Would like to be on the beach or within easy walking distance--in a place with some good local food and "watering" places. We really like local foods and local bars--not fans of resorts or big hotels. Prefer to experience the culture and shop locally. Love to snorkel, don't mind organized trips as long as they're reputable. Would like to be somewhere where we can either walk or bicycle to markets/dinner/bars--don't want to have to use a car unless absolutely necessary.
you may want to avoid the Easter holiday, because things get busy around then. Easter is April 12th, if I'm not mistaken. Two local hotels that might work for you are the Holiday Hotel
. They're right next door to each other, on the beach. The Holiday is nicer and costs more. Changes in Lattitudes is okay too, but it's not directly on the beach. I've stayed at Ramon's
, which is upscale rustic.
Food in town is quite good. Prices range from cheap tacos and street vendors to white tablecloth restaurants, although dress codes are relaxed. I recommend the Sunday barbeque at BC's and a nice supper at the Blue Water Grill
. It might be good to wear a sorong over a bikini, for example. An aloha shirt and sandals is okay for any place I've been.
There aren't many cars on the island, with the exception of quite a few kamazaki cab drivers. Resist the temptation to rent a golf cart, unless you really need it. Walk the beach instead-unless you get a remote hotel it's easier to walk than drive. All of the places I've recommended are within a quarter mile or so.
You're pretty much stuck with organized tours from San Pedro Town. The interesting sites are primarily on the mainland, and getting there without a guide might be more stressful than you'd really like. The snorkling is far enough offshore to where you wouldn't want to swim it, although you might be able to sea kayak out to the reef if you're hardy.
Why don't you tell us what you like to do and what sort of hotels you like, so we can be more specific. How long do you want to stay on the island? Do you want to overnight on the mainland? What about long range expeditions, for example to Tikal? Do you want to see caves, rivers or ruins? Fishing? What's your plan?