2 independent reviews for Mexico, Belize and Guatemala holiday

Reviews for Mexico, Belize and Guatemala holiday

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review 13 Aug 2015

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It is hard to define the best part: the hike up San Pedro volcano nearly killed us, but the view and feeling of achievement was well worth the effort; the Mayan sites of Tikal and Caracol were just incredible as well as giving us a real experience of jungle wildlife; caving through Barton Creek and Actun Tunichil Muknal blew us away with the fantastic geology and archaeological remains; San Pedro gave us holiday downtime in the pool; Caye Caulker and the snorkelling trips were just tropical paradise! And we fell in love with Antigua during our tour around with Jose. Each part giving us more wonders and memories to take away.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Practice walking uphill before embarking on the volcano hike! Take a Spanish phrasebook for Guatemala if your Spanish is as bad as ours. Lots of bug repellent. Many memory cards for photos, I think my son took 950 photos. Take a waterproof, the rains when they come are phenomenal. Wifi is around but don't rely on it -use the phone as a camera, leave your email behind. Have faith in your guides, they are brilliant and know their stuff.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We were so impressed with our guides; the super-fit Diego up the volcano, our cultural historian Jose around Antigua, Melvin and his hawk-eyes seeking wildlife around Tikal, Pedro who drove us in Guatemala and the fantastic and incredibly knowledgeable Javier in Belize. We would not have appreciated Guatemala and Belize without them. The local hotels were varied and pleasant to stay in and worked to reduce their environmental impact. All in all we thought that the knowledge that local guides brought was superb. Thanks also to Lily for regularly checking we were okay and for Raul in Belize for dealing with water taxis between Belize City and San Pedro. So yes, we felt that using local guides who were aware about the conservation and environmental issues of their locality was beneficial. Eating local food and using local hotels, we also felt that we were supporting the tourism trade in a responsible way. For a while, we felt we belonged in Guatemala and Belize.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic. My teenage, and somewhat well-travelled children have rated it as the best holiday ever. My partner and me cannot fault the planning and logistics that must have gone on to ensure we were always picked up on time, had amazing guides and hotel rooms which were as varied as the places we visited. Thank you to the holiday provider in London and Martsam Travel in Guatemala and Belize for all the work that must have gone on in order to allow us to have such an amazing time.

Read the operator's response here:

Hi Alex, I'm delighted that you and your family had such a good time in Central America with us. Thank you for taking the time to leave such lovely feedback. We work hard to select the best operators on the ground to ensure that you will have the trip of a lifetime and we hope to see you on another trip with us soon. Kind regards, Zoe Tailor-made Travel Specialist

review 26 Jun 2014

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

The morning spent at Tikal in Guatemala was excellent. This activity is definitely best done in the early morning light as it gets very warm and less pleasant to walk in the jungle after 10am.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

This is quite a short tour for the distance covered. I would suggest looking at tours staying at least 2 nights in most places in order to really get a sense of the country and culture

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Somewhat. The use of local transport in some instances certainly did however there was not much evidence of conservation support in the local communities and in fact the snorkelling trip in Belize was, in some ways, detrimental to the wildlife with artificial feeding and the animals being "encouraged" or as I think of it, harrassed, to display themselves.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Good - I would certainly consider other organised holidays of this type in the future.

Read the operator's response here:

Thanks for your review. I would like to explain the snorkelling that is offered in Belize in more detail. It is not included in this tour and is an optional excursion only, although it is mentioned in the itinerary text as something we are happy to help passengers organise. That said, we choose which companies we recommend to our travellers very carefully and ensure they comply with local conservation laws. I believe the optional excursion you are is referring to is the snorkelling out of Caye Caulker. There is an area called 'shark ray alley' where it is possible to throw a fish in the water for the nurse sharks and rays that congregate in this area. All snorkelling companies go to this location making it impossible to recommend a company that avoids it. As the boat moves on to Hol Chan Reserve which is a strictly protected area, guidelines are followed to the highest possible standard. No food is thrown in the water and groups are not allowed to approach or get to close to the marine life here. There are rangers present to observe the snorkelling companies and ensure compliance. There are turtles all over the reserve and a respectful distance is always maintained. As a company we do not actively or knowingly recommend any third party operator that we believe is operating outside the law or in an irresponsible way.

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