Once we bought our tickets and knew the beginning and end of our honeymoon trip, we got to work on the destinations. In looking at the map, it seemed like the best route was to stay in Cancun a few days, cross into Belize and go down to the Cayes before heading into Belizean jungle, going over to Tikkal and ending up in Antigua, Guatemala. It kind of looked like this: Roem really wanted a nice hotel room for our first few nights so I researched Cancun and was just really hesitant to stay there after reading about the touristy
nature of the area. We decided to stay right outside of Cancun in Playa del Carmen and booked a 4 star hotel room for about $110 on Expedia. Our room was at Casa Ticul, a well appointed, adults-only boutique hotel that was well situated to the beach, restaurants and shopping. It is highly rated on tripadvisor, which is our go to travel review website and we felt pretty confident that our budget accommodations would be luxurious and relaxing.
The next leg of the trip was traveling from Playa del Carmen to a destination in the Belizean Cayes. We knew the pricey flight from Cancun to Belize City was out, but Roem was resistant to taking a long dusty bus ride that would eat into our limited vacation time. We decided to avoid a 12 hour trip to Belize City and instead take a bus to the border town of Corozal before taking the early morning ferry to the Cayes the next day. We chose Corozal instead of the more popular crossing at Chetumal, because most reviews seemed to agree that Corozal was a charming little town with better accommodations. We both decided that the night’s hotel would be a budget accommodation and we chose the Mirador Hotel for its convenient location and small price tag of $40.
As for the Belizean Cayes, we had heard Ambergris Caye was beautiful, but we were craving a more off the beaten path destination for our honeymoon. A friend of mine had traveled to Caye Caulker a few years ago and raved about this secluded, sleepy village. I did some reading on the wikitravel site and was
bewitched by the description of Caye Caulker as “popular with backpackers and budget travelers for its (relatively) cheap prices, laid-back vibe, and abundance of restaurants and bars.” I had also heard there was a popular bakery on the island that baked fresh cinnamon rolls each morning and that lobster was reasonably priced in July, so that sealed the deal for both of us.
There are very few hotels on Caye Caulker and the one that stood out to us right away was the Seaside Cabanas for its laid back vibe, beautiful rooms and excellent reviews. Because we saved money on our room in Corozal, we could afford the $125 price tag for three nights. Caye Caulker was also said to have more affordable dining and recreation options, so we knew our budget would go further by staying there than one of the more pricier islands. A comparable room in Ambegris Caye would have cost us about 60% more so we ended up with more money to put into our beer fund.
To get back onto the mainland from the Cayes, we had to take a ferry to Belize City and then another bus to our destination in the Cayo Region of Belize. For this stop, I had dreams of a romantic hidden property that would be cut off from the rest of the world where we could enjoy each other and have some amazing food. It was only a short search until I found the place that fit the bill and I knew I had to find money in the budget to stay at Table Rock Lodge. The website described
Table Rock as “a sustainable lodge in a canopied rainforest setting unlike any other in the Cayo District of Belize” and it looked like the ultimate honeymoon destination. It was about a half an hour from the main town so all-inclusive meal options were available and every review raved about the quality of the food. There were a few other lodges that looked beautiful so I waffled on this decision for a few days but ultimately went with Table Rock Lodge because of their timely email responses and exceptional customer service. We booked the Aracari Room for $95.00 a night and added the breakfast and dinner option for $29.00 a person. A full review will come in a later post but if you are considering traveling to this area of the world at all, please book a few nights at Table Rock. It was easily the highlight of our entire trip.
Upon leaving the Cayo District, we planned on heading into Guatemala to tour the Tikal ruins. There are only two options near Tikal and both get average reviews and tend to be pricey. We booked a room at a budget hotel in a good location called Hotel Santana because there really wasn’t one a stellar option in our price range. The Hotel Santana was $50 and we figured our room would only be used to sleep in considering the main objective in Flores, Guatemala was to see the ruins.
Our inexpensive hotel in Flores, left us with a little extra money for the last few nights of our honeymoon in Antigua. We were both really excited to end our trip in Antigua as we’d heard it was a magnificent city with lots of attractions. We decided to leave our accommodations open and gauge our budget a few days ahead of time before we booked a hotel. We did not know at the time that we were visiting this ancient town during a religious festival and most hotels had been booked for weeks. This led to an experience that included one of the worst hostel rooms in my entire life and one of the most beautiful hotel rooms I have ever stayed in. More on that experience in our next installment of the Booking An Affordable Honeymoon.