Belize. We had little time to try and find an excursion and opted for walking around the pier shops and a bit around the town and I was sorry I did that. I hated it and so did my husband! It truly is a third world country. Hawkers all over the streets calling you to their tiny makeshift booths, made us both feel very uncomfortable.

 

I have had others tell me that if you don't take an excursion you won't like it there and I think they're correct.

 

Contact your cruise line and ask their advice. They are aware of what excursions can accommodate your Mom.

 

Good luck to you. I wish my folks had your Mom's courage, they won't go!

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Last spring when we were in Belize, we went to the tourist desk at the pier where they arranged for us to join a van trip going to Altun Ha. It's a long trip, particularly because the road is very bad for the last 10 miles, but not as long as the trip as to the other ruins. Although Altun Ha is not truly accessible, we were able to push my husband's wheelchair around the site with little difficulty so he could see the ruins. Of course, he could not climb the ruins as most other visitors did, but he still enjoyed it

 

The driver also gave us a tour of Belize City on the way to/from Altun Ha. There is not a lot of interest there, but it did make the ridr more interesting.

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In January, we went to Belize as as scheduled stop, and we loved it. Part of my concern with a wheelchair is that I don't think any of the ships dock -- if I remember correctly, it's strictly a tender port. We were on NCL, so that might make a difference, but getting into the tender wouldn't have been an easy experience for someone with limited mobility.

 

We went to Altun Ha, and thought it was a great experience, but I'm not too sure it would have been an easy place to push a wheelchair. Other than the ruins, the ground was relatively flat, but I don't think the paths were very smooth. Our excursion also did a tour of the city -- it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1964? and rebuilt, so most of it is fairly new. Our tour guides were excellent.

 

It's interesting how different opinions can be -- we loved shopping in the tourist village at Belize, but didn't go outside the "safe" tourist village. We found the vendors much more polite and less pushy than the ones in Cancun. We also enjoyed the fact that the communication was easier, as English is (I think) the official language of Belize. My high school spanish was too long ago to help much these days in Mexico.

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Our ship is scheduled to stop at Belize and I have also been investigating potential excursions that could accommodate mobility impaired persons (but not wheelchair bound). Based on what I have found, the best option seems to be the visit to Altun Ha, as long as your mother can transfer to a car or van. I would suggest contacting Mark Mcfield, a private guide who is an archeologist and uses his own vehicle. His contact information is on the Belize port board. He is an American who gives tours of the archeological sites and has gotten very positive reviews.

 

With a private tour/tour guide, your tour can be altered to accommodate your needs, something you won't get on the cruise line tour. Plus if you go with the cruise line, you will be in a large group and likely put on a bus.

 

If your mother can step into a boat and step out of a boat, there is also a boat ride that goes up the river to some ruins. There are private tours which offer this and also the cruise line offers it. Make sure the boat has a cover. She likely won't be able to do much at the ruins, but I understand the boat ride is quite nice.

 

The zoo has uneven paths that are mostly covered with pea gravel. Some of the paths also have weeds/vines crossing them. We really wanted to go to the zoo, but found that it would be too difficult.

 

My understanding on the snorkeling is the boats have narrow, straight ladders that don't go under the water, making it difficult for anyone who is mobility impaired to get up the ladders out of the water. Many of the boats aren't covered, so sitting and waiting would be uncomfortable for your mother. Some of the cruise lines (unfortunately not mine) also offers a catamaran snorkeling trip. This could potentially be feasible, but I strongly recommend that you check it out in advance with the cruise line shore excursion staff before you go.

 

We also considered the water taxis and going to the Caye. But it doesn't appear that many of the water taxis are covered, the ride is long, and there aren't paved pathways at the Caye, so using a wheelchair won't work and walking in sand is often very difficult for someone with mobility impairments. In addition, you have to be able to step in and out of a boat.

 

The Belize port board has some new information about a nearby resort--Coral Sands- but there is limited information about it right now. If none of these other options are appealing, you might try to get more information about that--either directly or by keep watching the Belize port board.

 

Kathy

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Thank you to everyone for the ideas. I contacted Mark McField about a tour. He replied very quickly and provided some good ideas. I am disappointed that we will probably have to miss snorkeling with the stingrays in Cayman, but the ruins in Belize also sound interesting.

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