AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02

Posted By: v&j

AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 02:32 AM

This was our second trip to AC, after being there just this past Christmas and getting withdrawals so bad, we had to go back as soon as we could. I tried to keep this short & sweet, but it's just too much fun to share in a short post.........

Uneventful trip down, Vic & I flew Continental from Milwaukee thru Houston to Belize City, then Mayan Air to San Pedro. Stayed at the Mayan Princess, which we really enjoy. During the week we had the floor to ourselves most of the time, filled up a bit more on the weekends - I love the off-season!! It's pretty much in the thick of things - I get to wave at the Amigos del Mar boys every morning when I walk out on the balcony in my PJs, but I enjoy sitting and watching everyone go by - and it's a great location to catch the tamale & meat pie vendors as they walk down the beach - they just toss the food up to you, delivery at it's finest!!

Spent the first day stocking our frig (got soda/beer/water directly from the distributor by the airport), and re-acquanting ourselves with the island. Noticed definitely more cars/trucks, but less dogs. And alot more of the dogs we saw seemed to have collars, and were in better health. I'm hoping that's because people are keeping their animals closer to home instead of letting them run. Also seemed to get hit up by more kids this year - bracelets, soccer donations, etc. - probably because there weren't as many gringos on the island to hit up. Did learn something interesting - that if they ask for school donations, they should have a letter from their school, with a stamp & signature from their principal. Of course, this doesn't mean that the money will end up where it's supposed to, but I did give a couple of kids asking for school donations a start when I asked for their letter - they kind of mumbled something and walked away. Tho one kid just looked me right in the eye and told me I should give him money anyway - a shyster at age eight, gotta love it, if it wasn't so sad.

Dove with Amigos - George, Mikey, Juan were fantastic - even got Sabas to ride out with us one day, which was a treat. Changa & Melanie put alot of work into their outfit, and it shows - their service really is great, whether you're a new or experienced diver. They remembered us from our previous visit, and knew without us telling them that I need a little extra help (I'm a more nervous diver), and Vic is just fine being left on his own. We had a tropical swell come thru while we were there, which caused dives to be cancelled a couple of days, and the days we did dive were pretty choppy (3-5 foot waves), but they chose dive sites that kept us out of the worst of it. Vis was pretty murky, but it was still great - saw a bunch of rays, nurse sharks, trumpetfish, jewfish, morays (big one!), spotted eels. I got 3 days of diving in, Vic got 5 plus a night dive (I bailed out on the really choppy days).

Did Cave Tubing with Elito at Seaduced - everyone was right, he really was a blast. Because it was a cruise ship day, we went to the zoo first instead of tubing right away. Elito's been so many times that he knows each animal's names and habits. He got the howler monkeys howling, which was amazing to hear, and he knew which animals were okay to get closer to, and which ones to watch out for (and which ones can pee on you from 10 feet away!). He asked everyone's name at the beginning of the trip, and memorized them - we saw him several times after the trip, and he always made sure to call us by name - even remembered where we were from. An excellent people person. Got to hold the boa constrictor around my neck - that's an amazing reptile, and a great photo op. And cave tubing was really cool - we passed a cruise ship group as we were heading in (with Elito making sure we weren't going the same place they did). A mob of 40+ people, and it was sad to see all the trash they left on the side of the river. One thing to remember - Elito does not give 5-minute warnings - when he said it was time to move on to the next activity (get on the bus, head for the river), you better go!! I was calling him Drill Sargeant Elito (teasing, of course) by the time we were done - but he made sure we were home before dark, and it was cool watching the sunset as we sped back to San Pedro. Oh, and the trek thru the jungle to get to the tubing spot was very easy - 20-30 minutes max, a little muddy, but not strenuous at all (and my idea of exercise is getting up from my computer to put more paper in my printer). It was great to hit that 68 degree water after sweating through the zoo and jungle. Several people went barefoot, which wasn't bad for the jungle walk (if you don't mind mud squishing thru your toes), but they were sorry when they got to the water - lots of rocks. We wore our scuba booties, which worked out perfect.

Took the ferry over to Caye Caulker one day. It was nice to stroll around, even tho it was a cloudy, windy day with several squalls. And we got to stop at Rasta Pasta - and feed a little scruffy stray cat some of our food, since the portions were way too large to finish in one sitting, tho they were so good we gave it our best. It's a great little town, much quieter than San Pedro.

Most of our evenings were spent at either Cholo's or Fido's, hanging out with Lauri & Brandy from the boards (lodell35 & brandyk), who were a blast. We're really glad we hooked up with them - I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time. Also ran into Rick & Cheri one nite at Fido's - they were having a blast, and Rick made sure we felt very welcome (before his unfortunate head-banging incident). And of course, I would be amiss if I didn't mention our favorite bartender, Dready at Cholo's - he really is a wonderful guy, and a killer foosball player. And his helper, Martin, is a real sweetie - he's quiet and pretty shy, but once you get him talking, he's alot of fun - he kept me company several times while Vic was playing endless foosball games with Dready.

Favorites for food - street vendors, Ambergris Delight for Seafood Pizza, Jambel Jerk Pit for Jamaican Me Crazy Shrimp - spicy! (lobster/fish special was fantastic too), Papi's for their lobster, cheeseburgers, fried chicken (also great fries), Lily's for lobster omelot and fantastic breakfast potatoes with sausage gravy (more like a hollandaise cheese sauce - yum!!).

Even though I'm not a constant poster on this board, I've been reading it religously for the past 18 months, and the stuff I learned here really made our trips special - thank you so much to all of you!!. It was a fabulous vacation, particularly made so by the warm, wonderful people of AC. After spending 10 days of saying hello and smiling to everyone I pass, I'm finding it hard to put back on my 'city' face. So until the glow fades, I'll just deal with having people think I'm weird when I say good morning to total strangers - sometimes they're even smiling back!!

Vic & Janet
Posted By: Soonergirl

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 02:43 AM

Thanks for the wonderful report - I miss A.C. so............. much and it really helps to read about someone else's trip.
Posted By: NYgal

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 03:45 AM

WOW, good reading. It makes ya feel as if you are right there with you.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 04:00 AM


no it DONT
Posted By: Chloe

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 04:00 AM

V&J you reminded me it is time to go to San Pedro, I was there last Christmas time too, and have not returned yet, but planning.

Your trip report is great, good to hear you enjoyed Lauri and Brandy's company. Too bad that Rick hit is head, hope he is feeling better, with Cheri's tender loving care. smile
Posted By: Ms. Coconuts

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 07:38 AM

Hi Janet

I enjoyed reading your trip report. I will be leaving soon (though not soon enough) and with each trip report i get more and more excited. I have a few questions for you. Your journey to Caye Caulker sounds interesting. You said it was a ferry. Does this mean it leaves on a regular basis? Hourly? Twice a day? ? Also, how much did it cost and how long was the trip? And one last question, was it a departure from the island ferry pier in front of Fido's?

Also you mentioned the street vendors were one of your favorite food places. Can you elaborate a little more? Another thread said to have $50 a day. With me, that's just not going to happen. I'm happy with a chicken taco. (I only swim with the fish and crustaceans, I don't eat them.) So, what I'm basically wondering is how much will it cost to eat at the street vendors?

Anyway, thanks for the report. I'm glad you guys had a fun time!
Posted By: Ms. Coconuts

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 07:42 AM


What's wrong? Why the grumpy face?
Posted By: NYgal

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 03:44 PM

I think he longs to be there. That would make my face grumpy too. ( but I stand on my head on days like that )
Posted By: snowbird

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 06:07 PM

v&j - what a great trip, thanks for the memories.

ms coconuts - i sure envy your upcoming trip. i too found the street vendors some of my favorite eats. $5BZ is what I remeber paying for a HUGE plate of the best stew beans and chicken w/potato salad YUM! Also try the little taco stand between the bb court and the church, his tacos were awesome!. We also liked walking to Waragumas (south 2 streets back from "main" drag), especially for the fresh fish burritos. Los Cocos or Papis too are all GREAT cheap eats! i'd say you could eat simply & VERY well on $20BZ prob less/day.
Posted By: Debbie

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 06:34 PM

Nice report. Glad you had such a wonderful time..... It's so nice reading a report and knowing everything you're talking about... It's a nice escape. Debbie
Posted By: BobS

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/08/02 11:26 PM

What's cave tubing about? My first visit is later this month.
Posted By: v&j

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/09/02 01:42 AM

BobS - There are several cave tubing trips, the all day tubing trips like those offered by Ian Andersen (see Lauri's (lodell35) trip report for 10/25-11/2 cause she did one of those), and the one that we did that combined a trip to the Belize Zoo with a stop at Jaguar Paw for an hour of cave tubing. You leave around 7a, take a 1 hour boat ride (some offer plane rides) to the mainland, and then take a bus to the zoo - about 30 minutes. You then have a guided tour of the zoo, get back on the bus, and go to Jaguar Paw, where you have lunch (included). You then change into your attire of choice, grab a tube, and do a 30-minute walk thru the jungle to your tubing spot. You hit the water for about an hour, armed with your tube & headlamp, going thru caves (some with bats - eek). Then it's back on the bus to the boat, and home before dark (around 5:30p-6p). Cost was $140/person. And the busses are always watched, so you can safely leave stuff in them on your various stops. Oh, and you might go tubing first, then to the zoo, depending on if the cruise ships are in port that day.

Several tour operators offer this on the island - The others that offer a plane ride instead of a boat ride charge $160. Do a search for 'cave tubing' on the board - there's lots of info on the different kinds of trips and operators.

Ms. Coconuts - We caught the ferry at the dock to Caye Caulker right at Sharks bar - just south of the Fido's dock. Round trip was $25BZ - they leave every 1-1.5 hours. The sign posted on the beach with the schedule was a bit confusing - it listed Caye Caulker to San Pedro, but not San Pedro to Caye Caulker. Use the times for San Pedro to Belize City - they stop at CC on the way. Last boat leaves CC at 05:30 - Ride was about 20 minutes, the front part of the boat is covered, good if it rains.

And the street vendors - fantastic food, large amounts & cheap!! Our favorites were the tamale guy (he rides around on his bike with a red cooler, yelling TAMALES!) - big tamales $4BZ. Across from the church on front street, there's a line of small connected buildings, all with different vendors. We especially liked Rosita's burritos, closest to the street, for $3BZ. But my favorite was the coconut tart lady - only saw her one day, but two different kinds of coconut tarts - small ones $1BZ, large ones $2BZ - wonderful! You really can't go wrong, no matter who you pick. The fun part is trying them all and finding your own favorites - I know it sets off alarms to buy food from some person walking along with a cooler, but try it all - you'll really love it.

Already staring at the calendar for when we can go back - and looking for everyone else's trip report, so I can pretend I'm there!!

mQQse - maybe your production line of mQQse products is backed up - is that why you're grumpy today?? laugh eek laugh

Posted By: Mexicana

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/09/02 03:33 AM

I had forgotten about the coconut tarts! GOOD MEMORY!! I remember going to a bakery when we stopped in Belize city ...trying all those yummy treats! The Tamales sound awesome too, I loved getting them in some of the smaller villages wrapped in Planton or Banana leaves YUM!
Thanks for the memories EVERYONE...I also appreciated hearing about the cave tubing that one I have not yet tried. Next trip!
cool smile :p
Posted By: Axeman

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/09/02 06:46 AM

Wow, great report...thanks a bunch for taking your time to give us a glimse of AC.
Posted By: Ms. Coconuts

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/09/02 04:55 PM

Janet and Snowbird,

Thanks for your great vendor tips! I hope i get to make it over to Caye Caulker for a day. We'll see...
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/10/02 05:42 AM

ah wahnna go home.. [ boo hoo]
Posted By: rickcheri

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/10/02 04:21 PM

Caye Caulker at the Rasta Pasta has THE BEST conch fritters in the world. Sure sorry we missed Marilyn though!!! C
Posted By: SanHam

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/11/02 01:37 AM

I know I'm going to regret this but just what are those "coconut tarts"? Are they warm, is it like a pastry with coconut filling or what? Is it a flaky pastry? they sound delicious.
Posted By: denverdan

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/11/02 04:44 AM

Can't help you with the tarts San Ham, sorry. frown

v&j what a great trip report! Thanks ever so much... got any pixs? Gosh I would really love to see some new ones!
Posted By: v&j

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/11/02 03:08 PM

The vendor had two kinds of tarts - one was a tiny tart shell with a creamy coconut filling, and the other was like a small calzone, seemed like the same dough and filling as the tart, just a different presentation (and bigger). And were they good - We bought these while waiting for our food at Rosita's, and I couldn't resist a small bite - which of course led to me eating both of them right then and there!! Oh, well - the nice thing about vacation is you can eat your dessert before dinner, right??...........Janet
Posted By: v&j

Re: AC Trip Report 10/25-11/03/02 - 11/12/02 12:23 AM

Oops - must not have been awake this morning, Hope. We were really bad taking pics this time - got a few sunrise shots, but that's about it. We were deep into 'relax' mode, and kept forgetting to bring the camera with us. But I'll be waiting for the pics from the Turkey Day visitors (those should be hilarious!!)......Janet
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