Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#36627 - 03/26/01 01:22 AM Trip report
Dallas couple Offline
We returned on the 21st. What a wonderful time we had! Stayed at Banana Beach. Loved our ocean front room. It had AC/TV/phone/hair dryer/wonderful, thick towels! I highly recommend the ocean front rooms if you can get them...waking up and sitting on the balcony watching the sun come up started each day in a wonderful way. Only complaint about B.B. is that the young ladies at the front desk had little knowledge of the tours and/or options available. We found that to be true at many of the dive shops, too. We walked along the beach, going into dive shops along the way. When we went into Aqua Dives and met Edwardo, we knew we'd found our place! He spent a long time with us, answering all of our questions, and gave us a super deal on a dive package. We dove the 3 tank Blue Hole package and several local dives. Blue Hole was our favorite. Saw dolphins on the way out, then bull sharks, and a black tip during the dive. Wasn't expecting that as everything I've read said not to expect a lot of marine life on that dive. Loved the shark/ray alley snorkel! Please.. if you dive.. don't forget to tip your boat captain and dive master! Not many divers seemed to remember, and they worked VERY hard to make our dives enjoyable and safe!
Also parasailed with Fido's (pronounced Feedo's). They have great equipment and made it so much fun!
Restaurants: We didn't hit many, but can highly recommend Mango's, Caliente, and the outdoor barbeque @ Villas at Banyan Bay. Was not impressed with Tropica Sea Grill. Food was OK, but it took 1 hour 45 min for our entree (grilled chicken). Drinks were higher than any other restaurant.
Drinks: The Mata Colada at the Mata Rocks beach bar are the best!! Capricorn, Banyan Bay, and especially Estele's, all make great drinks.

We rode bikes all over the island, and looked at many of the hotels, so if someone has specific questions, I'll be glad to answer if I can. Had a wonderful time...Wish I could go back today! It was very hard to come back down to earth!!

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#36628 - 03/26/01 02:39 AM Re: Trip report
lmarquis Offline
Great report. Nice to hear the Mata Coladas are good at Mata Rocks. That is where I am staying in May! Cannot wait.

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#36629 - 03/26/01 03:56 PM Re: Trip report
AmbergrisBound Offline
Dallas Couple -
Thank you for such a great trip report! We (boyfriend, Rob & I) will be arriving in AC this coming Thursday. As I am sure you can imagine we are counting the minutes. In fact for the past 6 weeks I have checked this board at least 3 - 4 times per day (use it as a break from work - certainly makes it even better when you come across reports like yours...)

We will be staying for 2 nights at Capt Morgan's & 7 nights at Villa's @ Banyan Bay). As we have 3 days left, can you suggest anything that you "wish" you had brought but did not think of it. Also, do you suggest using Travellers Cheques or can you get by on a little cash & put everything on the plastic?

We are a young couple that are so excited about this little escape... any general recommendations would be appreciated..

Thanks again for the report!

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#36630 - 03/26/01 04:57 PM Re: Trip report
Debbie Offline
Dallas Couple,
I am very interested in further information about the parasailing. My husband is gun-ho about doing this on our upcoming trip. How much did it cost? Did you take off from a boat, shore, raft??? Were they safety conscious? How long of a pull? I'd appreciate any information.
Debbie

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#36631 - 03/26/01 05:13 PM Re: Trip report
CHOOCHOO Offline
ac Bound,

If you are early coffee drinkers you might want to taken some of those Maxwell House filter packs. Takes the muss, fuss etc. out of that wonderful private brew on your Banyan Bay veranda each morning.

Be sure to wave when you go by.

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#36632 - 03/27/01 12:03 AM Re: Trip report
Fins Up Offline
Hey Dallas, what kind of super deal did Aqua divers give you on the blue hole trip?

Fins Up

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#36633 - 03/27/01 04:17 AM Re: Trip report
lmarquis Offline
Choo Choo: dont forget to tell em about the early morning beach patrols with coffee and whatever else!

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#36634 - 03/27/01 06:36 AM Re: Trip report
diann Offline
Hi Dallas couple.. and anyone for that matter....just wondering if you took pix that you would want to share?? thanks!!!
ps... just livin vicariously through all of you!!!

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#36635 - 03/27/01 03:24 PM Re: Trip report
Dallas couple Offline
AmbergrisBound- I'm so jealous! Wish I were going back on Thursday! You will LOVE Villas at Banyan Bay. After we looked at it, we decided we'd stay there next time we go. It's a little closer to town than Banana, but was a great place! We used traveler's checks and cash. Credit cards are accepted at all the stores. Make sure you carry some small bills for tipping and shopping with the street/beach vendors.
There aren't many things we forgot to take, thanks to all the hints on this board before we left. I was like you, watching it several times a day as our trip approached! Take a mug with a lid, for ice water while you're laying on the beach, take lots of zip lock bags, duct tape (as they say, it fixes anything). And take only about half of the clothing you were planning on... You won't need much except shorts and t-shirts.
Debbie - Parasailing with Fido's is very safe. They have a brand new boat and brand new harness equipment. It's not at all like what you see in Mexico. You don't have to run down the beach and hope! The boat has a platform on the back, and you are released VERY SLOWLY. It is very smooth, no jerking. I THINK the cost was $65 US, and the ride was about 20 minutes. Go at sunset if you can. Beautiful!
Fins Up - We did two 2-tank local dives, one 1 tank dive + snorkel @ shark/ray alley, plus 3 tank blue hole day trip. It was $460 for both of us, but we carry our own gear. By the time you add in gear rental, it's more. If you take your own gear, they will even clean it for you after you dive, and have it ready for you to use the next day!
Diann - I would love to share some pics.. Can anyone tell me how to post them? I'm blonde, ya know!

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#36636 - 03/27/01 06:38 PM Re: Trip report
diann Offline
Hey Dallas...
I too am blonde....and love it, but I don't know how to post pix. If you want you can email them to me, or wait for one of the experts here to tell us how!!! Can't wait!!!....diann

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