Crystal Paradise Resort
Travel Blogs from San Ignacio
Shortly after exiting the village of Cristo Rey (and leaving the pavement again), we came to Crystal Paradise. Selmo turned in and drove the van down the long driveway, past beautiful tropical trees on the right and horse pasture on the left. The Tut family, who own and run the place, had a relatively large house on the left side of the parking lot …
We had 4 more tours/activities we wanted to do in 3 days, though: horseback ride, canoe the Macal or kayak the Mopan, see Actun Tunichil Muknal, and see the Inland Blue Hole and St. Edwards Cave. Horseback riding and canoeing or kayaking could both be done in a single day, so there was time to do all 4 but, after riding all of the place and hiking …
After leaving the zoo, Selmo drove us the remaining one and a half hours down the Western Highway to San Ignacio in the Cayo District. At first the terrain was very flat, mostly scrub sparsely covered by palm trees. Huge electrical line poles lined the side of the highway and were often used for tying up a horse using a rope around the neck. We …
This trip was a long time coming but a short time planning. After accepting a new job at the end of November, I had approximately 3 weeks to sneak in a vacation. I convinced my friend Dan to take a short vacay with me to BELIZE and we booked our flights a few days later (only 2 weeks prior).
After catching a 6am flight to our layover in …
Another 6am wake-up call – this is the norm now. The bird nerds and I started with some delicious coffee and a little bird watching while waiting for breakfast to be served. I could have done a little more of this since it was so relaxing and serene. After eating some scrambled eggs, strange fruit and fresh OJ, we explored the grounds for a …
How has this hotel rated in the past?
Historical Traveler Reviews Crystal Paradise Resort San Ignacio
Not quite paradise
We stayed at the Crystal Paradis Resort from Dec. 19 to 24, 2005. It was definitely not up to the standards that I had expected from reading some of the other reviews on Tripadvisor. Firstly, the resort is very isolated. If you do not have a vehicle, you are very cut off from anything and completely dependent on the resort for a ride into town (unless you want to pay an expensive taxi fare) or to take part in any tours. In my opinion, the cabanas are very much below the standard I would have expected for the price. The plumbing is abysmal and the cabanas in general are very run down and not properly maintained. I have read a lot of reviews saying if you don't want to experience the culture then go to an all inclusive with North American standards. I have travelled extensively in third world countries and I am very experienced in living with third world standards and I have usually felt that I received value for money. However, I would rate Crystal Paradise Resort as very low value for money. They offer third world standards but charge first world prices. We stayed at three other hotels/resorts during our trip to Belize (The Great House in Belize City, Calico Jack's Resort in Placencia and the Mayan Princess in Ambergris Caye) and I believe they all offered value for money. This is the only one that I would recommend that you avoid.
It is good to see these comments makes you really think there is plenty room for improvement and we haev now done the improvements and are constantly doing so to make our place a great family owned resort for the comfort and enjoyment of our guests. Look forward to your stay being one with fond memories
Our favorite place we stayed!!!
We split up our vacation between the beach and the jungle, spending most of our time at the beach. The beach was nice, but it seemed like there was so much more to do inland. We regretted only spending a few days here and wished we had spent more time at Crystal Paradise.
We loved Crystal Paradise, felt right at home. The family that runs the place are all characters, full of stories and jokes. The thatch roofs are so cool, and all the other people we met while staying here were great. We did all of our tours through here, and we had good guides and good trips every time.
My husband and I had a great stay here. We are casual birders, and we were amazed by the number of birds we saw right on the grounds. We got really attached to the Tut family that runs Crystal Paradise. I can still imagine the taste of Theresa's great food...mmmmm. It wasn't a fancy place, but well run, clean, and with a great atmosphere. We would go back if we ever return to Belize.
Wonderful package deal with the Crystal Paradise family!
My husband and I chose to do a jungle and sea package deal with Crystal Paradise. Son Eric picked us up at the airport, and the long bumpy drive was made ever so pleasant listening to stories of the Tut family and their life on Belize. We were given one of the newer thatched roof cabanas, and it was very comfy and pleasant, with new bathroom furnishings, and a nice porch with teak furniture and hammocks to relax in.
It was a short pleasant walk to the dining/refreshment/relaxing area, which had an honor system for the bar drinks, and always had big bottles of water from which we could fill our water bottles for our daily adventures.
The family members made sure everybody had some interesting trip planned for the next day, be it to Mayan ruins, or caves, or birding, etc. I loved them all, but the most pleasant day was the one they took us and our canoes 4 miles upstream, and told us places to look for as we paddled/drifted back down stream, stopping along the way to visit the botanical gardens and at another delightful lodge for lunch.
The best part about staying at Crystal Palace is meeting all the other folks who are staying there, during their family style meals. (which were delicious, I might add....fresh picked pineapple! YUM!) Such wonderful folks to chat to, and get to know during our stay! An all around 'big family' feeling.
Then another son drove us to our Sea portion, down to Placencia (Maya Beach actually) to the Singing Sands, which is just a delightfully quiet spot on the beach with lush gorgeous gardens and lots of hammocks!
On our recent trip to Crystal Paradise, our family was very disappointed in the resort.
After reading other reviews in Trip Advisor and studying the marketing put out by the Tut family, we arrived at Crystal Paradise expecting an unpretentious family resort with views of the Macal River valley. Somehow we had also gotten the impression that we would have swimming access to the river. We didn't expect anything fancy. But we did expect clean accomodations and working plumbing.
We originally rented what they called a garden view loft cabana. As we walked up the path through what was suposedly our garden, we passed an old dryer and other junky items. The door opened and we were hit with an odor of mold and mildew. The unit contained 2 downstairs beds with mismatched bedspreads and one upstairs. There was no bureau or closet for clothing. Nevertheless we started unpacking. When my husband went to take a shower, he found there was no handle on the hot water fixture so he took a cold shower. I went to wash my hands and water poured out of the plumbing under the sink. I immediately went to the desk and asked for another unit.
We were given an adjoining unit(still with a garden view of the dryer). We settled in, thinking that this unit was bearable because it did have a wardrobe and we were assured all the plumbing was working. We were, however, still upset and my husband and son wanted to leave. I reminded them that we had paid in advance and we would just have to live with the fact that the place smelled of mildew, the shower stall floor was raw concrete, the walls were dirty concrete and there seemed to be 2 flying animals in the loft. We survived the night, but I freaked out the next morning when the wastewater from my husband and son's use of the toilet seeped out from its base while I sat upon it.
At this point I returned to the desk quite angry. The response from the desk was that we were just people having a run of "bad luck". At our insistance we were moved to what they describe as "Macal River valley view" suites. While these rooms only had 2 beds they at least lacked the terrible mildew odor and did open out to a sloping garden(but definitely no view of the Macal river). In our three nights in this room, we had 2 more plumbing problems(once the toilet overflowed and once there was no water for a couple hours), but it was cleaner than our 2 previous rooms and the bathroom was tiled instead of dirty concrete.
The food was simple and adequate. We went on a couple adventure tours and found the guides to be pleasant and informative. There is, however, nothing to do except "hang out" in a hammock unless you are on an expensive tour(for what you get) or unless you want to try to see some birds using the resort's telescope. The river, which we expected to be swimable, was a 15 minute walk down a very steep slope and had no place to enter the water unless you waded through deep weeds and mud. The river itself is not visible from the hotel. San Ignacio, which really isn't worth visiting, is a $10. cab ride away.
Maybe if one is a birder and used to third world accomodations, Crystal Paradise is okay. But for our part, we felt we were getting third world accomodations at first world prices. If we were to do Belize again, we would go directly to Ambergris Caye(which we loved) and maybe take a day tour to the Mainland. We know there were others at the resort(I use the term lightly)who shared our view. We, in fact joked, that the resort's tag line on their business cards, "The Adventure Continues" referred to the encounters we all had with the resort's plumbing system.
Crystal Paradise was a wonderful place to stay. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. I would go back any day!
A great Belize experience, what else can I say
Want to experience paradise in a beautiful setting? How about true Belizean hospitallity in the midst of a jocular host with his loving and sharing family? Do not wait another minute- book your reservations and live with the Tut family in the splendor of the Belize jungle like I did for a week.
We loved it here!
My family and I loved our stay at Crystal Paradise. The atmosphere was very laid back and homey. The home-cooked food was fantastic, the grounds are well kept, and the Tut family that runs the place was so great it was hard to say goodbye. We met a lot of cool people staying there, the family style dining and bar really encouraged a social atmosphere. We felt right at home. We will definitely go back there again next time we are in Belize.
A great belize vacation
I had a great time at crystal paradise resort in Belize. The resort offers many opportunities to watch birds, nice grounds and easy access to the surrounding birding destinations.
The accomodations were kept clean and has a lovely view of the river valley. During our stay we saw over 100 species of birds. We will use them for future trips to Belize. It was excellent and I would recommend it to any birder visiting belize to stay here. We recommend staying on a thatched cabana they are very spacious, has queen sized beds, private baths with hot showers and a nice hammock to hang out as we called it "hanging out"
The best hospitallity for our stay in belize
Waking up to the sounds of the birds chirping, making tortillas with the family in the kitchen, kayaking down the river and splashing like kids, horseback riding in the mist at dawn and falling asleep tired and smiling after seeing more stars than I've ever seen in my life...These are just the highlights of our stay with you all. We couldn't have asked for better hosts or more beautiful comfortable atmosphere. we love our valley view thgached cabanas overlooking the jungles uuuuuu. We will miss you all
Crystal Paradise was lacking in many areas. 1. Our room (non-thatched cabana) was next to the area they store and repair all the vehicles. We were awakened at 6 am with the noise of cars starting and diesel fumes coming in our room. We could hardly breathe. Our porch was used to store car seats, engine equipment, etc. 2. We told CP I was a vegetarian weeks before our arrival. They assured us they had vegetarian options. Their idea of a vegetarian option was giving me a bowl of canned kidney beans in addition to the regular meals served to everyone. 3. The tour we took with CP was 45 minutes late leaving and was not as good as the ones we later took with Mayan Expeditions in San Ignacio. If at all possible, stay somewhere else.