I forgot a few things on my previous post. I was surprised about a few things since my previous trip five years ago. First, San Pedro and AC in general have developed a whole bunch since then. I regret not buying that 5 acre parcel on the beach for investment purposes back then. In general I think the development has been good, although I think the "downtown" San Pedro area is more dirty and congested. I think the decision to allow three story buildings in town has made the streets seem like dark canyons. It was different and better a few years ago. Honestly, I was surprised at the quality of the hotels. The Sunbreeze for example, is of the quality of anything found on Ft. Myers Beach and yet the prices are quite reasonable by Florida standards.
One other surprise was the difference in Belize City. It's obvious that the cruise ship business has transformed that place. It's much cleaner and frankly feels safer than last time I was here. I don't think it will ever be a great tourist destination due to the low lying terrain and lack of tourist sites, but an improvemtn has been made.
One disappointment; Mountain Pine Ridge. The pines are gone, eaten by the pine borer beetle. The roads are terrible once you leave the western highway. Some people on this site talk about staying at the various lodges in the area and then touring about. Be prepared for a ROUGH drive back to the highway! We rented a Geo Tracker 4X4 from Crystal (good people and prices) and drove to Blancaneux and Five Sisters lodge in the Pine Ridge. The roads were dry, but it was boulder hopping in some places. My advice is this; if you want to go to Tikal, Xunantunich, or other sites not in the Mountain Pine Ridge, then stay in San Ignacio or at a place close to the road such as Chaa Creek. If you stay at the lodges deep in the Pine Ridge you add a good 1 hour rough ride just to get to the highway. Frankly, after that drive I was afraid the rental company was going to charge me extra for damage. No wonder the rental cars are so expensive in Belize! One other note; if you stay on the highway a car is fine to rent. If you plan on going to Mountain Pine Ridge be sure to get a 4x4 type vehicle. There are ruts and rocks in the road that a car will not clear.
Albert and Hugo, our guides from San Ignacio. Great job in showing us the area and your knowledge of the Maya sites!
Good food at Cheers restaurant!
Very nice hotel at the San Ignacio Resort Hotel. Toucans in the tree in back of our room in the morning, awesome!