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#125205 - 07/26/06 02:50 PM Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Marty Online   happy
Nice lil article coming up this Sunday in the travel section of the New York Times, by Charles Runnette, along with a nice pic by Tom Boyd, a regular contributor to AmbergrisCaye.com and an excellent staff photographer for the Eugene Register Guard.

#125206 - 07/29/06 01:54 AM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Marty Online   happy
here tis

July 30, 2006
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem in Ambergris Caye, Belize
BOBBING off the coast of jungly Belize, south of hard-partying Yucatán, with one pedicured toe in the Caribbean, Ambergris Caye is ripe for picking. Throw in mangroves populated with exotic birds and crocodiles, and a boisterous night life fueled by cheap beer and new resorts — not to mention the Western Hemisphere’s longest barrier reef — and Ambergris might just unseat Vieques as the next Caribbean hot spot.

For a bird’s-eye view of the sugary coastline and the reef, grab a window seat on the 20-minute puddle jumper from Belize City to San Pedro, the old fishing village that is emerging as a tourist hub. If the narrow, 25-mile-long strip of sand looks familiar, that’s because it was the setting for the Fox reality show “Temptation Island.”

Luckily, that fleeting brush with fame has left no nasty scars. There are no hotel chains, fast-food restaurants or designer stores. Like the Florida Keys during the Jimmy Buffett era, the slow-moving town of San Pedro putters along, golf carts bumping along the dusty shop-lined streets. Restaurants and nightclubs are laid-back. No shoes, no shirt? No problem.

Prices are similarly relaxed. For example, Ruby’s Beachfront, a small but comfortable hotel in San Pedro, has double rooms from $35 to $52.60 a night (Barrier Reef Drive, 501-226-2063, www.ambergriscaye.com/rubys). All prices are in United States dollars, which are widely accepted.

But rates are starting to edge up, as luxury-minded travelers discover Ambergris. The new Azul Resort (North Beach, 501-226-4012, www.azulbelize.com) has 3,000-square-foot villas, each with a private beach, a swimming pool and a hot tub for $1,390 a night. It joins the recently renovated Mata Chica (North Beach, 501-220-5010, www.matachica.com), a 14-villa resort where celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Dr. Phil and Tiger Woods have stayed. A small bungalow is $230 a night during the high season, and a three-bedroom villa is $950.

Not that you’ll want to be spending much time indoors. During the day, visitors disappear underwater, to the dozens of diving sites that ring the island. For $38, Amigos del Mar (501-226-2706, www.amigosdive.com) runs half-day snorkeling trips that include Shark Alley, home to nurse sharks and stingrays, and the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a break in the massive reef that feels like an aquatic autobahn.

At night, ruddy-faced tourists gather in San Pedro to sample the town’s lively night life. One downside to the island is the so-so food. A welcome exception is Palmilla, a restaurant at the plantation-style Victoria House Hotel about two miles south of town (501-226-2067, www.victoria-house.com). Specialties include cashew-crusted grouper with sautéed shrimp, roasted corn, mashed potatoes and green chili butter for $26.50.

After dinner, the action moves under the beachfront palapa at Fido’s (San Pedro Beach on Barrier Reef Drive, 501-226-2056), a live-music bar that serves One Barrel, a Belizean spicy rum. Other spots include Jaguar’s Temple (Barrier Reef Drive, 501-226-4077, www.jaguarstemple.com), where revelers sing karaoke and dance, and BC’s (Coconut Drive, 501-226-3289), a friendly beachside dive bar where locals flock for $2 Belkin beers and to hear Dennis Wolfe, an expatriate from Florida, singing his tunes, like “Living Jimmy Buffett’s Life.”

“Ambergris Caye has been one of the best-kept secrets of the Caribbean for the last 15 years,” Mr. Wolfe said. “But a quick look at the tourism statistics shows that the secret is out.”


#125207 - 07/29/06 01:55 AM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Marty Online   happy
not in the paper til Sunday

#125208 - 07/29/06 11:24 AM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Xoe Offline
Interesting article -- however, I strongly disagree with the author's comment as to "so-so food". I thought the food marvelous, with so many good choices I couldn't fit them all in during my two week-long vacations there, in January and May.

#125209 - 07/29/06 02:49 PM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
DB Offline
Agree with Xoe and while the places the author liked were pretty good choices, not so sure he got around too much.... confused

#125210 - 07/29/06 04:09 PM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
globalboy Offline
1. The first part to good food is the quality of the infredients.
2. The second part to good food is the preservation of the ingredients in the preparattion and cooking process(whatever that may be).
3. The fact is that 90% of the people wouldn't know the difference between good food and bad food, or, shit from shinola. That's why 'fast food' is so popular.
Travel to France and Italy......taste the food there and then decide if the food is any good on AC............

We have a long, long way to go..I even question our cosmopolitan AC lover Capt Jeff....one day I will find out if he knows what he is talking about; at this point I am very sceptical......

#125211 - 07/29/06 04:39 PM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
DANZA Offline
The best/first and last part of good food is who your enjoying it with and where. I'd rather have a good meal at papi's anyday then trying to impress or be impressed by some arrogant %$#@ that already hates you because your american.
Haven't been to France or Italy so I guess I won't know what I'm missing and thankful for it.

#125212 - 07/29/06 06:25 PM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Xoe Offline
I have traveled in many countries (including France and Italy), also dined in cities closer to home which are known for fine cuisine such as Vancouver and San Francisco. We also have in our family two gifted and exacting "hobby chefs" who create exquisite culinary delights. (I rarely eat anything that could be called "fast food", and never the franchise variety.)

"Fine food" and/or "so-so food" are in the eye and tastebuds of the beholder/diner, so there's much room for differing opinions. Given the size and population of Ambergris Caye, I think the array of dining choices is amazingly good.

As often in life, expectations can set us up for disappointment, or for joyful discovery, and I guess it was lucky for me that I went to Ambergris Caye with reasonable hopes and expectations -- and I was happily surprised!

#125213 - 07/29/06 07:10 PM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Marty Online   happy
yep he's wrong there. san pedro is a taste bud's delight!

#125214 - 07/29/06 08:43 PM Re: Article on the island in July 30 NYTimes
Sun&sand Offline
I think the thing is, you can't be closed minded where food is concerned. Try everything, even the street vendors. I have always had good food in SP. You don't have to pay a lot for it, either. One of the best meals was had in the "food court" next to the park...wonderful food, and I didn't really mind when he dropped the spoon, picked it up, blew one it, and stuck it back into the pot. At least we didn't get sick...and the food was very good. Of course, you could find fault with this if you wanted, but no harm done...(unless that rash around my neck counts)...Anyhow, you gotta try everything...and not be too critical of it.
Live so that when you arise in the A.M, Satan shudders & says..
'Oh sh t..she's awake!'

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