General thoughts:
We were in AC July 25 –August 7. I loved this place. Usually it takes 4-5 days to relax, hence the 2-week vacation, but by the 2nd day, I was completely relaxed. Never have I been in a place so unassuming and so laid back. Nobody cared what you looked like or what you did (as long as you drove your golf carts in the right direction on the one-way sand streets). We met so many nice people from all over the place.

Where we stayed:
Tradewinds Paradise Villas – Wonderful. They went out of their way to make everything great. We loved being close to things and we walked everywhere. There was a lot of construction/renovating going on. This is their slow season and they have to do it sometime! Beware of the Paradise villas owned by private owners! More on this after I get my money back!

The weather & the bugs:
It was hot and humid. There was a strong breeze blowing most of the time that kept things cool. When the breeze died down it would get hot and the bugs started biting. It rained all day one day, but usually the showers were brief. We made a practice of putting bug spray on after 5pm. If we didn’t we were bitten.

Restaurants:
Fidos – excellent
Estell’s – excellent breakfast; ordinary dinners
Captain Morgan – so-so and expensive
Elvis – very good
Palapa bar at Paradise Resort – very good
Caliente – Rick liked, I didn’t
Lilly’s – Terrible
Celis - so-so and expensive
La Margarita – I liked; Rick didn’t
Papi’s – Terrible
Victoria House – Very good and very expensive
Sweet Basil – Very expensive and you must like a variety of foods. It is not your ordinary menu, but it was good
Jambels – Excellent
Emerald Café – pretty good
Mangos – good appetizers. Didn’t eat dinner there

Trips/Tours:
Hol Chan & Shark/Ray alley. A must do if you snorkel. Saw a green turtle, a green eel, snapper, grouper and of course nurse sharks and Rays. We snorkeled then Rick dove it on his first dive trip. He says to save your money and snorkel it only. You can see everything from the top.
Manatee trip with Searious Tours – Ricky was an excellent guide and lunch was great. Snorkeling was ok.

Diving:
These are Rick’s opinions, as I am not the diver. He dove with Dive Paradise. On some of the bigger trips, they put him with other operators. They were very nice and organized everything.
Diving around AC was good.
The Blue hole and surrounding dives – Excellent. First time with Amigos Del Mar. They were very good with a good lunch and nice boat. Rick loved it so much he went again. I went along to snorkel the second time. Pretty good snorkeling, although it was expensive. Went with Hustler Tours. The boat was smaller and the seas rougher than Rick’s first trip, but Billy was a great dive master and was too good at bringing the sharks around! Unfortunately, this second trip was the same day as the death at the Blue Hole. Ramons’ group was going down just as Rick’s group was coming up. We later saw them at Half Moon Caye, just after the loss. It put a downer on the rest of the day. My thoughts are with the family.

Thanks to this board, our trip was one of the best. I knew what to expect. This trip is not for those that want to be pampered and overfed with gourmet meals. It is for those that want to have adventures around every corner and then die laughing!
Erika Cooper