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#272573 - 03/16/08 06:04 AM trip report, economically minded this one is for u
desilars Offline
Just got back from Ambergris,one of the most beautiful places on earth. The only caribbean island that speaks English, all children, all people pretty much speak english. All signs are in english- very easy to get around. Belizian dollar 2.00/1.00 american. Very easy just divide everything in half. Almost all prices listed everywhere are in Belizian dollars. Grocery store prices are about the same as in the US, not as cheap as Mexico. They take Belizian money or US money interchangably, but if you give them US dollars your change will be back to you in Belizian dollars.

Below I will tell you about what we did each day. Please feel free to email me if you have questions, I can answer most. We are a family of four (teach and coach at a University in ND and have two teenage daughter 17 and 12, also the 18 year old boyfriend came with us). We eat where the locals eat, and try to be economical. We are there to relax not to spend each minute on a schedule. Read below. Contact me with any questions you have
Dclarson@ndsu.edu


Tuesday- We took Mayan air over to Ambergris and it was a beautiful trip. We were glad we did not get there in the dark so that we could see. Kelsey (17) got to sit up front with the captain so she thought that was pretty cool. They got us on an earlier flight than we had been booked for so we had to wait a little for Kenny (the man that rented the condo to us uses him to help his clients and Kenny was amazing. Kenrick Smith) to get to the airport to get us. He got two golf carts (Castle Carts- red with white seats the nicest on the Island) and we headed up to the Bermuda Beach condos with all of our stuff. The condo was perfect! (just about 1/4 of a mile north of the bridge) We made a quick assessment of what we needed and Kenny took us downtown to show us what grocery store was the best and most economical. We got homemade tortillas, amazing salsa from RastaPasta (only one store carried it) water, eggs, chorizo, chicken breasts, cheese etc. We stopped at a few of the stands to get some fresh fruit. We walked around by the beach and pool but were pretty tired so we just chilled out the rest of the night.

Wednesday- weather was gorgeous so we hung out by the pool for a few hours while my husband caught fish off the end of the dock. We decided to drive up north toward Captain Morgans. (road is terrible). We swam up there, and checked out the cool docks. We went downtown walked around and ate at Warumaga's (only seats about 6-7 people total- but always a line- food is that good and you can split it because the portions are huge)and had the greatest shrimp burritos and orange fanta. Stopped and ate great coconut and key lime ice cream at Mannellys. (we went there daily). The beaches are like everyone says beautiful until you try to get into the water and then it is hard to find a place to wade in where there is not eel grass. You can see the bright blue and know where the sand bottom is. No resorts have all bright blue with no eel grass. (that is what they call it)

Thursday- Went and rented the golf cart for the rest of the week. Went to the Pan Dulce bakery (another daily trip) for great pasteries. Weather was windy but still sunny so we had Kenny set us up on a fishing/snorkeling trip with two of his friends for the afternoon. We snorkeled out at the reef, (reef is really too far to swim out to unless you are very very far up north where the reef is closest)very cool then headed to the other side of the island and proceeded to catch about 20 fish. Mostly different types of snapper. They showed us where Tiger Woods and Leonardo DiCaprio stay when they come to Belize.We headed back to the condo at about 5:00 (they don't change their clocks in Belize) cleaned fish and had a barbeque at the grill with fish, baked beans and fruit. The guides cooked. It was yummy.

Friday- windy and warm. We asked around and found out where to get fresh fish, on the water just down from the Sunset Grill.(Sunset grill was a little pricey for us0 but the menu looked good). We were there by 8:00 am and bought a barracuda to cook for supper. Lots of tarpon in the water where they clean the fish. We went downtown, but it started to rain (in fact it rained sat and sun too). We hung out by the pool after breakfast (scrambled egg burritos in the condo). It got nice for awhile so we layed in the sun then decided to go down to Fido's down south where the beach bowling alley is. Kids loved it. Talked quite awhile to the owner. Had some great virgin pina coladas (for the kids). We again drove around downtown. We got ice cream again and gave lots of school kids rides on the back of our golf carts. We always kept our Fanta bottles to give to the kids so they could get money for them. Started to rain hard, so we headed back up north. My husband took out his pole again and fished in the rain.

Saturday- cloudy and windy, but we wanted to go to Beach and Kitchen for their famous bananas foster french toast. (Over the bridge about 1.5 miles to the north) It was amazing but pricey. (meal was 50.00 for five of us for breakfast). Headed back to the condo, but it started to rain so we just hung out most of the day. Nice to have cable tv for those occassions. The weather channel showed that Grand Forks just north of us an hour was -22 record lows. Glad we were not there. We made chicken quesadillas and pina coladas and just hung out. Sun never really came out and the streets filled up with water everywhere. The already big pot holes were now bigger and full of water. My husband still spend the whole day fishing in the rain down by the waters edge and caught a stringer full of fish. He left it down by the water for about an hour and someone took it- stringer was tied tight to a log. I guess they needed it more than we did. Rain stopped for a little while so we headed to a new restaurant down south over by the Road kill (one block behind) called Gordys Burritos. Only open three weeks. My husband met him handing out flyers downtown. Food was great. Fish and Chicken tacos, and soursop ice cream-(you have to try soursop ice cream it is amazing) it was great. Very reasonably priced too. It started to pour so we sat and talked to him. We finally left and headed back north and got pretty wet.

Sunday- spent the whole day inside, poured and poured and poured. Kids were getting restless watching basketball. My husband and I ventured out in the rain to grocery shop. We bought a cake mix and frosting to make at the condo.
We watched movies, ate popcorn and I did some laundry. Not much we could do about the weather!

Monday, sunny but windy. We swam in the pool, grilled outside, laid in the sun a little. Went into town and bought some souveniers. Went to the french bakery- more expensive then Pan Dulce but very good. Ate at Warugama's again. Bought some food from the vendors; fruit and vegetables. It started to rain, but would clear back up and get nice- still windy. We were running out of time to be able to go to Hol Chan. Most days it was too windy and the water was too stirred up to see much. We talked to Kenny and he assured us it would be nice our last day, so we booked a trip to Hol Chan with his friend Carlos for the next morning. Sun came out for awhile so my husband headed to the cut to walk out and fish. He even caught crabs at the bridge with the little kids.

Last day tuesday- Weather was perfect, calm, no wind, full sun. Wish we had a few of those days the days before. Met Carlos at the dock and headed to Hol Chan. On the way there we saw a 12 foot hammer head shark- it was amazing.(Carlos was amazing, if you email me I will give you his info- he knew every fish, picked up stingrays for us to pet too)
He gave us a guided snorkel tour and he was great. He knew the different kinds of fish, rays and coral. He told us about the history of Belize and that it was the only english speaking caribbean country. We had a great time. He then took us to where the stingrays and nurse sharks are. It was so cool. He fed the stingrays and held one up for us to pet. He also had a huge 4 foot grouper following him like a puppy dog. It was cool too. We were there from 8 am to about 11:00 am. Kenny arranged for a taxi to come get us just over the bridge by 12:15, our flight was out at 1:00. (we changed our mind about taking the water taxi, we were not sure what the weather would do after all that rain). We had ice cream of course before we left and bought "You gotta Belize" t-shirts.

Condo notes, I made a list of the tv channels for others to use. We broke a coffee cup- sorry. Nice to have those beach towels- they are always bulky to bring and pack from home. Beds were very comfy, nice sheets. Towels in the bathrooms were very nice.
The bathrooms are beautiful, you did a nice job with those. The air conditioning units worked well and the ceiling fans were nice when the air conditioners were not needed. Nice to have a washer and dryer- especially the dryer for damp towels. The tv and satellite tv were awesome, especially at night or for bad weather. Most of the places we have been had no tv, or just one of two channels in Spanish. The pool was lovely as was the grill. The only drawback was that there was construction both next door and at your building in two different units- they were hammering and drilling and pounding early by 7 each morning even on Saturday. Monday was a Holiday so we did get a reprieve. If you ever need me to give someone some info or a recommendation on your condo unit to rent it- let me know. It was beautiful and very comfortable, even for the boyfriend who slept on the couch- which by the way was very comfy. I had planned to clean but Kenny told me not to. I stripped the sheets and piled up the dirty towels so he could tell the difference from the clean ones and dirty ones. I swept daily- lots of sand comes up with feet.

Kenny- he was wonderful. Wish we could have seen him before we left- he could not get away from his other job selling time shares. He gave us a pass so we did not have to pay each time across the toll bridge, arranged a snorkel and a fishing trip for us. Got us to and from the airport. Gave us a cell phone so that we could get a hold of him if we needed to. He checked in on us at least once a day to see if we needed anything. He was a wealth of information. Keep him, he is great! His friend Carlos was incredible- the one that took us to Hol Chan. He just started his own tour business, he was reasonable and very knowledgeable. I got his card and plan to recommend him to everyone!


All in all loved Belize. Gorgeous place, the people were wonderful. Everyone said hello to us from children to construction workers- absolutely everyone. I felt very safe too. Little kids walking around at night bring back a bag of groceries to their homes (shacks) I mean 3-4 yr olds. I never felt uncomfortable ever. I never felt uncomfortable letting my kids take the golf cart into town for ice cream, or just to drive around. People were wonderful when you asked them questions, because of no language barrier- it was even easier.

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#272587 - 03/16/08 03:02 PM Re: trip report, economically minded this one is for u [Re: desilars]
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Good trip report.

But just to clarify among Caribbean islands Ambergris Caye is hardly unique in being English-speaking (or as English as the co-language). A majority of the Caribbean islands in the "main" Caribbean are predominantly English-speaking: Antigua, Barbados, the BVI, Anguilla, the USVI, Saba, Jamaica, Dominica, Grenada and Montserrat, to name a few. Also the Bay Islands of Honduras have a lot of English speakers. Ditto the islands on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. Not to mention Belize's other cayes.

--Lan Sluder
_________________________
Lan Sluder/Belize First
http://www.belizefirst.com

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#272667 - 03/16/08 10:59 PM Re: trip report, economically minded this one is for u [Re: Lan Sluder/Belize First]
Canuck-Diver Offline
The people of Isla San Andres, Columbia also speak fluent english. They are island folks (creole etc) and not true Columbians for the most part. You can also lump the Bahamas / Exumas and Turks & Caicos in there as well....

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