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Author Topic: Advice for Vacation to Belize  (Read 1508 times)

Dantana

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Advice for Vacation to Belize
« on: February 07, 2013, 08:49:40 PM »
My wife and I are joining some friends for our first trip to Belize this summer. Some of the time will be spent around jungle ruins, some on the beachfront of a small island off the coast. There will likely be some SCUBA involved and it will be our first big dose of that also.

Right now I have a Rebel XSi, the original 18-55 and 55-250 kit lenses that I will most likely leave at home, an 18-200, 20mm 2.8, 35mm 2.0, 60mm macro, and an 85mm 1.8. I also have a Panasonic TS3 that I bought originally for snorkeling, and would need a housing for anything deeper. I shoot mostly with my primes, though I have used the 18-200 as a walk-around.

So here's my question: I was thinking of using the trip as an excuse/reason to upgrade to a new camera. Either go full-frame with a 6D and 24-105, or go lower budget and stalk eBay for a 5D2 (though to be honest I keep watching marginal looking bodies going for upwards of $1200). While I'd love to blow a bunch of money on a 5D3, I really can't justify it with my current finances. As it is, I'd be waiting for a deal on the 6D.

Here is my concern: I've never been to Belize, but I have read some reports of crime there. Nothing that would make me fear for my personal safety necessarily, but there definitely seems to be a lot of reports of theft. Is this something that concerns those on the board when travelling with their gear? Part of me thinks that I'd have better peace of mind taking my old rig and not worrying about it getting stolen as much, or accidentally destroying it in the rain-forest. I would hate to take a brand new camera on a trip and either have it stolen or broken. I know that probably sounds paranoid.

I've also thought about getting a dive housing either for the XSi or new DSLR, but it seems like another giant item to cart around and a substantial added expense. I'm thinking now that I will either look for a small housing for the Panasonic, or rent something while we are there.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
6D, 20 2.8, 35 2.0, 40 2.8, 85 1.8, 200 2.8L, 24-105 4L, Speedlite 430EX II, Rokinon 14 2.8

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Advice for Vacation to Belize
« on: February 07, 2013, 08:49:40 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Advice for Vacation to Belize
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 09:03:06 PM »
Whatever gear you bring, get it insured before you go.

For most of what you'll see in Belize, a good (small but stable) travel tripod and a comfortable backpack will serve you better that a camera upgrade.

For snorkeling/diving, I'd go with a small but relatively big-sensored P&S (e.g. S100) and its dedicated housing.  If you want to shoot at depth, budget permitting you'd need an Ikelite-like housing and strobe.

I highly recommend diving the Blue Hole, and if you go inland as far as Cayo, check out Actun Tunichil Muknal.
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Dantana

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Re: Advice for Vacation to Belize
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 12:44:45 PM »
Thanks Neuro.

I'll look into the insurance. Sounds like a good idea regardless of the gear I take. I need to make sure we have medical coverage down there as well.

I have a nice compact Davis and Sanford Traverse tripod, and a little Gorillapod if I decide to throw that in, but I think the Traverse will be enough.

Thanks for the advice on the P&S. I hadn't really thought of going that route with something other than the Panasonic I already have, but the idea of a larger sensor and better glass is nice. The TS3 is convenient because I don't need a housing for it if we're just going to be somewhere wet or doing shallow snorkeling. The IQ is definitely not the greatest though. We'll see.

I hadn't though about the backpack. That's a great idea. I know my wife will say, "another camera bag?" but it would really serve a purpose.

We're definitely going to the Blue Hole. The beach/diving part of our trip is set (at least for lodging). I'll keep the inland places in mind while we are going over plans with our friends.

In the middle of all of these thoughts reality struck, as I realized our property taxes are due. Amazing how that can put a damper on the gear budget.
6D, 20 2.8, 35 2.0, 40 2.8, 85 1.8, 200 2.8L, 24-105 4L, Speedlite 430EX II, Rokinon 14 2.8

Virgil Quick

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Re: Advice for Vacation to Belize
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 04:40:36 PM »
It is easy to schedule and insure your equipment under your homeowner's policy.  Just call your agent.  When equipment is scheduled you usually have coverage for just about any loss.  I'm sure your agent will be happy to explain the exact coverage.  (My agent told me that I was covered even if I were to accidentally drop my equipment over the side of our cruise ship.)  Coverage under your homeowner's policy is usually reasonable.  Also, after you get back home if you think you no longer need the coverage you can always cancel.

Belize is a beautiful place but, as you can imagine, ranges from plush, exotic resorts to rural areas of profound poverty.  When I was there, no one in our group had any problems with crime but as always remain alert and careful.

Have a great trip.  The Mayan ruins are worth the trip.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2013, 04:43:44 PM by Virgil Quick »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Advice for Vacation to Belize
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 06:15:04 PM »
The Mayan ruins are worth the trip.

+1

When we went, from Cayo we traveled a short way into Guatemala to spend a couple of days at Tikal.  For you Star Wars buffs, Tikal is the planet Yavin in the the original (Episode IV). 
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Dantana

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Re: Advice for Vacation to Belize
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 07:07:34 PM »
I had hoped to give an update on this trip, possibly right before we went detailing what I was going to bring, and definitely after with some images. I know there is a long list of people asking for advice and then never following up on things.

Unfortunately, I will no longer be going to Belize. My soon to be ex-wife will still be going, but I will have to wait to see the ruins and the Blue Hole.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Some day I hope to make the trip.
6D, 20 2.8, 35 2.0, 40 2.8, 85 1.8, 200 2.8L, 24-105 4L, Speedlite 430EX II, Rokinon 14 2.8


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Re: Advice for Vacation to Belize
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 07:13:48 PM »