Mass tourism destinations and facilities can afford to keep a certain percentage of their units vacant to accommodate for looky-loo's who change their mind at the last minute.
But Ambergris Caye does not have mass tourism. Virtually all accommodations are small mom and pop operations, and many are individual homes and condos.
The only way we can stay in business is to be relatively sure of our bookings. We simply cannot afford to block dates for people who decide to change their mind at the last minute.
Of course, we all give refunds when there is a disaster (like a hurricane) or something that makes the place uninhabitable. I personally will give refunds if there is a true medical emergency (somebody breaks their leg or has a heart attack two weeks before their visit). If I get a cancellation and am able to re book the dates, I will refund as a courtesy.
As far as "not seeing the place" in advance, many of us get the majority of our business from our home pages. They contain pictures and detailed descriptions. We exchange emails with potential guests and answer all kinds of questions ("how far are you from the beach, do you have TV, how many beds in the bedroom" etc.) It is very difficult to blatantly misrepresent what you are offering when you are doing business on the internet. And I don't think that happens on Ambergris Caye. Anybody is free to seek info on places like this very board.
So I guess you have to decide whether you want to come to Ambergris Caye or to Cancun. It may indeed be easier to make reservations in Cancun that you can cancel at the last minute for no reason and at no cost. But the price you pay for that is...you are in Cancun and not in San Pedro!
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org