Re: On the subject of vacations - anyone ever been to Belize? With a 2 YO? Am I crazy?
posted at 8/15/2012 3:18 PM EDT
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.