Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#343983 - 07/07/09 11:11 PM No hurricanes this time!
nikmaher Offline
My husband and I just returned from another wonderful trip to Ambergris Caye. We first visited in 2007, for our honeymoon…but were sadly and abruptly interrupted by Hurricane Dean. Two years later, we were back!

We arrived at BZE after an uneventful journey and had decided to fly to San Pedro via the municipal airstrip-we weren’t in a hurry and would rather spend the money on Belikins! We ended up taking a tiny 6 seater from municipal back to the BZE, in order to switch to a larger plane and pick up more passengers. It only added about 5-10 minutes, and it gave us both the chance to sit next to the pilots-I felt very brave! The flights were beautiful as always, and we truly enjoyed the view. After the short flights we took a boat to Belizean Shores where we were met and brought to our room.

On our first trip to Ambergris Caye we stayed at and loved Victoria House. However, this time we wanted to check out the Northern part of the island, which led us to Belizean Shores (BS). Our room, which was really a 1 bedroom + loft condo, was larger than expected and fit all of our needs. We weren’t interested in cooking in the fully outfitted kitchen, but it was nice to have the fridge for pineapple juice (for panty rippers!) and Belikins. The resort was well cared for and the pool and pool bar were both nice, as we had read. BS definitely wasn’t as luxurious or fancy as Victoria House, but we hadn’t expected it to be.

On our first full day, we rented bikes from BS and road the well-worn path on the beach South, into town. We both enjoyed the ride-checking out the different hotels, private homes, and of course that beautiful sea. We picked up some beers and mangoes in town and then headed North. On the way back we were so excited to stop at our favorite spot, the Palapa bar. We enjoyed a few drinks, the conch fritters, and that amazing view. I think we could both sit there forever! We continued our ride North and went a little ways past BS, to check out the other resorts. Las Terrasazas looks gorgeous, but totally dead-not a soul around. For dinner that night we took the Island Ferry down to Mangoes, which we loved.

On Tuesday we went on a fishing/snorkeling/barbecuing trip, which BS set up. There were only 4 couples on the trip which was nice and made it feel more personal. Sadly the fishing was pretty pathetic-we stayed within the reef. My husband was frustrated, because the last time we were in Ambergris Caye we went fishing beyond the reef and were amazed at all of the huge fish we caught. That was not the case on Tuesday-I didn’t catch one fish! Ah well, I was more excited about the snorkeling anyway. After catching enough fish for the barbecue, we went snorkeling at Mexico Rocks. The coral was beautiful, as were the fish. We saw a ton of sting rays-some were absolutely gigantic! Unfortunately, my Irish husband and my freckly self got friiiiied in the sun, even while wearing SPF 50! As he said, the Irish should stick to the rainy, cold weather. Anyway, our guides barbecued us up a delicious lunch which was really fantastic. When we arrived back at our hotel our burns slowly came to life and after a few rum punches (bad idea after a day in the sun!) and lathering ourselves with aloe, we went to bed early.

I'll finish our story tomorrow...

#343996 - 07/08/09 10:58 AM Re: No hurricanes this time! [Re: nikmaher]
nikmaher Offline
Wednesday morning we woke up starving and knew that a trip to Estel’s was in order. We were both excited to be back at Estel’s, and happily dug our feet into the sand and devoured our mango flapjacks and fruit smoothies. The side of bacon was particularly delicious-I don’t know what it is about Belize’s bacon, but it is gooooood. One inconvenient aspect of staying up North is having to follow the Island Ferry schedule…no ferries between 11am-1pm was a little frustrating for us. It was a hot day so we walked South along the beach and ended up enjoying a few cokes at BC’s-a great little beachside bar that we had missed last time. We both enjoyed reading all of the funny t-shirts and license plates while we waited for the ferry. After returning to Belizean Shores, we spent the afternoon at Cocoa Beach’s pool, BS’s sister resort. Now that pool is gorgeous! Cocoa Beach is still under construction, they were building the dock that day, but so far it is a beautiful resort. I’m not sure how expensive Cocoa Beach is, but I would definitely stay there in the future, over Belizean Shores. After relaxing in the shade, and watching people point at my burnt tush, we headed into town for dinner. We hit up Jambel’s buffet, which we loved. The jerk chicken was SPICY but delicious. We also enjoyed the live music and laughed when one of the cooks pulled us onto the dance floor. What a fun place! With our mouths still on fire we headed over to catch the Chicken Drop. We loved the new addition of the “chicken security” t-shirts-what a riot! Rum punches and Belikins at Fidos followed, and then a quick ride home on the Island Ferry. We ran into a few new friends on the ferry and had a few drinks with them on their deck at BS-a great way to end the night and our time at Belizean Shores.

Thursday we spent a few hours at the Belizean Shores pool before taking the boat to Victoria House. We were so excited to return to VH- we practically raced down the dock upon our arrival. The resort looked as beautiful as ever-I just love the wide sandy beach, towering palm trees and double lounge chairs. The grounds were perfectly cared for and colorful flowers bloomed everywhere we looked. First things first, we sat outside at the VH bar and had a great lunch-snapper tacos and a burger. After looking forward to returning to VH for so long, it felt wonderful to sit on the water and soak up the view. Our little cottage –casita- was so pretty and just perfect. We spent the relaxing afternoon at the beach and pool and enjoyed dinner at VH’s restaurant.

Most of Friday was spent reading on the beach and at the pool, although we did journey into San Pedro at lunch for the notorious lobster burrito at Waraguma. After hearing so much about it, the burrito definitely lived up to its reputation! My husband and I split it and had to draw a line down the middle so we wouldn’t argue about who ate more…it was that good! For dinner that night we went to Elvi’s, a new spot for us. I had the grilled garlic squid with rice and beans-arguably my favorite meal on the trip. It was truly excellent and so fresh! A few drinks at tacklebox and BC’s before we decided to have “dessert” back at Waraguma’s. The papusas weren’t available at lunch but we were dying to try them. Like everything else we ate that day, they were amazing.

The 4th of July was another day at the pool and beach. We had a fantastic dinner at Hidden Treasures, which was both beautiful and delicious. My husband’s ribs were incredible and highly recommended. After dinner we went back to VH’s bar and enjoyed drinks and laughs with the bartenders.

On Sunday, our last day, we took a snorkeling trip out to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Our guide (through Searious), Mario, was excellent and pointed out and named countless types of coral and fish. The yellow/green turtles and moray eel were a few of our favorite sightings. The coral was truly amazing and in my opinion, rivaled any I’ve seen at the Great Barrier Reef. We also saw huge tarpon, grouper and schools of snapper-amazing. God knows how my pictures came out, but I snapped away the whole time. Shark Ray Alley was also great. The graceful nurse sharks stayed in the distance, which honestly, was just fine by me! The snorkeling was fantastic and we talked about it for the rest of the day, which we spent on the beach. That afternoon we went swimming off the dock and my husband spotted dolphins jumping in the distance. We watched them play until they disappeared, which was the perfect end to an unforgettable trip in Ambergris Caye.

#344035 - 07/08/09 01:42 PM Re: No hurricanes this time! [Re: nikmaher]
sweetjane Offline
sounds like a very nice trip, and that you did everything you wanted to do. fantastic. cool

(mmmmmmm, belizean bacon.....)

#344042 - 07/08/09 03:04 PM Re: No hurricanes this time! [Re: sweetjane]
azbob Offline
jane, stop it! I'm drooling (I know - that's normal for me)- bacon, bacon, Belizean bacon!!!!!!!! 14 days to many to wait.

Nice report nik! My kind of trip, but they all are, come to think of it.
"Hold on Tight To Your Dreams" ELO


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