Hi all. Just wanted to offer a quick trip report since the information on this board really helped a great deal with the 12 day trip my wife and I took to Ambergris at the end of May. This was our first trip to Belize and many of you on the board helped it go very smoothly.
We stayed at the Coral Bay Villas for our entire 12 day stay and I don’t think we could have chosen a better place for our needs. Close enough to town that either a bike ride in for supplies (free bikes available at Coral Bay) or a walk in to town for dinner in the evening were both very manageable. The walk along the beach into town was much less dusty than the roads, so we really only used the roads when on bikes. We couldn’t figure out why the bike rides always seemed so easy, if a little hot when taken in the middle of the day, then noticed in anther thread that someone pointed out the key – no hills. Raphael at Coral Bay Villas was a great help with setting up snorkel trips and with various pieces of information during our stay and the rest of the staff at CBV was great too. The condo we stayed in was roomy with a great spacious balcony. A note on the images at the CBV website, the palm trees look short and like they might block the view from the first floor and so we chose a second floor condo – actually they have grown and block much of the view of the water from the second floor. In a few years they won’t block any view at all. This was a minor issue, and we were still glad to be on the second floor for the better breezes and an increased sense of security. The construction barges are still parked just to the north, actually much less of a nuisance than one might think. We loved the wide beach at CBV – seems deeper than just about anyplace we saw, and had plenty of space for sun or shade in the palm tree forest they have planted. We spent most of the time on our trip alternating between sun and shade on the beach at CBV.
The use of sea kayak is great at CBV – we kayaked out one day and the wind died as we paddled and like the fools we are paddled right past the reef not realizing we had gone over it – there were no breakers that stretch and we’re not much of seagoers. We realized once we were in what looked to be about 50 feet of water we had gone too far (kind of freaked us out) and we turned around and headed in. Not an easy paddle out an back, wouldn’t want to do it in a stiff breeze.
Took snorkeling trips to shark/ray/hol chan and to Mexico Rocks/Tres Cocos with Lil’ Alphonse. Water was low and yellowish for hol chan/shark ray trip. Amazing fish, but visibility wasn’t the greatest – and we weren’t wild about having to hover near Alphonse and his mate the hol time at hol chan. Water quality and freedom to roam were much better at Mexico Rocks/Tres Cocos – great trip with best snorkeling I have ever seen. We also did a day trip to Bacalar Chico – great trip (if a bit long on the boat ride) for being more remote and the only boat at the site you are visiting – the others can get crowded.
We met some great people on the trip – two separate couples staying at CBV – one from Germany, one from Texas, that we spent time with (snorkel trips, drinking and dinners). We also met half the British Army (had been doing training down on the Guatemalan border and about to head home for training for deployment to either Afghanistan or Iraq) at Cannibals (my wife out drank them) and a lawyer from Britain – got good and drunk with these folks on a couple of occasions. Had the joy the bar patrons putting on all of one of the soldiers clothes from his duffle as a practical joke when he wandered off for a while – good laughs.
Had great fun drinking at Cannibals, Crazy Canucks, Jaguar (learned to play 3’s at dice for a buck a game), good time dancing until 3 at Jaguar, great enchiladas to go for the stumble south home at BC’s – seriously, if you are hungry and headed south and have a microwave at your place, you can’t beat either the beef or chicken enchilada at BC’s – perfect drunk food. Wet Willie’s was fun, if a bit loud, on ladies night – more guys than ladies present. Fell in love with Marie Sharp’s and must have brought 2 gallons home for self and gifts. Thought the fresh orange juice at the little shack place just west of the San Pedro Market was good, but not to die for as we had read and should have got one gallon instead of 2. The bakery up at the north end of town was great.
Meat Pies – I loves me them meat pies!!! Had my first one at Mariana’s market the day we got in, and could never get another one from their as they were always sold out. Some of the best food I had on the trip was buying from kids carrying around meat pies or other delicacies in tupper ware containers or coolers. And $1 each Belizean – come on!!! Could have lived on these alone.
Food experiences – the best by far for price/quality combination is Cocina Caramba (on middle street in town) - a whole fish for $15 BZE?!? The secrets out – we ate their 3 times in our stay and tried 2 more times but the wait was too long for a table – place is always busy and always should be. Had great meals at Blue Water Grill, the Lebanese chicken was a steal and great tasting at Ali Babas, great meals at Taste of Thailand, Jade Garden (waiter was half waiter, half floor show). Monkey Bites – great for a light lunch and very reasonable. Casa Picasso was OK, but a bit pricey and seemed to be trying too hard – maybe we just weren’t in the right mood. Places we would pass on next time – Rico’s, Ambergris Delight (chicken enchilada should have been called chicken fat/gristle enchilada).
If on the south end try checking out the Crocodile feeding near the water tower at about 4:30 – was expecting some type of a fenced in set up – but it’s you and some local kids (a couple of which you have to go to the market with to buy a chicken for as they don’t have the capital for the bait to start the show) out on a spit of land with the chicken being slapped into the water on the end of a rope, then the crocs attack!!!! There’s water on 3 sides of you and these are not Caymans, full size crocodiles mere feet away from you in a feeding frenzy – quite amazing actually.
I could write more – but I am finding my story becoming tedious and tiresome – it was a great trip – top 5 of our lives – and we plan on heading back someday. Thanks again for the info you all provide.