Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#59112 - 11/15/02 09:30 PM More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
pdc Offline
My wife are planning a short trip to AC in a few weeks to celebrate the 15th anniverary, and I've been spending lots (too much?!?) time reading the posts. I'm always a little amazed at the generosity of the others who spend lots of time answering questions for those of us who ask. (I'm suprised you don't all tell us it's horrible so you can keep it for yourselves!)

Snorkeling:
We plan to do a couple of tours, and I've read many of the recommendations. I'm trying to convince my wife to go snorkeling, but she's a little unsure. Should we rely on the resort (Victoria House) to pick someone or is it better to pick and choose. We're only there Thursday afternoon to Sunday so there's not a lot of time to figure it out once we get there. Also, if we're going to have to rent the equipment, what's the best way to get fitted and still make the day's tour.

Ruins:
I've read that Lamanai is better than Altun Ha, but why? Lamanai is and all day trip, and we'd like to spend a "little" time relaxing. Also, what can you expect on the Altun Ha trip. We been to ruins before and were disappointed to find nothing than the ruins and no explanation, etc.

Weather:
Only question I haven't seen answered, what's sunrise/sunset times this time of year?

Wine:
I've read a little about that, too. Will a restaurant serve your wine if you bring your own? That's not uncommon here at home, though sometimes for a small fee.

Thanks for your comments.

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#59113 - 11/16/02 01:09 AM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
Beachy Offline
Victoria house can handle picking some one for your snorkeling trip, for sure. The sun rises at 559am tomorrow, and sets at 518pm. From Victoria House's beach, the sunrise should be phenomenal!
As far as wine goes, bring as much as you like (there are limits, I think 2x750ml per person) and my waiters will open it for you, usually, if it is not a wine I carry, I don't charge a corking fee, this said, we carry mostly european and chilean wines.
Chris, owner of Casa Picasso Tapa Bar
_________________________
Casa Picasso celebrated three yearsthis May, thanks to all of you!
Chris and Jen

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#59114 - 11/16/02 01:31 AM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
KC Offline
Lamanai is great if you have the whole day, but Altun Ha is also good... but which ever one you choose, you must go with Daniel of Tanisha Tours. You definitely will not get dropped off and told "there it is - be back in an hour". You will also get a flora and fauna tour on the way there. He takes his time, and tells stories the whole trip. I have sent many people to Daniel, and have never had any complaints... only great praise. (no, I don't get anything for saying that, other than people telling me "thanks"!)

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

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#59115 - 11/16/02 02:36 AM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
Sandy C Offline
Snorkeling: An excellent guide is Alfonse Graniel - he is wonderful with the fish and people and he takes special care with new, cautious snorkelers. You can call him and schedule once you are on island, 226-3537; 614-5450. He will pick you up in his boat at Victoria House's pier. Ask Alfonse about other sites once you've been to Hol Chan. Also, he is very reasonably priced. I highly recommend you bring snorkels and masks with you. I think it is worth the investment to go to a US dive shop and buy masks that fit well; recommend a "dry" snorkel. This will add to the pleasure and be much more comforting than just renting what's available.

Trips: Most boat trips to the mainland are all day, regardless of the destination or activity. I found Alun Ha boring, but I'm not a ruins person; never been to Lamani. Check with Tanisha tours for options - they do some nice wildlife trips, wildlife + ruins, etc. Seaduced is also a good group. Recommend you check out offerings on cave tubing trips, also.

Casa Picasso: Chris politely didn't advertise himself, but do get the "cracked coconut" dessert at their restaurant; excellent smile ! Wine on the island is very expensive.

Happy trip and anniversary...

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#59116 - 11/16/02 02:52 AM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
Sandy C Offline
PS,

You can see Alfonse's web pages and E-mail him via this web site:

* go to ambergriscaye.com "Goods and Services"
* Under "Pick an Island Site to Visit," select "Alfonso Graniel, L'il Alfonse"

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#59117 - 11/16/02 03:27 AM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
IslandJunkie Offline
If you're into ruins, Lamanai is definitely a better choice. It's much more intricate and interesting than Altun Ha, and it's only an hour or so longer. The difference is you spend more time traveling and don't get to go to Maruba Spa. That said, whomever you choose to go with will probably be a great guide. You'll see lots of flora and fauna. With the limited time you have, it might just be whoever has a tour going out on the particular day you want to go.

Have a wonderful trip!

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#59118 - 11/16/02 05:31 PM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
TravelinMan Offline
Well I am sure that you will have a wonderful time at Victoria House. As for the snorkeling they will be able to handle it without any trouble. They always use good guides. If you want to snorkel alone with your wife you could arrange for a snorkel and beach picnic. That is also a lot of fun and much more relaxing. Be careful Wed. and Thurs. are cruise ship days so you should try to avoid any tours on those days. It gets very busy.

The Lamanai is a much more complete trip and if you don't want to spend all day then the best thing to do is do it with Tropic Air. That will cutout 3.5-4 hours. You will have a great guide and a great time. The trip is a little more expensive, but you will be home by 1:30PM. They fly you to Orange Walk then you take a quick ride to the riverboat etc. Everyone I have sent on this trip loves it. Have a great time.

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#59119 - 11/17/02 05:49 AM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
Chloe Offline
My favorite guide for snorkeling is Enrique with Aqua Dives, at the Sunbreeze, because I am old and not a strong swimmer, and he tows me along with all the care a momma would give a 2 yr old.
He makes sure I see all the coral and fish w/o me doing my normal panic attack in water over my head.
If arranged ahead of time, he will take out just one couple on his boat, but of course you must pay the price, but well worth the special care and attention he will give to you if you are unsure of yourself in the water, therefore you will not miss one piece of coral or fish, due to you being more concerned about your own abilities.
Enrique is so attentive, my grandkids, laughed and said they thought he would have even changed my depends if necessary.......kids.......LOL. :rolleyes:
_________________________
Dare To Deviate

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#59120 - 11/17/02 04:13 PM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
Soonergirl Offline
My husband is a wine/spirits broker (cork dork)and we have always taken our own wines and champagnes to the restaraunts in San Pedro - Journey's End, Papi's, and Capricorn to mention a few have always accepted outside wines with a smile.

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#59121 - 11/17/02 07:06 PM Re: More first-timer questions - tours, weather, wine
Mexicana Offline
That is so cool! Here in the states we were kicked out of McDonalds for my daughter bringing in a bag from BurgerKing and sitting with a bunch of people who had ordered from McDonalds. THEY COULDN"T STAND THE COMPETITION!! For a restaurant to let you bring your own drink when they could sell you something of theirs is really amazing. Goes a long ways to say just how laid back and different BELIZE really is!!!

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