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Joined: May 2010
Posts: 10
OP Offline
I am torn between two hotels and want to know which one I should pick. We are a couple looking for romance and lot of snorkeling trips, not a lot of nightlife, don't really think I would feel safe in town at night. I really like Tranquility Bay and Xanadu. I understand that one is closer to town, but is the town really that nice? From the photos, it doesn't look all that appealing and read about people in town pushing drugs everywhere. We've been to Bocas del Toro in Panama and didn't like the bocas town that much, is it similar to San Pedro?

Tranquility Bay is far and will cost $80 RT for the water taxi ride to/from town and I'm concerned about also about mosquitoes and sand flies in this area, but the snorkeling in Bacalar Chica seems really interesting. Is Bacalar as nice as Hol Chan? How is it in that area?

Thanks and hope someone can help me make a decision.

Joined: Sep 2000
Posts: 955
Based on reading in between the lines here I would suggest the Tanquility Bay option as they have snorkeling from the shore and its very peaceful and serene up there quite beautiful.

Of course you are far from town and its just not cost effective to stay there if you want ot be going back and forth into town, I belive the resrt runs a boat every now and again but you should not stay there if you want to be in town other than the odd time during your stay.
Sanflies and Mozzies it really depends when you are coming, normally there is a nice sea breeze that keeps them at bay but in the rainy season when the wind drops they can be a problem but nothing a good repellant cant take care of.

Xanadu is located south of town about 5-7 minute by cab into the town center and from there you have lots of options of different restaurants bars shops etc but of course its growing town and theres lots of hustle and bustle some people love that mixing with the locals and having lots of choices other prefer the peaceful quiet northern resorts.

Hol Chan Stands on its own as being probably one of the best snorkeling spots in the whole of the Caribbean and has fantastic fish life and is a must when you visit the island and can be done from anywhere including tranquility bay you could use that as an excuse to come into town for the day and do the Hol chan trip and then spend an afternoon in town.

Gaz Cooper

Last edited by Gaz Cooper; 05/03/10 03:59 AM.
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 115
AlJ Offline
I felt safe when in town but didn't want to put up with the confusion and the people. We stayed about 1.2 miles south of town at Banana Beach. We walked past Xanadu to get to town but I don't remember how far north it was.

I'd stay somewhere south of town. You can go see town as much as you want. You can take tours to the mainland. You can snorkel at the reef. You also have full access to the restaurants.

When we were there (we normally go to Caye Caulker), we took a tour to Bacalar Chico. The trip was fun but the snorkeling wasn't. It was pretty windy and the water rough. Not Bacalar Chico's fault but still. It was a very long boat ride on a hard seat for less than ordinary snorkeling. I think you'd find the reef (Hol Chan) to be much better.

Here's a link to some pictures from our trip. There's pictures from the Bacalar Chico trip, snorkeling at the reef, around San Pedro and around the rest of the island. The buttons should show what the pictures are.

When you tire of looking at one folder click on the UP arrow on the index page. To view, click on the first one to enlarge it and you can click on the right edge to step through them. Help link at the bottom.

Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 4,672
I've been to Bocas twice and it is completely different than San Pedro - Bocas is much smaller and more "primitive". I haven't stayed at Tranquility Bay, but stopped there for a couple of hours for a beach BBQ while on the Bacalar Chico trip, it is a gorgeous spot, but my pick would be Xanadu, as I have stayed there a few times. It is quiet, beautiful grounds and you can walk mostly everywhere to and from town.

In numerous trips to SP, I have never been approached for drugs, so I wouldn't worry about that. If it happens, smile politely and say no thanks. No worries, enjoy your trip!

Joined: May 2010
Posts: 10
OP Offline
How is the wind and current in May at Tranquility Bay?

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,046
Mossies aren't bad at Tranquility. Wind will be much the same as in town, which is stonking at the moment. Current inside the reef isn't a problem there. One thing that Tranquility has that nowhere else has is that the reef isn't just very close, there's also no through boat traffic (it's beyond the last cut to get outside the reef). So you can swim or kayak to the reef easily and in complete safety - no boat dodging. A downside is that you only have the on-site restaurant, but the food is highly regarded so it's not much of a downside. When there are people staying there there tends to be at least one boat a day going to town, often more. The water taxi, now just Coastal Express, terminates at Blue Reef, about 12 minutes' boat ride south, and the Tranquility folks will meet the water taxi for travel in either direction. Coastal Express used to charge very moderate rates and may well still do, but they now have a monopoly so we shall see what happens.

No doubt Carlos (the manager, with his lovely wife Isabella) will be on here shortly.

Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 225
San Pedro is a lovely, quaint little town. The locals and the tourists mingle together in harmony in the streets, businesses, shops, restaurants and bars. I have only been offered marijuana one time in all my many trips there.

I have never felt unsafe in the town during the day or at night. The only time I have ever felt uneasy is when I get out of town at night, either north or south, away from the busy inhabited areas. Just exercise caution, especially after dark, just as you would in any U.S. city or town for that matter.

Once you see the town of San Pedro, you will see what all the allure is about, and that it is an essential part of the Caribbean and Belizean experience.

My recommendation would also be Xanadu.

Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 5,563
It would be a shame to come to San Pedro and not experience San Pedro. I feel that the first few trips here should be booked close to town so you are really HERE. After that (or honeymooners) can get way off by themselves but do yourself a favor and experience the people. That's what we are famous for.

Take only pictures leave only bubbles
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 7
DAK Offline
As a first time visitor I would recommend you stay closer to town to experience the flavor of San Pedro. It is a quaint town that is diverse and enjoyable. The locals are welcoming and you would miss out on a tremendous experience if you came all the way to our little island and didn't experience all San Pedro has to offer. As far as drugs go I've only been offered weed a couple times but a polite "No Thanks" has been well received and the "entrepreneur" moves on. I haven't been offered any other drugs. Just use common sense and be aware of your surroundings and you should stay safe.

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 227
To islandgirl,

If you are looking for nightlife and wish to experience a different restaurant every night then you would probably most enjoy staying in town.

However, if you are looking for an idyllic spot with a secluded beach where you can snorkel directly from the beach to a pristine reef as much as you want for free with no boat rental, then come see us at Tranquility Bay Resort.

The Hol Chan snorkeling trip is a must-do for visitors to Belize. You will see in 45 minutes snorkeling what you will see in a week at Bacalar Chico. The abundance of marine life is outstanding. We offer all the tours directly from the resort with our onsite tour guide who will take you there for a half day tour including shark ray alley, or we can combine it with another half day trip to visit Caye Caulker island to see the seahorses. These trips can include a stop in San Pedro town if requested by the group.

In May we generally have a small breeze which makes snorkeling easy and also keeps the mosquitoes and sand flies away. As long as there is breeze we have no problems with the bugs but for the rare days when the breeze drops we do stock insect repellent, baby oil and other devices in the cabanas to keep them at bay.

We have our above water restaurant where you can see tarpon, spotted eagle rays and many others at night. You also have 2 different options for eating, homemade cinnamon buns and pizza from our neighbor or go to the restaurant at our neighbor resort which is within 10 minutes walking distance.

You can also either charter a boat for trips into town or join one of our scheduled trips which go to town frequently. With a 5 night booking we do not charge for you to charter a boat but for less than 5 nights then we will charge $80 round-trip.

I hope this helps with your decision and if you have any more questions please feel free to email or call us. We hope we will see you soon in our paradise.

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