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10 days in San Pedro #65843
04/05/03 03:22 AM
04/05/03 03:22 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 33
Lizzard Offline OP
Lizzard  Offline OP
Our Adventures in San Pedro.
TUES, Mar 25
Arrived in Belize City around noon without a snag.
Took Maya Air to AC. There was a mix up with our reservation, apparently Gaz Cooper had made an error with the number in my party was 2 not 1.
We begged the flight coordinator to make sure our bags went on the same plane as we did. Nope.
Our bags did not arrive for 1½ hours. We were escorted to BC’s by the bag collector and enjoyed pina colada’s on the beach. The weather was beautiful, hot as hell. 98 degrees and 100% humidity. A welcome change from New England.
We met a fellow called Shlomo (a recent transplant from Long Island, who dropped everything to come to AC and start a business 30 days prior) at baggage collection, who we later learned was the new chef at Playa Blanca Dive and Beach Club, where we would be staying for the next ten days. We grew to love him.
When our bags showed up, we jumped into a taxi to the island ferry where our taxi driver had become among the missing…we waited on the beach with Nubia (from Playa Blanca-who was warm and wonderful) for another hour. We bought more drinks and a woman came by with a basket of conch ceviche and corn chips for sale and we enjoyed them with Nubia and some little boys she knew. It was really delightful.
Manuel, the water taxi driver, finally appeared and we were whisked off with Nubia and Shlomo to Playa Blanca (but not before running some errands for them in town) grrrrrr!
We took a nice 15-min. ride by water taxi to Playa Blanca where Gaz met us at the dock. We were interested in a drink or some food and when I asked Gaz, he stated that his team SHOULD have stopped while in town for us to pick up some groceries. Nope.
We got to our room and we were a bit disappointed…not too clean and not sunny like we expected. They could’ve used a level when installing the bar-countertop. Couldn’t set a drink on it. We got the center unit kind of dark and dreary. No screens or drapes on windows, and the first flush of the toilet led to a flooded floor. We were told that a water taxi would be available at Playa Blanca for convenience, it being so far north and all. But Nope. Not true…only if the dive boat is going that way. AND no phone. This was sort of a problem, since every other time we went to the office (during office hours) to use the phone during our stay-the door was locked.
Took a walk around the property, nice place but then we saw the hole where the pool was supposed to be...
It was about 6pm by now and we were hungry. So off we went to Mata Chica for dinner. They open for dinner at 7pm so we walked further south to Sun Diver. Got there about 6:30, got our SOUP and SALAD (without the famous dressing our waitress urged us to chose) at 7:50! We had a water taxi coming to their dock at 8pm. We left most of the food on the table and skiddaddled. Hopped on the taxi and went into town to pick up groceries and explore. Dropped off At Fido’s, had a drink…love that place…roamed around town and were taking it all in. Not sure what to think yet, but-hey the weather was nice!
Took the last ferry back north (5 ½ miles north to be precise) The stars were incredible…we will never forget that. Hit the bed hard and slept great ‘till 6am.
Had coffee on porch-was beautiful, hot and humid again, like 100 degrees. Boy a pool would be nice right now, as the seagrass really prevents you from being able to swim from the beach.
Went into the officially “unopened” restaurant that Shlomo is running at P.B. to be called Hemmingway’s.
Had a fabulous breakfast. Shlomo is a culinary genius. Met some folks renting the penthouse and shared complaints. Apparently you really do not get your own private dive boat when you rent the penthouse, as advertised. Another couple had joined in on the dive (not a guest at P.B.)and was able to dictate the dive plan/location.
They were not very happy.
Took the 9am ferry into town, rented a golf cart (from Castle Carts-the red ones) for the entire 10 days we were there…great idea. We were unhappy with our lodging choice so we roamed around and looked for alternative lodging ‘till we found Banana Beach. We booked with them-we were unable to check in until Friday, but we were glad we made that choice, we were looking forward to being there. Had lunch and drinks at Mata Rocks’ Squirrel’s nest and loved it.
Shopped around town, found Mambo Chill (the best shopping on the island) went to Le Popular Bakery for goodies and drove over the hand ferry to head back north for a treacherous ride! There was a bit of a problem back there…looked and smelled like someone’s septic system (if there is such a thing on AC) had backed up into the road up north just before Journey’s End. Good thing we had a gas powered golf cart with huge treaded tires!!! We would’ve been stuck in that pool of shit for sure. It was about 40 feet across and two feet deep. You can imagine what those big tires did when we dragged through it…Yup, shit everywhere!! Totally disgusting and although it may sound funny now, we were livid.
It was a rough hour ride back through the bumpy jungle to Playa Blanca.
So, no, the road does not end at Journey’s End like we read on the board…you just keep going…
Back to the beach, for some sun and swimming off pier and hopped back on the cart.
We had early dinner at Sweet Basil’s that night and it was terrific. (Yup, through the poop pile again)
Went back to shower (eew!) and took taxi into town, to Shark’s bar. Met some locals and had a great time.
Hot again.
Got up at 7am, walked the beach north to Portofino, nice place. Lots of construction going on up North. Really beautiful despite the miles of trash piled up on the beach. Yes, a pool would be great.
Tried to take showers but the water tank out back gave out and we were outta luck. All soaped up and no water to rinse. A pool…oh forget it.
Asked Andy, the D.M, about doing a dive, but there was no room for us on the boat. Also quoted us a hefty $575-US to take our open water test, we had all our class work done in the states.
Spoke to Gaz about the phone issues and he promised us Andy would be back in a half-hour with a BTL cell phone for us to use. Three hours later after helping Shlomo pitch a tent out back to sleep in, and borrowing his DiveYak, Andy came back with the cell phone for us to use.
Needless to say, they could use some help in the management department. Although Playa Blanca has been open for a couple years they are, in my humble opinion, not yet ready to open for business.
Took cart into town, BUT this time we were determined to get around the poop. We pulled barriers down along the beach to avoid it and we were successful! So happy!
In town we roamed around, went back to Squirrel’s nest for lunch and Mata Colada’s. Great Place.
Gave rides on the cart to lots of local kids going to school and folks going to work. Did some more exploring and shopping and headed back north for Shlomo’s Oso Bucco for dinner. As expected, we were impressed and enjoyed the company of Shlomo and the other guests.
Hot again.
Ate breakfast with Shlomo and the gang at Hemmingway’s. Great, He made fresh lemon curd and had fruits, cereals, breads, eggs, and a lovely pineapple habenero salsa. I ordered a special meal and he whipped it up in a heartbeat. We left the golf cart, and Andy took us into town with dive boat at 9am, he had the divers aboard and we appreciated the ride.
Went to Fido’s had some drinks, went para-sailing with Tony and it was amazing, enjoyed the entertainment of the crew and the others in the boat-got some great pics.
Off to Caye Caulker. Too friggen hot to walk through that dirty squalor. We went through town and we were followed the entire time by a young man who bothered and threatened us…bad experience. We finally lost him, hung out at the little palapa bar by the pier drinking Belikins and waited for the next boat out of there. We planned to eat at Rasta Pasta but to be honest the place looked like a pit.
Back in San Pedro, we went to El Patio for lunch, was fabulous. Mian the bartender/waiter was very gracious and friendly, we enjoyed the experience and the food. Time to Check into Banana Beach. Went by and got the key, checked out the room AWESOME! Took a quick dip in the pool, then took the Ferry out of Fido’s to get back to Playa Blanca so we could gather our things. We decided to take just what we needed (yah, I guess I overpacked…I didn’t need sweatshirts, socks, pants, right?) So we packed up, cleaned, and we were off. Or so we thought! We had left our backpack in the room at Banana Beach-with the golf cart key in it!!! Couple of idiots, eh?
My husband, Bill, gave Andy 50 bucks to take him in town, as we had to leave in time to make the hand ferry! He got back with one hour to get us over the cut. Thank You Andy! Just as we were leaving we ran into Shlomo, who insisted we take some of his barbecued chicken, potato salad, honey-baked beans, ceviche, and bread pudding with whipped habanero cream with us. He could see that we were in no position to lug dinner with us on that cart with our luggage, hauling it all to Banana Beach. But like I said, he insisted. He wrapped it up tight in plastic wrap and I hung on to it with my dear life! We were in for the ride of our life. In the dark, a bumpy, scary, hell-ride to the hand ferry, hoping to remember the way around the poop! We laughed like kids all the way. (But covered in mosquito bites, in spite of the deet we used)
Got our stuff into our new place and were thrilled to be close to town, clean room with a phone, full staff, security, restaurant, travel /gift shop and TWO pools! We were in heaven.
Went into town with cart and whooped it up at Fido’s for their famous cherry bombs. Definitely feeling like we know this place now like the back of our hand. Locals greeting us by name and feeling at home.
Starting to fancy the place a bit.
Ordered a late night spicy chicken pineapple pizza from El Divino’s brick oven (a new addition to Banana Beach) it was amazing. I highly recommend it.
Woke up 7:30am. Walked the beach south to Victoria House, beautiful place. The security guard gave us a tour of the property and talked about the native plants and species, sweet guy.
El Divino for breakfast, fantastic. Hung out on beach at Banyon Bay, even found a small spot on shore to take a dip in with very little sea grass. Just beautiful.
The onsite travel shop at Banana Beach, Monkey Business, arranged a snorkel trip with SEArious Adventures to Hol Chan/Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan was amazing, saw two 5’ sharks, 30 lb. groupers, 40 lb. snappers, and many schools of colorful fish, along with a very large eel. Our guide Jeffery was great. We were the only ones on the boat and he made it fun for us. He threw sardines in the water at us so schools of horse eyed jacks would swarm us! Cool! Shark/Ray was okay. (No sharks) Getting mighty cool by now and was ready to get off the water.
Took a bath at room and literally left a ring around the tub. San Pedro is one filthy place.
Our friends, Scott & Tracie and Kelley & Greg were to arrive that evening and we were looking forward to seeing them in San Pedro! S&T stayed at Banyon Bay and K&G stayed at Mata Rocks (they will be married on Wed!). Another great reason to be at Banana Beach. Unfortunately our friends brought with them, some really crappy weather.
Downright chilly. Ate at Celi’s with them and enjoyed it immensely.
Went to Fido’s and saw Barefoot Skinny sing oldies and thought it was great.
I think our friends were in shock from the AC experience so far.
All went to Banyon Bay for late night fun. Really nice place.
Woke up 6:30, very cloudy, very cold. Breakfast at Rico’s at Banyon Bay. Nice menu, good food.
Took our friends in to town (all 6 of us on the cart) YIKES! Shopped a bit then to B.C’s for Sunday Beach Barbecue. So windy and cold like 60 degrees. I didn’t feel so great and my eyeball was killing me…?
Everyone enjoyed the barbecue and met some nice people to hang with.
Went back to Banana Beach and finally figured out my eye was not doing well. Painful and really red.
Went to Banana Beach office, YAY they were open! They called a doctor for me and he would come to my room. 2 hrs. Later, no Dr…
Went into office again, they said they never got in touch with him, so I got on the phone with a Dr. in Bze City, he said we could go to a pharmacy and they could call him to fill an Rx for me, he suspected that I had “Island Eye” ?
Bill hopped on the cart at 5pm and went to the pharmacy, they had no phone. Found another pharmacy, they were closed. He fell asleep on the cart ‘till 6pm when they opened. They told him he needed to get a phone card to use their phone, he went to the usual spot where we had been buying our phone cards and they were closed…drove from place to place and finally found a phone card. Went back to the pharmacy and was proceeding to make the call to the Doctor in Bze City and noticed a man in a white coat and asked him if he was a doctor. Yes, he was. He begged the Dr. to come to our hotel and see my eye. He explained that he had a patient to see but he would be along as soon as possible. Bill got back to our room at 7pm and I was a wreck by now, sick with a fever, all paranoid I had dengue fever from all the mosquito bites! He said the Doc was on his way…20 min. later Doctor Giovanni showed up, checked my eye and started to write a prescription for meds. Conjunctivitis. I was afraid we would have to go back to the pharmacy to fill the Rx…then he pulled the meds from his jacket pocket! I was relieved. He stayed and chatted for a while and only charged us 20US…we gave $100, out of sheer gratitude. So glad we moved close to town!
Bill and the gang went to Blue Water Grill and said it was just okay…They were on the golf cart in the rain/cold/70 mph winds!!! I had Shlomo’s chicken and bread pudding and I loved it.
Woke up 7:30, Kelley came by to check in on me and she aptly named me Mike Tyson. I looked in the mirror and I thought I looked more like a manatee…Swollen eyes/nose/face and lips!
Very cool that day, but sunny.
I hung around the beach at Banyon Bay, and met a kid who nearly lost his life on a kayak due to the off shore winds that day…pretty scary. Luckily a boater found him and pulled him in. My friends went on a snorkel/fishing tour, they caught dozens of fish and the guide grilled it all for them on a beach way up north with spices and vegetables. Sounded like a beautiful day. Sorry I missed it. Had lunch at Ambergris Delight, saw some folks we met at B.C’s and enjoyed the food a lot. Nice staff, too.
Went back to beach, then took bath (another ring around the tub) and got ready to meet our friends at Rico’s. My eye was now in tip-top shape! Had their famous tortilla soup and it was really good, some got pie for desert and they serve you ¼ of the pie and it was about 6” deep! YUM!
Fell in love with the little white puppy and mama dog that hangs around Banyon Bay!
Got up 6:15 eye looking/feeling great. Cold and shitty that day. Boy I could use all those warm clothes I left at Playa Blanca! Who Knew!?
The guys took Greg, the groom, fishing and the girls to Kelley, the bride to Tropical Touch Spa (across from Fido’s) for some pre-wedding day fun. The spa was fantastic! Vicki and her staff were wonderful. We got rubbed, scrubbed, pampered and peeled for a couple of hours and enjoyed every last second. Rejuvenating…Us girls went to Fido’s for some lunch and spirits, had a ball! Got the lowdown on what’s happening tonight and planned a dancin’ night.
We got back; the guys caught a bunch of barracuda. Had a good trip.
Got ready to eat at Caliente’s, great place, great food and our waiter was a riot. We named him Casanova.
Off to Wet Willies, nothing going on… then to Ramon’s for live music-nuttin’! Then to Fido’s and nothin’!
So we had a few then went back to our own party at Scott & Tracie’s place. Lotsa laughs.
The wedding day! Woke up 8:30. Cool and cloudy.
Breakfast at El Divino’s- best eggs benedict ever! Very entertaining waiter!
Walked along beach and prayed for nicer weather. Found hypodermic needle on beach, along with loads of trash…really too bad. Took a ride into town to get the bride and groom some gifts, and of course stopped at Fido’s for a drink! By the time we got back the sun was out and it warmed up for the happy couple!
Went to beach for a while then prepare for the wedding at 4pm.
The wedding was beautiful, the day was beautiful, and the bride was beautiful…
Kelley and Greg were married at Caribbean Villas and it was lovely.
We went to celebrate at The Victoria House and toasted the newlyweds with some nice champagne.
The dinner was good and we ALL had desert. We were like stuffed pigs and went home to crash.
(Well Bill and I had to pack, as we were leaving the next day)Earlier we had arranged to have spicy chicken pineapple pizzas from El Divino delivered to our room for the long plane ride home. So glad we did.
Woke up 6:30am. A gorgeous day, of course.
Water taxi coming at 8:00 in front of Banana Beach. Our friends came to bid us farewell.
Scott went bone fishing so he had to leave at 7am, so we missed him. Hope he had a great time.
They are staying in San Pedro ‘till Sunday. A-holes!
Headed to Playa Blanca, to gather the rest of our things and say bye to Shlomo. I baked in the hot sun for the last time on the pier. AHHHHH!!! Loved it. Shlomo took us to Mata Chica to see the casitas and to meet the staff. Beautiful place. Had one final Pina Colada and off we went.
Water taxi came to shuffle us off to the airport at 11am and without any snags were home in Boston by 11pm.
We had a good time all in all but honestly I must say I will not be returning to Belize. The little place did not grab me. The beach is awful, it’s a filthy place and the squalor is depressing.
Banana Beach was terrific. It made our trip.

Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65844
04/05/03 03:32 AM
04/05/03 03:32 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 476
Marie Offline
Marie  Offline
Gosh! I'm glad we were there in February and early March, weather wise from what you say! I certainly hope most of your other memories are fairly good. Yipes!!!

But, do wait a minute.........Belize is least to those of us who love it because it is Belize. It's not the place for everyone. On this site we have all crabbed about, and been snipped at, about our favorite places, but, all in all, we love it. God forbid you'd gone to my "pet", you'd have lost your mind in a NY minute!!! (OK, I've got it now, Seashell, I'll pay more attention to what people say!). Belize is about a part of tourism that no longer is. This is what the Caribbean was 20 years ago, that's why many of us love it so. Belize is a simply wonderful place. I kick off my shoes the minute I arrive, and don't put them on for the next three weeks. Love that! And I find the beach just wonderful to walk on. To me, there is certainly no squalor. A wee bit of sea grass washed on shore daily, but most places clean it off unless you are way out. I safely stroll the beaches before sunrise, and late at night. To me, it's almost a second home. I so love it. I'm so surprised you had such a bad experience. But there we are.

I'm so sorry it didn't work for you. God willing, you will find a more congenial place on you next trip.

Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65845
04/05/03 04:11 AM
04/05/03 04:11 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
seashell Offline
seashell  Offline
Well, Lizzard, I'm sorry for the way your holiday turned out. And I guess the juene c'est que of the place doesn't catch everyone. Which kind of suits me just fine. All the more room for the people that do catch it. wink

By the way, how ever did you contract conjunctivitis, do you think?

Marie . . .hee hee, I almost missed what you wrote about sending them to your pet. ahahahahha

Gaz, when are you getting that pool put in? I thought you told us that it was going in weeks ago?

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

Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65846
04/05/03 04:31 AM
04/05/03 04:31 AM
Joined: Mar 2003
Posts: 476
Marie Offline
Marie  Offline
Hi Seashell! Yes, I am totally chastised now. Never again will I mention my "pet" without pursuing the other people's desires much more thoroughly. PRH is still, to my mind, the coziest place on the caye.......but obviously.........not for everyone. Had these folks gone to it, it wouldn't have worked. So, I will lay low, but raise my ugly head when I can!

Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65847
04/05/03 10:23 AM
04/05/03 10:23 AM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,001
New Jersey/sanpedro
captjeff Offline
captjeff  Offline
lizzard what a great story you tell it like it is you pull no punches .I think if you had gone to banana beach first ,your story might have a better ending ,I own a large travel agency in the north east we sell 35,000 people a year all on cruise ships ,I can travel the world for free ,and I love san pedro ,yes it has some things I do not like ,but lots I do .plus the most sweetest ,wonderfull people around .I go once a month now .again I understand all you said and can feel for you .they say you never get A second chance to make a good first impression and yours started on a sour note .I stay for a week and can not wait to go back each month ,be back 4/8 and getting crazy thinking about it ,good luck on all your travel plans hope they are better for you in the future ...

Living The Dream Every Day!
Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65848
04/05/03 11:14 AM
04/05/03 11:14 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,058
South Texas
Chloe Offline
Chloe  Offline
Lizzard, thanks for reporting and honest trip report. Sorry you had so many difficulties.
Glad the food was good. Lizzard you can now say with conviction "Been there done that", did you get the Tshirt.

Ambergris is not for everyone, for sure.
Many of family and friends, I know would not like Ambergris, therefore I do not invite them to travel with me.

Thank God Ambergris is not for everyone, or we that love that laided back place would not be able to book a flight or room.

Dare To Deviate
Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65849
04/05/03 11:19 AM
04/05/03 11:19 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 278
Willard, Mo.,USA
Mel S Offline
Mel S  Offline
Wow ! What an experience, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Thanks for being honest. I've been living and travelling through Latin America for 21 years. You always have to think about the "tropical-factor". Belize, even including San Pedro is still part of the developing nations catagory. Culture can be a clash too. Americans and Canadians want things to be as they should be. Latinos and Caribbean people believe things are they are. I know, sometimes it is really frustrating trying to get things done down there. But it is best to just chill down and go with the flow and become part of the habitat. I hope you will try Belize again. Thanks, Mel S....

Mel Sinderman
Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65850
04/05/03 02:49 PM
04/05/03 02:49 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
seashell Offline
seashell  Offline
You said a mouthful Mel.

I always leave my cares and woes and expectations in the Houston airport on my way down. That reduces any frustration level to nil once I'm landed in Belize City. And then I can just laugh and chill if I find myself waiting for something, somebody, etc.

And any absurdities encountered (or what we would consider an absurdity at home) merely adds to the enjoyment and bemusement of my time in SP.

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

Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65851
04/05/03 04:05 PM
04/05/03 04:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 4,262
St Louis, Mo., USA/San Pedro
Laguna Punta Offline
Laguna Punta  Offline
So, ya had a good time!!

Gone fishing!!
Re: 10 days in San Pedro #65852
04/05/03 05:33 PM
04/05/03 05:33 PM
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 3,035
Pedro1 Offline
Pedro1  Offline
Lan Sluder has been saying that PB has a swimming pool-I am confused!!!!!

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