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Re: A trip report #40019
05/30/01 08:08 PM
05/30/01 08:08 PM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 23
Gibsonville, NC., USA
Mr B Offline
Mr B  Offline
I am looking forward to my first rip to A/C June 6. Like Florian I am pretty well traveled throughout the Caribbean, having been to Negril as well. I love the noncommercialized places where you can eat at local establishments and have a "cold one" at outside "beach bars." Florian's report has me a little concerned though. I have done alot of reading on A/C and visited this site frequently since I planned my trip. I gathered A/C was fairly clean or cleaner than most caribbean islands and abject poverty was not too widespread. I realize the streets were sand and that is one thing that attracted me. But I am a little concerned about Florians report of dirty steets, sewage problems, etc. Can anyone shed anymore light on this. I realize everyone has an opinion but I hope I haven't developed the wrong "image" of A/C.

Re: A trip report #40020
05/30/01 08:29 PM
05/30/01 08:29 PM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 148
Portland, Oregon
phillytodd Offline
phillytodd  Offline
I realize everyone has their own opinion, but if you walk around expecting to see ghosts, sooner or later one is going to jump out and say "boo"

If you liked Negril, you'll love AC. I've been to Negril more than 5 times now. When I was a poor college student I stayed in a guest house across the street from the coral seas inn.. and when I graduated and started making money, I moved up to the Rock House. Same place, different vibes.

The same hold true in AC. You can stay at one of the cheaper places in town, or stay at a nicer place... same town, different vibes.

However, when you're in town you will see things that you're not used to seeing in the states. As far as being worried enough to cancel your trip, fuggedaboudid ( as they say on the sopranos). I was just down there two weeks ago and I actually had to go looking for poverty. ( I brought toys and other goodies down for some kids after reading this board)... I had to have some of the local kids show me where they live (up north, near the ferry, on the bay side.) If you want to see poverty, go there.... but while you're there, look how happy and friendly everyone is. It was hard to drive around in the golf cart and hand out toys to the kids, as I didn't want to appear too patroninzing... at the same time, I think the people just accepted me at face value and were happy I happened to drive by that day.

travelling from one resort city or "hotspot" doesn't make you well travelled... meeting the locals, participating in the local culture, and making an effort to give and take a little of both, are what makes travellers.

Ok, let me get off my soapbox ( i'm even starting to annoy myself now... been cooped up in this hotel for too long tonight)...

suffice it to say you can make your stay memorable or forgettable... it's all up to you.

ps.. as for the shopping, one of the girls in my party made the same general types of comments about there not being any "shopping".. I asked her what she wanted.. and she just said "I don't know, just stuff".. this being her first time out of the country I know she was anxious to buy lots of trinket and souvenirs, but I tried to tell her that the only trinkets you need are a little keepsake to put on a shelf and look at to help the memories flow( which are the best souvenirs you can't buy)...... i told her that if she wanted to shop, save her money and spend a weekend at the mall of the americas in minnesota.... belize is for enjoying life.

Re: A trip report #40021
05/30/01 08:42 PM
05/30/01 08:42 PM
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 229
Louisville, KY USA
Mary and Scott Offline
Mary and Scott  Offline
Disagree with you Florian; Sorry.We don't dive or snorkel and had our best vacation ever on AC and can't wait to get back. Best food, wonderful people, and we have been to the Mexican Riviera/Cancun/Cozumel area about 10 times in the past 6 years, but will go back to AC in a heartbeat before returning to "Miami South". To each his own.

Mary and Scott
Re: A trip report #40022
05/30/01 09:28 PM
05/30/01 09:28 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 56
Brigantine, NJ, USA
Ralph Offline
Ralph  Offline
Not a world traveler...but..
As far as shopping..all we wanted was a T-shirt...and the Belikan zipper cooler. My son was happy with the free coconuts, shells and lizard tail we brought home.
I didn't see one unhappy person the whole time were were there.
Its really about the people, the water and the reef. Not good deals on jewerly and fancy dining.

Re: A trip report #40023
05/30/01 09:40 PM
05/30/01 09:40 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 179
Florian Offline OP
Florian  Offline OP
I'm very happy for those of you who like AC just the way it is. I don't have a problem with that.

What I have a problem with is that I followed this board for months before I went to AC and personally, no offense intended, but I find it misleading to call the food "wonderfull" and "great" and stuff like that. Wholesome home cooking, yes, I think it's mostly that. But there is nothing great about it.

My post was intended to give balance to what I see an a somewhat biased discussion.

It's not fair to set people up thinking there is four-star dining on the island when there is not one resturant on the island that would rate one star. Sweet Basil's would come the closest, but it wouldn't rate.

The other reason I made this post is that I'm hoping someone will read it who can maybe address some of the things I mention. Some of them are just plain common sense and good sanitation, like filling in all the many, many places where water stands and insects breed. I"m sorry, but I must dissagree with someone who says these things are not important. What they are is an important public health issue, and AC is lacking.

I realize that my opinion is just that, and I've tried very hard to make my critisim constructive.

Re: A trip report #40024
05/30/01 09:53 PM
05/30/01 09:53 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 88
Monroe LA USA
ccla Offline
ccla  Offline
Florian, I am really sorry you didn't enjoy AC more....but if anyone ever does follow through with your suggestions I will surely never go again! You know, all those other countries you have visited are 3rd world too, and if you had just walked far enough you would have seen poverty there too. I find it admirable that the people of AC have not "sold their souls to the devil" to make San Pedro another Cancun, Cozumel, Negril, etc. I never had a bad meal either of the times I was in AC this year. I loved the people...I loved the limited shopping...I loved everything about it.

Of course, you are entitled to your opinion -- as I am entitled to mine, but I really do hope Ambergris Caye stays the way it is now...Carla

[This message has been edited by ccla (edited 05-30-2001).]

Re: A trip report #40025
05/30/01 11:09 PM
05/30/01 11:09 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 1,080
Eugene, OR, USA
KC Offline
KC  Offline
Do you think that we are lying when we say that the food is great and that we love AC just the way it is? I'm not lying... I'm giving my honest opinion, just as you have given yours. So I'm sorry that you don't like what people have said, but you act as if we are purposefully trying to deceive. I respect your opinion, and the fact that your palate is definitely more trained than mine. I understand how having a preconceived idea about how a place is going to be can really spoil the whole experience for you, but please don't suggest that we are being deceitful. We are being honest, and you don't agree. That's okay.

Oh yeah, and about that poverty thing. Like my dad used to say. "I'm not poor. I just don't have any money." His family was his treasure chest, and it was full and loving. So don't judge people by how much they have. I saw a family on AC living in what we would call a shack, but they were cooking food over an open fire, and everyone was smiling and waving "hello" to me. They were not poor.


"You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
Re: A trip report #40026
05/31/01 01:04 AM
05/31/01 01:04 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 179
Florian Offline OP
Florian  Offline OP
KC, no, I don't think anyone is lying. I just think some folks get carried away sometimes.

Some of it, a lot of it, would be one's frame of reference. I think some folks have never had a really good meal in their life.

Ya know, a lot of folks go to Branson, Missouri and think it's a lot of fun and the food is real good. I guess that is good enough for them. Me, I don't spend tons of money to travel away from home to get home cooking. I get pleanty of that at home. I'm not impressed by pretention for it's own sake. What I like is really good food, well prepared and artfully presented.

I stand by what I have said. Sweet Basil's is a fairly good place to eat. They try real hard and it shows. Other then that though, the food is lacking.

I want to repete something I think is important though. If you are a diver you really do want to get yourself to San Pedro as soon as possible for as long as you can. I'm going back, for sure, I'll enjoy what AC has to offer. I'll overlook the rest. In the meantime if I get to wanting a really good meal I'll run down to New Orleans.

Re: A trip report #40027
05/31/01 01:16 AM
05/31/01 01:16 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
seashell Offline
seashell  Offline
Mr. B, a few weeks ago, a poster named Idaho Diver went to SP and when he got home he wrote a trip report on this board. He did not like the diving, he did not like how he was treated by the operators, he did not enjoy SP. Another poster named Axeman (a guy really into diving) was quite concerned because he was getting ready to go to SP and really needed a good holiday. Why don't you ask Axeman whether or not his experience was anything like Idaho Divers' experience. Also notice that Florian's diving experience was quite different from Idaho Divers' diving experience.

Here's my advice. Do not expect gourmet meals. The food is basic as a rule but I never had a bad meal. I never have had a fantastic meal either (some darned tasty ones though). As someone else pointed out in an earlier post, it is for the most part good homecooked-style fare. If you are going for the food, you should indeed go elsewhere.

I too believe that the island could be kept a bit cleaner but did not find it outrageously dirty. Still since I think the island could be cleaner, I do my part. As I walk along I pick up bits of trash etc. and dump it into the garbage cans that are on every corner or more. I noticed a lot more trash after Hurricane Keith than I ever did on my trips before. Maybe there is still a correlation.

Most of the standing water is on the lagoon side and you'd have to completely change the geology of the island to fix that. Think Florida and the ecological disaster that is occuring there because of all the infilling, dredging, beach making and beach preservatiion. On the other hand, Florian was in SP during the rainy season and so there was no doubt some rain water laying about.

Oh, I could go on and on but the others have said it all better. Mr. B, go and enjoy yourself. Be prepared to slow down. Take a good heart and a healthy attitude and you will come home with an even better heart and better attitude. I hope the weather is kind to you.

A fish and a bird can fall in love, but where will they build their nest?

Re: A trip report #40028
05/31/01 01:22 AM
05/31/01 01:22 AM

Florian, I hesitate doing this but I will, I agree about your comment about the "dirty, nasty little island with an outhouse over the water" as I sat over that little oval seat and messed all over the ocean, just about made me puke.

I to have tryed to add balance to this board and only got tongue lashed.

But what I don't understand is how you can say the diving around AC is for divers?

I found it the other wayaround, the diveing is subpar. IF you a want ease of life and no concerns (if you have the cash to retire there) then the place could be great for ya. I really thought the diving was second rate at best. If you thought the place to be was Jamaica or Aruba, then you need new places to dive.

I know I will get slammed for this but this is my trip report that got pulled a while back. GO for it gals and guys. But I will say we had a good time even though the diving was not up to par or worse, the local food was ****. Florian, don't run now as I'm going to need your help.

Repost:Landed Friday 3/30 in Belize City, went through immigrations and all that stuff. Picked up our bags and went over to next stop to declare or not to declare items brought into the country, asked the gal where we can find Tropic Air, she said to ask one of the guys for help, I did, he put our bags on his cart and took us around the corner to Tropic Air counter, I offered a tip , but he suggested a buck per bag. He meant a dollar Belize, I gave him one US per bag, SHAME on me. Finally get to AC at about 4:30 or 5:00, got a taxi for the Mayan Princess Hotel. Very nice Hotel and nice people running and operating it, too bad they don’t have a pool. We went up to our room and unpacked our stuff and took our dive gear down to Amigo del Mar located just out the door on the beach. Saturday we had no scheduled dives so we just wandered all over the town from one end to the other and back again. By noon we had seen most of what we wanted to see and was now looking for some fun. Went over to Fido’s dock and went parasailing, wasn’t cheap but it was a blast. We tried some of the local food from the street vendors and found it to be much different from what I was expecting, Jambel Jerkpit by the park is a small Jamaican restaurant where you might want to try if you like spicy food, I just loved it. Sunday, finally our first day of diving, we were put in a smaller boat with only six divers total, GREAT I thought, we got to our first dive site and was briefed on what to do and what to expect on our dive. First they throw in a rope line for you to hang on to while everybody else gets in the water, with the rough seas it was a bit tough holding on to the rope with one hand as I was holding my camera with the other. We finally get the signal to descend, only having to wait for a older man who was having some real trouble with his ears, after kicking against the small current for a while the dive master motioned to us to start the dive (so we thought) after about 15 minutes he caught up to us, mad as heck. Finished the dive and surfaced and got a butt chewing from the boat captain, as I said we misunderstood what his signal was, Oh well.
Second dive same thing with the older man, but we all hung around as told to stay in a group, this time I used 500psi of air waiting against a current for the guy to get down to depth. After it was all done my dive buddy and I went to the dive shop and requested a change in boats as we did NOT want to dive with that man again. We spoke with the manager and expressed our concerns, he called us ‘snobs’ well that did not set well with me at all, and went to explain how the rest of the group had paid their money and spent a good amount of time waiting for a guy who should not be in the water. The next day we went out on the same boat but with different people, went to two different dive sites that day and was now getting very disappointed on the diving there. The coral is colorless, broken, covered with silt, and all but dead. Next day had a trip planned for the Blue Hole, showed up on the dock at 5:45 AM only to find out the trip was canceled do to winds and rough seas. So we puttered around town for half a day and then went to Shark Ray Ally and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Shark Ray Alley is a must do for anybody who visits the area, If Hol Chan Marine is a real Marine Reserve then I knew our chance of seeing good coral reefs was out of the question for the whole trip. By now we are getting very disappointed in the condition of the reef and lack of marine life, about the only time you saw marine life was when they were feeding the fish that were in the area. I will say, I have never seen so many free swimming nurse sharks, rays, and even spotted eagle rays any place else. Wednesday, another early day trying for the blue hole again, but was told if the seas was to rough we would only go to Turneffe island area, never made it to the blue hole, but the diving was better around Turneffe than around San Pedro. We were told we would be doing wall dives, if they call those wall dives nobody showed them what a wall is. First two dives were ok, but the third dive I have seen better vis in a snow storm with 40mph winds. I can deal with currents as I just returned from Cozumel a few months ago, but the surges along with the current done nothing more than expel energy and consume a lot of air. Also, on our fist dive the ladder was lost and is lying on the ocean floor now and that made for some tough entries back into the boat. As I mentioned we wanted to go to The Blue Hole but the seas were too rough to make that crossing safely. On the first of the so-called wall dives one of the younger gals ran out of air on our safety stop, she got to me for my octopus, I was able to get the dive masters attention so he could take over the near panicked girl, as I was busy helping my 13 year old daughter who usually has a hard time hanging at 20 feet for a few minutes. Later that day I found out the the girl who run out of air just got her C-card, now I don’t know why a dive shop would allow a person with no dive experience to sign up for a trip to the blue hole and do a 130 foot dive, makes no sense to me. Thank God for her sake we could not get there. With what I considered lousy diving we opted to go back and snorkel shark ray alley again on Thursday because my daughter liked it so much the first time. I had talked to other divers who were getting better dive sites and they offered their suggestions to me, I then went and had a strong discussion with the dive shop manager again about changing boats for a dive master who might take us to the suggested sites which were given thumbs up by other divers. I expressed my concern that we were being put on a boat with novice divers because of the age of my daughter. This was an assumption that angered me as my daughter dives better than at least 50% of the people that were there. We made it to one of the sites on the list and it was much better, second dive was good as well. We did get a small refund of our unused prepaid dive package but it had to be brought up with the owner of the dive shop. On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘10’ and ‘0’ being the worst I rate the diving around AC as ‘1’ with my open water cert dives at home (Idaho) 15 years ago a ‘0’ I could never recommend AC to anybody for quality diving. Flew out 4/7 and I will never return.

OK, Let me have it!

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