Trip to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Day One: It was 12 degrees at 3:30 AM when we left for the airport to catch our flight. They suggest you arrive 2 hours early for an international flight but did not mention the ticket counter did not open until 5 AM. (I could have had another 45 minutes of sleep) Our flight out of Nashville scheduled to depart at 6:10 AM was canceled. (Some kind of problem with the plane) Continental had no other flights that would allow for our connection to Belize City, but they booked my wife and I on American and all went well. We arrived in Belize City at the same time we would have if our original flight and airline had performed has scheduled.
The experience at Belize City was none eventful, but it was around 75 degrees much better than the 12 in Nashville. We had about an hour to wait for Topic Air to carry us to San Pedro. The flight on their single engine Cessna was really very pleasant, however they could not get all our luggage on the flight and we had to wait for about 20 minutes for a third flight to bring in our second suitcase. We did have some good conversation with people who were leaving and very happy to give us pointers.
We took a taxi from the Airport to our hotel Corona Del Mar the cost was $5 Belize. We were met at the hotel by a “horseshoe hustler” named Frank, who saw to our every need while there. The room was a little smaller than I had expected but it was very clean and comfortable. Over all I give them a very good rating.
We changed clothes and went to explore the island. We walked north on the beach from Woody’s to the cut and immediately feel in love the island. The people and the atmosphere were so laid back. (Key West 10 years ago which was my favorite destination) Hunger began to creep in and we decided to eat at the Blue Water Grill. We based our decision on the fact they had a good number of patrons eating. Makes sense doesn’t it? I will rate restaurants as fair, good, very good, and excellent. (I did not eat at any poor or even fair while in San Pedro) Blue Water Grill rated as follows: service=very good; food=good; price=reasonable around $95 Belize for meal and a couple of drinks.
I wanted to check into a Lamanai trip and possible snorkeling so we began to check prices for the trip. I found out everybody is basically the same price. Lamanai was $135 US per person. I am a history buff, so we decided we would take the trip. However, I wanted to ask around to see who would be the best guide. We came upon the “Visitor Center” and a young man named Robert. What caught my eye was they advertised a discount of $100 US per couple on the trip to Lamanai. What I found out was they would give you the discount if you sat through a presentation for a timeshare complex. I am a cheap scape, so I agreed to seat through it the next morning for $100 US and a free breakfast.
We were full and pretty well ready for bed, so we walked back to the hotel and crashed.
Day Two: We woke up around 8 AM and went down for the coffee at Corona Del Mar. We were picked up at 9AM and taken for our presentation and breakfast. We went to The Aqua Marina Suites and had breakfast with Norman a Seattle/Jamaica native who recently vacationed in San Pedro and decided to stay. We had a nice breakfast and he gave me the spill. We looked at the rooms which were much nicer than I had at Corona Del Mar and without realizing I made an offer which they took and I am now a proud timeshare owner. To justify my offer I based it on 30 trips to San Pedro 7 days each at $65 US a night (all paid up front). Since I planned to come back and the facilities meet and exceeded my expectations I’m happy. Plus I saved $100 bucks on the Lamanai trip we booked for the next morning.
My wife had not researched as I had and she was fascinated by the appearance of the streets. They were small with most of the buildings looking like an old western town. I mentioned to her all we needed was to have horses tied out front and a shoot out and we could be in the old west.
For lunch we ate at Cannibals located on one of the side streets off Beerier Reef. Cannibals rated as follows: service=very good, food=very good, price= I don’t remember but it was lunch under $50 Belize.
We went back to hotel and sat out in the sun and read. Surprise, surprise, surprise this Tennessee hillbilly got sunburned. It’s what I get for laughing at a guy I saw the night before with legs as red a tomato. The burn was light but only on the inside of my legs so I’m sure some people got a laugh at my expense. What goes around comes around.
We showered and went out to eat. We were a little more knowledgeable and chose Caramba’s located on Pescador St. downtown. Caramba’s rated as follows: service= very good, food= very good, and price= reasonable again around $95 Belize for meals and a couple of drinks.
We went back to the hotel and sat out by the water for a romantic time of watching the stars, listening to the water and hugs and kisses.
Day Three: Lamanai here we come. Picked up at Woody’s dock at 7:15AM we headed out for the mainland. We went with Seaduced by Belize with Herman and Chris as our guides. The trip across the bay seemed pretty quick. Herman guided the boat into a small river, which we later found out was one way (thank God). The ride down the river was most informative. We found out Herman was raised in the village we were going to and had navigated the river his entire life. We saw fresh water crocodiles, bats, birds and various other attractions nature has to offer. We arrived at Bomba and boarded a bus to ferry us to the next river for the boat ride to the ruins. Again we saw all kinds of interesting things not to mention the view of life on the mainland. We arrived at the next stop and boarded another boat with a Lamanai guide at the helm. (I forgot his name) He did a good job of informing us and beating the cruise ship crowd to the ruins. The ruins were very interesting for a history buff like myself. We saw howler monkeys, which trilled my wife. You know the saying “You don’t spit in the wind” well you also “don’t stand under a howler monkey”; they won’t hesitate to pee on you. Almost got my wife. I climbed to the top of the ruins on top of the hill and took some great pictures once I got my breath back. Oh yeh, I almost forgot lunch at the ruins cooked by the locals very good. The ride out was most interesting. We wanted to see how fast we could take all those curves on the river. The bus ride was uneventful, and then Herman really showed what kind of a boat pilot he was. The ride from Bomba to the bay was thrilling to say the least. While crossing the bay, we came across two dolphins and played with them for a while. We were running late and were able to watch the sunset from the boat. It was awesome. I highly recommend Seaduced by Belize for that trip, since Herman told us he does all their mainland tours.
After we returned to the hotel and cleaned up, we decided on Elvi’s Kitchen for our dining experience. Best chose the entire trip. I had the Mayan Fish and it was excellent. Here’s my rating of Elvi’s: service=excellent, food=better than excellent, price= reasonable again around $95 Belize. Elvi’s is my number 1 chose of the restaurants we ate at.
Day Four: We had the continental breakfast at the hotel and rented a golf cart to explore more of the island. I drove south first. The southern part of the island is lower than the northern part, but it is still very beautiful. I took special notice of some lot on the oceanfront for sale and thought I might check in to them. We then went north. We crossed the cut on the hand ferry and headed out. The road on the north end of the island is not a road. It would be better described as a cow trail. I had been told that on wet day it was hard to get around and since it had not rained, I thought, our entire trip, I trudged on. (I later found out it had rained all morning the day we went to the mainland) We could travel on the beach in some places, which was most desirable since the road consisted of mud holes water puddles and was just basically hard to pass. We found some very beautiful homes and resorts north of town, and we tried to look at them all. We finally made it to Journey’s End Resort when it began to rain. Rendezvous is located just south of Journey’s End so we decided to have lunch and wait the rain out. Colleen and her staff were very accommodating. They make their own wine and Colleen is a wonderful cook. We had a Thai dish that was very good. It rained for about 2 hours, so we learned a lot about Colleen and her husband and Linda. My rating for Rendezvous’: service=excellent, food=very good, price= around $80 Belize for lunch. I did not drink the wine, but some other people waiting out the rain did and said it was very good.
Once the rain stopped I wasn’t interested in attempted to go any farther, so we turned back. The drive south was wet and wild. It reminded me of my day on dirt bikes when riding knee high in water was fun. We made it back to the cut. (Man, those golf cart will go anywhere!) We made it back the hotel and had to wash the mud off.
It was Saturday night and the Tennessee Titans were playing the New England Patriots, so I had to find a place to watch the game. Someone had told me about a place that had a 25-foot screen TV and that’s where I wanted to go. It was called the Barefoot Iguana and as luck would have it, it was only a block north of our hotel. We walked in and found a great place to hang out. Tony, the new owner and a self-proclaimed hippie, was great. He didn’t have the kitchen in operation so I asked him to order us a Pizza. He gladly tried. He was unable to get through on the phone, so he drove down and placed my order. I consider that going the extra mile for your customers. While in there we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which all I can say to that is a bunch of people were and are missing out on a great place. We had good conversation with Tony and Gary, another local, discussing all kinds of topics and conspiracies. Tony has some “out of the box” ideas, but he is really a great guy. Tony also runs the parasailing from the dock at Fido’s, so go check him out. Needless to say the Titan’s lost, but my wife and I had a great time. The pizza was from Pepperoni’s so I’ll rate them. Service=delivered in about 25 minutes, food=I thought very good, my wife less impressed, price=cheap
Day Five: We had planned to snorkel on this day but the temperature dropped about 10 or 15 degrees so we axed the idea. I still had the golf cart, so we thought we would try the island again. This time I went down every road I could on the south side of the island. By now my wife and I are thinking, we could live here. So as we travel the roads, we are looking at houses. I really didn’t find anything on the south side that interested me. We again crossed on the ferry (I think it cost $10 Belize round trip), and found several places I would live on the north side of the island. We took notes on places of interest and continued northward on the island. Again, running through mud and water holes until we passed Journey’s End and we able to stay on the beach most of the way. There are several exclusive resorts up there, and we continued as far I was willing to go. We saw several lizards, one of which was about 24 inches long. My wife collected seashells and I drove the mud buggy. We had heard about the feeding of the crocodiles on the south end by the water tower and wanted to make it back for that, so we hurried back to our hotel. We showered and rushed down to the lagoon but were too late. It was already dark and no one wants to feed the crocodiles in the dark.
We decided to eat at El Divino’s at the Banana Beach Resort. It was by far the most fancy restaurant we ate at while on the island. The atmosphere was very nice. Here is my rating of El Divino’s: service=good, food=very good (fancy, high class style), price= about the same maybe a little higher than the others. I think it was $100 Belize.
Day Six: It was still kind of cool, so again we decided not to snorkel. We instead went to real estate offices to check out the houses and land that had caught my eye. What I found out was prices for real estate are not as low as I had heard. The House that really caught my eye was a 2 bedroom 1 bath with a 1-bedroom apartment on the lower level. It was not on the ocean but did have a nice view. The price was $260,000 give or take a thousand. I asked the agent how firm the owner was on the price and she said firm. I then turned my attention to land, which is still somewhat reasonable if you buy beyond the electricity. (I’m still thinking on that.) There were some beachfront lots on the north side, which has better elevation than the south side that I wanted to look at. We chartered a boat to take us to the north end to look at the lots. The boat ride was beautiful and expensive but over all worth it. The only problem was I looked at the wrong lots. I looked at some lots just inside Basil Jones on the south end of the shrimp farm. The lots I had the price on were at Basil Jones but north of the shrimp farm. Oh well, we enjoyed the trip and liked the lots I looked at but don’t know who owns them or how much they are. (If you know, let me know) We had our boat driver take us in the lagoon so we could see more of the island. The boat ride was great, a little chilly but great.
We returned to the hotel and sat out by the water and read and napped until dinnertime. We did make it a point to get to the water tower before dark so we could see the crocodiles. I didn’t think I had time to stop and get a chicken, but I assumed someone else would. There were two local young men with a fishing pole there who after my wife bought an ankle bracelet said they would get the crocodiles up for us. One left to get some bait and the other hung out with us. He told us the other boy would get them out of the water and even touch them. My wife couldn’t wait. While we were waiting for the boy to return, the big croc’, about 16 feet long swam by us but did not come near. By now several people had come down and one guy had some chicken. My boy returned and sure enough he got a small croc’ to come up on shore for a photo opportunity. The mosquitoes had moved in by now and were literally swarming like bees. I had all I could take and we left.
We walked downtown and chose El Patio for our dining pleasure. I had their special, which came with appetizer, entrée, and desert. My wife had the skewered shrimp. I think I had surf and turf. Here is El Patio’s rating: service=good, food=very good, price=reasonable around $95 Belize.
We walked along the beach cherishing our last night on Ambergris Caye.
Day Seven: I woke to find rain and clouds but no sun. We had planned to lie out by the water and read until about 11 AM and then get ready to check out. The rain kind of spoiled that. We did sit on our porch and read, and I went down and talked with Frank to say goodbye.
We left for the airport and another Tropic Air ride to the mainland. We only got up to about 500 feet above the water because of the low clouds, so we really had a good view of everything below. We arrive at the International Airport and got in line to check in. Just for your information, the Belizean authorities were searching every bag. We then waited for about an hour for our flight and left, feeling sad because we were leaving friends behind.
But we’ll be back, I got a time-share!!