Belize Customer Reviews

We are very proud of the feedback that we get from our trips and are pleased to share reviews from past travellers. These are kept as up to date as possible. Please have a read through to get a real sense of the kind of experience that you might have on a family trip to Belize.

Steering boat on Belize family adventure holiday

Carpenter Family (with children aged 7 & 9)

Travelled  Easter 2024
The flight via the States worked well – it was fun to have a meal out in Atlanta and you were right about it avoiding major jet lag. Arrival at Belize City – v easy journey to Lamanai. The 1hr 15 min speed boat along the river to the Lamanai lagoon was absolutely amazing (little touches like being provided with a delicious picnic lunch when we got into our car were fab). Stunning scenery, passing Mennonites fishing and amazing birds. We absolutely loved the lodge at Lamanai. Rooms were great. We loved all the activities – the Mayan ruins were empty apart from our group and a perfect amount for the kids.

The guides at the lodge were great – so knowledgeable and friendly. We enjoyed our trip into the village to be shown around and to make tortillas. Food was amazing – only complaint was the portions were huge so there was a lot of waste (but we liked that it was a set menu so we all had to try foods we wouldn’t have necessarily chosen from a menu). It was a great first destination as it had the wow factor but was also very comfortable and meant we could get over jet lag.

The journey to Caye Caulker was straightforward (we managed to get the earlier boat than had been scheduled). It was very busy as we travelled on Easter Sunday so hoards of locals were heading over to party for the holidays. This meant the first night in particular was very noisy. By Monday evening though, the island was much calmer and the rest of our stay was great.

The penthouse we were in was incredible and it was nice to have our own space, Air con and a washing machine. We loved the snorkelling trip. Our kids were initially very nervous but overcame their fears and had a great time swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays etc. Warning to others – there was little shade on the boat so even when reapplying sun cream we all came home incredibly pink.

We used the hotel’s bikes and loved exploring the island. I had been here in 2003 so it was interesting to see it again – it has retained the same feel, still rough around the edges! We enjoyed eating out at Maggie’s and an afternoon at the Lazy Lizard at the Split.

The journey to Black Rock Lodge was quite long (and it sure is bumpy on the last section) but all our drivers were great and very knowledgeable. We loved our stay here – it’s a special part of the world. It really is in the middle of nowhere and so untouched. The views of the river and rocky backdrop were breathtaking and the howler monkeys in the distance made it feel like a scene from Jurassic Park.

We saw tarantulas on the night walk, incredible fireflies, iguanas, snakes and so much more. My only grievance would be that I don’t feel that they made it very clear about what the activities were that were on offer (or maybe we just didn’t have a very good induction), there was certainly less ‘included in the package’ activities compared to Lamanai but we loved exploring – we hiked up to the caves, had fun on the rope swim and river rapids with the tubes and of course cooling off in the spring water pool.

The food was also delicious (and again, a LOT of it!). I think the hotel could do with an area to relax in. The cabins were great but it felt like the only place we could be/sit as a family to play games/cards was on our bed or at the tables in the restaurant (when we didn’t necessarily want to start dinner!).

Final stop – Placencia. This has certainly changed a lot since I came 21 years ago! The hotel is very American (particularly the food) and the least Belize-like of all the places we’d stayed. That said, the room(s) were lovely and we enjoyed relaxing for a few days before the journey home. It was nice to have the ability to go into the town for a wander/a meal. We enjoyed eating out at Rum Fish and ice cream at Tutti Frutti.

All in all, it totally exceeded all expectations. I was slightly nervous about whether or not we were pushing our children too far by taking them on a trip like this but absolutely not. They had the best time and loved every place we stayed at. We realised a more active holiday like this is perfect for the ages they are at (7 and 9) as keeping busy reduces sibling fights and complaints of ‘I’m bored’!

They saw and experienced such amazing things such as river and cave tubing, zip wiring, snorkelling on the reef with nurse sharks and stingrays, seeing fireflies at night, howler monkeys in the trees, meeting people from different cultures, trying new foods as well as spending quality time as a family. It really was a trip of a lifetime and we all fell in love with Belize.

We never felt in danger, the people were incredibly friendly (and all speak English) and there is so much to do. As we moved on to the next part of our trip, I kept thinking the next place couldn’t possibly compare but it always did. Liddy, you absolutely nailed the brief so thank you!

Kirby Family (with children aged 12 & 14)

Travelled  Easter 2024
Hi Lee. Apologies it’s taken so long to let you know how much we enjoyed Belize. It is without doubt the best holiday we’ve had. Each location was stunning, the people so welcoming and the activities unforgettable. Each day brought something new to experience and enjoy. From the beauty of sunrise and ruins of Lamani to the sunsets and Tarpon feeding in Caye Caulker. The simplicity of swimming and rope swinging in Black Rock to the luxury of the Placencia resort and the incredible diving that I doubt will be beaten. Thanks again to everyone at Stubborn Mule and your agents in Belize.

Laker Family (with child aged 8)

Travelled  Easter 2024
Hi Sarah & Helene. We had an absolutely wonderful time in Belize, we loved every part of the trip and you guys have been amazing! Everything ran so smoothly and the quality of the accommodation and tours and activities was first class, we literally couldn’t fault anything! Funnily enough at Lamanai we made friends with some fellow Stubborn Mule-ers. We all said the same, that your trips are just the best! Although we enjoyed all elements of the trip I think our favourite places were Lamanai and Caye Caulker. We loved all the activities at Lamanai and all the beautiful wildlife that surrounded the lagoon. The staff were also so helpful and friendly.

Caye Caulker, what a fab place, we loved the little wooden hut restaurants and the marine life was incredible! Iguana Reef is definitely one of the best beaches I have ever been to, my daughter loved the rays and giant Tarpons!

To be honest we don’t feel like we are quite done with Belize. We had planned on doing an African safari next year but I think we’ll put that on hold for another year for when my daughter gets a bit older and head back to Belize.

Thank you so much again for a wonderful trip.

Mehurst Family (with teenagers aged 13 & 15)

Travelled  Easter 2024
Hi Debbie. We had the most wonderful time in Belize. We enjoyed every moment of it! As always with Caroline and Stubborn Mule, the itinerary, activities and hotels were all just right. The only blip was our journey over was the wait to get through passport control in Miami. Other than that, everything was truly wonderful.  Thank you again to Stubborn Mule for our third awesome holiday.  We will be back but where next?!

Smith Family (with children aged 4 & 6)

Travelled  Christmas 2023
Hi Liddy. We had a really great trip thanks. The kids coped with the travelling brilliantly and loved exploring both in the jungle and on the coast. We loved the accommodation. It felt really special being in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by nature. Spider monkeys were in the trees to welcome us as we got out of the jeep on arrival. Amazing birds and other wildlife regularly wandering through the grounds. The staff were brilliant – very friendly and accommodating.  It was evident everyone who worked there really cared about the environment, the local history and conservation.  Our room was a bit on the small side, but manageable, especially with the spacious deck all around it.

The hotel at Placencia was the perfect setup.  Very spacious apartment, kids in their element with two pools and the beach on the doorstep, plus free canoes, SUPs, beach games, hammocks and the resident iguanas which were a constant source of interest. Having the option to have food served wherever you wanted it in the grounds was also great. Staff also great.

Placencia was really lovely.  Beautiful long beach, attractive little town, good food and very friendly people. 

Transfers and local agents: they were very responsive and helpful (via WhatsApp) including when we had to rearrange the snorkelling trip due to bad weather. Drivers were always bang on time and the first guy who drove us to/from the jungle was so friendly and we learned a huge amount about Belize from him.  

All in all it was a great experience which we’d recommend, apart from the snorkelling trip. Thanks very much for helping us plan it.  

Latter Family (with children aged 10, 12 & 15)

Travelled  Christmas 2023 – Belize & Guatemala
Hi Liddy. We had such a special holiday, it really was fantastic. Thank you so much for organising such a good trip. So many highlights on the trip – the number of times we got to the evening and the kids exclaimed ’that was the best day ever!’ was a particular highlight. Our guide throughout Guatemala, Josue, really made that section of the trip – perfect English, deep knowledge, and just a lovely guy. He knew all the best coffee places too which was a bonus!  The only thing that could have been improved in Guatemala was probably that on some days there was an awful lot to pack in before lunch which meant that lunch was sometimes very late – this was fine for the adults, but the kids were sometimes struggling a bit. Pizza up the volcano however, was worth waiting for!

Belize was quite the contrast to Guatemala, but also very lovely. Probably my highlight of the whole tour was a property tour where we swam is several pools in the jungle, it was very special. They also laid out a private lunch by one of the pools, so special.  

I mentioned our first guide in particular, but actually, the guides across the whole trip were excellent as were all the drivers and connections etc – we didn’t have any trouble and I hadn’t appreciated in advance how much more relaxing it would be having everything arranged in advance and not worrying about the various logistics, it made it very relaxing for us.

So all in all a fantastic trip. It won’t be our last (it’s reignited our urge to travel and has sparked something in the kids too), so I suspect we’ll be in contact again for next time, though we might need to wait 2 years until after GCSEs.

Many thanks again.

Nuttall Family (with children aged 10 & 13)

Travelled  Easter 2023
Hello Kelly. We had such a great time. Starting off at Lamanai worked really well. We were all slightly jet lagged so getting up early for 5:30 am starts was okay, and the animals and birds were all out at this time. The crocodile experience was for us a winner as we ‘caught’ a 5ft croc. The howler monkeys put in several appearances on the dawn walk, and the sounds they make are out of this world! it’s like waking up in Jurassic Park. The sunset cruise was a surprise pleasure as the bird life was incredible (and I am no birder). 

Not somewhere to go if you are not keen on insects and creepy crawlies though. We saw tarantulas and scorpions just outside our hut, which we loved, but wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea!
I haven’t even mentioned the Mayan ruins, which we were shown around at a quiet time of day by our excellent guide. We pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. 

The food was wonderful and lots of it (too much really). 

Caye Caulker was a nice change of pace. Swimming from their beach and the daily appearance of the sting rays was a memorable experience. 

It was from here we did the day snorkelling. It was hard work for several of us (I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children who aren’t strong swimmers, although it was the older team members who decided to have a break. Again, such a fantastic experience. We saw beautiful corals, sharks, rays, and more fish than we could count. 

Black Rock was my favourite place. The rooms were lovely and the swimming in the river and the rope swing kept the kids entertained for hours. I have attached an image of my eldest jumping off. We could have stayed here longer. 

ATM Cave was without a doubt an amazing trip. The cave itself is impressive and the fact that the artefacts are still there is just wow. We didn’t particularly enjoy being shepherded through it with loads of other people, but I guess that is the way it is with this sort of trip. Again, amazing food. And what a view from the dining room! Watching the hummingbirds feeding while enjoying an early evening cocktail was so special.  

We also visited Xunantunich from here, which is well worth a look. Not too far in the car and really impressive. 

My parents joked that some of the animals were so impressive that they must have been on the payroll – a giant boa constrictor appeared behind their room on a couple of occasions. 

The drivers were all super and made sure we made it between our various stops without hassle. The local agents even reunited us with my son’s rucksack when he left it in the dining room in Lamanai. We definitely thought we had seen the last of that. 

It was nice to get some background information from the locals and they all gave us information on the places we were passing as we went along, making each journey interesting. 

The resort at  Placencia was very nice indeed, and right on the beach although quite far from Placencia town, there was a free shuttle to the town if you wanted to go in. My Mum and I had a couple of massages from an excellent masseuse, and we went paddle-boarding down the coast. We saw manatees in the water on the Monkey River tour which was very special.

Overall, if I did it again I would do three stops instead of 4 and spend longer at Black Rock and Caye Caulker. The journeys were managed really well, but there were a lot of them. I am very glad you advised us not to do Guatemala (we saw it in the distance!), which would have been too much for us all. 

It was a nice balance of activity and rest in the end, and we have come home full of stories to tell. Thank you very much for organising it all.  

I would also like to thank Helene who answered her mobile at the weekend and calmed me down when I was convinced we were going to miss our flights from Heathrow due to being stuck in a 3-hour road closure on the M6 and spent some time trying to find alternatives. In the end, it was not necessary, thank goodness. It was nice to hear a friendly voice at the end of the line when I had gone beyond the end of my tether and was on the verge of tears!

Thanks again.

Lyon Family (with older kids aged 17 & 20)

Travelled Easter 2023
Hi Liddy. Thanks for your email. We did have a great holiday thank you. The accommodation and locations were all wonderful and made the holiday. The travel and transfers were also very well organised and ran very smoothly without a hitch (other than the driver from Darah Tours came to pick us up one day early from Dream Valley but he just went away and came back a day later). The activities we did were also very good… We had a fantastic time and would certainly recommend Stubborn Mule. It was certainly one of our best holidays and very precious memories, particularly given that we only get small windows of opportunity now that the boys are older.

Bates Family (with child aged 13)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hi LiddyJust got back from our holiday: it was absolutely brilliant. All the arrangements worked perfectly and everyone we met was well-briefed and very helpful. Your local agent did a great job. And of course, Belize is wonderful. We were very lucky with the weather too: only really had two days of heavy rainfall. We did everything we wanted: canoeing, caving, jungle hiking, snorkelling, abseiling, zip lining, tubing, and even got in a couple of scuba dives… Thanks so much for recommending and organising what for us will be one of our best-ever holidays. You were so helpful and responsive and the local teams had everything spot on. End to end a perfect experience.

Becker-Smith Family (with children aged 5 and 10)

Travelled Summer 2022 – Belize and Guatemala
Hi Liddy. Our trip was simply sensational, we are still buzzing from it through the jetlag and will be boring our family and friends for quite some time with all our adventures! Honestly, I don’t know where to start on this one. I tried asking M and the girls what were the top things about the holiday… I gave up when I had a list of about 20 different experiences. It was a packed itinerary and full of activities – we commented a few times that it was like having 6 totally different holidays in one as every place we stayed was a whole new set of experiences. When we got to Caye Caulker we near collapsed!

Some real highlights:

– having pools everywhere rocked.

– the surprise of making pizza on top of a volcano (knew about the marshmallows but the pizza was a fab surprise).

– Luisa – our Guatemala guide is truly superb – incredibly interesting, knowledgeable, and inspiring and never have my kids fallen in love with a guide as much as we did with her – although my girls were also pretty besotted with the team at Black Rock Lodge as well. Luisa also attempted to move heaven and earth when M dropped his phone in a 300m deep lake to try and recover it (didn’t work but it was appreciated…)!

– tubing on the river – just wow! (and the lodge worked magic to fit it in after we were delayed getting there – and even looked after our six-year-old, while the rest of us went off to do it!)

– the night tours at Lamanai – finding all the frogs and toads, huge spiders, snakes, lizards, tarantulas, bats, etc etc etc right in the garden by our lodge, and on the night boat trip actually getting to hold a crocodile(!!!) was incredible.

– swimming with sharks and rays on a snorkelling trip in Caye Caulker – this is so unmissable… I was so impressed with their ability to fully include my 6-year-old who only began swimming without her floaties during the holiday, and my husband who’s a very weak swimmer and not very fit/ mobile. It was absolutely joyful watching the whole family enjoy snorkelling, swimming and diving from the boat and then hand-feeding tarpon.

– the general experience of being in both countries one after the other, including crossing the land border, combined with plenty of access to knowledgeable guides was an incredible opportunity to get an insight into the history, culture, politics, and economics that have shaped both, which was the icing on the cake of all the beautiful scenery and exciting activities. (I love a land border!)

– listening to howler monkeys kicking off in the wee small hours of the morning and thinking we might be under attack from herds of dinosaurs!

So this is our third trip (or four if you count the covid cancellation) with you and on every trip we have been blown away with our experiences – hence coming back – and we will be back again! The itineraries look amazing and the trips are way more exciting than the itineraries.

The organisation is superb – everything connects wonderfully – we joked we felt like DHL parcels being relocated seamlessly from place to place. The ideas and the ambition of what activities we get to pack in is also amazing – firstly it would have taken me months to plan a fraction of that and even then I probably would have been scared to include many of the experiences as too tricky for our little family – but of course your judgement and that of your partner companies was exceptional.

Our experience before we left was also superb – at all stages, I really felt we were in the hands of the experts. I really appreciate your advice lists at the end of the itinerary and other advice eg immigration and covid requirements

So we spent a fun evening browsing your website getting ideas for the next trip – funnily two out of three trips we have not even gone to the countries we had originally called about but followed your recommendations and all of the trips have been incredible. We pass your details around to our friends and family all the time and will continue to recommend you. 

Thank you so much for fitting us in – you made our summer (and wow it’s so nice to be back travelling again!)

Frost-Robbin Family (with children aged 10, 12 & 14)

Travelled Summer 2022 – Belize and Guatemala
Dear Kelly. Firstly, thank you for arranging such a varied and memorable trip for us. We had a wonderful time! I loved every part of the trip, but the first week in Guatemala was the highlight for me – it is a stunning country with a fascinating range of things to see. If you can put us in touch with your local partner, we’d love to leave feedback for them. Our local guides were fantastic. Karen and Luisa (in the highlands) were really welcoming and thoughtful (and very forgiving of the occasionally monstrous behaviour of our children). I think both are studying for postgraduate degrees in sustainable tourism, and it was obvious that both cared deeply about what they do and were really engaging with us and the children.

Our driver, Juan Carlos, was ace too – especially arriving at night in a strange city, he made us feel immediately at home, with his fluent English and very well-appointed van (with a snack box, which the children appreciated greatly!) They set the pretty high for Carlos (our guide in Flores), but he too was excellent. He was excellent both on the archaeology and the wildlife of the Mayan sites (he could spot and tell us about animals we wouldn’t have even known were there, were it not for his keen eyes and helpful laser pen!)

I don’t think there was anything we would have changed from our first week – it was all fantastic!

The second week was also very good. We loved the ATM Caves, in particular, which was a real Indiana Jones-style adventure (I still can’t quite believe we actually got to see 1000-year-old Mayan artefacts, in situ, having swum into a cave and then potholed 500m to get there!) I also very much liked the chance to experience a day in the jungle at Black Rock Lodge (though one of the children, who was starting to get bitten by mosquitoes, was less keen on that part of the trip).

Belize Zoo was a marvellous little stop-off on the transfer to Caye Caulker. I particularly loved the jaguars (which felt like a “must-see” coming to Central America). One piece of feedback, though, would be to warn people about putting on insect repellant there. We all got fairly savagely bitten 🙁 You should also know that the local partner paid our entrance fee (so, contrary to what it said in the notes, that is included). 

Finally, Caye Caulker was a great place to end our stay. The kids really enjoyed the snorkelling tours we did, in particular. I think we all felt we’d have been happy enough with only two days there rather than three, but we are not very good in tropical heat so I don’t know if the same would apply for all of your clients.

Thank you so much for organising!

– – –

Mum’s feedback:

Yes, agree with all S has said. Our son suggested a day pruned from the Caye Caulker part of the itinerary might be very well spent at Lake Atitlan, as it would have been perfectly possible to fill another day there, visiting other lakeside villages or just jumping repeatedly into the lake, as our kids seem to love to do! It might be worth letting other families know that the gardens at the hotel there are truly fantastic, and a real labour of love from the owner.

Thanks again for all your work – everything ran like clockwork, leaving us free to enjoy an amazing trip.

Williams Family

Travelled Summer 2022 – Belize and Guatemala
Hi Caroline. We had a wonderful time and we really appreciated how well things were organised for us. The transfers worked really well, including moving between Belize and Guatemala. Black Rock Lodge was beautiful and the staff there looked after us brilliantly. The food was fantastic as were the excursions, particularly trips to Tikal and Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave which the children really enjoyed. Caye Caulker was a lovely contrast and the opportunities for snorkelling and diving were great with such a variety of marine wildlife to see. The atmosphere was lovely and we enjoyed the opportunity to relax after a very active first week. Seaside Cabanas worked fine for us but it may not suit all families as it was in a noisier part of the Island. Thanks so much for all your help in organising such a memorable trip! Many thanks also for the lovely welcome gifts.

Banwell Family (with children aged 13, 15 & 17)

Travelled Summer 2022
Hi Liddy. Firstly – and very overdue – thank you!  We had a brilliant time in Belize – it was an awesome trip with loads of highlights. Yes – Ambergris Caye wasn’t great, but we are very grateful that you and Jennie managed to sort it out at such short notice. All in all – it was a hugely successful and completely memorable trip. It was a privilege to see so many animals in their natural habitat, learn about Mayan culture and meet so many fabulous people.  Even the trip to Ambergris Caye had its benefits – if nothing else, I feel much more educated on the difficulties of sargassum and this particular area of global warming. 

Here is a quick run down on the trip.


Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant!  The arrival by boat was incredible, the huts magical.  I think we did every tour – our guide was awesome (Vidal) – although they all looked excellent!  There is a crazy amount of food at Lamanai – I think we left several pounds heavier.  We did the early morning jungle, early morning canoe, medicine tour, Mayan temples tour, the sunset cruise (any excuse to go on the lagoon, it was so beautiful and peaceful) and the night lake tour and night walking tour.  We saw EVERYTHING! From crocodiles, tarantulas, boa constrictors, scorpions, and lots of small mammals. Howler monkeys were EVERYWHERE! The ever-present hummingbirds, tucans, beautiful butterflies, iguanas .. and lots of birds that were new to us – special mention to the Jesus Christ Bird (it walks on water).  Even had a (very brief) swim in the crocodile lagoon. It was a brilliant start to the strip.

Cave Adventure
A stay at a very wonderful place – in treehouses!!!  They were so great (in fact I should say that the staff at all the hotels were brilliant).  We very lazily did very little and had their gorgeous oasis-like swimming pool to ourselves during the day – although hundreds of high-adrenaline activities were on offer should you feel up to it.  Slightly randomly we did their cheese tasting (who knew!!), which was a fun extra thing.  The treehouses were absolutely stunning – thank you so much! (and great for wildlife spotting …. But nowhere came close to delivering the amount of animals seen that Lamanai.)

Black Rock
Another really lovely hotel.  We did the free tubing down the river, the boys went on a long canoeing trip, and of course the trip to the ATM caves, which were incredible, and a total adventure. Jaw-dropping views from the hotel – brilliant place. Food was lovely (as it was everywhere!) – another fantastic location.

We loved our hotel here – a real treat. Gorgeous walk along the beach to the restaurant. The most lovely staff at the hotel. Lovely pool (plus our bungalow had a little plunge pool). Just a really gorgeous boutique hotel.  If I close my eyes and ignore the British drizzle outside, I can almost imagine I am back there! … We did a snorkeling excursion – to Laughing Bird Caye (we had to turn around on our trip to Silk Caye as the weather was too bad) – but the sun came out on Laughing Bird – the most dreamy tropical island – again brilliant dive guys, and the coral was phenomenal.  Probably the best I have ever seen – mature and undamaged, which is such a rarity today.  Incredible wildlife – enormous tropical fish, lobster, more nurse sharks, turtles, Conch …. Brilliant!  At the risk of sounding obsessive, as we sat on the idyllic island of Laughing Bird, the sea lapping our toes, the water was crystal clear and beautiful – and looked like the Caribbean Sea should, I guess.

Nicholson Family (with children aged 14 and 16)

Travelled Easter 2022 – Belize and Guatemala
A massive thank you to Kelly and Stubborn Mule for arranging the most incredible family holiday to Guatemala and Belize. It was a busy trip with plenty of mini-adventures and everything worked brilliantly. Kelly worked so hard to help with a few location/hotel changes and was super helpful with Covid testing! There were so many highlights including cooking pizza over hot lava rocks on Pacaya volcano, visiting the spectacular Mayan temples at Tikal and Yaxha, the jungle setting at Black Rock Lodge and the swimming pool at the resort in Belize. Stubborn Mule organised our last family holiday to Myanmar in 2019 which was amazing and we had another fantastic experience with them. We recommend them to all our friends and family. Thanks again Kelly and the Stubborn Mule team.

Franklin Family (with children aged 15 and 18)

Travelled Easter 2022
We loved Belize!  It’s compact, so you don’t have long travelling between adventures.  The people are friendly, and it’s a great mix of Central America, Mexico, and South America and speak Spanish or Mayan. And on the coast, it feels more Caribbean and people speak Creole. The accommodation in Lamanai was fantastic! Great comfortable lodges, delicious food, and so much to see and do.  We really enjoyed the sunrise canoe trip, nighttime boat trip, and nature walk. We explored the local village and cooked tamales after grinding the corn. Lamanai ruins in the jungle were wonderful.  We were there early so had the whole site to ourselves before the boatloads of tourists arrived.  

The guides at Lamani were so friendly and knowledgeable… we saw crocodiles, a tarantula, tree frogs, possums, tapirs, and lots of screaming howler monkeys. Even the journey to the lodge was exciting racing on a speed boat down a crocodile inhabited river.

Gaia Lodge was so lovely. Almost too lovely for our children!  The waterfall pool was amazing to swim in.  The ATM caving trip was incredible. Really quite hard work, we definitely slept well that night.  

Accommodation in Placencia… we could have stayed there for weeks!  Chilled out, large ‘apartments’, we had two bedrooms with bathrooms and a sitting/dining room, and a full kitchen.  A huge terrace with tables, chairs, sofas, hammock and sun loungers. The beach was beautiful. We went on an amazing snorkelling trip to Silk Caye… we snorkelled and saw so much live coral and wonderful fish.  Then we stopped just a minute away and swam with huge loggerhead turtles, giant stingrays and 6ft nursing sharks!  

The small town of Placencia is just great.  We went in on the 2-minute shuttle each evening at 5pm, had drinks by the beach or harbour, and watched the boats, people swimming, dolphins, and fisherman selling their catch. And there were so many places to eat, we were all happy.  Great ice cream shop there too!

Having been on a number of Stubborn Mule adventures, this ranks high up the list.  

Shaw Family (with children aged 14 and 16)

Travelled Christmas 2019
Just loved everything about Belize, thank you. Chaa Creek was a particular favourite and the kids had a blast doing ATM cave. At the beach, Turtle Inn was divine – so glad we splashed out here. We had been quite nervous about the driving, but actually it was fine and very straightforward; we went the wrong way once but stopped and asked for help and a very nice farmer showed us where we had gone wrong. The food throughout was incredible – the kids particularly enjoyed the wood-fired pizza at Turtle Inn and the lobster risotto here is divine. Highly recommended. Thanks for everything.

Clark Family (with children aged 10, 15 and 16)

Travelled Summer 2019 – Belize and Guatemala
Dear Liddy – I just wanted to let you know how fantastic our trip to Guatemala and Belize was.  We all absolutely loved it and the itinerary was brilliant and everything ran like clockwork.  I am so glad we covered both countries because they felt completely different.

We had a great guide in Guatemala and loved the cultural and Spanish colonial feel of the country.  The little UNESCO town of Antigua was absolutely charming and we were surprised by the number of lovely wine bars and restaurants there – it felt like we’d taken a step back in time.

We got our fair share of activity too and all loved the couple of days in the Highlands enjoying the beautiful scenery of Lake Atitlan surrounded by volcanoes. We all enjoyed the zip-wiring, hiking, swimming and kayaking there.

When we returned to Antigua we climbed Pacaya, an active volcano.  Our guide, Alejandro, recommended meeting at 4am to get there and start early and it really was worth it.  We were the only ones at the peak and we got to clamber on the molten rock just metres away from lava flow – scary but fab!

Our final destination in Guatemala was Tikal which reminded me of Ankhor Wat as it was 20 years ago before all the hotels started popping up. It was brilliant and really quiet. At times we were the only ones at some of the main ruins and it was wonderful (if a tad hot) wandering through the jungle.  Still can’t believe you’re allowed to climb up most of the ruins.

We really loved Guatemala and it really offers history, culture, adventure and beautiful scenery and definitely feels like you’re in Central America.

Belize was a complete contrast but every bit as fabulous. As soon as we crossed the border we felt like we had left Central America behind us and were in the Caribbean.  It was great fun and not at all what we had imagined.

We enjoyed a few days inland at Black Rock Lodge playing in the river, the rope swing and visiting the ATM caves which was fascinating and then made our way to the coast where we felt like we had been transferred to a tropical paradise. I think we were incredibly lucky with the weather throughout our trip especially as it was supposedly wet season.

We were fortunate enough to have a few days in Placencia on the mainland, which we loved. The town had a real Creole feel to it and had some great shack-like restaurants selling fresh grilled lobster and snapper and super cold beers. We had a brilliant scuba diving day organised through our hotel where we saw so much sea-life including nurse sharks, turtles, sting ray, lion fish, lobster and angelfish to name a few.

We also did a half-day fishing trip where we caught barracuda and snapper and our hotel used our catch to make us fresh fish tacos and ceviche for lunch and then barracuda fillets for dinner.  The kids just loved it.  We ended our trip with a relaxing few days on a beautiful little island near Ambergis Caye where we just chilled, took out hobie cats and kayaks and ate beautiful seafood.

Thank you so much Liddy for all the hard work that happens behind the scenes to make this a really wonderful family experience and holiday.

Fry Family (with children aged 12 and 14)

Summer 2019 – Mexico and Belize
Hi Liddy. Wow, we have had the most amazing holiday, I would have to say our best family holiday.  Thank-you so much for organising such amazing places for us to visit, where do I start! Very difficult to pick out a few things we enjoyed as they were all such amazing experiences. Our top experiences:

Cancun beach and hotel were lovely – children would have liked to relax here one more day but we were keen to travel, such a lovely beach.

Punta Laguna – an amazing first experience of the real Mexico, after a very long walk we managed to see the howler and spider monkeys, children loved the canoes and zip wire, lovely friendly people. Cenote a little scary for me (although I did it) not for the faint-hearted but a great experience.

Yokdzonet Cenote – such a beautiful Cenote, we spent a lovely afternoon here in the sunshine swimming with the fish after Chichen Itza (which we also enjoyed) and the restaurant was also great.

Izamal – Hacienda was so lovely, such a quaint place with amazing food, loved it here. The Austrian man who ran this was so helpful, nothing was any trouble.  We also enjoyed our walk into Izamal and climb up the pyramid.

Sotuta de Peon – working Hacienda trip was a great experience for the children, we all loved it there too, very peaceful!

Bacalar – was such a beautiful place, we had an amazing time canoeing, swimming, boat trip was the highlight here…

Caye Caulker (Belize) – we really enjoyed the sea ferry over, although a little bumpy and immigration took a very long time, all added to the experience.  The different vibe of the island was lovely, so relaxed. Our best experience here was swimming with and feeding fish to Sting Ray’s at Iguana Reef and the Pelicans! Amazing! Paddle boarding was also lots of fun.

Tulum was also lovely, we all enjoyed a visit to Xel-Ha, eat and drink as much as you want went down well with the children and the snorkelling and fish was brilliant.

However our most amazing experience was in the evenings at Rosa Del Viento, watching the turtles come out the sea and lay their eggs and seeing the baby turtles.

So as you can see, so many amazing experiences, a holiday we will never forget!… Thanks once again and look forward to booking a future family adventure with you.

Cameron Family (with children aged 8 and 11)

Travelled Easter 2019
Hi Charlotte – The trip was amazing thank you. The lodges/hotel were all great… we had a wonderful time doing the Barton Creek canoe trip, some zip lining and then also the cave tubing on the way to Turtle Inn, as well as the Xunantunich and Caracol tours with a chocolate making tour thrown in.  All very suitable for families. The snorkelling at Laughing Bird Caye from Placencia was particularly beautiful…it was amazing and thank you for helping us to organise it.

Langham Family (with ‘children’ aged 19 and 23)

Travelled Easter 2019
We had a wonderful holiday and everything went very smoothly in general.  Due to appallingly slow Passport control in Washington, we nearly missed the connection but eventually arrived safely in Guatemala City.  Mario was an excellent guide, very knowledgeable with good English and sensitive to our wishes…  Many thanks for organising such an excellent trip – you market Stubborn Mule towards families with younger children but our 19 and 22 year olds really enjoyed it all and felt there was plenty to do!

We really enjoyed the Chichencastenango market although lunch at the hotel (beautiful gardens with parrots) was probably the least interesting meal on the trip.

The next day we changed plans slightly and visited Iximche Mayan ruins where we saw someone doing a local ritual before heading on to Antigua.  Chocolate making was great fun and the hotel was historic but comfortable with lovely gardens.  The climb up Pacaya volcano was incredible – we were offered horses but chose to walk and the chance to get so close to molten lava was amazing and slightly nerve-racking as the volcano emitted roars and thumps from its core – delicious marshmallows!  Later Mario took us up to the Mirador with a great view over the city and finally to the only remaining cathedral.

On Thursday we got up at 4am to drive to the airport and caught a flight to Flores – NB this was a reasonably large plane so no luggage restriction.  Giovanni (also excellent) took us to delicious breakfast at the hotel overlooking the lake and then we drove to Tikal.

Jungle Lodge was nicer than expected with excellent showers, good food and a pleasant pool area although they turn off the power during the night and outside peak times so only the fans work – fine once you work out what’s going on.  It was very hot (40 ish) and the walk round the site was quite wearing in the heat but the Mayan remains are superb.  I think it was particularly hot during our visit but the room was fine with a fan.

Next morning we drove to Yaxha and took a boat across a lake to some smaller ruins before transferring across the border into Belize.  Guatemala is obviously a 3rd world developing country so we were pleased to be with great guides and the vehicles provided were spacious and relatively new – we felt very well looked after!

Chaa Creek was very comfortable and we had nice rooms plus, again, excellent food.  The trip to ATM cave was incredible and thankfully not claustrophobic but you need to be reasonably fit.

G and S had a very good ride on quality, well cared for horses and we did a sunset canoe paddle and floated down the river on rings – all pleasantly cooling as it was very hot again.

We then did a small flight (tropic air) to Belize City and onto to Ambergris Caye but thankfully they didn’t fuss about our bags which were about 13/14k although soft so squashable.

San Pedro is tiny, very busy and a bit grotty but the Victoria House was fabulous and we had lovely sea view rooms.  Excellent food and service and lovely gardens with a choice of pools.

You can’t really swim in the sea off the beach as it’s quite churned up and not particularly enticing.  We had a private tour out to Ho Chan reef and Shark/Ray alley and it was like swimming in an amazing aquarium – absolutely beautiful.  We booked the boatman to take us fishing on the second morning and we caught various things that the hotel turned in to Ceviche and cooked the rest as a main course.  This was a really nice, relaxing end to the holiday and it was good to be in a high-end hotel as the alternatives didn’t look very exciting!

In summary we had a fascinating time, felt well looked after throughout and had some once in a lifetime experiences.  There were no real problems apart from the fact we all had runny tummies quite a lot of the time for which we got some good local meds (Endovid) but we wondered if the bottled water was really pure as it comes from El Salvador and wasn’t sealed or perhaps ice is a bit dodgy.

Nothing too debilitating and probably par for the course in Guatemala.  Incidentally the flight home from Houston was on a dreamliner with excellent leg room – really good.

We will certainly recommend you to other similar families.

Lovett Family (with children aged 10, 14 & 16)

Travelled Summer 2018
Liddy – in short, it was fantastic! One of our best holidays ever. We were also lucky enough to meet some of your other clients on a similar itinerary who were great so that was definitely an added bonus.

Wilson Family (with children aged 6, 8 & 10)

Travelled Summer 2018
We’ve just landed at Heathrow and had a brilliant holiday, really loved it. Possibly we should have done 4 stays rather than 5. Really loved Lamanai and Caye Caulker but we also had a great time in the jungle lodges and at Placencia. Weather was mostly very good, couple of showery days and overnight rain. The sea at Placencia was very rough for canoeing or snorkelling when we stayed whereas Caye Caulker was much calmer. Thanks for organising it all.

Bristoll Family (with child aged 11)

Travelled Easter 2018 – Belize and Guatemala
We had a really good trip to Belize and Guatemala and you will be pleased to know all the arrangements worked like clockwork. All the drivers were ready ahead of time and were really helpful and informative, and all the hotel and trip bookings worked well. All the staff throughout our tour were incredible hospitable and helpful.

Lamanai – wow what an introduction to Belize!  The journey to the lodge was amazing.  Food was great and a special mention to Brenda who took several of our trips and was great.

The short flight to Flores was an adventure. A sat up front with the pilot on the four-seater. Tropic Air were efficient and a bit more flexible on bag ,weights and sizes than expected.

Tikal was impressive as was the jungle lodge.  The food was very international and didn’t have much local fare but no complaints just an observation. Guatemala has whetted our appetite we expect to go back.

Black Rock was amazing so much to do and we really enjoyed ATM. We also enjoyed the eating arrangements here with guests being seated together to swap evening stories.

Placencia was the perfect ending.  The various pools at the Roberts Grove were a real treat.  Only sad part of the trip was we were unable to snorkel as the weather didn’t allow it.  The local company arranged an alternative trip and Sod’s law the day we left the conditions were perfect.

Overall fantastic would thoroughly recommend and expect to go back to Guatemala relatively soon.

Miles Family (with children aged 12 & 15)

Travelled Easter 2018 – Belize & Guatemala
Liddy – First of all a big thank you for organising such a fantastic holiday for us. Everything happened when it should have done and we all had an enjoyable (if tiring) time. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. The kids will always remember it.

… Our guide Erick met us at the airport and was really good the whole time both with us and the kids.  He made such an effort to make it interesting and really added to the experience. Highlights in Guatemala were Chichicastenango market, Antigua, Pocaya volcano and Tikal.  The zip wire was also fun.  The guide when we were up at Tikal was less good,

We were met by the hire car company at the border and easily took ourselves to Black Rock Lodge – what an amazing hotel! ATM was awesome (I cannot believe that they let us get so close to the pots and skulls.

We also did early morning hikes, evening hikes, tubing down the river and of course the rope swing. We met the Bristoll family there who I gather also booked through you and we also met up with them in Placencia on a couple of evenings even though they were then in a different hotel. We were surprised to find that the beach at Laru Beya had been washed away so the sea was full of seaweed and plastic so impossible to go in.  The pool was nice and we went snorkelling on one of the islands so did get to go in the sea.

On the way back to the airport our Google directions took us up the Coastal Highway. When we left the tarmac I did check with some locals there which way was best and they advised that way rather than via Belmopan. After doing 10 miles of dirt track I recalled your advice not to go that way!  Still, 36 miles of dirt track on the way to the airport made for one last adventure and luckily I have done plenty of driving on dirt tracks around the world before. We arrived with plenty of time and had and easy journey home – including an easy trip through Atlanta airport with a lady playing the grand piano beside us in the food court whilst we had supper.

It was the right decision to have a guide / driver in Guatemala as I would not have wanted to drive there but we certainly were best off looking after ourselves in Belize.

Thanks again and we look forward to maybe one year having another adventure with you.

Paterson Family (with children aged 13 and 16)

Travelled Summer 2017 – Belize and Guatemala
We had a really good trip to Belize and Guatemala and you will be pleased to know all the arrangements worked like clockwork. All the drivers were ready ahead of time and were really helpful and informative, and all the hotel and trip bookings worked well. All the staff throughout our tour were incredible hospitable and helpful.

As a quick summary:

  1. The Outpost Lodge was very relaxing and all the trips were good.  The boys particularly liked the watersports and we also enjoyed the various animal spotting opportunities.  If we were doing it again, we might not include Lamanai as many of the nature spotting trips were also run at Black Rock Lodge, and the ruins here, whilst interesting, were not in the same league as Tikal.
  2. The Black Rock Lodge was an amazing location.  The boys particularly liked the rope swing into the river, and the canoe trip down the river was very atmospheric.  The food was good and we liked the place.  The only down side was the room we were in was a little tired, and not having air con was quite tough when it was so hot and humid.  There seemed to be some recently renovated rooms at the Lodge, so I would book one of those if I was going again.
  3. One of our favourite trips was to the Actun Tunichil Mukna caves which was an amazing adventure and certainly a day to remember.
  4. The trip to Tikal was also a highlight.  The boys really liked the Jungle Lodge swimming pool, particularly with all the monkeys swinging around.  It was great to be able to walk from the hotel into Tikal, and the Tikal ruins were absolutely spectacular.
  5. Finally, we really liked Placencia and the Chabal Mar hotel was fabulous – having been ten days in incredible heat and humidity, it was lovely to be in a luxurious apartment with air-conditioning.

The snorkelling trip was amazing.  As it was off season, we had the whole boat to ourselves and had one snorkelling guide just for us.  The last part of the snorkelling trip was really special as we were with amongst big nurse sharks, loggerhead turtles and stingrays.  It was a really memorable experience.

So all in all, it was an excellent trip – thank you for organising it.

Jenkins Family (with one child aged 12)

Travelled August 2016
Hi Kelly, I just wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you for all of the arrangements that you made for us in Belize. We had a wonderful time and there were so many highlights. Our favourite part was around San Ignacio where we just loved the adventure activities. The ATM cave was a massive success – we had been really nervous about this as you know, as I’m not a strong swimmer, but our guide was great and really took a lot of care with us. I wore a life-jacket throughout and was really glad I did but M and D were happy without. I can see why you don’t recommend this for younger children though!

We also loved Ambergris Caye – what a treat to stay at Victoria House. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Such a beautiful place from the minute you arrive and they give you this amazing ginger juice drink. Amazing food too – I don’t know why Central America has a bad reputation for food as we thought it was excellent. We had a great dinner at a restaurant called Elvi’s Kitchen on Ambergris Caye which is a real institution. Highly recommended.

Anyway, all in all a great trip. Thanks so much for your help.

Also, just a quick note but we had a problem withdrawing money during the first couple of days. It wasn’t a big drama as we had cash with us but eventually the bank called us and said that they were worried about fraudulent activity on our account as someone was trying to withdraw money in Belize. Once I told them we were in Belize they removed the stop on the account and we were fine. It might be worth mentioning this to other families though.

Scherer Family (with two children aged 14 and 20)

Travelled summer 2016 – Belize & Guatemala
Well, what another great adventure. We found Belize to be a fascinating country with enough diversity to satisfy all members of the family. My advice is to get this destination on your website as people are missing out on this gorgeous place.

We started off with a transfer on a small boat up the river into the jungle, this set our excitement levels high as we were introduced to local wildlife on our way to our first destination Lamanai Outpost Lodge.  We had a great 3 nights here and were able to choose 2 activities per night, which we took full advantage of.  These included:

  • Jungle dawn walk at 5.30 am – we walked through the jungle with our guide who spoke with knowledge about any critters and fauna we came across. We even got shouted at by a howler monkey for invading his territory.
  • Night time walk – this was around the lodge area and we were equipped with headlamps.  We really didn’t need to venture far to be able to see tarantulas, scorpions, a porcupine, baby boa constrictor etc.
  • Night river safari – we were taken up the river in search of crocodiles.  We only found a baby one but were assured the river has many crocs that hide away from disturbance.  An amazing part of this trip was when our guide took us out to the middle of the river and switched the engine off.  Looking up, we were greeted with a sky full of stars – I have never, ever seen the sky look like this and it was really awe-inspiring.
  • Kayaking at 5.30 am – we rowed out into the river up into Dawson’s Creek.  A beautiful time of the day, as the sun was rising and the wildlife was stirring.
  • Sunset cocktail cruise – as it says on the tin.
  • Mayan ruins – our great guide, Abdul, walked us to the Archaeological reserve where we spent some time in the museum and then walked amongst the ruins.  We had great fun climbing the tallest ones and the views were amazing.

The food at Lamanai was on an all-inclusive basis and we were told what we would be eating each day – this was great as it took away any menu deliberations and the food was excellent.  We even had lunch one day at the same time as Jodie Foster, but unfortunately for us, we didn’t realise it was her until we were told later.

The accommodation was very jungle-like, we had 2 lodges with palm-thatched roofs.  It was very comfortable and clean.  Being in the jungle, electricity is run on a generator that gets switched off at 10 pm each night – this wasn’t a problem for us as we were in bed early most nights ready for our early starts.  We were very sad to leave this beautiful place.

Jungle Lodge, Guatemala
The flight to Guatemala was in a tiny plane, which was an adventure in itself.  A guide met us and drove us deep into the Tikal National Reserve to our accommodation.  Our rooms had recently been updated and again were very comfortable.  Being in such a remote location, there was no alternative for food other than the Jungle Lodge restaurant, which was mediocre but ok.  We were glad we had packed torches as the lights were all switched off early, which meant getting home was rather dark.

The following day we were met by our guide, Benedicto, who took us on a full-day walking tour around the Mayan ruins.  His knowledge and enthusiasm for the ruins was superb and we learnt much about the Mayans.  The next day, we travelled back towards Belize and stopped at 2 more Mayan sites (one which could only be reached by boat).  Benedicto also allowed us to try the local Breadnut drink at a local restaurant, which was met with varying reviews.  Once we reached the border, we sadly had to say goodbye to Benedicto who passed us into the care of a driver to take us to our next destination.

Black Rock Lodge, San Ignacio
One of our favourites – this accommodation is in a very special place, bordered by high cliffs (hence the ‘Black Rock’) and a rushing river where you could take a river tube and swish your way down the river (all under the careful guidance of the attentive staff) or have a swim in the quiet part before dinner.  Evening meals were at 7 pm each night and the seating is a communal affair, which is great for swapping stories and getting inspiration for new adventures.

On our first full day, we did the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) caves, which I would recommend to everyone. We loved it! We spent three hours walking/ swimming/ climbing/ squeezing through caves and disappearing down crevices that looked like a mere crack in the rock.  Don’t be put off though, as all shapes and sizes and ages were able to do this activity.  The culmination of the climbing was to see the sacrificial remains of some poor soul from Mayan times.  After discussion with the Lodge Manager, Petra, we had a change of plan the following day which she implemented immediately – actually this is a feature of Black Rock, the staff do everything to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Anyway, instead of the planned cave tubing, we went on a family horse ride.  None of us have ever been on a horse before so this was a source of amusement seeing us all perched up high controlling these huge animals (or trying to in my case).  We were very well looked after with a guide at the front and behind us.  We were taken high up into the hills and then down through the jungle, lasting about 2 hours followed by a tour of the farm when we were introduced to all the horses.  Again, another memorable experience.

Singing Sands Inn, Placencia
We were driven by a member of staff at Black Rock for 3 enjoyable hours along the Hummingbird highway into Placencia.  After the luxurious Black Rock, I was disappointed with our accommodation.  We had a garden room that was very dark whilst the girls were given a larger room right behind reception that looked like a nasty cheap apartment you would find in Spain.  However, the staff were willing to upgrade us for a small charge and we ended up with 2 beach cabanas a few steps away from the beach and sea.  Much better!  Be warned though, the toilets are right behind the bed with no door so be careful who you share with. Whilst in this location, we spent a day snorkelling the barrier reef, which was just amazing. We were picked up at the jetty at Singing Sands and taken 20 miles out to sea where we pitched up at Silk Cay.  We spent a good hour or so snorkelling the circumference of this spit and saw the most beautiful fish – at times it reminded me of a tropical aquarium.

We had a BBQ lunch on the spit and then were taken back out to sea where we anchored up near a fishing boat, which was discarding the carcasses of crabs.  This attracted all sorts and we found ourselves swimming amongst turtles, eagle rays and nurse sharks (all quite huge).  This was another experience that we will never forget.  The following day, we were taken out for a couple of hours manatee watching.  This was ok, but got to see little more than a pair of nostrils poking up and the swish of a tail. We spent an enjoyable afternoon exploring Placencia, which was great for buying nick-nacks and gifts. The restaurant at Singing Sands is excellent, as are the cocktails, but we fancied going somewhere different so hired a golf buggy and tried a restaurant up the road which was lovely.

Iguana Reef Inn, Caye Caulker
We took an even smaller plane to Caye Caulker.  This gorgeous island is mainly made of sand and is a very relaxed place very popular with backpackers.  There is not much to do here apart from snorkel, eat, drink and relax which we did very well. There are other activities that you can book whilst on the island but we were looking forward to chilling out.  Our rooms here were comfortable and the first with air conditioning. The Inn doesn’t do food (apart from a continental buffet breakfast) but there are masses of restaurants to choose from within walking distance.  The Inn provides bicycles so my husband spent a morning cycling as much of the island as he could – they also have kayaks that we used.  This was a lovely ending to a fabulous holiday.

This holiday was arranged with great precision.  At every new destination we were met by a guide or a driver and we were never once left wondering what should we do or where should we go.  We found the people of Belize to be really friendly and we all loved the local cuisine.  This really is a country of 2 parts – jungle and beach and one that I would love to visit again.

Thank you for yet another amazing holiday.


Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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