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#50478 03/14/02 08:48 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 13
OP Offline
It's been a long time since on San Pedro,,,and a lot to growth has occured. What is everyones opinion as to the north vs. south of town? How far can one easily walk back to town from hotels, via the beach or paths. Using hotels as starting points: say Banana Beach from the south - and Mata Rocks from the north? Beach and shade quality? etc., etc.

#50479 03/14/02 10:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,054
Mata Rocks is actually on the south end, just south of Banana Beach. Perhaps you mean Mata Chica, which is maybe 5 or 6 miles north of the cut, far beyond walking distance, or perhaps the old Rocks Inn (now Blue Tang) which is at the north end of town and is within walking distance.

Below, excerpted from my new guidebook to Ambergris Caye, is my take on locations.


Probably the biggest decision you'll make about Ambergris Caye is where to stay. We're not talking about a specific hotel but about the general area. The area you choose will determine to a great degree the experience you have on the island. You have four basic options:
1) in the town of San Pedro, including at the north edge of town
2) just to the south of San Pedro near the airstrip, within walking distance
of town
3) on the south end, beyond easy walking distance to town (South Beach)
4) on the north end of the island above the channel, in most cases a water taxi ride away (North Beach).
There is no one "best" place to stay. Each of these four areas has advantages and disadvantages. Which area you choose depends on what you want from your vacation. If you're looking for privacy and the feeling of being away from it all, consider the south end or the north end of the island. If you prefer easy access to restaurants, nightlife, shops and other activities, you'll likely be happier in San Pedro town or just to the south. There's little advantage to any one area in terms of beaches, although the beaches in town tend to be more crowded with boats than those outside of town.
HEART OF TOWN: Hotels in the town of San Pedro, with a few notable exceptions, are older spots, among them the original tourist hotels on the island. They are, again with a few exceptions, less expensive digs. If you're looking to save a buck or two, this may be the place for you. You also will be right in the heart of things, no more than a few sandy blocks from some of the best restaurants, bars, shops and dive operations on the island. Party animals will want to stay here or just the south of town. Accommodations here include Rubie's, Holiday Hotel, Spindrift, Martha's, San Pedrano, Mayan Princess, Paradise Hotel and Paradise Villas.
AIRSTRIP SOUTH: If you want a larger variety of moderate and upscale lodging but still want to be within walking distance of the attractions of San Pedro Town, think about staying at the south edge of town and the area just to the south of town. The San Pedro airstrip is here, but you should have few or no problems with airport noise, since the planes are small one- and two-engine prop jobs, and there are no flights after dark. This is a compromise between the activity of town and the remoteness of the north end and far south end. Among the hotels here are SunBreeze, The Palms, Belizean Reef Suites, Ramon's Village, Steve & Becky's Cute Little Hotel, Playador/Exotic Caye, Belize Yacht Club, Changes in Latitudes, Hideaway, Coconuts and Caribbean Villas.
SOUTH BEACH: Although most of this area is beyond a quick walk to town, this a major growth area for tourism on the island. Some of the nicer upmarket hotels are located here, and more are on the way. An increasing number of restaurants and amenities also are located here. Until 1996, the town dump was in this area, but happily it's now been moved farther south. At the far end, you're two to three miles from San Pedro, so for visits to town you'll need to rent a golf cart (US$60 or $65 for 24 hours), ride a bike (some hotels offer them free to guests), take a taxi (about US$5 to town) or take a hotel shuttle, if available. Among the choices here are Xanadu, Villas at Banyan Bay, Tropica, Banana Beach, Mata Rocks, Royal Palm, Victoria House, Caribe Island Resort and Sunset Beach.
NORTH AMBERGRIS: By all accounts, the area north of the Cut or the river - a narrow channel of water separating the south and north ends of the island - is where much of Ambergris Caye's growth will occur over the next decade or two. Houses, hotels, and even some restaurants are going up here. At present, though, access is limited by the fact that there are only two ways to get to the north end: One is via a tiny, rickety, hand-pulled ferry over the channel, and then via a hike or ride on a narrow path to the various resorts and villas. The other is by water taxi. Bring plenty of bug spray for use when you're away from the water.
Eventually, when the local political, ecological and financial situations are sorted out, we'll see a bridge put in here and perhaps, eventually, another one coming down from Mexico. We may also see an air strip on North Ambergris. But these events are still years away from fruition. The other current option is via boat or water taxi (US$5 to $10 per person, or more, one way by water taxi, although some hotels provide free shuttles, at least during daylight hours). To get to San Pedro for dinner or a bit of action, you'll need to take a boat, and that can be something of a pain, particularly after you do it three or four times. Accommodations on the north end include Capricorn, El Pescador, Captain Morgan's, Essene Way, Belizean Shores, Journey's End, SunDiver, Los Encantos, Portofino, Avalon (formerly Casa Caribe), Mata Chica, Playa Blanca and Basil Jones Club.
Not on Ambergris but close by, off the back side of the island, is Cayo Espanto and on Caye Chapel, the Caye Chapel Golf Resort.

Lan Sluder/Belize First
#50480 03/14/02 03:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 110
JMHO: I walked the beach every morn, both N & S, and my personal opinions from observations is:
North of the cut is beautiful but awfully isolated if you like to hang around town nightly and/or try the different eateries.
Town north to the cut would be very nice and there were many pretty places to stay. Also quieter than actual town. I'd think about here next time.
Town itself - you are smack dab in the middle of everything but can be noisier.
Town south (I only walked far as Ramon's but did cart also) would also be nice, anywhere seemed good.
South past the airport has some beautiful resorts but I noticed an awful lot of construction down here everywhere. And again it's isolated, you'd want a cart/bike for traveling to town.
Every area has its own pros and cons, I personally don't think you'd go wrong anywhere you chose!

#50481 03/14/02 03:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,059
Best way to decide north south or in town, is to visit three times, stay at each, then you will know, or maybe not, cause they all have something the other two does not, that is the beauty of Ambergris, always calling you back to experience the other two options.

Dare To Deviate
#50482 03/14/02 06:24 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 71
Chloe, excellent observation! guess that's what I must try, then...oh, the chores just never end, do they?

#50483 03/14/02 07:48 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,059
SO TRUE......awful job but someone must try all these resorts north south and in town.

Dare To Deviate
#50484 03/15/02 07:48 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6
We just got back and stayed about a mile south of town at Victoria House. The ammeneties are upscale and the service was the best. I am not an upscale kind of guy but the price was excelent for what got, it was very laid back, and we were very happy with it. It was about a twenty minute walk along the beach to town. We usually took a taxi for $5 US or the free taxi that ran every two hours. From what I expierenced the north end is more secluded and the island is less disturbed up there. The roads are worse and a water taxi is the only practical means to get to town if your up more than a mile.
We took a water taxi one evening to Mata Chica Mambo for dinner, (the far north end), and the way back was a cold and wet expierence. I didn't mind so much, the stars were awsome, but some of the ladies were not so happy.
As for the construction on the south end there is a lot to be seen from the road but once inside the Victoria House we were never disturbed by anything.

I'm sure if your on the island you can't go wrong but when we return we will be back to the Victoria House.

#50485 03/15/02 01:37 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,255
we were at journeys end, north of captain morgan's, south of mata chica.

very quiet, very secluded, peaceful. getting to town took about 15-20 by boat.

so, it depends what you want.

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