Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#55940 - 08/15/02 11:31 AM Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
orangetra Offline
Howdy. I've been lurking the last several days, doing lots of searches on weddings and different hotels. My fiance and I have just decided to run away with a few friends and we're really psyched!

So, so many encouraging reports from posters here, but it's a little hard to decide. We've picked places sight unseen before and it's really burned us. Of course, we can live, but when friends and grandparents enter the picture, we really want them to be comfortable.

It seems to me that I've sort of narrowed it down to two, probably very different possibilities and I'm having trouble weighing the differences. Maybe some of you could help.

Here's what we're thinking:
Don't want to be RIGHT in town. We're not big partiers. It might be nice to be closer in, but it might be neat to take a water taxi (see how much difficulty I'm having?). It would be great to have some privacy for our group and our wedding, but it would also be nice to have a swimmable beach.

So this is what gets me down to Banana Beach (where we can stash drinks and snacks to save a few bucks), and Sun Diver which is still reasonably within our price range and seems to be getting some rave reviews.

Banana Beach is much cheaper on a glance, it seems. So, what will I get for my more money at Sun Diver? Is it worth it to trade away the beach? Or is swimmable beach just a non-issue, what with people being to boat out or hike to another beach?


Thanks in Advance!

#55941 - 08/15/02 12:20 PM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
Sammie Offline
We stayed at Banana Beach in May and really liked it...we plan to stay there again next spring. It was quiet and comfortable. Our room was like a 1 bedroom suite with a living/dining/kitchen area and a separated bedroom. Having a kitchen was great because we saved alot of money by cooking breakfast every morning. We were in an ocean front room and loved siiting on our balcony to eat breakfast....sitting out there at any time of day was great. We enjoyed both the pool and the beach. Banana Beach is just far enough out of town but not too far. It's pretty easy to get around from there at any time of day.

#55942 - 08/15/02 12:41 PM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
beachbelle Offline
Banana Beach is a great place to stay - far enough away from the town, but close enough not to be totally secluded, and extremely worth the price.
For a wedding, however, the north end area seems to be a more popular place. You would certainly have more seclusion for your group. I do not know much about Sun Diver, so I can't really comment on their acommodations...
I do know that Victoria House (just a bit South of Banana Beach) has had some wonderful weddings and has a very lovely restaurant for "romantic meals"
I also know (from reading this board) that there are some great "romantic" restaurants on the North End as well (Capricon's, Rendezvous) not to be missed!

If you are someone who wants to have the wedding details taken care of for you, it might be best to stay at a hotel that offers wedding package options - a better way to narrow your search....

hope this is helpful

#55943 - 08/15/02 01:08 PM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
Chloe Offline
Here goes IMHO, with a varied age group I would stay South, to give mobility to the group by walking, biking, golf cart or Taxi to Town and restaurants at will.
Isolated beaches are fun and relaxing, so hire a boat guide to take your group all or part out to a nice beach area for the day with a yummy beach BBQ, money well spent.
Take that romantic water taxi to one or more of the romantic restaurant north, either as a couple, or invite the group.

Our group ranged from 13 to 63, and we all agreed to a guide for north isolated beach, with food three times during our stay, which included snorkeling, swimming, beach combing, cleaning up the beach, watch the marine life, napping and fishing.
But, being near Town was also most important to our group, for the shops, bread pudding, cinnamon bread, ice cream shop, and game rooms. Fido's was our favorite hang out in Town, for people watching, good music, food and drinks.

Hope this info helps.
Dare To Deviate

#55944 - 08/15/02 01:54 PM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
orangetra Offline
thanks for the input so far. i don't know but i may actually be even more confused! ack!

EVERYthing sounds wonderful. I guess we could suggest Banana Beach to our guests and we could stay at Victoria House...That way we'd all be at the same end of the island.

Banana Beach is sounding like a great location, but I do love the sound of seclusion. Is it really hard to enjoy the water up north?

#55945 - 08/15/02 06:17 PM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
In my humble opinion you should listen to Chloe. She knows exactly what the score is with an age diverse group in San Pedro. I'm not trying to be impolite, but she is towards the upper tier of that diversity (Sorry, Chloe), and has been to SP enough to know the score. We have been going to AC 3-5 a year for ten years and my choice would be Banana Beach or Banyan Bay. (Even though we have never stayed at either.) Banyan Bay being a bit closer walk to the "metropolis" of San Pedro. Visit the north side, but save staying there for your first anniversary.


Chloe, I know I need to make it up to you, but this blue medication is becoming a problem from time to time.

#55946 - 08/15/02 10:35 PM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
orangetra Offline
but choo choo...where DO you stay?

why in all those times haven't you gone to Banana Beach or Banyan Bay?

I hope that didn't come out wrong, but it seems you visit a lot. I know I sort of started out with just those two, but... I mean, I'm open to other suggestions...

(ack, again)

#55947 - 08/16/02 01:06 AM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
mddev Offline
If you don't mind the cost of the water taxi, Belizean Shores on the north end is very nice and has a great pool and secluded, Right near Capt. Morgan's and Journey's End. We stayed there a couple days but found it kind of a hassle to get to town as much as we wanted. After being in the Jungle for a while, we needed some inter-action with civilization. But all in all the resort is beatiful.

#55948 - 08/16/02 01:55 AM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
KC Offline
I must reply to your question... "Is it really hard to enjoy the water up north."

Most of the people on this bulletin board prefer to stay in, or close to, town. That is fine. It's their choice to be near the action, and Ambergis is ALL ABOUT doing what you want! -- Enjoying your vacation "your way" so to speak.

Then there are also people like me who love Ambergris because you can feel like you are secluded on a tropical island, and still get to San Pedro in 15 minutes. And that would be 'up north'. I love the seclusion. I love the quiet, I love the no lights at night so I can really see the stars.

Now, I'm finally getting to your question about the water. Where on earth did you hear that you can't enjoy the water up north??? Yes, there is turtle grass in the water, but every resort owner (that I know of) cleans their beach every single morning, leaving a beautiful, sandy beach. If you want to go swimming, walk to the end of the pier and jump in!

Enjoying the water is what it's all about up North!!!! There aren't people and boats and ski-doos, and water-mice, etc., etc in the water. We have a home very close to Sun Diver (which you mentioned was one of your choices), and there are LOTS of fun things to do in the water! You can kayak out to the reef, or to some rock/coral formations where there is fantastic snorkeling! Parrot fish were beautiful. You can even kayak up to Mexico Rocks, which is a snorkeling destination that most of the dive/snorkel shops go to. You may not be fisher-people, but some of the best bone fishing flats are right up there. Every time we are there, we see the bone fish in the water, and people fishing for them. We also snorkel right off the end of the dock, or just go for a swim.

It's all about what YOU want for your vacation. If you want "action" then by all means stay in town. If you want privacy and peace and quiet, then you need to stay North. That is my opinion! Like I said, you are 15 minutes to town, and there are several resorts with restaurants and beach bars within walking distance if you'd like to tip a Belikin and meet a few other people. Town is "too busy" for me. I go to town to take care of business when I have to, but can't wait to get back to the peace and quiet.

So, the choice is really yours. I got from your posts that you might be inclined to prefer some privacy, and since most posters to this board do not like to stay north of town, I wanted to tell you my perspective, since I think I am almost the only one here who loves the north end of the island more than town. Personally, I think you would love Sun Diver.

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

#55949 - 08/16/02 04:24 AM Re: Weighing Pros & Cons--Lodging
seashell Offline
Since you are going with a group, I stand with Chloe.

There's little doubt that if you two want to be alone and secluded, you could enjoy your time at Sundiver. However, you are taking a bunch of people with you and that means that there will probably be people that want to hang out in town from time to time. At Fido's, at Iguana's, etc. That is hard to do from Sundiver's. It can be done but it is more difficult.

Stay down south (I always stay closer in myself) but for you guys, if you are down south, you get more seclusion than right near town, fewer boats and docks than right near town, but you can still get to town, any time you want. You can also get back to your room in the middle of the night if a spontaneous night of punta breaks out at Iguana's.

When you come back for your anniversary next year, you can stay at Sundiver.
A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

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