Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#166329 - 09/03/04 04:52 AM Ideas for 1st Timers
kjbasketball Offline
Ok here is the deal, you all have so many posts out here, but I can't get through them all. On Sept 18th there are 5 of us coming to AC for a week. We are all in our early-mid 30's and love to have fun. 2 of us will be suba diving while the others snorkeling. We are staying at Banana Beach Resort. Here are some questions I have:
1) What are some things we should FOR SURE do/see before we leave AC?

2) Is there a site or something to best see the prices of the activities available. ie: jungle tour, parasail, boat rides, etc.

3) Are most the bars fun to go to? We are big dancers and like to shake the bootie!!

4) What are the grocery prices like? For example, we have a kitchen where we are staying; would it save us $$ if we get some groceries for the room? And if so, is there a store close to Banana Beach?

5) Any ideas of CHEAPER activities, etc would be greatly appreciated!

6) Do most all places take US dollars?

Sorry for the questions, but I am getting so excited and thought if we had a "starting" place to what to do/see..it would help out. I really appreciate your input!!! And watch out AC...here we come!!!! KJ

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#166330 - 09/03/04 06:12 AM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
seashell Offline
*1) What are some things we should FOR SURE do/see before we leave AC?

Rent a golf cart or two and tour both up and down the island and all over the town, including towards the lagoon side.

*3) Are most the bars fun to go to? We are big dancers and like to shake the bootie!!

Most all of the bars are fun to go to and with a group like yours it is unlikely that any place you go will not be fun. For shaking your boody, there's a number of places, but you will probably particularly enjoy Jaguar's and Big Daddy's. I always have fun at Crazy Canuk's on Monday nights when the Punta Boys play too. Oh yeah, don't miss Ladies Nite at Wet Willies. Keep in mind most of these places start quite late. Big Daddy's stays open even longer than I've ever been able to stay there . . .and that's saying something.

*4) What are the grocery prices like? For example, we have a kitchen where we are staying; would it save us $$ if we get some groceries for the room?

Probably, but you need to weigh out any pleasure/conveniences/advantages/disadvantages vs dollars saved. Grocery prices will be a bit more expensive than you are used to on many items but nothing that will send you into sticker shock, I shouldn't think. I always have a kitchen available and generally prepare my breakfasts, some lunches and on the more rare occasion that I feel like staying in, an evening meal. I don't necessarily do any of that to save money. I just like the convenience of having my brekkie before I get dressed and once in a while, I grab some lunch at home after diving cuz I'm cleaning up. That said, I do like going out for breakfast on non-diving days. Nothing like having brekkie and looking out over the ocean while someone waits on you. Can't help with grocery store info near Banana Beach, it's not the side of town I stay in.

*5) Any ideas of CHEAPER activities, etc would be greatly appreciated!

Be friendly. Get to know some locals. Talk to vendors. Walk all around and up and down the beach. Since there are 5 of you, you might look into hooking up with a local that takes people out on his boat, at their leisure. It can be quite enjoyable to ride up north and stop whereever you have the mind to, pop into different resorts and have a drink, etc. There is a good chance that will cost your group less than organized excursions. Last time I did it, we got the boat for all of the afternoon and into the early evening for around $80 US. It will probably be more than that now due to the increase in fuel prices.

Take the water taxi over to Caye Caulker for an afternoon.

6) Do most all places take US dollars?

Yes and you will receive as change, Belizean money or a mixture of both Belizean and US.

*Sorry for the questions, but I am getting so excited and thought if we had a "starting" place to what to do/see..it would help out. I really appreciate your input!!! And watch out AC...here we come!!!! KJ

My best advice to you is to quit worrying ahead. All will unfold as it should and once you've been there a couple of days you will understand what I mean by that.

Enjoy. I can't wait to hear your trip report upon your return.
_________________________
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?


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#166331 - 09/03/04 11:45 AM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
USNA73 Offline
RE:
#2 - Monkey Business at BB is pretty good. You can get their activities/prices from thru the BB web site. For a jungle/mayan ruin tour you can't beat TropicAir. Go to their site and check out the trip to Lamanai. It is a fantastic deal (great flight, great river tour, great ruins tour - everything will end up a private tour just for your group).
#4 - If your package includes the BB breakfast you will love it! There is a little tienda across the street for other stuff you might need. Restaurants are all good.

Have a great vacation! cool

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#166332 - 09/03/04 01:25 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
windyw Offline
Ditto Caye Caulker. Fun afternoon, great lunch places. Go to the bar at the split!! 20 minute water taxi ride to Caye Caulker, a very nice ride.

We usually only eat breakfast in the room. Los Cocos, Papi's, The Reef Restaurant, Calientes, Jade Garden, too many to name, love them all. Definately rent a golf cart and go to Sweet Basil, just across the split.

Fidos on Saturday night--lots of fun, good music and dancing.

Every store, bar, restaurant or shop I have ever been in takes US$$

But most importantly, have a wonderful vacation and enjoy your surroundings. Go to Manelys Ice Cream shop and have coconut ice cream, walk around town and enjoy!!

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#166333 - 09/03/04 02:21 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
kjbasketball Offline
You guys ROCK! Thanks for some great ideas. I am for sure very laid back and a HUGE fun person! How do you guys know all of this? Are you all locals living there??? Well I have NEVER had a vacation before (outside the USA) and I can't tell you how excited I am!!! I am already getting a wonderful feeling of the island and how nice people are! Thanks again! I will do my best to keep notes so I can let you all know about the best week of my life!!! KJ

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#166334 - 09/03/04 02:26 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
streetchie Offline
I always just relax when I'm on AC, but if you have to make plans, I vote for Caulker for an afternoon. The bar at the cut/spilt is a must. Picture 50-100 young people drinking, swimming, snorkeling, laughing and getting to know each other at the perfect location next to the sea. Renting a cart is also fun. The ride up north is beautiful and there are plenty of places to stop to cool off with a drink or take a swim. On your way back to town stop in at Hammock House to see the sunset. You'll end up staying for hours!! Have fun!

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#166335 - 09/03/04 06:18 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
Barbara K Offline
Take a day trip to the mainland jungle. Belize is much more than just AC.
_________________________
www.barbsbelize.com

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#166336 - 09/03/04 06:33 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
MALIBU Offline
kj
Click on the icon directly to the right of the date/time on each post above. There you can see where most of these people live.

They know all of this info because, as you will see when you get to Ambergris Caye, it is an absolute wonderful place to visit. Made wonderful by the very nice people and the beautiful views of the ocean/palm trees etc....

You will be pleasantly surprised from the moment you see the beautiful water below you while on the short flight from Belize proper to the island. I agree with Barbara K, if you have the funds take a trip to the jungle. If you haven't been out of the US, it will be unlike anything you have ever seen.

If you have the time it is WELL worth it to SEARCH (above and to the right) for 'trip reports".

Have a Great time!!!

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#166337 - 09/05/04 08:57 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
denverdan Offline
Relax and enjoy, say HI to and talk to as many folks as you can. Check out the maps on this site to give you an idea where most places are located. Do a search on the board for places to eat, dance, ect. Then when you walk the beach to town your gonna go... HEY, I remeber reading about that place, I should stop in for a drink or have some lunch there. Play it by ear and enjoy! Totally do a golf cart and cruise around the Island both North, South and backside! Then relax and enjoy some more!
Have a GREAT trip, I sure wish I was going with ya's!!!

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#166338 - 09/06/04 10:42 PM Re: Ideas for 1st Timers
HavinFun Offline
Hey KJ!
We stayed at BB in July and had an absolutely fabulous time.
You do get a voucher for each guest for each day good for a complementary Banana Beach breakfast there that includes a beverage of your choice (the juice is fresh squeezed), scrambled eggs, fruit and sweet rolls.
They will subsitute toast for sweet rolls if you request it.
If you want something else you can use the voucher for $10 Blz anything else on the breakfast menu.
You can also use the voucher for $10 Blz towards a purchase on the lunch menu.
Their burgers are the best I have ever had and are so big you could feed 2 and it comes with a hugh helping of french fries.
You can see El Divino's menu on the Banana beach web site and get a good idea of what they serve and the prices.
A lot of the Resturants have their menus posted on this site and most are in Belize Dollars.
As far as money, do yourself a favor and change your money into Belize, enough for a day at a time at the hotel desk or Monkey Business.
Its less confusing if your mind is in Belize dollars while you are there.
There is a little store across from BB that carry sodas and bottled water etc. at a very reaonable price. Don't expect it to look like a convience store in the US - that is more like the super markets on AC look like.
And judging from where you live you will think that the groceries are expensive. Expect to pay at least $10Blz/$5US for a bag of chips, $8 Blz / $4Us for Kraft Mac N Cheese, etc.
Bring your wine and your favorite liquer.
It can be expensive in the stores - except for rum.
Don't bring BEER - if customs finds it they will take it.
You have enough of you coming that you could each pack crackers, micro popcorn, coffee, creamer etc. anything except fresh produce is ok. Anything that comes in it's original packaging like lunch meat and cheese will go through customs okay.
They have a great bread at local stores.
We brought a softsided rolling cooler that fit in the overhead on the plane and filled with stuff.
It worked out very well because we had a cooler we could pack and take on outings.
We would put our bottled water in the freezer to make ice and everything stayed cold. It was great.

I would highly recomend hiring a local to do day trips. Tulu did ours and he was a LOT of fun and also very conciencious and informative as a guide. There are other independant locals as well.

As far as things not to miss -

A day trip of snorkeling that includes a beach BBQ prepared by your guide.

Sunset at Hammock House - at the cut by the ferry. They also have very good inexpensive food live music and dancing.
You can actually dance at any of the bars on AC, no matter how small. My hubby allowed the music to take over his legs where ever we went.

Don't miss out eating at the street vendors - go with your nose - whatever smells good is good and it is cheap.

Don't miss out on taking a nap under the palms at BB, must do at least one afternoon - to get ready for that night of dancing.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I wanna go!!!!!!!!
_________________________
Time flys - have fun!

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