#18644 - 10/11/04 03:38 PM
Where & When - Sorry I know they most liklely have been answered!
Joined: Oct 2004
These are old questions which have most likely been answered many times before - So - Please forgive me.
This will be our first trip to Belize, looked at it many times, but continued to our old favorite of Costa Rica.
We always travel in Jan or Feb, due to my husbands farming operation, this is generally the only time available for travel. In reading much information I am concerned, is this going to be a bad time?
At first glance, we were compelled to choose Ambergris for our home base. But now after all my reading am considering possbibly Placencia.
We love to snorkle, (never get much of that in Costa Rica) so this is a major drawing card for Belize. We love white water rafting, so would probably enjoy some river trips although it is not white water, exploring ruins, exploring small towns, experiencing local cuisine, I love quite time and a book on the beach, he loves high adventure. Did I mention we love to eat! Enjoy a beer at the local spots, but not much into major nightlife. Our days seem to stay well packed, thus a bit tired by late evening.
I have read everything on the BelizeFirst website! As well as several others and a couple of books.
So bottom line - Is Jan/Feb going to be a bad decision?
And - Can anyone sum of the differences in AC and Placencia? Mostly concerned with the fact that I do not want to limit my trip to a beach.
#18651 - 10/13/04 03:11 PM
Re: Where & When - Sorry I know they most liklely have been answered!
Joined: Apr 2000
Lan Sluder/Belize First
Here's my standard list of pros and cons for Placencia and Ambergris Caye. I agree with Barbara -- if you're going to split, I'd say choose either Ambergris Caye or Placencia, (or substitute Caulker for Ambergris Caye if you're budget-oriented) and add Cayo.
A few of the differences between Ambergris Caye and Placencia:
AMBERGRIS CAYE (often referred to as San Pedro):
* The biggest island in Belize (originally a peninsula jutting down from the Yucatan) -- northern Belize
* Settled by Mestizos from Mexico
* Most popular destination in Belize (for many good reasons)
* 7,000 residents on the island
* Mostly sand streets, no building over 3 stories
* By FAR Belize's widest selection of restaurants and hotels
* Among the best top-end hotels: Victoria House, Mata Chica and Portofino and condotels Villas at Banyan Bay, Banana Beach, The Palms, Xanadu
* Among the best mid-range lodging: Mayan Princess, Corona del Mar
* Among the best budget lodging: Rubyís, Pedroís Backpacker Inn
* Some shops, sizeable groceries, lots of bars and places to hear live music
* Very nice beaches though like all beaches inside the reef somewhat narrow and with some goop bottoms and a good deal of seagrass
* Beaches along most of the Caribbean side (20+ miles)
* Reef just a few hundred yards offshore
* Decision required about locations -- more remote North Ambergris requires water taxi, south end or in/near town
* Lots of snorkel tours and day trips to the mainland to visit ruins
* Good diving locally and excellent diving on day trips to Turneffe or Lighthouse atolls
* Get there by flights from international (US$47) or municipal airstrip (US$26) or by water taxi (US$14)
* Safe and friendly (though usual cautions are in order, and with growth crime is increasing some)
* Transportation on the island -- bikes, rental golf carts, cabs, water taxis
* Hotels from US$15 to $500+ a night
* Small condos and vacation rental houses available US$100 to $500+ a night
* Great golf available on nearby Caye Chapel (but expensive -- US$200 a day)
* Tennis available at sports club and at a couple of hotels
* Water -- safe to drink from municipal system or RO/wells as remote resorts
* Good fishing -- tarpon, bonefish and other
* Very little snorkeling from shore (best snorkeling requires a short boat ride to Hol Chan Marine Reserve (including Shark-Ray Alley)
* About the same amount of rain as Atlanta, Ga.
* Significant new development taking place especially from town to about 2 miles south of town
* 16-mile long peninsula in southern Belize (Stann Creek District)
* Access from Belize City via road by rental car (3 1/2 hours, US$55+ a day), bus (6+ hours, US$8), air (40 minutes, US$70 from international, US$55 from municipal)
* Placencia village is 25 miles from the Southern Highway on an unpaved road
* Two villages on peninsula -- Placencia (Creole) and Seine Bight (Garifuna)
* Peninsula population about 3,000
* Wide choice of hotels from budget hotels in Placencia village to upscale resorts farther north
* Hotels from around US$15 to $400+
* Few condos but some vacation rental houses, US$100 to $300+ a night
* Among the best to-end lodging: Inn at Robert's Grove, Turtle Inn
* Among the best mid-range lodging: Kittyís, Mariposa, Barnacle Billís, Nautical Inn
* Among the best budget lodging: Tradewinds, Ranguana, Seaspray, Manatee Inn
* Some good restaurants in Placencia village and elsewhere, though most of the better restaurants are at hotels
* Transportation on peninsula -- taxis or your rental car
* 15+ miles of very nice beaches along Caribbean side -- best beaches on mainland but not much different from those on Ambergris Caye
* Day trips to mainland to visit Cockscomb jaguar preserve and to Maya sites near Punta Gorda
* Day snorkel trips -- reef is 15 miles out, though snorkeling is also available at islands and patch reefs closer in
* Little snorkeling from shore
* Few shops, only small groceries
* No golf; tennis for guests at Robertís Grove
* Safe and friendly (though usual precautions are in order)
* Water from municipal system safe to drink
* Good fishing for permit, bonefish, tarpon and other
* Access to small islands offshore for day or overnight visits
* Good to excellent diving on day trips
* Limited nightlife
* More rain than Ambergris Caye (especially during rainy season June - November)
* Sandflies can be irksome
--Lan Sluder <Fodor's Belize & Guatemala, San Pedro Cool, Adapter Kit Belize, Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize, etc.>
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Jun 10th, 2007