Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#35468 - 03/02/01 04:43 PM Coming March 16-23
Joe Jr Offline
Hi folks. My name is Joe and I want to thank all posters for their respectful responses to my kids ( Joe Jr. and Lauren )questions. Now I have questions:
1) We are staying at the Mata Chica for the week and I have read very few reports of the place. I know it's not cheap (WHEW!) but to anyone who has visited there I would appreciate your feelings of the place and the typical things to not miss and to stay away from there. I grew up in Long Island New York and was driving the family boat alone at 10 years old spending countless hours on and around the water and have never lost this passion. As a family we enjoy exploring and walking desolate beaches and the like and wonder what exists north of the Mata Chica. I have been looking for a detailed map of the north end and cannot locate, any help? There is a large lagoon ( body of inland water) north of the Mata, is this anything of interest to explore there. Where are the Mexico Rocks in relation to the resort? Are there any chances of reaching the reef for snorkling without the aid of a boat/guide in the north end close by?
2) My kids are nature nuts in addition to beung water rats. In particilar my daughter is a monkey freak! If you had to recommend ONE full day trip to the mainland what tour would be most appealing to mature adventurious 11 and 13 year olds?
3) Confirm that US greenbacks are used and there is no need to exchange. Are credit cards widely used or am I better of bringing cash. I like to use cards for as many purchases as possible.
4) Are the kids allowed in the bars for nightly entertainment? Could anyone recommend some nightlife for us with the kids that they might enjoy and not be exposed to a bunch of ( how would I say this?) drunken sailors. I'm referring to and local cultural type things where me and the mrs, could have a few drinks and the kids could enjoy the entertainment.
5) Fishing, how we love this. Any info again from the north end where we could fish using light spinning gear without the aid of a guide. We do plan on a full day with a guide though.
6) How about restaurants within walking distance from the Mata, (I only plan on one night at the Mata restaurant)? I have plenty from downtown from the board.
7) From what I can tell there is considerably less boat traffic off the Mata, is this accurate and again is snorkeling off shoreline and north of Mata reachable, doable and most important worthwhile on our own?
8)My sorrow goes out to Barefoot for the loss of your mom. I've followed this board for the past month and I was sorry to hear the bad news as will my kids. I lost my mom when I was 16 years of age, its still hurts. You had her around much longer so be thankful for her time hear and shes now in a better place. Hope to meet you when we arrive.
In closing ( I'll probably post again with more before we leave) I need to say this is one of the most civilized and informative boards I have ever read. Cudos to the moderator and the posters. I can't wait to arrive and see the characters, locals and beauty of the island.

Thanks in advance for any and all replies.
I'll post a report when we return.

#35469 - 03/02/01 05:01 PM Re: Coming March 16-23
Big Frank Offline
Joe, you are so lucky!

Yes, IMHO an able seaman could kayak to parts of the reef and Mex Rocks, tie off and snorkle. Can you tie off at Mex rocks or is it too deep?

Monkey River is highly recommended as is the Lamainai tour w Tanaisha/Nunez

US bucks are always accepted but large bills can be cumbersome. You can find _3% exchangs rate--this was on the mainland

Kids might like
Chicken drop
hoops at the church
Soccer in town
at the cut there is a playground IN THE WATER! Shallow sand bar
Bike ride into town--3+ miles absolutely safe to do on their own, especially in pairs

North of the cut try the Palapa bar for good cheap eats--Check to see when the entertainment is as Barefoot skinny and ... Dennis Wolf play there. Check out the "Central Casting" bartender from Germany named {?} Jurgen and his ?Yellow Lab named Olymp.
Sweet Basil for fancy, pricey and good wine
Capricorn is Fantastic and a good value

The Belikin Special is the same as regular--
The Stout is 6.5% and will get you loopy
The regular is 3.5% and is just maintenance dose

Have one for us "nt companions"-}

#35470 - 03/02/01 09:50 PM Re: Coming March 16-23
Mary and Scott Offline
Joe Jr.-We stayed at the Seven Seas last Sept which is very close to the "cut" and the hand ferry(your kids will love a trip across the ferry!). South of the hand ferry, down the street,is a very small restaurant called Papi's Diner. They have GREAT,very inexpensive food. Delicious soups,fish, great breakfasts, hamburgers,fries,and a fried chicken breast sandwich that is awesome.Papi is a great guy,very popular on the island.His wife and a friend of hers cook,and their children are beautiful..when we would go there for breakfast, the children would be eating their breakfast, getting ready for school. You can call ahead for take out, and he even delivers to hotels close to the restaurant. There is also a bakery and a grocery very near Papi's. I am not exactly sure where Mata Rocks is located other than on the North side, so not sure if Papi's is very convenient for you, but it is worth it to have a meal there. Have a great time.
Mary and Scott

#35471 - 03/03/01 05:23 AM Re: Coming March 16-23
seashell Offline
Papi's is a great place to eat.
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

#35472 - 03/03/01 09:54 AM Re: Coming March 16-23
mazzullo1 Offline
Hello, Joe;

You can go to the "maps" section of the AC web site and find several maps of Ambergris Caye, including the north end. North from Mata Chica, you can walk the beach all the way up to Mexico, if you'd like. Behind Mata Chica there are a series of lagoons, all fairly shallow. There are no beaches inside, per se, as the area is heavily wooded with mangroves. If you were to take a small boat in, then you can walk the savannahs (some parts wet, others dry) along the west end of the lagoon nearly all the way up to Laguna Cayo Frances. You'll see mud, more mud, some rocks, and peccary tracks, and likely, mosquitos and doctor flies. Unless you're an intrepid (foolish?) geologist like myself (who likes mud), or simply enjoy walking around, then there's really nothing back there other than natural beauty, and did I mention, mud?

Dr. Sal

#35473 - 03/04/01 06:01 PM Re: Coming March 16-23
usagirl Offline
Yes, USA dollars are perfectly acceptable anywhere. We just got back from staying at what is probably the closest resort to Mata, Sundiver Resort, on Saturday. We changed some money at the airport and then never bothered again. You can use credit cards (MC & Visa) in lots of places and travelers checks. Good family restaurants are Fido's (pronounced Fee-doze), Celi's, a new place only opened one week called Caliente's, and for an exceptionally nice meal, maybe for two if you can swing it, Capricorn, where a reservation is highly recommended. Also, I think it is Captain Morgan's Resort that has a buffet-style dinner every Wednesday you might want to inquire about. If your kids are nature nuts you must take them to Shark/Ray Alley. The tour to Lamanai is a long all-day tour but very fascinating and you MUST MUST MUST go with Tanisha Tours and Daniel. He is the best based on our experience and comparing with others who used other operators. Feel free to email us if you want to for any other info we might have that would help-wendyjl@flash.net

#35474 - 03/06/01 07:21 PM Re: Coming March 16-23
Joe, Mata chica is nice, but remember they dont have a pool for the kids. I do think they have sea Kayaks, but not too many water toys. You can also go down to Journeyend for dinner, food is wonderful and not as expensive as Mata Chica. Journeysend is just south of Mata Chica about 1/2 mile walking distance. The kids can not go into the bars must be 18 yrs. Snorkling and Reef fishing they might like. Also the sail to Caye Caulker with a stop at Ray and Shark alley. Its a full day. I just hope your children dont get to bored staying there, because Mata Chica is more of an Adult place.


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