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#249780 09/15/07 01:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 4
CKofABQ Offline OP
OP Offline
Hi Friends,
Thought I'd copy here what I posted over on ScubaBoard.

Belize, diving's little secret!
After our first trip, I have to say, we LOVED Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Actually, we were most impressed with all of what we saw in Belize.

Did two dives, post-Dean, pre-Felix, on the 2nd of Sept. (booked through Monkey Business, and I'm very sorry I can't recall the operator)
100'+ vis. Most abundant underwater life of all varieties I've ever experienced in the Caribbean.

Had biz obligations for the next couple days, keeping us out of the water.
Then, approaching hurricane Felix rightfully shut down diving for a day in advance and the day after.
Worst of the storm: some mild waves, a bit of rain for one night and the following day was kinda breezy, but it was great watching the wind surfers racing across the water.
Scary, watching a Cat 5 with a bull's-eye on where we were, but it veered left, hammering Nicaragua. Very sorry for the plight of so many.
But personally grateful, as we were stuck at the Melia on Cozumel during Wilma in '05, and didn't need a repeat of the aftermath. (it's not the storm, it's what's left afterward)

Friday- back out for 5 dives with Ecologic. Loved Charlie and Marcos. Quality operation.
(Steve, you really need to get back to advertising in the SP Sun Visitor's Guide!)

Post Felix vis was churned to slightly less than 50' on two sites and about 70' on two others. That SURELY improves dramatically daily when storms aren't part of the picture.
Wish BIG time that we could have swapped BIZ biz for more DIVING biz before Felix's arrival!

You want to see nurse sharks and rays? You'll love it. BIG turtles too.
Sponges, corals, schools, it's all there in abundance. EASY diving, though you might bust your hiney a bit on the boat ride, making the cut across the barrier reef.
But hey- that's part of the fun, right?

Don't miss Hol Chan for a warm-up or a night dive... it's absolutely outstanding.
Major schools and healthy everything.
You just about don't want to post a trip report for fear of having the place overrun.

Our friends' parents have a condo at Banana Beach Club, so we stayed there the first 3 nights. Clean, comfortable, basic condo unit. It worked just fine.
El Divino restaurant and bar is on site, as is Monkey Business, a concierge.
2 pools, good built-up beach front and a neighboring property has the beach bar, which was just dandy.

We were lucky enough to bunk at our freind's home the rest of the trip (except for a
side-trip, see later).
WAY cool to hang there to get the groove of the town and how easy it is to find things, get around and just fall into the island vibe. (gee, can you tell I'm still high as a kite?)

We didn't do dinner at the Banana's on-site place, El Divino, though I heard many compliments, and the breakfast we did have was yummy.
Dinners: Sunset Grill, outstanding.
Timmy's, a Chinese joint, wonderful, and Pepperoni's- WONDERFUL.
(I know, that's not what you're there to experience, but it was great.)

Pick a beach-front bar, any bar and enjoy a Belikin over lunch. (yes, I know that's pretty much the ONLY brand of beer available- but it's good!) Never disappointed.

It was/is low season (rainy, though not for us), so San Pedro town is easy to get around- and you'll probably find your dive boat an intimate affair.

Got time for a side trip?
Call Monkey Business and go to Altun Ha or one of the other ruins.
Great boat ride over, where we saw 100+ dolphins whapping the heck out of crab for breakfast.
You'll go up a delta, through (high speed) mangrove rivers, to a village. Hop on a bus and 15 minutes up the road to most excellent ruins.
After that, they'll take you to a jungle resort for lunch and a fresh water swim.
Great woodcrafts avail. back at the village (and at Altun Ha)- and the rum punch on the return boat... watch out, what fun!

Got another night to burn before going back to Belize City and the flight out?
Send your main luggage over to Intn'l on Tropic Air, then make your puddle-jumper flight return to Municipal.

Rent an SUV from Crystal Auto Rental- and be SURE to tour the owner, Jay's, amazing collection of stuff.
You'll never find another car rental office like this one, that's for sure.
Fill up your rental-car agency provided cooler with cold Belikins and head to Belmopan
(45 minutes away) to check out the center of govt. for the country.
Great feel to this little town and a super open market.
See the new U.S. embassy (surely all the US spook ops for Central and S. America have to be run from there)
You can go 15 minutes further on the Western Highway to see where the Mennonites have turned the soil to some of the most fertile ground I've ever seen, near San Ignacio. Have lunch at the highest point in town (sorry, can't remember the name again- too many rum punches, but just look up).

Then... go back 10 minutes and stay the night at Jaguar Paw Jungle Resort. Absolutely outstanding "soft" adventure experience.
Soft, because of the WAY exceptional accommodations (ac, great bar, wireless internet... in the jungle!)
Wonderful dinner and overall very reasonably priced. World-class dinner for two w/ drinks $50.
Room.... wait 'till you see the rooms. (just log onto their web site...), $150/night.

BUT there's one experience in particular that was over the top.
Now among the top 10 of "stuff to do before you die" on our list: CAVE TUBING!
Right out the front door of Jaguar Paw (and, obviously you don't have to stay there to do it).
$45 each for a real mind-blower of an experience. 35 minutes of a very easy walk through the jungle and you're at the mouth of the caves. Jump 12' in or walk down to the water, either way you're in for a treat. I'll leave it at that. You gotta do it.

Another quick trip out of Jungle Paw, a 10 minute walk to Crystal Cave.
This is a Mayan site, discovered by the Jaguar Paw owners, after they bought their piece of jungle, sight unseen, about 10 years ago. Upon inspection, this was actually the place where one of the waterfalls was entering the river as we were cave tubing.

Sorry I can't post pix from the diving or cave tubing yet, as our hosts for the entire trip are the owners of the San Pedro Sun newspaper at AC, (you'll see it everywhere when you arrive at Belize City Intn'l) and they shoot everything.
(gotta cover "breaking news," right?)
So, the IN-THE-WATER parts of our trip were shot with U/W cameras, for which I am waiting on a DVD. I'll add those later.

The best part for us, the biz part means we're heading back... regularly.

Fototime pix at:

Be well,
Craig & Jane-
Ambergris Caye, Belize- Sept. 1-9!.

"Why do we always assume the planet is ours to ruin?" From "Men In Helicopters," Adrian

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 520
Great report and pics guys. Thanks for sharing.

I'll be happy to discuss my avatar with anyone who knows what it is.

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