Returned from Ambergis Caye on June 5th. What a marvelous place. We started our tip in the Cayo District and stayed in a jungle lodge. It was magnificent. Spent a day in Guatamala seeing the Maya ruins at Tikal. We took our two boys, ages 15 and 12 along and it was fabulous. They were both totally in awe of it all. Many state side friends warned us against going to Guatamala but we found it to be calm, beautiful and charming. No problems at all. Our guide was fabulous. Our travel to Ambergris was delightful. We got to see a lot of the country side getting to the airport from the border. Tropic Air was very accomodating. We arrived early, and they were more than happy to put us on an earlier flight than what we had booked. We stayed at the Tradewinds Paradise Villas. VERY nice. They have one and two bedroom units. A nice pool. Air conditioning and cable TV. The kitchens were fully equipped (even blenders for tropical drinks)and this made it nice traveling with young boys who eat constantly. The hotel manager (Marki) was a delight. She was very helpful. Had maps made of the island for us and even arranged to have cases of Belikin beer and sodas in the fridge waiting for us upon arrival. They have laundry service available, so you can pack light if you like. The boys loved it. Since there are no cars on the island per se, we rented a golf cart for $250 US for the week. Can't remember the name but it was just next to the BIG grocery store and the beer distributorship. (oh! By the way... The beer distributorship sells Belikin Beer glasses. Several different kinds. Only 25 cents to $1 US per glass!! We stocked our bar at home) The Villas had parking right outside our unit. The villas were also in town so we walked along the beach a lot. We booked our trip through Belize Tradewinds Travel Agency. They are a wholesale travel agency that ONLY deal with trips to Belize. They own the Villas, so the rates were VERY reasonable for us. You can find them on the internet. Great bunch of people.
The boys were completely enchanted with the sharks and rays, but we found an even better place than shark ray alley. The "alley" is very crowded and you're in deep water. I wasn't totally impressed. We booked a Manatee trip through Excalibur Tours and the guide took us to a better place where you could stand up in chest deep water. Much better for underwater pictures and there was more light. Sharks and rays everywhere. Plus there were some really great shallow reefs just past the sharks that he pointed out. We got to see some wonderful sea turtles, some squid mating and even a moray eel. The boys were ecstatic. We went on a catamaran sailing trip through Hustler Tours. I found out that if you book directly through the tour places you can save $10 to $15 per person rather than going through your hotel. We went sailing all day and it was $50 US per person. My 12 year old was $30. Snorkel gear for the day was $6 if you don't have your own. This place fits your mask for you at the dock before you leave, so you don't get stuck with a leaky mask. (The pits if you've had it happen before) My husband was invited to throw a fishing pole out the back of the boat and caught an awesome barracuda. The other little fish were to feed the sharks later. We stopped at Caye Caulker for lunch. A lovely, quiet little island I highly recommend. We ate at The Sand Box. If I make no other suggestions of GREAT places to eat, this is it!!! Great menu. Whatever you do, don't leave Belize without trying their conch fritters. Spicey, but to die for. The fritters on Ambergis are good but not spicey. The little restaurant across the street from Ramon's will gladly make them spicey for you, and were the better ones on Ambergris. The day my husband and older son went reef fishing, (the little guy gets sea sick)I went snooping. There is a FABULOUS bakery on the north side of the island. It's blue. Don't remember the name. If you like coconut tarts, and unusual baked goods, try it. The little fruit and vegetable stands are usually more than happy to let you try a fruit you may never have seen before. This was fun for the kids. The people are so friendly, I even asked for recipes and got them. The restaurants are not real big on veggies as we know them, but there is a veggie store on front street for those of you who can't live without asparagus and broccoli. When my husband and son returned loaded with fish, the guide cleaned them for him and put them in a plastic sack. We went staight to a little restaurant called Ambergris Delight and they cooked his fish four different ways for us! It was only $15 for this service and it was a nice sized platter!!! The four of us couldn't finish it all. We ordered a la carte for the rest. A great deal!! They also have awesome pizza, for those of you with teens. Teens and kids are welcome anywhere. They have to be 18 to order alcohol, but are welcomed to dance the night away to the Punta music. My kids went nuts. There is one casino on the island. Small. We didn't try it out, because you must be 21, period, to enter. Our favorite spot was Fido's for night life, because they had live bands instead of the more disco atmosphere. We can do that at home. Well guys. Have fun. Will definately return next year. Debbie