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#253661 - 11 September 18 6:48 am - America/Chicago self vs guided tour
RMath7 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 14 January 18
Posts: 13
Loc: Ohio
We will be in Belize Sept 20-27 and will have a SUV the whole trip. We are staying in Hopkins but want to see some of the ruins especially Caracol and Xunantunich. Are these tours we can do self guided or should we do a tour?

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#253662 - 11 September 18 9:52 am - America/Chicago Re: self vs guided tour [Re: RMath7]
GZboat Offline

**

Registered: 18 June 06
Posts: 2518
Loc: Tarpon Springs, Fl./Copper Ban...
Until recently, you had get permission to be part of a convoy going into Caracol, because it is so remote (and because of some banditry incidents). I'm not sure if that is still true or not. Hopefully Katie Valk or Mary Toy will see this thread. They will know the current situation and requirements. For a very large site like Caracol, I would definitely recommend a guide. You'll simply get more out of the experience than doing it on your own. The best guide services are very knowledgeable and work with the Government of Belize's Archaeology Department to make sure the information they share is thorough, accurate, and up-to-date. It'll be a richer experience with a good guide.
I've toured Lamanai two times, both with guides, Xunantunich once without a guide, and Cerros Maya three or four times on my own. I'm very glad I went to Lamanai with guides. Both times the experiences were thoroughly worthwhile, and a bit different (different companies, different guides). Xunantunich is a very self-guided-friendly site, but if I had to do it again, I'd have gone with a guide the first time. If you don't opt for a guide there, do spend a LOT of time in the visitor center museum before entering the site proper. You'll get a lot of information about what you'll see (and what to look out for). I did it wrong, did it backwards. I skipped the visitor center until my way out. I would have known way more if I'd spent time in there first.
Cerros Maya is kind of a special case as it's just a mile or so from my Belize house. I can ride a bicycle there easily, so it's something to do on a moments notice. After several visits there, I've learned a good bit about the place, but it's taken time.
All up, I'd recommend going with a guide, at least the first time, to pretty much any archaeological site. Just make sure you get one of the really good ones. I'd avoid the guides that work with the cruise ship lines. It's not that they aren't necessarily the best, but their tours can become cattle calls if a cruise ship is in port.
Greg

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#253663 - 11 September 18 9:50 pm - America/Chicago Re: self vs guided tour [Re: RMath7]
D InTheShade Offline

**

Registered: 01 February 08
Posts: 978
Loc: Calgary, Mile 5 Southern Hwy
Well said, hire a guide first time for sure.
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