(Part 2 of 2)
SAN PEDRO TOWN
(Listed from the north end of town southward; note that Barrier Reef Drive was formerly known as Front Street, and Pescador Drive was formerly called Middle Street, names still in colloquial use today.)
* * * + B/c Emerald Reef Suites, Sandpiper Street, San Pedro, tel . 501-2-62306, fax 2-62806, e-mail [email protected]
One of San Pedro's newer suites choice, Emerald Reef offers well-designed accommodations at the north end of town, with king beds, A/C and fully equipped kitchens. Rates US$125 double in-season, US$100 off-season, plus 7% hotel tax and 5% service.
* * * B/c Tradewinds Paradise Villas, Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro, tel. in the U.S. 800-451-7776, fax 414-258-5336, in Belize tel. 501-2-62822, fax 2-63746, e-mail [email protected]
Paradise Villas is an attractive low-rise condo colony near the north end of town. Tradewinds, a travel wholesaler specializing in Belize, manages 12 Paradise units. Small beach and pool, cable TV, fully equipped kitchens. Units vary in decor, and some have A/C only in the bedrooms. Rates for one-bedroom units: US$90 to $115 off-season, US$125 to $140 in-season; two-bedroom units, US$115 to $150 off-season, US$140 to $175 off-season. Additional charge for more than two people. Bottom line: Comfortable condos. (Note: Some individual Paradise Villas owners not associated with Tradewinds rent their units direct)
* E/e San Pedrano, Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62054, fax 2-62093. Six-room budget spot near the water. Bottom line: For the budget-minded.
* * * + C/c Mayan Princess, Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62778, fax 2-62784, e-mail [email protected]
Three-story, seafront condotel has 23 large and attractive one-bedroom suites (king or queen beds) with kitchenettes, phones and cable TV. Rates about US$90 double off-season, US$125 in-season, plus hotel tax and 10% service. Bottom line: Convenient, spacious seafront suites.
* E/e Martha's, Corner of Pescador Drive and Ambergris Street, P.O. Box 27, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62053, fax 2-62589. In the middle of town, not on the water, but a good budget choice with clean rooms. Bottom line: Another value spot.
* * D/d Spindrift, Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-6-2174, fax 2-62251, e-mail [email protected]
Doubles around US$50 to $90. Concrete building on the water in the center of town, with 22 rooms and 2 apartments of various sizes and prices. The recommended Little Italy restaurant is in the building, and the hotel hosts the "famous chicken drop" at which drinkers bet on where a chicken might poop. Bottom-line: In-town convenience and a good place if you're stuck in a hurricane.
* * + C/d Holiday Hotel, Barrier Reef Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62014, fax 2-62295, e-mail [email protected]
This was one of the first hotels on the island. It opened June 15, 1965. Built and owned by Celi McCorkle, an island native and near-legend, the three-story Holiday Hotel has been well-maintained and remains a pleasant hotel convenient to most everything. All rooms have A/C and some have refrigerators. Doubles US$79 to $97 off-season, US$93 to $103 in-season. Bottom line: Handy if you're hungry.
Rubie's is popular with budget travelers for its attractive rates and seaside location in town* * E/e Rubie's (also known as Ruby's), Barrier Reef Drive, P.O. Box 56, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62063, fax 2-62434, e-mail [email protected]
This is the favorite of many value-conscious visitors. Rooms in the old wooden building are basic but clean, most with shared baths; those on the street side can be a little noisy. Older rooms US$15 to $30 double plus tax; rooms in a new concrete addition on the ocean side sport A/C and private baths and are more expensive at around US$50+ , but still an excellent value. Good inexpensive food in the first-floor restaurant. Rubie's is also a center for fishing guides. It's often full. Bottom line: One of the island's best values.
Other choices in town: * * C/c Paradise Hotel, * * * C/c Seven Seas Hotel.
(Listed from north to south, with those nearest town listed first)
* * * * C/c SunBreeze Beach Hotel, P.O. Box 14, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62191, fax 2-62346, e-mail [email protected]
Rates for doubles, in-season, US$100-$135; off-season, US$90-$120, plus tax and 5% service. Children under 12 free. The SunBreeze always had a great location, just steps from the San Pedro air strip (but you shouldn't be bothered by airport noise) and within walking distance of most of what there is to do in town. Under manager Julia Edwards, SunBreeze has been upgraded and considerably improved. The most-welcome addition is a freshwater pool, which my family of pool experts considers one of the best in Belize. Coco palms around the pool were saved, so there's plenty of shade. The pool is just steps from a pricey, onbly fair to middlin' but convenient restaurant and bar on site. You can charge your bar and restaurant tab to your room. SunBreeze has 39 large rooms, configured in a two-story motel-style U-shape. Five of them are billed as "deluxe" with amenities such as jacuzzi tubs. All have strong air conditioners, telephones (fairly rare in Belize), color cable TV and tile floors. The best rooms are the deluxe rooms on the first floor near the water on the dive shop side. Management promises some further upgrading, including better furnishings and fridges in some rooms. SunBreeze is directly on the water, with a dock and an independent dive shop, but there's no swimming beach. The beach at Ramon's is nearby. The SunBreeze has handicap-accessible rooms, uncommon in Belize. Bottom line: Not true luxury, but comfortable, spacious, convenient, casual and very pleasant - good place for families and one of my favorites.
The Palms "condotel" is one of the four-star lodgings on Ambergris Caye * * * * B/c The Palms, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-63322, fax 501-2-63601, e-mail [email protected]
Rates: Off-season: one-bedroom condo, US$119, two-bedroom US$149, with discounts on week or longer stays; in-season: one-bedroom, US$160, two-bedroom, US$200. US$20 extra per person over two in the one-bedroom and four in the two-bedroom. The Palms, a condotel on the water, has nearly everything going for it - attractive and well-decorated condominium apartments, a nice small pool, a small beach, and an excellent location near Ramon's. Bottom line: Excellent option for a condo vacation.
Belizean Reef Suites just south of town* * * * B/c Belizean Reef Suites, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, tel./fax 501-2-62582, e-mail [email protected]
Bright white, spic 'n span one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, on the sea. This is a popular spot with BELIZE FIRST readers, who prefer the first-floor units on the water. Air conditioning in bedrooms. No pool, but guests gravitate to pool, bar and beach at Ramon's nearby. Rates US$80 to $200 off-season, higher in-season and varies by number of guests in the suites. Bottom line: Very nice condotel in a very good location.
* * * * A/b Ramon's Village, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62071, fax 501-2-62214, e-mail [email protected]
Rates, which vary depending on package and date, US$140-$300+ plus service and hotel tax. Anyone who has heard of San Pedro has probably heard of Ramon's Village, the creation of Ambergris native and pioneering hotel operator Ramon Nuñez. Now American-owned, over the years it has grown from a small, moderately priced collection of thatched cabañas on the beach into a much larger group of multi-unit buildings and individual cabañas, with 60 rooms and suites, the latest renovations and additions being made in 1998. Rates also have gone way up, now being near the top price point on the island, but Ramon's retains its sand-and-thatch ambiance. The resort has, arguably, one of the best beaches on the island, part of its 500-foot water frontage, though those who have seen beaches in the BVI, on Anguilla or in the Yucatán won't be impressed. A larger fresh-water pool was already scheduled to replace the old one, when the old one was damaged by Mitch. The big new pool is gorgeous. Ramon's has a popular bar, a (fairly pricey) restaurant, and a well-regarded dive operation. Rooms vary from okay to gorgeous. They are divided into three basic categories: beach front, seaside and garden view. There also are one- and two-bedroom suites with kitchenettes, including the deluxe 600 square-foot Presidential suite, and several "honeymoon cabañas." Most are now air conditioned. The location, just south of the airstrip, and a five-minute stroll from town, can't be beat. Ramon's does a first-rate job of marketing, especially to travel agents, and it enjoys one of the highest occupancy rates on the island. The crowd here is usually a little younger and more active than the average at island hotels. Bottom line: Popular, well-located, well-run hotel which manages to retain its island ambiance despite growth and expansion - we only wish rates were lower.
* * + D/d Changes in Latitude B&B, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, tel./fax 501-2-62986, e-mail [email protected]
This is more a small hotel, with six small but pleasant rooms on the first level, than a true bed and breakfast, but the helpful Canadian owner, Lori Reed, does live upstairs and a continental breakfast is served in the breakfast/common room. Not directly on the water but close. Bottom line: Intimate little inn within a short walk of town.
* * * + B/c Belize Yacht Club Hotel & Marina, Coconut Drive, P.O. Box 62, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62777, fax 2-62768, e-mail [email protected]
This property about one-half mile south of town has gone through several incarnations since it opened in the early 1990s, as condo colony, timeshare, condotel. Now it appears to be focused on being a regular hotel, with a new meeting facility and restaurant. The BYC has 43 apartment-style units built in a Mexican style. On the water, with a very nice pool, but no real beach. Rates off-season US$125-$300, in-season, US$150-$350, with the garden and pool view one-bedroom units (26 of the units) being at the bottom of that range. Bottom line: Attractive condo-style development on the "outskirts" of San Pedro.
* * D/e Hideaway Sports Lodge, Coconut Drive, P.O Box 43, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62141, fax 2-62269, e-mail [email protected]
Located about one-half mile south of town in the same area as the Belize Yacht Club and Changes in Latitude, but across the road from the beach, this 17-room hotel is a real find for travelers looking for value and needing just a simple room. Some units have A/C. Inexpensive restaurant on-site. A bonus is the very nice pool. Rates (in this case they include tax) off-season US$35 to $60, in-season US$45-90. Group rates of US$210 per week per person (US$285 single) include breakfast, dinner and taxes. Bottom line: Simple rooms with extras like a pool with excellent value.
* * * C/d Coconuts Caribbean, Coconut Drive, P.O. Box 94, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-63500, fax 2-63501, e-mail [email protected]
A mid-priced 12-unit beachfront motel that gets good marks from BELIZE FIRST readers. They like the price, the location (a 15- or 20-minute walk from town), the friendly staff and the attractive large rooms. Pleasant beach bar. Free use of hotel bikes. Off-season specials bring the price down to as low as US$50 plus tax, but you'll usually pay nearly twice that. Bottom line: Friendly, low-key beach motel.
Wil and Susan Lala's Caribbean Villas* * * * B/b Caribbean Villas, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62715, fax 2-62885, e-mail [email protected]
Owners Wil (a dentist by profession) and Susan (whose influence is seen in the design of the hotel) Lala and friendly on-site management make the difference here. There's a variety of accommodations in the two-level whitewashed buildings with tile roofs, from small studios to deluxe two-bedroom suites. No pool, but there's a small beach area and and pier, and there are two outdoor hot tubs. A "people perch" is great for a bird's eye view of the island or for letting the birds see you. Free bikes for guests, phones in rooms and Rock's grocery is nearby. Rates are perhaps a little on the pricey side, in-season US$95-$245 and not much less off-season. Bottom line: A little expensive, but friendly capable management makes a visit here always a good experience.
Other choices in this area: * * C/c Hotel Playador * * * C/c Woody's (Corona Del Mar)
(Listed from north to south, with those nearest town listed first)
* * * * A/a Villas at Banyan Bay, San Pedro tel., fax, e-mail Expansive condo project about a mile and half south of town, developed by local interests. Accommodations here are among the most luxurious on the island if not in all of Belize. Each two-bedroom, two-bath unit is about 1,000 square feet, with kitchen, jacuzzi tub in the master bath, veranda with ocean views and tile floors. Pool with a swim-up bar. Nicely tropical beach area. Another pool planned for phase two. Rates off-season US$175 to $200 double, in-season US$190 to $215, plus tax. Additional adults over two US$25. Bottom line: Upscale two-bedroom condo living on the water.
* * * + B/c Tropica, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62701, fax 2-62699, e-mail [email protected]
This newish entry into the South End mix offers appealing A/C rooms in four-plexes on Mar del Tumbo beach just south of Banyan Bay Villas. On-site restaurant is getting good comments. Tropica has a new swimming pool and has added new units. Rates US$125 double in-season, US$75 (or less) off-season, plus tax and 10% service. Bottom line: Small beach hotel with a lot going for it.
* * * * B/c Banana Beach (managed by same group as Coconuts - Coconut Drive, P.O. Box 94, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-63500, fax 2-63501, e-mail [email protected]
) This new condotel, with units selling for US$75,000, about 2 miles south of town consists of a single large building, designed in a style similar to Mexican hotels in Mérida, around a courtyard and swimming pool in the center of the complex. It has 14 ocean-front units, 12 ocean-view units and nine pool-view units, all one-bedroom. Six deluxe units have king-size beds. Bottom line: New choice in condotel units.
* * * B/c Mata Rocks, P.O. Box 47, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62336, fax 2-62349, e-mail [email protected]
Small, 10-room beachfront hotel. With its stucco and wood exterior, Mata Rocks has a comfortable, relaxed look. Most units have kitchenettes and A/C. Free use of bikes. In-season doubles US$95 for standard rooms to US$135 for deluxe suites. Summer rates about US$60 to $90. Bottom line: Relax in comfortable surroundings on the beach.
* * * + B/b Royal Palm Villas, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62148, fax 2-62329, e-mail [email protected]
A fast-growing timeshare, eventually scheduled to have 85 units, that appeals to people who like timeshares. New construction is adding more buildings and new pools. Rates around US$160 double in-season, US$130 off-season, plus tax and 10% service. Bottom line: The first choice for the timeshare crowd.
* * * * A/b Victoria House, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-62067, fax 2-62429, e-mail [email protected]
Victoria House, a little over 2 miles south of town, has most of the "musts" for a barefoot but upscale resort vacation. It's a quiet hideaway on 19 acres, with a variety of accommodations ranging from comfortable motel-like rooms at the back of the resort to deluxe villas on the beach. The Plantation building rooms are our favorites. The owners' villas can be rented as entire units or as separate one-bedrooms - beautiful but pricey! There's a good restaurant, and a free-standing lounge cabaña just perfect for sipping rum drinks or Belikins. New pool, and a sandy beach area is fine for relaxing, and there's a swimming area off the pier. Restaurant, gift shop and dive operation. Rates off-season US$110 to $240 for doubles, US$120-US$265; whole-house villas US$385 to $660, plus tax and service. Bottom line: Upscale, barefoot hideaway.
* * * + A/b Caribe Island Resort, San Pedro, tel. 501-2-63233, fax 2-63399, e-mail [email protected]
Formerly called Chateau Caribe, this full-service beachfront resort almost 3 miles south of town has efficiencies and large one- and two-bedroom suites with A/C, ceiling fans, cable TV, phones, kitchens and private verandahs. The Royal Suite is huge, at 1,800 square-foot with three bedrooms. Swimming pool, restaurant, bar, coin-operated laundry, and guests enjoy free use of bikes, kayaks and small sail boats. There's a hotel shuttle to town, and free airport pick-ups. Rates for doubles US$95 to $275 off-season, US$115 to US$335 in-season, plus tax. Bottom line: Small full-service resort for active couples or families.
Other choices in this area: * * * C/c Sunset Beach