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#34214 02/01/01 11:07 AM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 30
rubicon Offline OP
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Belize Report:

Nine days in Ambergris Caye, we originally had plans to do ruins etc.
It was so nice, we never left the island. We stayed at Rubies the
entire time. Rubies is an inexpensive, more or less "travelers" hotel on the
beach. The location for us was perfect.
The important Stuff: We went
to the distributors and had two cases of Bilikin delivered to us. This
cost came to about $17us per case vs over $30us per case if you were to
buy Bilikin in the store. BTW, if you buy Bilikin, just buy the regular
beer--it is cheaper and better. If you want to buy Rum to take back to
the states etc. buy it at the Duty Free shop in the Airport. Most
folks know this.

Diving: We dove with Bottom Time Divers. They were excellent and the
least expensive on the island. Once they dive with you and know your
skills they pretty much let you dive your own profile, I was impressed
the way they worked with and encouraged beginning divers. Though I am
primarily a cold water diver, I have been to many dive destination all
over the world, I have heard a lot of bad publicity about diving around
Ambergris Caye--Bunk, Diving was excellent. For Blue hole Diving I
would recommend Amigos Del Mar. I have heard a lot of people talk about
the overnight trip on the Off Shore Express. I would not recommend.
The owners have been trying to sell this operation for some time now and
they are not properly maintaining the boat. It is in bad need of a
major overhaul.-- Stick with the one day trips -- or go to a resort at one of the
southern atolls.

Food: If you are a food or coffee snob, forget Belize. You will not
go hungry, especially if you like stewed chicken, rice and beans. Price
is not a reflection of quality. Los CoCos, inland from Hustlers was
some of my best meals. The street vendors were excellent. The Lions
club barbecue was cheap and good food too. Most of the coffee I drank
was either Nescafe or Maxwell house.

Windsurfing: I never thought of Belize as a "mecca" for wind surfing
(like some southern Caribbean islands) The winds are especially good
for surfing and there is place to rent sail boards and wind surfers, in
a palapa on the beach behind the Holiday Hotel.(barbeque on Wed nights)
near Bottom Time Dive shop.

People: The people of Belize are wonderful, "no problem" is the code
word. No "macho" attitudes like you find traveling in Mexico. All the
folks I met (from all over the world) were very nice. I hope Belize
keeps its low profile, It is not a place for "pretentious attitudes"
and I hope those types stay away from Belize.
Ruins: Go to one of the ruins, but don't try to see them all in one trip. It would be hard to combine a Tikal trip and Lamina in one week.

One more thing: Belize is a wonderful place; come, kick back and enjoy yourself. Don't try to accomplish too much in a short time.
What you don't do this trip, you can always do the next time. Belize is a place
you will want to come back to.


Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 360
Nicely said. Don't you want to "pull the ladder up after you" Like in the treehouse.

thanks for your voice.

Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 16
Thanks Rubicon for the report. We leave March 7 and we are also diving with Bottom Time Divers. Small operation? What size boats? What were your favorite dive sites? We booked through an agency because of the great airfare price, so we don't know much about Bottom Time. We are staying at Banyon Bay, will Bottom Time pick us up at that dock do you know? Is the Blue Hole worth the trip? Too many questions?? Can you tell I'm excited!!!???
Thanks, Pamela

Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 165
Bottom Time should pick you up at the dock where you are staying, I think all the dive shops will do that.
I've done the Blue Hole numerous times and have taken alot of people there and I do think it is worth it. If it's not a calm day, it could be a bit of a rough ride out there. What's nice about it is that you usually do three incredible dives, including the Blue hole and there is a stop on a caye with lots of red-footed booby birds. The Blue Hole does not have much fish life in it, but there is a kind of eerieness about that dive. It's kind of hard to explain. The other dives are in different areas and are usually wall dives.
In regard to the best dives, I usually leave it up to the guides, they know the currents and where the best visilibity will be for that day. What's nice is that when you use the same dive operation for all your dives, they know where you have been and can take you to different places.
All the dives shops are small. Have a great trip!

Karen Pasquariello
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 30
rubicon Offline OP
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Pam, as Karen said, Bottom Time will pick you up at your pier. Rudy, Chaco, Elija and Carlos are all great at bottom time. I was very impressed with the entire operation. All the dive sites are excellent, I was not so impressed with hol chan reserve--ok for snorkeling and good night dive. There are only a couple of folks who go to the blue hole and bottom time will book the trip for you. They use Amigos Del Mar. You will enjoy diving the outter atolls. have a great time.

Joined: May 2000
Posts: 51
I was just wondering about your comment on the Offshore Express needing rebuilding?>?? They just put new engines in it last year and were just finishing a new paint job when i was there right after the hurricane..I feel it is one of the best deals on the island for more reasons then one..The food is yummyyyyyyyyyyyy too..Horace the captain is most knowledgable and everyone that works on the boat will help u in any way possible..Some super sites they know to dive and the overnite stay on Half Moon Caye is kewllllllllllllllll...Have a great day..

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,041
I second Lakerboy on the Offshore. I've been on the Blue Hole trips with them 3 times and each time was a great experience--twice we had dolphins escort us out and back in right beyond the cut. The crew always let us know so we could run up to the front of the boat and get a good look at them. One trip we caught 2 big wahoo on the way back in and they let us reel them in. It's a wonderful way to catch a tan, read, meet new people/make new friends on the ride out and Norma always kept our bellies full. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone thinking of going to the Blue Hole!

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 30
rubicon Offline OP
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I have heard great reports about the overnight and wanted to get on the boat. The off shore express was broken down the entire time I was there. Engine parts were sitting on the pier. When I ask around, that was the info I received. AC needs a liveaboard I hope the best for the off shore express.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
I've been on it several times myself, with the family, and never had any troubles...

probably bad timing for ya on the engine parts..

Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 16
I want to thank everyone, we have bascially planned our trip from advice and tips from this message board! I have a few more questions, anyone?

1. Bill, did you book your "Blue Hole" dive with Bottom Time before you got to San Pedro, or after you arrived? We have 5 days of diving booked, but the Blue Hole was not included as it is dependant on weather, but we want to make it one of our destinations if possible. Does Bottom Time have an E-mail address? How was their rental equipment??

2. Also, anyone, advice on who to use for the trip to Lamanai...there are ten of us. We want this to be a really great experience as 4 of our group do not dive and this is what they are excited about. Once again, do we need to book this before we arrive or can we do it after, we want to make sure we have the reservations.

3. What dive shop is located at the Villas at Banyon Bay? Would they be good for the Lamanai trip?

Thanks again, Pamela

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