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#38030 - 04/24/01 10:57 PM TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
Ralph Offline
So, after five months of planning..reading the message board and asking a million questions...we (Ralph, Barbara and our son, Max)went to AC and stayed at Journeys End (April 13 to April 21). I'm not sure how best to give my trip report or what format...i.e. just blab..or give ratings, etc...so I'll just wing it. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT I CAN SAY IS THAT BELIZE, AMBERGRIS CAYE AND JOURNEYS END WERE EXACTLY AS EXPECTED - ABSOLUTELY PERFECT FOR US.

MAYA AIR - We flew from Belize City to AC via Maya Air. Neat experience. 17 minutes...very windy..but beautiful view of the mangroves..water and reef. On time as everything was on our trip...

JOURNEYS END RESORT was just about completely redone after Keith. New teak, thatched bar, new pool surfacing, all cabanas repainted, new furniture (pool and restaurant)...other buildings redone, new flowers and trees, etc. The place was absolutely beautiful. The staff and management were excellent...from the waiters and waitresses, front desk, bartenders, etc. (Sharon, Fred, Danny, Tabitha, Marlow, Steve...and everyone else). They had a big staff...dive shop...They staff worked hard to make the place beautiful and make the guests happy. The cabanas were neat, two queen beds, one room and a bathroom..plenty of room for the three of us. Had air conditioning and a ceiling fan. Didn't really need the AC. Our room opened right onto the pool. Again, perfect for us. We had the meal plan (breakfast and dinner), so we made out fine. With a 12 year old we didn't want to come home from a tour and then try and find a place to eat. The food was fine, not too fancy...but we had three choices every night...meat, fish or chicken...salad and home made soups, breads and deserts. Breakfast was really good, choices of omlets, pancakes, fruit, juice, etc. JER will be upgrading the restaurant fairly soon...that's their next big project. The food was very expensive when compared to something similar in the US...but the meal plan was a relative bargain. As everyone knows, everything in Belize is expensive. Drinks at the bar...were pretty much the same as a bar/restaurant in the US. Sebastian, the restaurant manager, was also excellent...food was well prepared..staff always friendly, etc. The best thing I can say is that I WOULD GO BACK TO JOURNEYS END!
The reef is much closer to JER than other places in AC or in San Pedro. So, we could kayak out to the reef, tie up to a buoy and snorkle. The water was beautiful...so was the coral and the fish. We noticed that, as one went south, the reef was a much bigger trip...and there was more boat traffic. There was almost no boat traffic near JER. It was a 20 minute paddle..but worth every second. We walked up to Mata Chica and down to Captain Morgan's. Of course, both places and beautiful and unique...cost a little more (a lot more for Mata Chica). However, I prefered the look of JER...just a lot more comfortable and cozy. Again, for us, it was just right.

WEATHER - the weather was in the high 80's and mostly sunny...a good breeze....and some clouds which helped keep things cool. We went to a tanning salon for about a month before we left. This was the best move we made...otherwise we would have fried. In San Pedro..or back in the mangroves (we canoed behind JER...)..it was very hot...about 90 with much minimal breezes. The whole time we were there it did NOT rain in AC. When we went inland to Lamani, it rained a bit...but that was welcomed..since it added to the "rain forest" idea...and cooled things off.

BUGS - I did NOT see a misquitoe. I saw some flies..but only at breakfast when they were after the syrup on my son's coconut pancakes. From what I learned..most of March is extremely windy. There were small craft warnings up the day we arrived. However, like a miracle..things calmed down by the next day..and the breeze was just stong enough to keep bugs away and keep things cool. The "Easter Winds" were exactly what we heard....things just die down after Easter. I'd say the weather, all in all, was just about perfect.

TOURS - We booked several tours through TANISHA TOURS (run by Daniel and Elodia Nunez). We dealt with Nelcy. Not only did we get excellent tours and good deals, Nelcy was quick to respond via e-mail and helped make some adjustments last minute. I would recommend Tanish Tours any time. Nelcy set up a catamaran sailing trip to Caye Caulker (was actually with Hustler tours). One of the highlights of our trip..we sailed and snorkeled from 9 AM to 6 PM. Of course, we stopped at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. In my opinion if you do anything in Belize, this would be it. We also went with Daniel Nunez to Lamani in his boat, Tanisha. This should be no suprise since I haven't seen anything but positive comments... It was exactly as advertised. We left at 7 am and go back to JER at 6:30 PM. It was a long day...boat ride in the Tanisha...bus ride..and then another boat ride to Lamani. Worth every second...toucans, crocodiles, orchids, medicinal plants and trees, endanged species, Temple of the Jaguar, spider and howler monkeys, a million kinds of exotic birds...interesting people (Bomba village, people fishing in dugout canoes...)...miles of mangroves. Mr. Nunez provided breakfast with juice, soda, beer, rum punch..lunch, which was BBQ chicken, rice and beans, vegetables, etc... We also had an expert tour of the Lamani site (by Antonio, who drove the third leg of the trip up the New River). Mr. Nunez has this one down to a science...he was the best!
We also went fishing for a 1/2 day (REEF) with Luis (who works with the Guerrero brothers). We went in the PM...should have gone in the AM...but we caught about 20 fish...my son was happy...red snapper, yellow tail snapper, parrot fish, trigger fish, eel and about a 2 and 1/2 foot barracuda. The guide was friendly and tried to get us fish. Got us live bait (took him about 10 minutes to find a school and get them with a throw net...and tried some lures also. We also went out deep sea fishing with a guy named Hillyboo. Got a good deal..fished for about 7 hours..didn't catch too much...But, his was still the highlight of the trip for my son Max...he caught a 52 inch barracuda! I got one a little bit smaller...also got a small tuna. We brought our own poles and lures, etc. in the hopes of fishing on our own. We paddled in a canoe all over the mangroves behind JER..and tried the docks at night. Caught nothing. We did see some fish..got a few bites. I'm pretty sure that one really needs to know where to go. We tried the reef in front of JER out of a kayak. There were fish...but with the waves, etc., it was a bit difficult to fish out of a kayak. Next trip we're taking Edd Haskins! The fishing was very important for my son. We didn't really get what we thought we would...but it was still a positive experience.. I think that JER is putting his barracuda on their web site. He was proud.

PALAPA - We went to a BBQ at the Palapa, a bar/restaurant..north of the cut. Got to meet all my heroes from this site. Thanks to Rick and Cheri (they set up the BBQ). Barefoot Skinny was in charge of the music. Every time I met someone (on tours..or at JER)..this site came up.

STUFF WE BROUGHT - We came prepared! Didn't open the two bottles of Deep Woods Off..still in the package. However, I know that we were lucky..a few months from now the bugs will be back.....Brought a flashlight...helpful..tried to attact some fish..it worked, but didn't catch them (small). We were pretty tan...brough 2 bottles of lotion for the three of us (8 and 15)..maybe we used about a 1/2 a bottle. Stuff for the lips (chapstick) is necessary. If we didn't tan before we left..we would have been charred! Lotion in AC is about $20 a bottle. You must buy film or disposable cameras at home as prices for these items are about double in AC. T-shirts, bathing suits and shorts...all that's needed. Sweatshirt was helpful on the long boat rides...and at night it was breezy at dinner. Zip lock bags very useful. JER cashed travelers checks...

THANKS to everyone who helped us plan our trip. I'd give the trip a score of about 95 out of a 100. Time to start planning for next year.

I'm still not mentally back from Belize yet, so I probably forgot something.

More to follow, as I remember things...

Again, thanks to everyone....

#38031 - 04/25/01 02:13 AM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
calchick Offline
A superb trip report! It's so great that you categorized topics for easy reading. You seem to have brought all the right stuff to AC, and you managed to hook up with a great tour company, Tanisha Tours. Daniel is a great guide for land tours, while his wife is incredibly efficient and knowledgable about booking any other tours you may desire i.e. cave tubing, snorkling, and fishing. Sounds like you experienced heaven... AC!!!
Thanks a lot, Kris

#38032 - 04/25/01 02:41 AM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
KC Offline
Great trip report! If you walked from JER to Mata Chica, you walked right past our house! Dang! I can't wait to get back there. We went on a tour with Daniel Nunez also, and he was a great guide and knew lots about the flora and fauna, which we appreciated. On the day of our tour he and his "first mate" (can't remember his name) were not feeling well--they had some tamales the night before which were not setting well. They were both very thankful that the gringo (me) had lots of Imodium AD in my bag! Our trip was a bit delayed at Bomba because they had to remain in "the facility" for a time. Now, I'm sure Daniel is happy that I shared that with you all.

We walked down to Journey's End when we were there in February (our one and only visit so far), and I really liked it. Had a nice look to it.

Has anyone else ever seen the "lightening bugs" in the water at night? Someone told me they were some type of larva. We were standing on our pier one night and the sea was alive with flashes of fluorescent flashing lights! It was really awesome.

Thanks for the great report. Enjoyed reading it.

"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

#38033 - 04/25/01 10:48 AM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
cozdiva Offline

Thanks for the report! 3 weeks from right now we will be on our way to 8 nights in paradise! The sailing/snorkeling trip sounds fun. Was it just the three of you on the tour or were there more people with you? We'll be celebrating our 2 year anniversary and that sounds like it could be a romantic, fun day!


#38034 - 04/25/01 12:33 PM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
lmarquis Offline
Puts a smile on my face. 10 days left till I am there.


#38035 - 04/25/01 10:54 PM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
Ralph Offline
COZDIVA...on the sailing trip, I think there were 9 people total. It was a light load since the boat was over 30 feet. The "Capt" was great (STEPHEN)>. Again, it was with Hustler Tours..but we booked via Nelcy from Tanish Tours. It was all day long...$25 for my son..and $50 for each of us. That included belikens, rum punch and soda. They picked us up at JER at 9 AM and took us to San Pedro..and we left from there. Then they dropped us back off. Great trip..but so was everything else we did.

#38036 - 04/27/01 11:58 AM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
cozdiva Offline
Thanks Ralph! One more question - on the sailing trip, did you just eat your own lunch on Caye Caulker or what did you do for lunch? Not that my entire focus will be on food but I think I'll be hungry in there somewhere!

#38037 - 04/27/01 02:49 PM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
shaygray Offline
Ralph,Barbara & Max, What a wodnerful report. Makes even more anxious thatn I already am to be there (36 days & counting). I especially liked the fishing stories. I've never been Reef or deep-sea but looking forward my first time in june hen I'm there. They say it's a good time for bonefish & tarpon (woo-hoo!). Thanks for sharing!

KC (Kathy), I've seen the lightening bugs!! I was in SP about 3 years ago and did a night snorkel (AWESOME!) There were big areas "glowing" all over! Our DM told us what it was. Really neat seeing it while you're in the water! All kinds of "light up" creatures come out at night. Lots of different stuff than during the day. Really something to see! Sharon

#38038 - 04/27/01 07:58 PM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
rickcheri Offline
Hey Kozdiva--
Email us at Rickcheri@hotmail.com and I'll answer all you questions.... I have a friend that can give you a private fishing, snorkling, and trip to caye caulker and eat at a local rest. there and fish on the way back.. Great trip by yourselfs...
They have 4 good rest. there in caye caulker... Thanks, Rick

Ps.. Hey Max how are you, have you talked with Edd yet?? Rick

#38039 - 04/27/01 11:51 PM Re: TRIP REPORT - RALPH/BARBARA/MAX
Ralph Offline
On the catamaran trip they didn't provide food, but took us to a bar/restaurant in Caye Caulker (Popeye's). We had about 2 hours so you could go any place you wanted to. We had some Belizean pizza...different but good.

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