On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from fazel2012. Show fazel2012's posts

    On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    My DH and I wanted to go somewhere tropical. This is unlike us, generally but it is not unheard of either. We started looking into Mexico because we wanted to do something cultural and thought Mayan ruins would fit the bill. I started researching and found that Belize would be more our style, and found an amazing deal on a 7 night jungle/beach adventure package in 2 family friendly hotels (while not being over the top KID geared - which is important to us).

    Is this a dumb idea? Am I asking for trouble bringing a 2 year old on a 7 day trip like that? She's a great little kid (1.5 now - will be 2 then) and she does pretty well in unfamiliar situations. What else should I consider? We will be in suites so she'll be able to sleep separately from us. Water is safe to drink in Belize. Both places got awesome reviews on travel sites.

    Help. I am on the verge of booking but need some third party evaluation. Thanks in advance!
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Go!

    I loved Belize! Granted I was only there for a day on  a day excursion from a cruise. and I'm dying to go back! Everyone there was insanely polite and just wonderful. The water was amazing. I also got some really yummy Tamarin wine.

    I'd definitely do Belize over Mexico!
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from fazel2012. Show fazel2012's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Thanks for your input KAM! Out of curiousity, did you have kids w/you?
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    No, that was pre-kid time for me.

    But I do go yearly to a resort out of the country with the kids. If it's even semi geared to kids-the resort should be fine. But you won't relax-you'll be busy chasing your LO! But that's a fun adventure in itself.

    I'm tempted to explore those Jamacia hotels that assign you a nanny for the kids when you check in...doesn't that sound nice! Another pair of eyes on the kiddos to make sure they don't get into trouble!

    I went to Belize when I was young and single-and felt very safe in the city-even though I was screaming tourist, it was only a positive vibe.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from siena09. Show siena09's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    I don't have kids but I have been to Belize!

    I thought the two hotels I stayed at wouldn't be ideal with a toddler for a couple reasons.  The jungle resort didn't have a pool, but did have swimming in the basin of a waterfall.  This required climbing down the cliffside on a large number of steep steps to reach the water, and then swimming in relatively deep water with lots of slippery rocks--not toddler friendly.  

    The beach resort in San Pedro was also not super toddler friendly.  It had a very warm, small but lovely pool with a shallow area, which would have been nice with a kid.  But the shoreline was rocky, so the ocean swimming was accessible only off a long dock from which you would dive into relatively deep water.  The ocean was relatively warm and snorkeling was great, so it was good for adults, but there wasn't a sandy shallow area for kids.  This was typical of most of the beach hotels in that area (but there may be a couple exceptions).  Most of the swimming in the area was off docks.

    Some of the activities we chose would have been ok with a toddler.  (I imagine you could see the stunning Mayan ruins, just at a slower pace, esp if the kid could be put in a pack at moments.  We also enjoyed some nature walks which weren't too strenuous, and a trip to a butterfly garden which a kid might have liked.  And the Belize zoo is fantastic--I think a toddler would love it.)  But a lot of the activities we did were probably best for older kids & adults--horseback riding, more strenuous treks, canoeing, snorkeling or diving, etc.

    Beware if walking in the jungle--they have several types of plants that are dangerous/poisonous to the touch.  It might make me a little nervous with a wandering toddler.

    They may say the water is ok, but tourists tend to drink exclusively bottled water.  Also malaria prophylaxis is recommended (although we actually didn't take it).  Make sure you have and use bed nets while staying in the jungle.

    My DH did get food poisoning on our last day, which was too bad. 

    Lastly, I would ask if your hotel has its own generator.  There was a big power outage on San Pedro while we were there, and power was out to most of the city for over 24 hours.  I imagine with a kid this would be even more challenging.  Many hotels (even nicer, mid-range places) had no generator, so no AC and no running water!!  Our hotel had its own generator, so we were pretty much unaffected.  I hadn't thought to ask about that in advance, so we were just lucky.

    have you looked into Puerto Rico?  It's a direct flight and I think it would be easier with kids.  It's safer than Mexico these days. They still have a pretty rainforest, but it's much more easily accessible. Driving there is pretty easy.  [As an aside, do NOT try to drive yourself around Belize--the roads are really terrible and it is super easy to blow a tire or hit the bottom of the jeep on the road and spring a leak and get stuck in the middle of nowhere.]  

    Back to Puerto Rico--The beaches are huge and sandy, the water is warm, and there are plenty of areas with shallow water.  There are plenty of resorts with big family-friendly pools.  Old San Juan is fun for grown-ups and would be easy to take a kid around, I think.  

    If I manage to have kids, I'd love to go back to Belize, but I'd probably wait until they were 8-10 years old and could better enjoy some of the activities.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from siena09. Show siena09's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    ETA: I saw that you are particularly interested in the ruins.  We went to Caracol, which is the biggest site in Belize.  It is stunning.  A few more notes:

    -you will probably spend at least an hour or two in a bumpy jeep getting there.  There are few, if any, hotels nearby. (Take an excursion with a guide, for your own comfort and safety.)  Once you get there, there are actually reasonably clean and well kept bathroom facilities.

    -the guide will get a military escort from the tourism police to visit the site.  they carry big guns, but everyone says it is very safe.  *shrug*

    -the site is large and spread out.  It may be very hot, and there may be a lot of mosquitos.

    -If you want to climb the pyramids (which most people do, since the view is stunning), the steps are VERY steep, so it would be a big challenge with a toddler.  I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it.    (As in, they are so steep that I climbed down them backwards, like going down a ladder, not regular stairs.)

    -it's bumpy and grassy, but you might be able to take a trail/heavy duty stroller along.  I'm not as certain about that.

    ...I'm not trying to be debbie downer, bc we LOVED it.  It was beautiful and fun, and off-the-beaten trail enough that you could feel like you had these stunning vistas and historic sites pretty much to yourself.  (We were also not there in peak season.)  I just want to be realistic about what might be challenging with a toodler.
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from framerican51008. Show framerican51008's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    That's great that you have so much info to share siena!

    I was going to say that I absolutely would take DD on such a vacation, but also be realistic about what we could accomplish with a LO in tow.  When we go tropical, we mostly like to relax and do a couple of excursions.  That seems doable with a toddler.  On the other hand, I would really love to go to Costa Rica someday and I don't think I'd do that until she's older since it would be more active.  We'll see!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from smileyd. Show smileyd's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    We took our oldest to Costa Rica when she was about 1.5 and it was great.  We rented a car, stayed at a resort anddrove all over the country.  Definitely doable as long as you are flexible and willing to be adventurous with your kid.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from fazel2012. Show fazel2012's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Thanks so much everyone for your feedback and helpful information! We actually took the plunge and booked it yesterday. We have a month to change our minds so I feel comfortable with it.

    KAM - an assigned nanny? I've never heard of that but it sounds lovely! Depending on how DD is doing, both resorts have babysitting services if we want to do anything on the more adventurous side that she is too young for. I would want her to be really comfortable though. But that is something I wish we could do - ziplining and jumping from waterfalls and whatnot.

    Siena - thanks for all the good tips! I will check about the generator. Both places have pools and there are even some kids in some of the pictures. We are staying in the Hopkins area for the beach portion and I hear they have the most stunning beaches in Belize.
    Also, thanks for the info on the ruins! I am hoping it is stroller friendly. We were actually thinking about going on an excursion to Tikal, in Guatamala. I am researching it. It is supposed to be the most amazing of all the mayan sites.

    Totally agree that we have to be flexible. We are going to Canada (Montreal and Quebec City) and a couple nights in ME in a little over a week. That will be the test to see if we can handle it! Although I'm guessing she will be a lot different at almost 2 than she is now. But we already know that we have to be flexible w/schedules and eating and all of that.

    Thanks again everyone for all the info - and encouragement! Not one of you told me I've lost my mind, so thank you. :)

    If anyone else wants to chime in, I'd love some more tips! Thanks!
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from siena09. Show siena09's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    great--hope you enjoy it, fazel!  We loved Belize. It's a beautiful country and everyone is really friendly. If you are staying somewhere rural, they will have their own generator.  (There's no power grid in the jungle.)  I think it would be a bigger problem if you are staying near a town/city, and they are relying on that grid.

    Tikal is supposed to be lovely too.  We chose Caracol because it is a shorter drive (2 hours from our lodge rather than 4-5 hours), less expensive, and less crowded. I hear that the excavation of Tikal is more complete, but we felt there was a ton to see at Caracol and it was gorgeous.  Guatemala is supposed to be a little less safe than Belize, but it's probably fine at the tourist site. Anyway, I'm sure they are both amazing and you don't necessarily have to decide in advance.  We booked all our excursions once we were there.  


     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Reading about the bumpy jeep ride made me think of motion sickness. Even if none of you suffer from it generally, you might under those conditions, also during takeoff, landing, and rough flights. Maybe speak to your pedi ahead of time about what is safe and effective in that regard for her age. GL with all your travels!
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from siena09. Show siena09's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Ok, last thing, and then I'll shut up.  (Sorry, I <3 trip planning, if you can't tell already.)

    Bring a flashlight and watch out for fire ants.  We had a nasty encounter with a fire ant hill on our first night in the jungle, when we were walking on the path from our cabana to the restauarant for dinner.  Then we learned!  Luckily we had packed two flashlights, and so we used them from then on.  Flashlights also came in handy when we were walking through the streets of San Pedro after dark during the power outtage, since all the street lights were out, sidewalks are sometimes nonexistent, and the cars and golf carts and bicycles (the latter two often without lights on them) were undeterred.
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    The multi-led style flashlights are very light, compact, and bright...great for travel!
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    My DD suffers from motion sickness. When she was 18 month old we had to drive to Canada so I sewed the child size SeaBands into her fleece jacket. They worked great and she didn't fuss with them since they were sewn in.
    Technically they are rated 3 and up because the little pressure point button "could" be a choking hazard. I can't imagine anyone being able to pull it off the wrist band - but there you have it.

    If I were going to the carribean I'd be sure to get those rash guard type bathings suits for babies. So much better than trying to reapply sunscreen all the time. I got sun poisioning the first time I ever went to Mexico even with sunscreen. Ended up with a horrible itchy rash.
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Yup, vacation Nanny! http://www.fdrholidays.com/vacation-nanny/ Part of me thinks it would be devine, other part would never be able to let go of my controlling ways with the kids. But having done vacation resorts every year since DS joined us, you never get to relax by the pool anymore! But again, that's part of the fun! But seriously, a cocktail pool side sounds wonderful to me...

    Rash guard bathing suits are a must! Though DS is such a skinny mini that we only put it on after he gets out of the water-otherwise he'd be shivering in no time in the water.

    In a month we are off to Orlando...we will do a park one day, then explore other times. In the past we've gone down to Ft. Lauderdale and done an everglade tour-AWESOME. At the end of it was a demonstration of alligator wrestling-though our demonstrator wasn't the *best* he was missing a finger (not from our show) and was bleeding by the end of our show... So even going to FL you can not be totally disney oriented.

    Though Costa Rica is on my list! Everyone I know whose been there has looked at buying real estate there...
     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from fakinbacon. Show fakinbacon's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Also, I'm not a mom, but bought my cousin one of those child carrier backpacks...like the hiking type, with adjustable straps and a hip strap.  She LOVED it for both of her young boys, and even still uses it with the 14 month old while her 28 month old does his thing. Sometimes the 28 month old uses it too if he gets tired and she can hold the little guy.  They also stand upright with a child in it, which one of my friends didn't realize...just an FYI.  Makes it easier for loading, unloading the baby.  Something like that might come in more handy for you than a stroller for some of the harder to access sites.  Plus, you may not want to leave a stroller hanging out somewhere while you take your DD to an attraction.  I'm not saying it will, but it could get stolen.

    This is essentially what I got her, but the older model (I like this even better as it has a detatchable day pack it seems):
    http://www.amazon.com/Kelty-Pathfinder-Child-Carrier-Legion/dp/B005F5LY0K/ref=dp_ob_title_sports 

    On that note though, I've been to both Costa Rica and Jamaica, and have gone "off the beaten path" for both and I must say, it's always been an amazing experience for me.  I believe CR and Belize are similar, and you will have an amzing time.  We also had a fire ant issue in CR & Jamaica, as well as a leaf cutter ant issue in CR...so just watch where you are stepping...those little bugs hurt.

    One other note, I've found they work on what we call "Island Time" (even though CR is not an island) so make sure when eating you either have a snack for your DD or you sit before she's hungry because generally it takes a while to get food.  At the major resorts it's not always a problem, but when going to the awesome local recommended joints (and I do recommend that, which are SO much less expensive on top of it being yummy local non-resort food) it can take some time.

    You are going to have a blast!!!  
     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from freerocks. Show freerocks's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    I have not been to Belize but do travel frequently with my one year old. 

    It sounds like a backpack for the wee one like fakinbacon suggested (there are many types with storage included on the bottom (or not) etc etc etc) is the perfect idea. Our daughter loves ours, sleeps in it and it is surprisingly not too heavy. 

    Perhaps a soft sling (Mei Tai for example) if your toddler is willing, can be an option and is easier to pack. The backpacks need to be checked, if that is a concern - oversized luggage and will come out where skiis and buggies come out if you do not get it at the airplane door.

    Additionally, I have found if you search well, you can find places that rent baby things, though I understand safety concerns as they are actually supporting your child. Perhaps borrow one if you don't feel you will use it more than just this trip. 

    I can't wait to hear how it all goes! Have fun!


     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from fazel2012. Show fazel2012's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Thanks again everyone. Fakinbacon/freerocks - Love the look of that backpack thing (well, actually not really - just looks like it would work really well). It's so expensive though! I'm not sure I could convince my DH to go in for that. :) We actually have a hand me down one that is from LL Bean or something but we've never used it. Maybe we'll pack that along.

    KAM - that does sound amazing. I am the same way though - don't think I could give up DD to someone else for that long. :)

    Siena - thanks again for all the info. We will definitely bring a flash light or two. I don't think the place we are staying in the jungle offers trips to Caracol. They do Tikal and some other local place (including ATM) but I don't remember any mention of Caracol - I just google imaged it though and it looks amazing.  Pls don't feel a need to 'shut up'! :) I really appreciate your input.

    Misslily - I don't think my DD has motion sickness - although it does run in the family on DH's side (is it genetic??). We shall see what happens w/ our trip next week.

     Anyone have any suggestions on bringing/not bringing a PNP? That's what she sleeps in now when we travel. I haven't inquired about a crib yet at the places we are staying in. Can an almost 2 year old sleep in a bed? Both places are suites and have extra beds in them. Should we just have her sleep w/us? I don't love that idea. Or just lug a PNP along?
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from KAM2007. Show KAM2007's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    Sounds like you booked it! yay.

    They should have a pnp there for you to request. I'd inquire about that. if she's okay with sleeping in that go for it. if not, they have these inflatable bed bumpers http://www.amazon.com/BedBugz-Portable-Bed-Bolster-Blue/dp/B000KYJ2E6/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1345557914&sr=8-4&keywords=inflatable+bed+bumpers that would be easy to pack and you can put her in the bed. At 2 DS was in a big boy bed, so when traveling we had in him a twin bed. Never thought to get these... He's only fallen out of bed once, this past summer trip, and thankfully it was a short way down...he was more shocked by the situation than anything else.

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from fakinbacon. Show fakinbacon's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    You know, I don't know if they offer those child carriers specifically, but both REI and Eastern Mountain Sports offer equipment rentals.  I've used both of their services many times for myself when I really don't want to spring the crazy money for a new pack or sleeping bag, and I've always had great luck.  Maybe you can call and ask?  REI has even taken a brand new pack from their store for me to rent because I was too small to fit into the packs they had at hand.  Also, the equipment is always the best quality and very clean, they are very thorough.

    However if you have an LL Bean one that may just work perfectly too.  Again, I don't have a baby yet, but I would highly recommend you try it out with her first to make sure both you, she and dad are okay with using it before you take it along with you.  That could take up valuable space for souvenirs!
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Peduncle72. Show Peduncle72's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    We took our daughter to Belize when she was 5 months old. We did a sailing trip, so it was a little more secluded, but honestly, it was a terrific time. You wont regret it.
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from eafzali. Show eafzali's posts

    Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?

    No you're not crazy at all! We went to Belize this past March with our almost 21 mo old. We didn't stay on the mainland but instead opted for Ambergris Caye. My only gripe about the trip is that it took about 12 hrs to get there. Boston - Newark - Belize - Ambergris Caye (delay with the puddle jumper). She loved the beach time and the pool time every day. The mainland has a zoo and a butterfly farm which I heard was really good.

    The resort we stayed at offered PnP's if requested and they did laundry for us every day. She ended up sleeping in bed with us most nights which was fine.

    One tip though, don't buy the cow's milk there - it's not fresh. We went looking for whole milk for our LO but most is expired and still sitting in the fridges. In a lot of countries outside the US, they have milk in cartons on the shelf kind of like soy milk. It tastes a little sweeter then what we're used to but it's all they had so we bought it. She didn't seem to mind it so that's what she drank all week aside from water bottles. Also, there are a lot of grocery stores that cater to Americans. You can order groceries, pay a nominal fee and have it delivered to your hotel so that's what we did for fresh fruit, milk, juice. Bring snacks/cereal from home since it's really expensive to buy there.

    Enjoy your trip!!
     

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