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#52196 - 03/22/02 05:23 PM Trip Report  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10
Bittner Offline
Bittner  Offline
We just returned from five days on A.C. Stayed at Banyan Bay which was very nice. We were a family of four and we would highly recommend the resort for families! The main item of the trip that I would like to make clear as I was very unaware of this going into the trip and that is the WIND!!! Evidently, this is the time of the year of the trade winds and boy did it ever blow-everyday until the day we left which still had a mild wind. Many activities were cancelled in the mornings because of the wind. It was not that we didn't do anything, we just adapted, adjusted and switched things around alot. Many morning dives and snorkel trips were cancelled at least through Bottom Time at Banyan Bay. We never got outside of the reef due to this which we were disappointed in. However, we did take the kids parasailing at Fido's which was great. Went bone fishing through Banyan Bay and caught fish. Went on one dive (our first family ocean dive) through Bottom Time and the divemaster was wonderful! Went to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Even had the dive video taped by Belize Underwater Video (PATRICK was great). Despite, the wind which murkeyed up the footage a bit, it still is a keepsake we will treasure. Saw the nurse sharks in fact held them, petted sting rays and also saw yellow sharks. This is a must for everyone to go to. We did a day of fishing inside the reef and then a beach BBQ for lunch by the guides then that afternoon snorkeled Mexico Rocks which also was fun and saw lots of colorful smaller fish. San Pedro is fun. Anyone staying at Banyan Bay we highly recommend renting a golf cart-you will use it alot plus its fun. Restaurant recommendations: SWEET BASIL, Elvis Kitchen, Capricorn (although we got DRENCHED coming home by water taxi which is the only way after dusk to get back). Again the wind plus the drivers added to this unfortunate ending to a fabulous dinner. The owners of Capricorn are great and their restaurant is supurb!!! Fido's for dinner and the band with the kids was fun. Make sure you go to the chicken drop at the Spindrift Hotel on Wed. and then go next door for dinner at the mexican/carribean restaurant Caliente (not sure of the spelling on this one). It was very good! Make sure you take sunscreen. We tanned for eight weeks and still burned with SPF 30 when we were out all day and reapplying. Thats about it. Just wanted to write so others can benefit as we did from reading this message board prior to our trip. Anyone wishing more specific info e-mail me at Our impression is it is a primitive island in the midst of a tourist explosion. Its fun to just drive your golf cart all around. Tons of building going on and it will be interesting to see San Pedro in the next 5-10 years. I hope they don't allow much more vehicle traffic though. The bikes and the carts are nice, plus the roads are pretty rough. Talk with the locals, they are very friendly and nice. We went to two of the internet cafes to keep in touch with home which also was fun. It is the Carribean I remember as a kid before all the tourism/commercialism came in. Did I forget to say, the Bellikin and Lighthouse Beer is wonderful!!!!

#52197 - 03/22/02 05:34 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 16
jellyfish Offline
jellyfish  Offline
For the locals - so when does the wind die down? We're heading down 4/6-4/16. Hope to have enough visibility to take some U/W photos. Speaking of which - where's the best place & operator to do some Macro photography? I can spend the whole dive sitting in front of one coral head waiting for a critter to come out. Do you have to follow a guide?

#52198 - 03/22/02 05:55 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 79
cjd Offline
cjd  Offline
I was there in the middle of May last year and the wind was probably a steady 20 knots almost all the time. Many of the boat trips were cancelled too. Usually winds tend to calm down shortly after sundown, but in AC last year they seemed to be the strongest from 6-9 PM for some reason. I dont know if that was normal or just a result of the conditions at that time.

#52199 - 03/22/02 06:04 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,255
sweetjane Offline
sweetjane  Offline
jf - have you seen all the underwater photos from the menu on the home page?

#52200 - 03/22/02 06:05 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 5,255
sweetjane Offline
sweetjane  Offline
is this why no one else is scheduled to go in may? after all this time i should have realized...maybe i should wait until june? if we cannot snorkel & dive, forget it.

#52201 - 03/22/02 06:26 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 16
jellyfish Offline
jellyfish  Offline
sj - the photos you mentioned are great. I especially appreciated the close-ups (my particular area of interest). I too will be disappointed if we can't snorkel or dive. That's the main reason we are going. I wonder if January or February are better. Any later in the year than April is impossible for us. Our busy time at work is May thru Dec. Regardless, April 6th is too close to make a change now. Anyone out there know what the diving chances are different times of year?

#52202 - 03/22/02 06:36 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: May 2000
Posts: 1,191
Chris Offline
Chris  Offline
Weather can be a factor, good or bad, any time of year. From about now on, though, we should be clear of strong "Northers" (cool, blustery winds caused as a result of deep low pressure areas and their accompanying cold fronts heading West-East across the USA).

This means that if the wind is strong it is likely to be North Easterly - South Easterly. For divers, plan at least a day trip to Turneffe or an Overnight trip to Turneffe and Lighthouse Reef....this can be your insurance against fresh trades during the Spring/early Summer months. Diving at Turneffe and Lighthouse is conducted in warm, calm waters even if the wind is blowing a bit from those Easterly directions. The journey out can be bumpy, though.

Even if the weather does turn out to be too windy to dive there is plenty to do....from mainland tours to the jungles and Mayan ruins where the fresh breeze would be welcome to spending the afternoon cycling, strolling and wandering into some of the great restaurants we have here.

In my opinion, the dive shops with the best pedigree and experience on Ambergris Caye are: (in no particular order)

Ramons Dive Shop
Amigos Del Mar
The Blue Hole Dive Center (my old business, also serving Caribe Island Resort guests)
Larry Parker's Reef Divers
Bottom Time Dive Shop
Patojo's Dive Shop (reserved mainly for his hotel guests and those from Capt. Morgans)
Gaz Coopers (mainly for guests staying way up North)
Victoria House (for VH guests)
Coral Beach Dive Shop
Belize Ocean Divers (Journey's End guests)
All of the above have been in business for years and have stayed in business because they're very good at what they do. They each have a different style and rapport with their guests....each dive shop on this list will have its band of loyal divers who wouldn't dive with anyone else while on Ambergris Caye.

It amazes me that we don't see more praise for them on this message board.

A new dive shop that I have heard good things about is Ambergris Divers.

#52203 - 03/22/02 06:56 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10
Bittner Offline
Bittner  Offline
We can't agree more about your statement about the professionalism of the dive shops and divemasters!! This should not be a concern for beginners or well experienced divers.

#52204 - 03/22/02 07:21 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 677
lmarquis Offline
lmarquis  Offline
As far as weather or winds: last year when I was there the first week in May, it was gorgeous every single day, not windy, and only rained the morning I left.

#52205 - 03/22/02 10:10 PM Re: Trip Report  
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,055
Chloe Offline
Chloe  Offline
Thanks for your great trip report. You have a good attitude.

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