Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
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#91790 - 09/13/04 06:37 PM Trip report Ramon's /Caves Branch
dcromer Offline
Posting a trip report - we just got back from 2 weeks in AC and Belize. We had an awesome time and would definitely go back.
Ramons is beautiful- large beach, we enjoyed being close to town to walk to dinner and not having to wait for water taxis. We found it very quiet - no noise from the airport or street. The beach is spacious and the rooms were clean and comfortable. We were staying in the beachfront cabanas and would recommend to stay on the south side of the resort because they were doing constuction on the restaurant. I guess there is never a good time to do construction, but more then one morning we could not speak at breakfast above the sound of saws. The construction was getting done by the time we were leaving- and as long as you stay in the far side of the resort I think it will be fine. Compared to many other resorts - I thought we were staying at one of the nicest places, with one if the nicest beaches. Especially compared to Bannanna Beach which I had considered.

We spent 5 days in the jungle at Caves Branch - this was the highlight of our trip - the "adventures" were amazing- and probably the most fun and challenging thing we have ever done - and we travel a lot! The food was plentiful and tasty. The rooms were amazing, the guides friendly and knowlegable. I would recommend a few days there rather then tyring to do both from AC.


Safety was not an issue- we felt very safe- were offered EVERYTHING for sale on the beach on AC- from cocaine to cookies. The people were very appropriate and took "no thank you" easily.

Water was all safe to drink and readily available in the jungle and AC. We always made sure we did not have to pay for water in the restaurants by not asking for bottled water.

Credit cards were widely accepted despite many posts on this site, that said they were hard to use. We brought cash which we almost never used. Only one place wanted to charge a fee for using a credit card.

In regards to food- my husband and I have very descriminating tastes - and consider ourselves amatuer chefs - and we thought the food was near the best we have had throughout the caribean. The food is simple- but fresh ingredients, and reasonably priced. Cocina Caramba was our favorite restaurant - with smoothies to die for. Elvi's was our favorite for lunch- again excellent and cheap food. Blue Water Grill was good - but more pricey, Caliente - the food was pretty average - but we had fun with the chicken drop on Wednesdays, BC's was excellent for beer - happy hour, Estelles for breakfast . We were not that impressed with Casa Picasso - we unfortunately have a great Tapas bar here in Baltimore, so we must be spoiled - we thought the food was average and the portions ,even for Tapas, were on the small side. We also both got sick that evening - so that may bias us!

The diving we did was with Amigos- del -mar. George was very good, always prompt with picking us up at our hotel. The dving was not as good overall as the Cayman Islands or Bonaire - in terms of fish life, it seemed that there was a lot of damage from hurricane Mitch with broken coral, lots of algae growth. There were more larger fish however- groupers and nurse sharks. There is no shore diving or snorkeling from shore. The pier at Ramons had snapper and small fish- but literally just under the small pier. We were dissapointed in that, because we do enjoy snorkeling from the beach as well.

Overall I thought Belize did offer a "complete" package - we wanted somewhere with diving and jungle - which most islands can not offer. The food was great- the country was clean, and the people very friendly. We would go back as I said - adjusting to life back here has been difficult!!

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#91791 - 09/14/04 12:26 AM Re: Trip report Ramon's /Caves Branch
Scott Offline
Thanks for your report, romer... The only part I did not agree with was Casa Picasso... We had a fabulous meal there last month... Yes the portions were a little on the small side compared to the "super-size" meals in America, but they were enough to satisfy without overeating, leaving room for dessert and an after dinner drink. Blue Water Grill was also very good but you do pay for the oceanfront dining. But, I want to know more about the Caves Branch jungle place! How many days do you need to do it right? Would three be enough? Where exactly is it located? Is it all-inclusive? What are the activities? You said it was "challenging"... What were some of the challenging things you did? We also dived with Amigos del Mar and they do, indeed, do a great job... The best diving tho is on the day trips to Lighthouse and Turneffe. Finally, next time think about a condo/apartment next door to Ramon's at The Palms. I think a very nice one bedroom with large kitchen and veranda can be had for the same price as a "room" at Ramon's. You can make your own coffee and fruit for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and then splurge on dinner. Bring your own wine, cheese, etc and buy beer from the warehouse and you're set! Thanks again for your report! I think I speak for other board memebers when I say we love to hear about other peoples experiences in Belize!

Scott

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#91792 - 09/14/04 05:30 PM Re: Trip report Ramon's /Caves Branch
dcromer Offline
Scott,
Caves Branch is run by Ian anderson- they do have all inclusive packages - which we did for 4 nights - I thought that was about the right amount of time. I would do the all inclusive there because there is no where else to eat! They have many adventures- we did cave tubing which was relaxing -with gorgeous formations in the caves -then a waterfall cave exploration which was a rock climbing in a cave, very strenous hiking- climbing over boulders - it was absolutely beautiful. The last day we did repelling off a 300 ft. cliff- which we have never done before. It was great -very scary. The hike there was an 1 1/2 hour hike through the jungle- most uphill- it was wonderful! They have a great website- cavesbranch.com

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