The Ramada Reef Hotel (which is now the Princess) was my favorite hotel in Belize City, and since I had already stayed there and knew about it, but it was diffcult for me to find it on the internet, so what about the tourist who is looking for a hotel but has never been in the country before? But I found an even better hotel for Belize City, see following.
Based on our visit to Belize City in January 2000, we recommend the Radisson Fort George as the best hotel in the city.
Because there are no revolutions in this country it has taken the lead in tourism. Belize is a popular vacation destination for people from all over the world.
My favorite places to visit in Belize are the Maya sites in the far south, by Punta Gorda. A lovely jungle inn was finished near the ruins of Lubantun but I was unable to find any information about that hotel on the Internet.
For backpackers in Punta Gorda I recommend Nature's Way Guest House. Otherwise I suggest the St. Charles Inn. All are modest and basic, but the owners of these two places are family people and live on the premises.
When crossing over from the Mexican border I have tended to stay at Tony's, in Corozal, because they have a more protected parking area, tel. (501) 422-2055, fax: Fax: (501) 422-2829, Email: email@example.com, Website: www.tonysinn.com. You can rent boat and capitan to visit nearby ruins of Cerros across the Bay. Elsewhere (out on the street or highway) your car may be broken into. Breakins to tourist cars also reported by people visiting ruins of Santa Rita de Corozal.
Of all the many wonderful lodges in Belize, the fanciest that I have had a chance to experience personally is Chan Chich, USA tel 1-800 343-8009, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Other famous lodges can be found but I have not yet had the opportunity to sample them.
Near Altun Ha I recommend Maruba Resort and Jungle Spa tel: 501 225 5555, email: email@example.com. A more economical place is near the bridge outside of Orange Walk Town. I have stayed at the Chula Vista north of town--owner and family are pleasant and helpful, basic but clean and safe.
In Orange Walk Town, if someone offers to "protect" your car while you go in to a restaurant, be sure to pay this "insurance." It will cost you far more to repair the ice pick holes in your tires otherwise. If you come from urban areas of the USA you will be familiar with the protection scam. Just consider it as a cultural experience, but be sure to report incidents to local police, to your local embassy, and to the Belize Tourist office. If the authorities do not realize how rampant this scam is, they will not be encouraged to combat it. As long as you are "street wise," then you are all set for your experiences in this fascinating country.
In general, however, you can look forward to a wonderful time in Belize. I can go from one end of the country to another and still get waves and smiles from the many people I have met while doing archaeological research or leading tour groups. On the subject of tour groups, realize that Belize has a new law requiring a licensed Belize guide to accompany all groups.This is one of many factors which results in making Belize the most expensive travel destination in the Maya area, almost 200% more expensive in lodging and 300% more costly in taxi fare. I personally still enjoy visiting Belize and have brought many friends to learn and love the country and its diverse population.
Near Belmopan my favorite place to stay is the Banana Bank Ranch. Their jaguar provides memorable photographs to show back home. Phone Tel: (501) 820-2020, fax (501) 820-2026, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Belize City itself I have stayed at the Fort Street (not to be confused with the Fort George Hotel several blocks away). Fort Street, however, has only shared bath. Their evening meal, though, is a nice alternative to hotel fare elsewhere (tel 501 2 30116; of course be sure to come and go in a cab, as for everywhere in Belize City). Unfortunately, the ugliest concrete building in Belize just was constructed directly across the street, totally ruining the quaint British colonial atmosphere of this street. As a result we checked ou the Big House, several blocks away. The area of the Big House is still romantic. The Big House appears to be slightly more upscale as well.
My original personal favorite in Belize City, however, was definitely the Ramada Royal Reef. This modern hotel is worth its asking price. This fine hotel changed hands and was the Fiesta Inn. This hotel is now the Princess Hotel and Casino. Website: www.princessbelize.com. Since the Princess was under renovation recently (Jan 2000), I stayed in the Radisson Fort George instead (Belize City). The Fort George is definitely improved now, over when I first knew it several decades ago. The service and service personnel are polite, friendly, and helpful. Our room was wonderful.
Since Belize is famous for Maya archaeology, be sure to visit the various Maya ruins. Keep in mind that it is illegal to buy artifacts (and equally illegal to bring them into the United States). Besides, most of what you will be offered are clever forgeries. Respect the national historical patrimony of Belize, and stick with purchasing native handicrafts, T-shirts, and other items which you can find throughout the country.
Most of the people heading for Belize will go diving. I recommend Captain Morgan's Retreat for Ambergris Caye. Their telephone number in the USA is 1-888 653-9090, e-mail email@example.com, web site: www.belizevacation.com. I tend to recommend only hotels where I have stayed myself and naturally only hotels that were pleasant.
Further south go for Rum Point Inn, owned and operated by Corol and George Bevier for over two decades, in Belize, 501 523-3239.