Hello again! Thanks for so many helpful, friendly replies to my earlier post. Just to recap, I'm trying to decide what hotel to stay at for a trip August 15-20 in Ambergris Caye. It will be my boyfriend and I (25 and 28 years old). We like small, unique, charming places but it looks like that describes all of Belize!
We'd like a place that is on/very near the beach, and one that has more couples than kids. It'd be nice if the hotel has a pool but that isn't absolutely necessary since the beach is so close to everything. It might be nice to have some sort of restaurant at the hotel, or at least a hotel bar. We don't need a hotel room that has a kitchen but if it comes with the room and the hotel is the best to stay at overall than it's fine if we have one. We aren't certified divers but we'd like to snorkel.
Also, does anyone know if it is possible to do an "introductory" type dive where you are trained for the 1 dive but don't have to do the entire certification process? My boyfriend did one in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef and we'd like to do one in Belize if possible.
We like to be social, meet other travelers, go out to bars at night and see the nightlife, so the hotel doesn't have to be super secluded or quiet. On the other hand, I don't want it to be right smack in the middle of town next to an all night disco or something.
From all of the advice I've narrowed the hotels I'm considering down to: Banana Beach Resort, Mata Rocks, Xanadu, Corona del Mar, Blue Tang Inn, Belezian Reef, and the Palms.
The three that have really caught my eye are Banana Beach, Mata Rocks, and Blue Tang Inn. Any opinions on whether there is a clear winner between these three? Or beween Banana and Mata Rocks (since they're next to each other)?
Banana Beach looks like a good price for having 2 pools, a bar, and a restaurant. But Blue Tang Inn looks beautiful on their website -- the rooms really look special and luxurious. Then Corona del Mar looks closer to town, and the prices seem really great. Xanadu looks really nice too, lots of thatched roofs and what I pictured Belize to be like. But I've also gotten great reccomendations for Belizean Reef and the Palms. So hard to decide!
I know the hotels I listed above vary in price. I'm looking to find the best deal for what the hotel offers, but we don't need to stay in the cheapest place possible just because it's the cheapest. I'm having a hard time figuring out whether it is worth it to spend a little more per night for the hotel and be in a more "luxurious" hotel, or whether they're all pretty nice and we should go with the less expensive ones and save our money for drinks, food, and day trips, etc. Blue Tang Inn looks like a wonderful boutique hotel but it is a little more expensive than some, and one person told me it looks nicer on the website than it is in person. So I'd greatly appreciate any advice about which hotels are worth the extra cost and which aren't, and also as to whether we'd be better off trying to get a cheaper hotel. I know that we won't be spending tons of time in our room, but this is also going to be a nice relaxing romantic vacation and if some places are worth it to be in a nicer hotel then I'd stay there.
Also, I'm interested in going to Mambos one night for dinner. Any thoughts or advice? Can we take a water taxi or do we need to arrange the dinner reservation and boat transportation ahead of time? And is the food as good as it looks?
Also, we're interested in taking a trip to Caye Caulker. Would it be best to just take a day trip or to go there and spend 1 or 2 nights?
And are there any day trips outside of Ambergris to the mainland of Belize that are "must sees?" Like the Belize Zoo, or the Baboon habitat, or any of the Mayan ruins? I don't want to spend the whole vacation jumping off from activity to activity but I feel like we should see more than just the beach/reef.
Final question -- as far as getting to Ambergris Caye from Belize City. I see there are short flights or a hour + boat ferries. Which do you reccomend? Is the boat ride a fun experience or is it best to just save the time and fly?
Thanks again for any help!