Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
#268 - 02/05/06 07:20 PM Trip report (long)  
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 157
Xoe Offline
Xoe  Offline
My first visit to Ambergris Caye, January 21-28, was wonderful. I traveled with my sister (she from Hawaii, I from the Puget Sound area); our husbands don’t share our love of travel so occasionally we go on "sister adventures". We rendezvoused at DFW, then on to BZE.

All areas of concern I raised on this board worked out perfectly: no luggage delays, golf cart rental was a breeze, no trouble finding restrooms, and we found great restaurants and superb ice cream. All transportation segments were smooth and interesting, including the Tropic Air flight (I had the co-pilot’s seat), the boat ride with Roy to Belizean Shores, and the wheelbarrow ride for our luggage to our well-located Unit 11-B. Lagniappe had provisioned our condo, including arranging a centerpiece of fruit on our dining table, a nice touch (thank you Simon!).

[Linked Image]
Belizean Shores

Belizean Shores is a beautiful complex, nicely laid out and well maintained, with a gorgeous swimming pool. The units are well designed and furnished, and offer a good level of privacy inside as well as on their spacious lanais. The staff is wonderful, from the “office angels” to the housekeepers and the excursion guys on the pier. Town is just a water taxi ride away, and there are nearby restaurants as well. Great place!

[Linked Image]

Our first full day was devoted to exploration of the area by golf cart. Such fun! The configuration and surface (?) of the “road” into town meant golf cart driving was an adventure in its own right. The ferry over the cut was very special and I’m glad our visit was when it was so we could experience that. We loved walking the San Pedro streets we’d viewed in photos, and going to places we'd read about. Taste treats included meals at Wild Mango’s and Elvi’s Kitchen, and DandE’s outstanding frozen custard (yum). We admired the beautiful wood carvings at The Little Old Craft Shop; several came home with us. We continued south past the water tower, where a crocodile lazed in the lagoon.

[Linked Image]
Lunch at Wild Mango's

Parking a golf cart in town seems best described as “creative abandonment”: stop your cart, take the key, lock the padlock, and consider it “parked” so long as it’s in no one’s way.

Many employees of the resorts north of San Pedro, as well as workers on construction projects in that area, come to work by boat or bicycle. Early morning beach walks included exchanging greetings with locals pedaling north on their bikes.

Labor on construction projects was primarily being done by hand, including mixing huge amounts of concrete with a simple mixer, and very simple scaffolding for a very large building. Materials and machines are brought in by barge, generally arriving late evening and leaving early morning, presumably for aesthetic reasons.

Weather was not the norm for January. As well as more wind than usual, there was a 6-8” rainfall on Tuesday January 24. On rainy days, between showers we explored the beaches and gathered shells and coral, and explored more of town. We also had a surprising get-together with acquaintances of my sister whom she’d not seen for over twenty years; they reside part of the year in Canada, where my sister had known them, and are now building a house only a couple miles from Belizean Shores.

[Linked Image]

Our snorkeling excursion with Alfonso (January 25: Hol Chan, Shark Ray Alley, and Coral Gardens) was very special. I have never before had such a fine snorkeling guide. He is very knowledgeable and shares his knowledge clearly and with vibrant good cheer. Experiencing Shark Ray Alley with Alfonso is a unique experience. Not many sharks that day, but LOTS of rays, also fish.

[Linked Image]
Alfonso and Angel

Our Lamanai day (Tanisha Tours, Thurs. Jan. 26) was excellent. Early start, long boat ride with Daniel at the helm, around the south end of Ambergris Caye, across Bahia de Chetumal to the mainland, then full speed ahead into what seemed an impenetrable mangrove shoreline -- but of course our leader knew the way into an opening to the Northern River Lagoon. Then up the Northern River to the dock at Bomba for transfer onto a blue bus with a skilled driver for a rough ride on a short stretch of road to Maskall, then a longer stretch on the Old Northern Highway (also rough), then a short bit on the Northern Highway (good road) just past the toll bridge to another dock for transfer into another boat on the New River. This time one of Daniel’s assistants was at the helm so Daniel could point out sights along the river as we continued to Lamanai.

These boat and bus rides were long, but also an integral and fascinating part of the day’s adventure because we stopped often for sightings of birds, reptiles, and plant life, as well as other points of interest such as a large Mennonite farming community. Sightings of our day included roseate spoonbills, frigate birds, osprey, white herons, vermilion flycatchers, storks, toucans, termite nests, a baby crocodile, iguanas, tiny roosting bats (which could have been mistaken for lichen on a tree until they fluttered away), orchids, and bromeliads. The river offers myriad choices of which way to go, but our leaders know the way through this maze.

At Lamanai, first a delicious lunch in a covered picnic area, then a comprehensive tour of the ruins, with excellent detailed information about what we were seeing and the history of Lamanai. There was an opportunity to climb one of the pyramid shaped ruins, rewarded by fine views from the top. The howler monkeys protested our presence in their territory; they are well named.

Then a very FAST return boat trip -- but not quite fast enough to beat the rain which whipped down on us as we drew near to the point for transfer to the bus awaiting us near the toll bridge on the Northern Highway. We were shivering from being rain-soaked in a fast open boat. The bus provided a bit of warm-up, but we were very grateful for slickers once back on Tanisha’s boat awaiting us at Bomba.

[Linked Image]

Friday afternoon, a snorkel excursion to Mexico Rocks and Tres Cocos with guide Jeffrey of SEArious. Beautiful corals and wondrous sea creatures, including a green spotted eagle ray, a delicate jelly, a spiny lobster hiding beneath a coral, conch, eel, and hundreds of fish of every description. This last day of our vacation and our last snorkel excursion was blessed with a perfect ending: a double rainbow over the prow of our boat as we climbed back aboard for our return to shore.

[Linked Image]


A beautiful place with beautiful people from a broad spectrum of ethnic backgrounds. Residents were unfailingly cheerful and hospitable. English being spoken everywhere made travel easy for us, as did the ready acceptance of U.S. currency.

We were glad we went when we did, with the hand-pulled ferry still operating and the new bridge not yet finished. After the bridge completion will come changes to the road north of the cut, which will over time alter the flavor of the Ambergris Caye experience.

The unusual weather altered some of our plans. I’d looked forward to kayaking to the reef, but the choppy water and surge changed those plans. We had considered a catamaran sail to Caye Caulker with snorkeling along the way, another plan not appealing due to weather. Also, snorkeling was fairly energetic work due to current and surge, although happily and surprisingly, visibility was nonetheless very good. On the other hand, it was interesting to experience this kind of heavy tropical rain, which truly DRUMMED on our roof two nights, also to see how quickly these torrential rains drained on this sandy island. There were puddles and "mud", but white sand mud is ever so much cleaner than the mud we’re used to, and there was surprisingly little standing water considering the amount of rain that had fallen.


[Linked Image]
Dining at Caliente Norte

Caliente Norte, which opened in December at The Essene Way property just south of Belizean Shores, is a marvelous restaurant for lunch or dinner. Beautiful setting, exquisite cuisine, fine service, and reasonable prices.

DandE’s frozen custard is heavenly -- opens at 2:00 p.m., closed on Wednesdays.

Although not needed to protect feet from sharp lava (as in Hawaii), surf shoes are useful for walking in off-shore shallows looking for shells.

Unraked piles of sea grass and debris along the shore are rich hunting grounds for shells and coral. (Ignore the debris.)

Health and safety regarding food and water seem assured, although bottled water is good to carry on day trips, also better tasting for drinking, including making coffee or tea.

Money is easier than in any other foreign country I’ve visited. Everyone seems to take U.S. currency at 2:1, and travelers’ checks are readily accepted.

Take a lot of $5 bills for water taxi, tips, and so on.

A good gift is fine chocolates. I took a box of gourmet chocolates, hand made by a chocolatier near my home on Whidbey Island, WA, for our resort’s staff, and it was a big hit.

A hooded windbreaker or lightweight sweatshirt is useful -- not bulky, waterproof is good.

Lessons Learned:

We had not realized that two main streets in San Pedro are one-way, nor that certain others are closed to vehicles at certain times. Our golf cart exploring was done on a Sunday, and perhaps that was a good thing, since either by luck or because it was a light traffic day, we didn’t find ourselves going against the flow or meeting a gendarme.

On departure day at the airport we learned that conch shells may not be packed in carry-on luggage, although they are allowed in your checked bags. We were told they are considered potential weapons.

#269 - 02/05/06 08:10 PM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,055
Chloe Offline
Chloe  Offline
Xoe, you and your sister had a wonderful experience on Ambergris. Glad the board was of help, before you arrived.

Thanks for taking the time to give a great trip report, with tips for the next visitors. You BELIZED IT.

Dare To Deviate
#270 - 02/05/06 08:22 PM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 55,642
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline
[Linked Image]
Here's the 'boulevard' section of the road....
[Linked Image]
Jenny and Eduardo at Caliente North
[Linked Image]
Crocodile on the way to Lamanai
[Linked Image]
Belizean Shores

#271 - 02/06/06 06:47 AM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 991
Sun&sand Offline
Sun&sand  Offline
XOE, thank you some much for sharing your experience in San Pedro. Seems you had a fantastic time. We leave for SP tomorrow, and reading about your trip just makes me want to get there all the faster. Thanks again!

Live so that when you arise in the A.M, Satan shudders & says..
'Oh sh t..she's awake!'
#272 - 02/06/06 07:45 AM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 203
belizelaw Offline
belizelaw  Offline
Thanks alot for the pics, sounds like you had a great time!

#273 - 02/06/06 07:51 AM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,001
captjeff Offline
captjeff  Offline
great post glad you ,got to live the dream and enjoy....good for you....

Living The Dream Every Day!
#274 - 02/06/06 07:59 AM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,458
SimonB Offline
SimonB  Offline
Glad to hear you had a great time even with the miserable weather!

#275 - 02/06/06 11:02 AM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 157
Xoe Offline
Xoe  Offline
A huge thank-you to Marty for this message board, which was invaluable while planning our trip, and also for his expertise in adding my photos to my trip report, which I lack the skill to do.

A few more notes on the photos: photo #3 was taken inside Wild Mango’s while having lunch there on Sunday January 22. Photo #4 is a green spotted eagle ray seen at Tres Cocos; I had not seen one of these before -- we nicknamed him/her “Bad Hair Day”. #5 shows the perfect ending of the last snorkel trip on our last day there, although it shows a single rather than double rainbow. I was using a single-use underwater camera and used my last film frame before the rainbow became double. Photo #8 shows a favorite table at Caliente Norte as we enjoyed our last lunch before heading for the airstrip to return home.

The unusual wet and windy weather did not ruin our visit there -- not at all. Although it caused rescheduling of some plans, it also added texture and interest to our stay. All of our trip’s hopes were realized: wonderful snorkeling, a superb trip to the Mayan ruins at Lamanai, exploring town, both by golf cart and water taxi and walking, experiencing the cuisine, and beginning to know some of the people. No complaints!

#276 - 02/06/06 11:48 AM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 6
T & A Offline
T & A  Offline
Thanks for the great info, Xoe. We will be staying at the Belizean Shores on March 22. Your post will be very useful to us. And we'll definitely remember to pack rain ponchos!

#277 - 02/06/06 03:27 PM Re: Trip report (long)  
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 157
Xoe Offline
Xoe  Offline
Hi T&A -- Give best wishes from Freda and Kit to Rhoda, Puji, and Lillian in the Belizean Shores office; they are wonderful!

We'll hope packing a rain poncho will mean you won't need it. My sister had a lightweight poncho and I had a compact travel umbrella; both were helpful, although an umbrella is of no use in an open boat.

Have a GREAT time!

Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!

Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!

Things to do

Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Love FM
The Reporter
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater
Paradise Guy Event Calendar

San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30
Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
Mini Chat
Who's Online Now
1 registered members (1 invisible), 182 guests, and 3 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Statistics
Most Online1,262
Jun 10th, 2007 HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.

Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0