My husband and I went to Ambergris Caye in mid-July for our honeymoon. We had an absolutely awesome time! This message board really helped me in planning our trip so Iím hoping my review will help someone else.
I also have pictures to share: http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=2BbuWTNy5YufA¬ag=1
When we arrived in Belize City, we took a 15 minute flight to Ambergris Caye. We flew with Maya Island Air and they put us on the first flight that went out instead of making us wait an hour for the flight that we originally scheduled. The flight itself was amazing in that we could see the islands and the clear water.Tranquility Bay Review
A rep from Tranquility Bay was waiting at the airstrip to take us on the 30 minute boat ride to the resort. Before leaving the dock, she asked if we wanted to go to the grocery store for snacks. She said that the resort has a restaurant and bar for meals but that we might want snacks. After stopping at the store, we went back to the boat dock and waited for at least an hour for the boat to show up. We didnít know what was going on, but the rep finally told us that the boat driver was getting gas and he was stopped by someone who needed to check the boat registration. While we were waiting at the boat dock, she talked to the other locals at the dock while we stood near a building not sure what to do. The dock area was smelly, dirty and there was nowhere to sit.
At the resort, we were given a glass of rum punch (very good!) while we checked in. After checking in, we went back to the bar for another drink and the bartender/cook told us about meals: He cooks breakfast, lunch and dinner (only at certain times of the day) and makes one entrťe for each meal based on what is on hand. He said we needed to let him know ahead of time if we were going to eat there. When we showed up for dinner, we were served fish with the skin and head still on, rice and a salad. I donít know what kind of fish it was, but it was very fishy and otherwise bland. We both ate only a little of dinner. We asked what he was making the next day and he said eggs for breakfast and was very vague about lunch and dinner but mentioned lobster. We went back to our room, had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and tried to figure out what to do about meals. I am vegetarian and neither of us likes fish very much, especially the fish we had here.
The next day, we asked about going into town to get some groceries. We were told that they could possibly take us that day because they might be going into town and that she would let us know. A few hours later, someone came to tell us that they were leaving in 30 minutes if we wanted to go. When we got to San Pedro, we were told that we had about 20 minutes to do what we needed to do. We came back and Pany, who introduced himself as the resort manager, said he needed to pick up some other guests at the airport and that it would take about 5 minutes. About 30 minutes later, he finally showed up with the other guests.
The resort is located 14 miles north of San Pedro and is only accessible by a 30 minute boat ride. Anna told us we could get a ride into town if and when the resort went to pick up or drop off other guests. It really is secluded and there is nothing within walking distance, so you can either sit around the resort or pay to rent a kayaking, snorkeling gear or one of the sail boats they have.
On the second day, we asked Anna about going to Lamanai or on an organized snorkel trip (we had never been snorkeling before and didnít want to try it on our own for the first time). She told us we could use their gear and either swim or kayak out to snorkel. She said she would see about setting up the Lamanai trip and would let us know. Later in the day, she told us the trip might not happen and that she would let us know around 7:30. 7:30 came and went and we didnít hear from her and couldnít find her. We assumed the trip was cancelled and she told us the following day that it was.
When we talked to Anna about checking out and getting a ride to San Pedro, we told her we wanted to leave the resort at 10:00 so we could go on a snorkeling trip. She said there were other guests leaving at 1:00, that she would need to check with Pany to see if we could leave at 10:00 and that she would let us know. Again, we didnít hear from her and couldnít find her. It wasnít until the following day at about 8:30 (check-out day) that she told us we could leave at 10:00.
We were in a 1 bedroom cabin and it was spacious and nice. It had a bedroom, bathroom, loft with a bed, living room and a small kitchen (sink, microwave, stove and a few pots and pans). The cabin doors opened to a nice deck and view of the ocean. The cabins are about 50 feet from the water. The bedroom was air conditioned and had a very soft comfortable bed. The living room/kitchen had huge windows with shutters that open and a ceiling fan. Along with the breeze from the ocean, the room stayed pretty cool. The resort grounds were nice. The seaweed was removed from the beach every morning. There were hammocks and beach chairs on the beach as well as chairs on the individual cabin decks. You can swim off the dock by the restaurant/bar.
Overall, the resort is beautiful and very tropical, but the service could be improved. I would recommend it for someone who wants to sit around all day and either wants to cook or doesnít mind having no choice over meals.Corona del Mar Review
On day four, we went to Corona del Mar, which is a slow 10 minute walk along the beach from San Pedro town. The staff was absolutely awesome. Frank always had a smile and a funny story and good suggestions. Miriam worked hard to get us on all the tours we wanted. The rooms are comfortable, clean and bright. Our room had a huge deck overlooking the ocean. They also have beach chairs, a dock you can swim off of (we saw a Ray swimming around it one day!), horseshoe pits and free rum punch (and non-alcoholic punch). The only downside was that the place next door has karaoke on Friday nights. The music was so loud that we couldn't get to sleep and we had to get up early for a 7 a.m. snorkeling trip the next day. Friday was the only night that the music was too loud. I cannot say enough about this place. If I go back, I will definitely stay here again.Snorkeling, Manatee and Lamanai Trip Reviews
Corona del Mar set up a Ĺ day snorkeling trip to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley with Reef Seekers. If I were to do it again, I'd go with Reef Seekers but skip the glass bottom boat. It was slow and you really don't see much. My husband and I have never been snorkeling and I was terrified to do it. The guides were so awesome and really helped me relax and enjoy the trip.
Corona del Mar also set up a Ĺ day Manatee tour with Belize Adventures. After a couple hours and two stops, we finally saw the "elusive" manatee. I felt like that part of the trip was a complete waste as we didn't really see anything but the manatee's nose come up. After that, we went back to Caye Caulker and saw seahorses, jellyfish and starfish. They usually stop on Caye Caulker for a bathroom break and to walk around and see the island. However, finding the manatees took so long that we didn't have time for this. Next, we went to Coral Gardens to do some snorkeling. Coral Gardens was nice, but I didn't like snorkeling with these guys as much as Reef Seekers. Their equipment didnít seem as nice. The mouthpiece was harder to hold onto and the fins kept sliding off no matter how tight I had them.
On our last full day, we went to Lamanai with Seaduced. We took a boat to the mainland and traveled up river through mangroves. We had breakfast (fruit, juice, banana bread) on the boat. At the village of Bomba, we transferred to a van. We spent a few minutes in Bomba, used the restrooms and looked at the wood carvings for sale. Bomba is a small and poor village that sustains itself by selling wood carvings to tourists going to Lamanai. I bought two beautiful bowls for US $25. The 50 minute van ride took us through the jungle down a bumpy road that was last paved in the 1950's. We transferred to another boat which took us about 40 minutes down the New River through more jungle/mangroves to Lamanai. We had a delicious lunch at Lamanai (I think the guide's wife made it for us). We had chicken, rice, potato salad, fried plantain, tarts and a spicy onion thing that you eat with the rice. This was actually one of the best meals I had in Belize. They also provided water, pop, beer and rum punch all day. Our guide took us through the ruins and we saw howler monkeys. After the tour, we went back to Ambergris Caye. On the van ride back, we saw a toucan and crocodile. On the boat ride back, we saw 8 dolphins. The boat stopped for about half an hour while we got pictures of the dolphins swimming around the boat. I would highly recommend going on a tour with Seaduced. The guides were very nice and seemed to be knowledgeable. Food
For meals, we ate at George's which is located right behind Corona del Mar. They had good food and a mixture of American and Belizean food. We had French Toast, pancakes, a burger and BLT - all of which was very good. We also ate at Blue Water Grill on the beach a few minutes south of town. We had pizza, key lime pie and flourless chocolate cake which were all very good. We went back the next night for dessert and had more chocolate cake and apple crisp. Again, all very good. The pizza was US $12 for a 10 inch pizza and dessert was US $6. Another night we ate at Caliente, a Mexican/Caribbean place on the beach a few minutes north of the Blue Water Grill. I had veggie quesadillas which were good but had too much cheese. My husband had a chicken dish which he said was very good. The prices were comparable to the US. We had frozen custard at DandE's (I think that's the name) which was awesome.