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Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68961
05/26/03 03:14 PM
05/26/03 03:14 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 15
San Francisco Bay Area
scubachic Offline OP
scubachic  Offline OP
I just got back from my first visit to Ambergris Caye and LOVED IT! I just wanted to take a few minutes to post my restaurant review and short trip report b/c the reports of others that I read is what helped me so much in making this trip a success!

The weather was fabulous all week with very calm and beautiful water. We had three blackouts - the first for 5 hours, second for 3 hours and the third less than an hour. Overall not bad - but do remember to carry a flashlight at night!!!! I was so glad I did!

Restaurant review:
Mangos - We had lunch their our first day. They have great smoothies1! The mango chicken sandwich was a great island welcome with its tropical tangy fruit sauce.

Calientes - I couldn't wait to try this restaurant b/c so many have recommended it. And it lived up to my expectation. I had the highly recommended coconut chicken curry and conch fritters - both were excellent. My husband had Chicken Jalisco which he said was VERY VERY hot but GREAT!

BC-s BBQ - This is a not to miss. It's on Sundays from 11-3. The BBQ sauce is made there and we didn't taste another one as good the whole week. We were fortunate to be able to go two weeks. Plus the prices are great! Chicken BBQ is only $5 U.S. Note: While I loved most coleslaw's on the island (which is served with nearly every meal) I didn't love BC's - it had raisins and curry and just wasn't my favorite! They also have panty rippers for $2.50 US (the cheapest I found minus happy hour specials)

Casa Picasso - Another one I was really looking forward to. However, I hate to say, but it was probably my least favorite all week. First of all we were staying at Ramon's and didn't have a golf cart. This restaurant is on the south end of the island and it probably took us 25-30 minutes to walk to and was in the middle of nowhere. The food was good, but the portions were so small. It'ss basically pasta or tapas. I don't eat pasta, so it was tapas for me. I had the salmon croquettes which tasted great but there were only two very small croqettes for $10 US. I would say you would need 3-4 tapas to fill up and that gets expensive!!! My husband had the pasta wich he said tasted homemade and was very good (he had the basil walnut pesto sauce). also, I had read before my trip that there are 2/1 martinis every night except monday when they're closed. However, that special doesn't start until 9 pm so we missed out on that. If you like, they have a screen set up and they show a movie starting at 9 pm.

Cannibals - excellen potato boats (shrimp garlic was awesome!) Also great drinks!

Jambel Jerk Pit - I had sauteed conch and absolutely loved it! My husband had chickedn jerk. Again very spicy but great flavor. We loved the coleslaw here!

Fidos - Excellent shrimp burger. Also my favorite coleslaw and french fries all week. Fries were freshly cut with skins on!

Ramons (Purple Parrot) - We ate there for the Tuesday night BBQ b/c they offered lobster for $18 US and you couldn't get it anywhere else on the island b/c it's out of season. So if you want lobster, go there. They had it at least twice for dinner and twice for lunch the week we were there.

Man on beach selling tamales and empanadas -there is a man with a bicycle and a cooler on the handlebars selling food his wife makes from scratch. You can't miss him - he walks to whole length of the beach yelling whatever food he is selling. The items are only $2 US and are so good we couldn't get enough! It is very hot and fresh and has a better flavor than anything we found in restaurants - don't miss this!

Celi's BBQ - this is on Wednesday nights. It was good - not quite as good as BC's, but good and cheap ($7.50 US)

Cacina Carumba - Apparently this is a newer restaurant - the only down side is it's not on the water and no AC. But to make up for it he has put plenty of fans in the restaurant making the heat tolerable. But it is well worth the trip. This was one of my favorite restaurants. First you get free conch ceviche and chips with dinner. They have wonderful smoothies and a very extensive menu. I had a shrimp burrito which was the equivalent of 2 burritos I buy at home. It was very good and I couldn't eat it all! It was also very inexpensive.

Mickey's - another cheap place to eat! And while it's also not right on the beach, it is air conditioned. This was the only restaurant we ate in all week that was enclosed with A/C! Note: many have said their burritos can't be beat but they are only served on Wednesdays so we missed out. But I had the Mexico sampler platter which was great. It looks like it would be huge from the menu description, but the portions are small enough that added together it is perfect for one person. They are also very accommodating and will let you order half and order or one and a half orders. My husband had fish and chips which he liked but not what he's used to. Rather than battered and fried it was more like seasoned and pan fried - but the seasoning tasted great.

Blue Water Grill- For us, this was our most expensive meal. And it was excellent! It was also the most americanized restaurant in my opinion but had lots of island dishes. I had inland snook in banana curry sauce which I loved. My husband had grouper in Japanese spice sauce and he love that too. We also had the coconut shrimp appetizer - YUM! They have a drink dcalled the Horny Monkey whcih was my favorite drink all week - I wish I had one now. Also, they have happy hour every day from 4-6 pm and all rum cocktails (ie: panty rippers, rum and coke) are only $1.50 US

Jerry's Crab Shack - I hadn't heard anyone on the message board recommend this but we tried it b/c it's close to Ramon's and I wanted crabcake. The crabcake sandwich was really good and it was the only place we ate at all week that even offered it! Also, if you get their garden salad as a side dish, their homemade italian dressing is to die for!

Elvis - I've heard mixed reviews but we LOVED IT! I had carribean chicken which was awesome! My husband had Mayan chicken which was equally great! And in my opinion, they have the best key lime pie!! It was cold and tangy - very refreshing!

That's it for restaurants. Just a few other comments:

We did the blue hole dive trip with Amigos Del Mar based on recommendations from the board. We loved them! They were 10-15 dollars cheaper than other companies and had tons of food the entire trip plus all the Belikins and panty rippers you could drink on the way home. the lunch was stewed chickent, rice and beans, potato salad and coconut pie. In addition in the morning they had muffins (which are awesome), pinapple and watermelon (again as much as you can eat). On the way home they gave us snickers bars - yum! I definitely recommend them. Also all the water, coke and sprite you want!

We also did our local dives with them b/c they were so good!

We have heard mixed reviews about the blue hold but I was so glad I did it. It was an awesome dive trip. In the blue hole dive, they put food out and probably a dozen reef sharks were swimming 10-15 feet from us - it was awesome! We also saw a lot of other fish, rays, turtles, eels, barracuda, nurse sharks, lobsters, crabs, etc.

We did the Hol Chan/Shark Ray Alley snorkel. While it is busy, it was still well worth it. The barrier reef at Hol Chan is so beautiful I couldn't believe it. And at Shark Ray Alley, they were feeding the fish so we saw tons of nurse sharks and rays and were able to touch and hold them! It was great!

We also parasailed with Tony at Fido's dock. It was an incredible experience and the water is so clear that even from 400 feet up you can spot rays, sharks, dolphins, etc. We went in the afternoon, but Tony says if you go first thing in the morning you will see a lot more fish than we saw! Also, if you love it and want to do it a second time, it's half price for all repeat customers!

Well, that's all I can think of. I just wanted to post our experience so that it will help you all have as great an experience as we had!!!!!

Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68962
05/26/03 03:41 PM
05/26/03 03:41 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 503
Mesquite Tx USA
Johnboy Offline
Johnboy  Offline
Scubachic----Great report,So glad you had a great time...We arrive in AC July 4th for our 3rd trip....We are really looking forward to it....We will have to try some of the spots on your report...Thanks,,...Johnboy cool smile wink

Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68963
05/26/03 04:08 PM
05/26/03 04:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 41
ScubaDoo Offline
ScubaDoo  Offline

Thanks for the post. I have a few questions... We leave in about two weeks for our first trip to Ambergris Caye. We are planning to dive the Blue Hole. And, I'm trying to pack as light as possible. I know weather conditions can change day by day, but did you need a jacket or light wind breaker on the boat ride trip to the Blue Hole? How early do boats leave for the Blue Hole? After diving the Blue Hole, do you make any other dives on the way back to Ambergris Caye? Also, if diving locally, what time do most morning dive boats typically go out? TIA

Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68964
05/26/03 04:18 PM
05/26/03 04:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,059
South Texas
Chloe Offline
Chloe  Offline
Scubachic, wonderful report, nice you took the time to pass on your experiences with Boarder's recommendations. We are creditable, most of the time.

You sure had a great vacation on Ambergris.

Good info. on parasailing in the morning to see more fish.

Question? Did you try the ice cream at Manalley's?

Dare To Deviate
Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68965
05/26/03 04:23 PM
05/26/03 04:23 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 37
bonjoe Offline
bonjoe  Offline
That was one of the best trip reports that I have read. Good Job!!!!

Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68966
05/26/03 04:36 PM
05/26/03 04:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 4,262
St Louis, Mo., USA/San Pedro
Laguna Punta Offline
Laguna Punta  Offline
Hi Scubachic: Thanks for the nice trip report. I will pass along your compliments to Chef Jennie Staines at Caliente's. She spends most her time in the kitchen and seldom hears from her customers. Take care: Bill

Gone fishing!!
Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68967
05/26/03 08:43 PM
05/26/03 08:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 15
San Francisco Bay Area
scubachic Offline OP
scubachic  Offline OP
Glad you enjoyed the report and I hope it helps you all out! As far as Manelli's ice cream, I can't believe I forgot to mention it! I loved it and got it almost every night. And the price was great. $2.50 US for a double scoop. They have a coconut ice cream with real coconut in it that I got most often. I also loved the banana flavor! For those of you who don't know it's in town near Fido's dock. If you cut up from the beach at Big Daddy's and Jambel Jerk Pit and turn right on Barrier reef Drive (the main street) then walk a block or so it will be on your right - YUM!

re: the blue hole, we did not need a jacket at all. It is very hot there. The only reason I would recommend one is if you are burned or want to stay out of the sun. even then you don't really need it b/c the boat has a covered hull and blocks most of the sun. The bad news is the trip leaves at 6:00 am and 5:30 am if they are to pick you up at the pier where you are staying (which they are happy to do). The good news is, you get to see the sunrise and while we were waiting there were several dolphins playing very close to the pier. It was incredible! I wish I would have gotten up that early more often! The trip consists of three dives. The blue hole is the first dive. Your bottom time is only 8 minutes b/c you are at 140 feet deep. But the dive masters are very good about safety stops and surface intervals. The surface interval is 1 hour and 15 minutes - most of it spent traveling to the next dive site which is called Half Moon Caye. This was a very pretty reef dive with lots of fish. We saw an eagle ray and a sea turtle as well as tons of other fish! That dive is around 60 feet deep and you stay down for about 45 minutes. Then you come up and dock on the little nearby island where they serve you lunch and you can go on a walk to look at "Boobie Birds" which I guess are a rare species??? Some people also saw giant iguanas which was cool. Then you head back out to the third dive they combined two dive spots for us - Eagle Ray Wall and the Aquarium. Unfortunately we saw no eagle rays, but since we had seen one the dive before it wasn't too disappointing. We did see a moray eel all the way out of its hole (first time for me) chasing a lobster for dinner - that was REALLY COOL! That dive depth and time is about the same as the second dive. Then you start heading back and the party begins. Like I said they serve drinks - they also play really cool islandy/reggae music (most of which you've probably heard) and the stafff is singing along and really happy - it was a wonderful experience. We were sad when it ended and seriously considered doing it a second time and probably would have if our first trip to the blue hole weren't towards the end of our trip to AC.

As far as the local dives, they leave every day at 9:00 am - they will also pick you up at your pier. They also have dives at 2:00 pm, but those are only if they have enough people (you only need 4 to go out). But everyone says morning dives are better b/c better chance of seeing more sea life. They were great dives too - we saw sea turtle (who swam with us most of the dive) a sleeping nurse shark, large grouper - who also swam with us most of the dive and again a ton of various other fish and lots of schools of fish!

If I can answer any other questions, please let me know! I hope you have as great a time as we did!

Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68968
05/26/03 09:35 PM
05/26/03 09:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 7,059
South Texas
Chloe Offline
Chloe  Offline
Chloe is smiling......I just knew you tried Manalley's ice cream. Coconut is so good.

Also glad to know you saw many nurse sharks back at Shark Ray Alley. This is great news. Were they off mating or something for a month or so?

Dare To Deviate
Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68969
05/26/03 09:38 PM
05/26/03 09:38 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 8,880
seashell Offline
seashell  Offline
Sounds like you had an excellent trip!! I'm happy for you and thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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

Re: Restaurant Review and short trip report!!! #68970
05/27/03 07:17 AM
05/27/03 07:17 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 95
South Florida
beach bob Offline
beach bob  Offline

Let me add my thanks for your great trip report; we're heading to AC in July, so this info is most welcome. I'm gonna print out this thread smile

Really appreciate the restaurant reviews... I know how to have fun in the tropics; I just need to know where to go eat! laugh cool

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