Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#172088 - 01/11/05 08:06 PM Your first time..........
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
Since it's rather cold and snowing/raining in most of the US, I thought it might be a good time to reflect back on your first time visiting Belize.

Can you remember why you decided to visit? Where did you stay? Did you like it? What did you like about it? What didn't you like? Who did you meet? Make any friendships, relationships? Did you return? How many times? Who were your fishing or tour guides? What was your first impression about Belize? Has it changed? Where did you eat? Ever get lost? Bought property?

Have you seen any changes? Positive? Negative?

I moved to Belize from NY in the mid 80's. My parents relocated to Western Belize, the Cayo District, San Ignacio. It felt like 110 degrees when we stepped off the plane in Ladyville at the begining of May. HOT! at least compared to NY.

With a partially paved road to Cayo, it seemed like it took an eternity to get there, on the bus!

No malls, no fast foot, not even a grocery store at this time.

I hated Belize!

After several months, I fell in love with San Ignacio, mostly the girls and the cheap rum. $1.50BZ for a rum and coke, at the good restaurant in town.

To be continued.

SIN
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#172089 - 01/11/05 09:44 PM Re: Your first time..........
MALIBU Offline
My first visit was July 24th thru 30th, 1994. It was my honeymoon; hubby had planned the trip and didn't tell me where we were going until we got in line to check in at the airport. (I thought we were going to the San Juan Islands in WA) We stayed at the Sunbreeze - 1 of oh, about 5 or so hotels I would say. We did like it: it was beautiful, unspoiled, people were VERY friendly, was extremely relaxing, food and sangria were delicious. Don't think there was anything I didn't like about it. Didn't make any friendships although we saw all the tourists on the island every day; there just weren't many places to go back then. We ate at Little Italy, Sun Moon and Stars, breakfast every day at a little shack-trailer thing close to the park that had wonderful tortillas and beans and eggs and was $2.00US if I remember correctly. YUM! Went back July 2004. It has changed tremendously. Streets have been added, Front Street dissappeared - into the ocean I guess.. LOTS more people and places to shop and eat. I do believe the only place to shop was at THE golf cart rental place; they had 2 or 3 souvenir-type items. There was a little grocery store type thing but we didn't go into it. The road out to Victoria House (it was there) was in the woods with just a small gas station on the side of the road and maybe 3 or 4 other houses or structures and the landing/loading dock area (which I think is in a different spot now than it was in then) the entire way out to Victoria House. Victoria House and Sunbreeze look TOTALLY different. The only thing that is the same is The Pier Bar. Very nice to see.

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#172090 - 01/12/05 02:08 AM Re: Your first time..........
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
Sun, Moon and Stars, forgot about that place!

Kewl!
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#172091 - 01/12/05 08:36 PM Re: Your first time..........
Kathy F. Offline
In April of 2003 my daughter called to tell me she and her boyfriend had booked a trip to San Pedro the first of September to go scuba diving. In late August she called back -- they had decided to get married while they were there -- would I like to come? We had 1 month to plan the trip and the wedding. Six of us went down and they got married on September 1st, 2003 on the beach at Carribean Villas at sunset. We then went to Mangos and had dinner and listened to Barefoot Skinney. We were only on the island for 3 full days, (arrived Saturday evening - wedding on Monday - left Wednesday morning) but we had a blast. I know we ate at Casa Picasso, Calienties (sp), Mangos, Lily's and the food vendors by the park. We rented a cart one day and explored as far north as we could go and then the next day as far south as we could go. We also went to the Palapa Bar. We have planned a couple of return trips since then, but had to cancel because of family emergencies. Maybe this year? Definately want to go fishing and take a day trip over to Caye Caulker. We also want to visit the mainland and go to Tikal. --sigh-- So many places to see.

I want to go NOW! laugh

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#172092 - 01/14/05 12:01 AM Re: Your first time..........
egcntrk Offline
"Can you remember why you decided to visit?"

My 2004
We did not want to return to Mexico and a business associate told my husband about Belize. It sounded perfect; a huge reef and the people speak English. After finding this site, reading and seeing the pictures we were sold.

"Where did you stay?"
Captain Ron's unit 1A at Paradise Villas.

"Did you like it?"
Loved it!!! Sea view, beautifully decorated interior, well stocked kitchen, daily maid service...what's not to like. I miss morning coffee on the porch, still.


"What did you like about it?"
Close to everything and the staff is wonderful.

"What didn't you like?"
Can't think of one thing.

"Who did you meet?"
Nellie Gomez, Tulu, Miguel, Myria and neighbors in the surrounding units, people in town, Elisabeth of Ambar, other tourists, Pedro1 and I think I spotted Reef Ransom.

"Make any friendships, relationships?"
Yes.

"Did you return? How many times?"
Planning on it ASAP.

"Who were your fishing or tour guides?"
Tulu

"What was your first impression about Belize?"
The first thing I noticed was how friendly the people are. The man at customs actually smiled as I watched him stamp my passport. That may have been 'cause I was on tip-toe, leaning over the counter to watch it happen. After going through security into the Mayan Air terminal we met the famous Jet and the next thought was "this is gonna be a fun trip." I wasn't wrong. When we finally saw the island it was beautiful.

"Where did you eat?"
Wet Willie's, Caliente, Elvi's, Fido's, Ramon's, BC's, Monkey Bites and the park vendors. Think we shopped in almost all the grocery stores and found the produce lady behind the soccer field and goodies from La Poplar Bakery. Too many places and not enough time to eat everywhere.

"Ever get lost?"
Not really lost but disorientated. First night, after dinner at Ramon's, trying to get back to PV we encounted construction blocking the end of Front Street just past Isla Bonita Design. Helped a couple catch their poodle only to meet Sami and Sam. Sami is co-owner of the shop. Had a nice visit with them and they pointed us in the right direction.

"Bought property?"
Don't I wish!

Such wonderful memories! Island dreamin'.......

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#172093 - 01/23/05 05:53 PM Re: Your first time..........
coopersworkshop Offline
I'm looking for someone in Belize -

Does anyone know Michael Sourial and how to get in touch?
Thanks

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#172094 - 01/26/05 04:35 AM Re: Your first time..........
LaurieMar Offline
Since round 6 is coming up in May, I guess I love Belize! First went down about 5 years ago. After my first rum punch at Jet's, all the way to the end of the vacation, it was all good.

I have stayed at Banana Beach, Mata Rocks and Caribe Island and liked them all. Just this last August, I was at Caribe and couldn't believe the lack of tourists. Quiet, beautiful and the whole second floor veranda on the beach to myself all week! I like to spend mornings watching the sunrise, taking photos, walking the beach and lying in the sun, reading or listening to music. Last trip, I went on the Lady Sharon for the sunset cruise and had a blast. Being a non-diver, but an avid snorkeler, I have seen better locales for snorkeling, but the view underwater is only part of the plan. I really enjoyed snorkeling right off Ramon's pier (free and lots of neat stuff to see) and the locals/kids have a blast doing cannonballs!

Cave tubing, Lamanai and the Belize Zoo were incredible. By the way, also liked Shark Ray Alley, the manatee tour, Caye Caulker day trips.

For drinking establishments, I like BCs and Crazy Canucks. Even though they only see me once a year or so, Ernie and Carlo always know exactly what I want. Food? What can I say? See food, eat it, is my motto on vacation. BCs BBQ on Sunday, Banana Beach restaurant, Caribe restaurant, Hammock House, Jambel Jerk, Sweet Basil, street vendors, bakery, Papis, Casa Picasso, Caliente - just to name some of my favs.

A former co-worker went there in the 80s and told me about it. I love the people, the atmosphere, the activities available and the food. I also have never gotten sick there, as I have in Mexico or Jamaica.

Do I own property? Noooooo, but would like to (perhaps you could talk to the boss about "extra beach time" and how it leads to high productivity!

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#172095 - 01/26/05 02:57 PM Re: Your first time..........
Bobber Offline
Our first trip was in '00. We had decided in '98 that the trip we made to our favorite spot, Cozumel, would probably be one of our last, due to the influx of tourists. In '99 we did Bonaire, which was nice but didn't quite have the right flavor when all was said and done. My son had done some research on AC, as he wanted to go there after talking to some friends at the local dive shop. We decided to give it a try (but not take him). We didn't have the benefit of this board at the time so we pretty much winged it. Made reservations through Tradewinds for the flight and a couple units at PV and hopped the plane. When we came through Immigration, the young guy looked at our passports, looked at us, looked back at the passports and asked my wife what our wedding date was. I thought, "what the hell, trick question?". He smiled and said "you look like happy people, and I need some numbers to play today." Had my first Belikin at Jets. On the flight from BC, I thought, "wow, this is gourgeous". We hit AC at sundown, and Lelo was there to meet us with a little van. We packed up the van, with luggage hanging out the back and bodies crammed inside and headed down middle street for PV. I thought to myself, looking at the dirt street, little shops and so forth in the dark "What the hell has my wife gotten me into this time?". We hit PV and met with Tradewinds rep, a young Belizean lady, can't quite remember her name, little roly poly gal with a great big smile. She was a cookie, loved dealing with her. Got a look at the grounds and accomodations and said to myself "This don't look bad at all." Headed uptown for dinner, ended up at the Barrier Reef, I had this fish thing cooked in a banana leaf. Fantastic. Up the next morning before dawn with a cup of coffee on the pier in the breeze. When the sun came up, everything looked fantastic and elevated my mood.
During the week we snorkeled and dove Hol Chan, snorkeled Mexico rocks and Coral Garden, took a day snorkel trip to Caye Caulker on Hustlers cat, hit Shark-Ray alley, drank Belikin and Panty Rippers, did the Palapa Bar before it moved back onto the pier. Took a cart south, back when the little dirt road pretty much paralleled the beach and weaved around houses on the beach. Carted north as far as we could go. Ate at Estels every morning, did dinners at the Reef, Elvi's, whatever that place was then at the location of the Blue Water Grill now. Big Daddys, Fidos, Jambel Jerk, the street vendors (back when they just had grills along the street), the Docksider (wet willies now). Bought cakes from a little bakery on middle street. Went reef fishing with Vince Dawson. Dove outside the reef with Hustler.
All in all, no downside except having to leave. Made a few friends that we see every trip down (4 so far). Love the people in general, the mood. Most important it provides us with the feeling of relaxation we have found nowhere else. On AC, island time is a great blessing (instead of an annoying curse most other spots in the Carib.) Smiled and waved at all the little kids (and they smiled and waved back) temporarily adopted a lot of dogs (kinda miss that). Picked up hitchhikers. Ate and drank with no worries about getting ill.
We have seen a lot of changes, some for the better, some for the worse (opinion), but the basics, good food, fantastic people, the feeling of relaxation and being "home" and being safe is still the same. Didn't buy any land, wished I would have. Go Back, hell yes, anytime. Looks like next year again.
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Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

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#172096 - 01/27/05 03:12 AM Re: Your first time..........
GRAFFICE Offline
GREAT POST BOBBER-WE LEAVE ON THE 7TH FIFTH FOR US AND CAN'T WAIT FOR OUR FIRST TIME TAKING OUR SON'S 24 AND 22-THEY'LL BE A BLAST DG
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YA CAN'T PUT A PRICE ON A GOOD TIME

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#172097 - 01/27/05 03:16 AM Re: Your first time..........
Bobber Offline
Finally took my son last Feb. He is now 35, long time to wait. He had a sinus thing and couldn't dive, but he sure snorkeled a lot. He also loved it and wants to go back.
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Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

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