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Joined: Mar 2007
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Mildred Offline OP
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We discovered San Pedro via Internet. We talked to experienced divers/frequent visitors and they told me it was Paradise.

When we got to the Belize City airport, we were absolutely surprised to see the small airport and the undeveloped conditions. The taxi ride from the airport to the water taxi was no difference. During the taxi drive, we saw many females selling their home cooked meals in the corners and several males worker line-up to eat. The cooked meals where kept in simply pots and pans as they will be at home at the kitchen table. My heard broke; here I was in a taxi visiting a country that needs tourist's dollars but I couldn't enjoy the country because I felt guilty. Guilty that we had shoes and that our idea of fast food was a McDonalds and not a female in the corner with a pot of home cooked meal.

Our waiting time for the water taxi was long as we met several locals and tourist in the small waiting room. Interesting enough, they had a bathroom lady that sell small pieces of toilet paper for 50 cents. We speak both English/Spanish, but the Belizean Creole/Kriol language was hard to understand. At this early stage of our trip we choose to stay with the Spanish language, unless we encounter the Creole and then we switch to English.

One hour and 45 minutes later, we arrived in San Pedro. The first thing a notice was the beach front. It is looked like a lake, but it had sea grass and trash. The water was dark green and it was missing ocean waves. We talked to locals and they told is that San Pedro beach front are NOT like Bermudas. That we need to rent a boat tour and check the reeves. As local they don't care for the beach front water and that they prefer the split at Caulker.

It rained every night, but during the day it was very nice. We rode our bikes south and north of San Pedro several times during our stay, we did that in 4 hours. We meet several vendors form El Salvador, Nicaragua and other Central America countries. They bring their merchandise once a month to sell to the tourists.

During one of our bike rides to the north side, we encounter the toll staff asking us for $2.00 per person to cross the bridge. We had no idea we had to pay; we had crossed the bridge several times before in our bikes for free. In this occasion, we didn't have any money. Our wallet got stolen from our backpack, but we had NO idea. At this point we notified the Police and they filed a report. We asked the police if we could cross the bridge for "free" and they told us sure! The Police escorted us to the bridge, but the toll staff told us that we couldn't cross the bridge for "free" because we weren't "workers".

We saw much trash on the street, many street dogs and many locals without shoes. We asked other tourist what is the attraction, they told us scuba diving. That San Pedro what we see is what it is, nothing else to talk about.

To complete our trip, we had to paid $36.50 pp as a departure tax, collected by unfriendly staff. Ironically, the tourist staff was in the airport asking tourist to complete a survey and to tell then if we would return to visit in the future.

The fact is that, we didn't think it was an Isla Bonita, we didn't think it was Paradise´┐Ż. we don't think we can ever go back.

Joined: Jan 2005
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I think it depends on what you want to see. Ugh... those places so done up with super fancy resorts, one after the other with those ultra-snobby people that I'd rather not spend anytime with... those Wal-Mart's, McDonald's and Starbucks... blah... rather stay home.

San Pedro is definitely Paradise for me. The locals/tourists are amazing, water is so clear and peaceful, the atmosphere of the island is like no other and those are just thoughts at the front of the brain... you just didn't get "bitten by the bug". That's ok though. SP is not for everyone.

Hope you have a better time on your next adventure! smile

Last edited by travelqueen; 05/30/07 03:46 PM. Reason: more words
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Oh ya, departure tax - that's life! Can't avoid that in any country!

Joined: Mar 2006
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Ambergris Caye isn't for everyone. It is unlike most other tourist destinations which is why so many love it. This is not the place to come if you like the cookie-cutter type of vacation or island.
Sorry you didn't have a good time. (although you probably should have done a bit more research)

By the way, A lot of people don't wear shoes here whether they can afford them or not. Thats part of the laid back atmosphere.

Joined: Apr 2000
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Interesting trip report.



Dare To Deviate
Joined: Apr 2000
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I haven't worn shoes for 14 years. Guess I'm giving a bad impression of Ambergris Caye.

Joined: Mar 2007
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Mildred Offline OP
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My definition of Paradise is a place with clean blue ocean water front and untouch nature. Where visitors $$$ are welcome but they can't purchase the land and they can't bring their business. Locals should own a 100% of the land and business. All taxes collected should go back to the caye administration for improvements and up-keeping.

Currently, non-locals are building several resorts in the north part of the island. Construction is also in the south part of the island (after the water plant)

I know what I saw and I do know what I didn't like...I can't visit San Pedro only for the diving and ignore the rest.


Joined: Jun 2006
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Hear, hear TQ.... I couldn't agree more. SP is not for everyone, but the ones that do love it, love it with all their heart. Not every destination is for everyone.

For me, the diving is the best I've done so far. SP is easy (for me) to get to and fairly affordable. I've met some really great people in San Pedro and on this board. One thing we've all discoved about one another is our facination with San Pedro and Belize.

I echo the sentiments that you did not enjoy your stay, but maybe on one of your future travels you will find "your Isla Bonita"

Bon Voyage and Happy Trails


Take the road less traveled
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Mildred Offline OP
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Me noh know!

Joined: Apr 2007
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Hi Mildred,
Just a couple of small notes to your report. The vendors selling there homemade food...the reason so many workers where lined up was because the food is good. Since the vendor is not paying for rental space it saves them money therefore they can pass the saving on.
We have no waves because of the reef...the sea grass is there to protect the reef and marine life.
Most people choose to walk barefoot on the island it isn't because they can't afford shoes it is more comfortable and cooler not to use shoes.
I understand San Pedro is not for everyone and I am sorry your wallet were stolen.


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