Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#40958 - 06/19/01 01:28 AM Trip report.. the good & not so good
kong Offline
I was in Ambergris Caye from 6/1->6/10 and stayed at Ramon's Village.

First off, all the people I met there were very nice and friendly. This is the biggest "plus" about going here. The people were just wonderful. Ramon's is a great property and if you can, get one of the beachfront mini-suites which are on the 2nd floor with a great view and nice breezes. They are air conditioned as well. We loved our room(#27).
We always heard on here and from others that the water is fantastic and beautiful. So, we wrongfully assumed the beaches would be like the real carribean, no seaweed and you could just walk right in. This is not the case on AC. There is considerable seaweed where you wouldn't really think the beach into the water is nice at all. If you walk out a pier and then drop in to snorkel, the water is great. But, the beach area isn't. This is not just at Ramon's, we walked from the cut all the way to Victoria House.

I had always heard about how fantastic the scuba diving was on the reefs around AC. I've been in Roatan/Guanaja and expected AC to be comparable. It was no where close. Unless someone is going on their first scuba trip, they won't be impressed with the reefs right around AC.
Having said that, the atolls do have world-class reefs and fantastic diving. But, from AC each trip out there is over $100. If you're a diver, stay out on the atoll somewhere or I imagine you'll be as un-impressed as I was.
If you're someone who dives a bit, but likes to hang out on the beach and then hit the local beach bars, then this is the place for you. All of the beach bars we went to were really interesting and fun.

Mainland/Ecological points. In all the advertisements, Belize seems to make it look like it is a good a mainland/ecological destination as Costa Rica. Again, it is no where close. There are some great things, such as the cave tubing. Maybe in another 10 years, the ruins will be worth visiting, and they'll get some kind of rain forest tour/trip that has any value other than the cave tubing, but it's not there yet. If you want rain forests/volcanos/beaches/whitewater rafting/canopy tours/many animals, go to Costa Rica. They've got their act together with this kind of attraction.

I'm very glad we went, it was a good trip, but it was nothing like we were really expecting. I expected mainland based operations comparable to Costa Rica, and scuba diving comparable to Roatan. No where close.

I talked to many other tourists down there who felt the same way. They were having a good time and loved the people, but it was not at all what they expected.

Just my humble opinions. Don't go there expecting something it is not. Go there knowing what it really is and you won't be sorry. It's a good time.

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#40959 - 06/19/01 04:06 AM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
Cherie Offline
kong... Thanks for your candid report. I am going next month . We have been to several Caribbean islands and have been disappointed in most of them as far as snorkeling goes. We just snorkel, so I hope we will enjoy it. I am concerned about being able to just walk into the water from the beach though.Ilike to read my book under an umbrella or tree and walk in to get cooled off several times. Sounds like that might be a bit difficult. We are staying at the Banana Beach resort. Any comments on that would be helpful to know ahead of time also. Well, thanks again, Cherie

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#40960 - 06/19/01 05:19 AM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
KC Offline
Thanks for your report. I'm sorry you expected nice beaches. It has been said on this forum over and over how the beaches are not awesome, and the sea grass has been extensively discussed. Sorry you missed those. I think you are exactly right in knowing what to expect -- then you won't be disappointed.

Here's another example of "to each his own" -- My husband went to Costa Rica and hated, and I mean *hated* it. He couldn't wait to get on an airplane out of there. There again, it wasn't what he expected.

I don't dive, so that is not a problem to me. I mainly just "love the life" on AC... laid back and simple.

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

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#40961 - 06/19/01 11:04 AM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
kong Offline
Cherie: If Banana Beach has a pool, that's probably what you would want to use to cool off. That's what we did at Ramon's. Again, it's a great place to lay on the beach and read a book. Also, the snorkeling in the area is pretty good as well. You should enjoy your trip.

KC: I agree that if you love the life in AC, it is a great place. Wonderful people and great atmosphere. I just expected the water and close diving to be considerably better.

I'll go back to Belize, but stay out on the Atoll next time.

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#40962 - 06/19/01 01:21 PM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
Nicki Offline
Cherie, we stayed at Banana Beach and walked straight into the water to cool off. Plus, they have a great pool there. The beach there is one of the best on the island. Granted, it's not crystal clear like the beaches in the Virgin Islands, but it's nice for Ambergris Caye. I hope you enjoy your stay. Banana Beach is an awesome place to stay. Be sure to have a Mata Colada next door at Mata Rocks.

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#40963 - 06/19/01 02:25 PM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
rickcheri Offline
we've gone straight into the water out in front of Holiday Hotel...lots of windsurfers do this also....it's great to snorkel off the end of Ramon's Pier!! You could set up your lounge chair there...there are ladders you can use..my dad saw some really cool fish there, as they are continuously fed. In my opinion, the sea grass etc...is just the way God planned it, AC beaches are in the "raw", for everything there feeds or has a purpose in the larger scheme of things..hope you have a GREAT time!!I personally hope that they can keep things the way they are..sea grass and all!

[This message has been edited by rickcheri (edited 06-19-2001).]

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#40964 - 06/19/01 03:28 PM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
Anonymous
the thing about belize, is, (in my humble opinion), that there is a little bit of all those things. if you want to snorkel, forget costa rica. if you want the mellow days, forget mexico. you want solitude, forget usvi, and so on.

but if you want to snorkel a bit, dive a bit, chat with locals a bit, beach it a bit, see a ruin or two, catch some nature, all in a brief period, bz is the place. i loved the snorkeling, i loved sitting on a gorgeous beach ALL ALONE, i loved the rum, i loved climbing xunantunich, i loved the food, i loved the 1000 ft falls, and in '93, a pet spider monkey at a resort climbed all over me for 30 minutes. it was enuff for me.

folks, leave your big expectations at home, and you will have a great time. look for too much, and you'll be disappointed. it is what it is. and i love it.

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#40965 - 06/19/01 05:41 PM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
aqtpie2 Offline
We loved AC and Belize mainland. (in my humble opinion...) I think that Temptaion Island gave an image of more of the caribbean islands that most US tourists are used to seeing and getting to the beach was a surprise for them. (Not that this sounds this way in this posting... more like a seasoned traveller that expected different but enjoyed what was offered).

Jane your right, each place has a little of what your looking for.

We love AC, seagrass and all. And will be back soon.

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#40966 - 06/19/01 06:48 PM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
Marty Offline
there's LOTS of places whre you can walk right in and swim. and many areas have seagrass. but to say you walk the whole island and see no place to swim off the beach is just inaccurate.

and I don't know what jungle tour you went on, but the trips to Lamanai are amazing. It may be too "natural" for some folks, not enough organized activities, but its perfect for many. Its has not been extensively built up around the tour areas, you go and see a rather pristine area. No secondary businesses with refreshment stands and the bustle of activity...



[This message has been edited by Marty (edited 06-19-2001).]

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#40967 - 06/19/01 07:06 PM Re: Trip report.. the good & not so good
Charri Offline
I have to agree with the others...I'm not sure what the traveler above was wanting exactly...I too, think Belize has a little of everything...I personally am having problems with it seeming too touristy the last few years....the beaches are broad and walkable now and swimming is here and there...Ramon's
as mentioned is always my favorite...perhaps
the atolls would be more to his/their expectations....

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