Reflections-first visit to SP

Posted By: splecs

Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 04:50 AM

I just returned home from my first visit to SP and thought I'd give a brief report since people said they wanted to hear good and bad. I had a lot of both during my trip.

1) Fishing-small disaster-As I have already posted, my guide got swithched the day before I left for SP. Once I got down there, it did not get much better, the new guide was at least 30 minutes late everyday and clearly did not want to take us on the flats. I have fished a lot in the keys and really didn't want to chase barracuda, but that's what we did alright. Kind of a waste of my time. He also showed up one day and said he was going to take us snorkeling, since the tide was not good for tarpon. didn;'t even have poles in the boat!

2) hotel-we stayed at the sunbreeze and for where our location was, i thought it was great. Really nice hotel. great pool, GREAT restraunt and great message (be sure to see Karen if you go).

3) SP-San Pedr was an interesting town. The H20 and the outlying areas were beautiful and next time I will stay at a further out resort like Captain Morgan's. SP just didn't do it for me. The nightlife was ok. After trying several bar, we kept coming back to Fido's or the tackel box. What was disturbing was almost everywhere we went we were approached about drugs or young prostitutes. The working people of San Pedro were very friendly and accomodating, but being on the streets was worse than NYC. We had to stay in Fido's or go back to the hotel not to be asked if we wanted cocaine or young guatamalen girls.

We had a good time in Belize, but there are a lot of things I would do different if I go back.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 07:13 AM

splecs, no offence intended, but you were already agitated about the fishing guide situation. I believe that you went in with the wrong attitude, therefore, I'm not surprised that you were disappointed.

As for you not enjoying SP, so be it. It's not for everyone. What remains is that you would still return and stay up island. It's all good.
Posted By: wanta be gammy

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 03:14 PM

Ok, thanks for the information but is there anything that you really enjoyed that you can pass on. We are going in August for our first trip and don't want to waste time doing things we shouldn't. We do like to snorkel but not dive. Are there any tours or resturants you can recommend. We like to go to different "out of the way" places, unlike Cancun etc. We don't drink so the "bar" thing is not really for us. Thanks for all the info you can provide.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 04:32 PM

Strange. I often hear about people being hassled to buy drugs, and I agree it's unpleasant. But in nearly four years I doubt if I've experienced it more than half a dozen times, and always apparently for "soft" drugs. And just twice have I been approached by pimps.

One good thing about SP and Belize in general is that when you say "no" they usually accept it and go away. Same for the little kids selling beads etc on the beach, though usually turning them away makes me feel very guilty. If you want hassle try Egypt or some of the other Central/South American countries. There it's like a swarm of flies that you can't swat away. Belize is much more gentle.

In my view SP night life for tourists is dominated by, almost synonymous with, bars. Not what I'm used to back home, but not surprising in a place like this. If you want something else, bring it with you. SP isn't a concrete jungle like Cancun, but it's still largely populated by non-Belizeans here either for a holiday or escaping life elsewhere.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 05:09 PM

It might be an idea to send your observations on to Town Council ([email protected], Mayoress Elsa Paz).

Sometimes when you live here you don't see that kind of activity. When you're known as a local you only get approached by people new to the island that are trying to sell drugs so it doesn't happen that often.

I've yet to be approached by pimps, I didn't even know they were cruising the beaches. A nice violation of their civil rights may be in order.

These scum give everyone on the island a bad name but if tourists don't pass on their experiences to the powers that be little will be done.
Posted By: Hightide

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 08:25 PM

We've been to SP 5 times in the last year and only once were approached to buy drugs, never any pimps or prostitutes. The time we were approached it was late on a Sat. night and a guy came up to our golf cart with a really lame stick (branch?) of marijuana. We said no thank you, he backed off, we drove away. No prob. We live in a small town (pop. 5000) and even though it's a great, safe place, still unsavory characters and unsavory things going on. Sounds lame, but just saying 'no' worked. Still think SP is better than 99.9% of resort / island destinations
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 11:08 PM

No offense to anyone, but Fidos and Tacklebox are my least favorite places to go. I have not once been approached for drugs in five trips down. Nothing would be worse than Jamaica for that!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 11:21 PM

Hi LaurieMar,
I have to agree with you about Fidos and Tacklebox. (I will go to Fido's occasionally to see some special entertainment...)
And, in all my time in Belize, I was NEVER approached by anyone for drugs. In fact, I only ever heard one of our guests say that they were, and that was a couple of years ago.
Hope you are well,
Posted By: CrackerLarry

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 11:39 PM

We've been approached several times, but my experience is that SP has the most polite entrepreneurs I've ever run across. A smile and a no thanks always got a return smile and a no problem. Not pushy at all. Just trying to make a living. Much easier to get away from than the timeshare sales people.

As Pedro said, most other developing countries it's like a swarm of flies that won't go away. In Jamaica they wait in line to argue with you. Not so in SP.

I live in rural Geargia and the local drug problems are worse here than I've seen in SP.

The flip side is that there is a market for it that must be supplied. I've known of people who've planned vacations based on the availability of good weed. A lot of middle class people get high and that's what they want to do on vacation. If SP or anywhere else really cracked down on marijuana sales, a lot of their tourists will go elsewhere.
Posted By: splecs

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/06/05 11:47 PM


I understand what you are trying to say (I think) but it had nothing to do with a wrong attitude. Unless you mean, expecting what you pay for is a wrong attitude. My opinion, and minw only, is that the guide I went out with likes to take people to catch whatever is easiest for him and not to go after what we specifically asked for. we did not expect success, just the right effort. I think his trips are designed for people whom fishing is an extra thing to do on thier vacation.

As for my comments about drigs and prostitutes, others need to not be so defensive about SP. You ask for honest assesments and when you get it, you attack those who had it. I wasn't interested in whether or not anyone else liked fido's or the tackelbox. My experience this weekend was that those were the two places we did not get harassed tyo buy cocaine or be set up with young girls. We did however get that in Crazy Cannucks, the sportsbar (forget the name), Jaguars and several other. To get defensive and pretend that this is not the case is simply naive. It is all over SP. That does not mean its not a fun town or a great place to go/live. My opinion however is that if someone doesn't do something about it, it will become like jamica. Now my group was several single, somewhat (30's) guys out for a fishing trip. Maybe we looked like that was what we were after (we were not), but it was pervasive. They might not appoach older folks or amrried couples. Not sure, just telling you what I experienced.

rhomdanj-There was a lot to love about SP. As I mentioned , i thought our hotel, the sunbreeze was wonderful, close to town, very clean, great staff (including massage). I also really liked the Palapa bar. a little out of the way but very relaxing and a wonderful view. Estelle's for breakfast could not have been better. we ate there everyday and the food was to die for. Dribing the golf cart up north was really neat as well. we stoped off and the hammock house and had a beer and chilled upstairs in the hammock for a couple of hours. And lastly, the people who worked the island were extremely hospitable. If you asked for directions somewhere, they wouldn't tell you, they would walk you there. very nice people.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 08:57 AM

Close Splecs, what I meant was that you already had your nose out of joint because the guide you originally wanted could not take you. I have to admit, that it did sound a bit odd that the substitute guide showed up to take you snorkelling on a day you expected to go fishing. That said, I'm sure there's more to that story too and as ever, there's at least two sides to every story. smile

I'm curious. Since you guys seem to prefer being further north and appear to be dedicated fishermen, did you look into El Pescador?
Posted By: splecs

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 10:50 AM

no we didn't. originally wanted to be close to town for restraunts/bars. will definitely look at for next time.

Posted By: streetchie

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 02:54 PM

The drug scene really has grown is SP in the many years that I've been traveling and living (on & off) there. I had my parents down last December and they were harrassed often by our local salesmen. My folks are in their 70's and probably haven't smoked anything in 20 years, that I know of. Point being, they don't look like college kids trying to score a bag during spring break. I agree with Splecs, it can be very annoying. However, every place I've visited in the Carribean has similar, if not worse, issues. Glad the hotel worked out Splecs. Sunbreeze is a cool place.
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 07:25 PM

Hey there Vicki: doing well, thank you. I guess it pays to be a middle aged woman at times! No hassles with people hounding us for drugs. Fidos and Tacklebox tend to attract too young and loud of a crowd for me and maybe that has something to do with it as well.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 08:03 PM

Who's middle aged?????????????????????????? Surely you do not refer to either of us!!!!
Posted By: splecs

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 08:06 PM

I won't belabor the point. If you want to think this kind of thing doesn't exist or only is where "young and loud crowds" are so be it. Denial is more than a river in Egypt. We were approached with a bag of cocaine sitting on a golf cart outside the supermarket! Tiajuana used to be a nice place as well.
Posted By: seashell

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 08:59 PM

If you guys had "a bag of cocaine sitting on a golf cart outside the supermarket", I'm not surprised that you were approached. Maybe you weren't approached to buy so much as to sell. Just joking with ya. wink
Posted By: DuxFan

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 09:19 PM

How can you be sure its real cocaine? Maybe it was baking soda. I guess if you knew it was real then you must be "experienced" laugh laugh laugh
Posted By: Dallas Dave

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/07/05 10:17 PM

Strange to me. I'm a youngish long haired guy. I've only been asked a couple of times in ten years. I just waved them off and that's it. Once you say no the word goes out leave that one alone. At least that's my experience for what it's worth.
Posted By: BDinAZ

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/08/05 01:31 AM

We have vacationed in Jamaica four times in the last 10 years and were almost always approached about buying the "world's best ganja".
On the last two visits we told all the cannabis brokers that we couldn't buy any because we were drug tested for work back in the states. (ie-we gotta pee in dem cup mon back home)
To a person, they got it-they understood, there was a nod, no problem,
however, then on to... "hey then look at my t-shirts, my beads, my sandals........

For our upcoming trip to SP I am interested to see IF we even get approached, and after a polite no thanks, we will move on to "how about a fishing guide, a snorkle trip, a time share, an aerial tour of the NEW BRIDGE laugh

27 more sleeps wink
Posted By: LaurieMar

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/08/05 03:24 PM

splecs: don't see any mention of anyone saying that being approached for drugs doesn't happen. Of course it does and probably just about everywhere (well, with maybe the exception of Antartica). Just hasn't happened to me in Belize.
Posted By: splecs

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/08/05 04:23 PM

its just that people say they want honest feedback, you give it and then suddenly there is an onslauhght of reply's about how certain people have neer been approached. well that's great, good for those who haven't. My experience on my first trip was that it was very annoying and it was very rampant. Even my fishing guide kept talking about it (kind of hard to escape from the boat). Drugs are a serious problem and can make a quaint little town like SP into a place tourist will not want to come to (look at Tiajuanna).

As I said these are my observations, I don't want to argue wit anyone. Take them for what they are worth or ignore them, either way.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/08/05 07:35 PM

I still say you have a valid observation that needs to be passed on to Town Council. Don't worry about what the rest of the board has to say; their experiences were different from yours thats all. It may be that when you were here there were a fresh bunch off the boat from the city. With the exception of one famous individual most of those type of people are not from this island. Those who live here know that hassling tourists is the worst thing you can do, the rest could care less.
Posted By: splecs

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/08/05 07:39 PM

thanks Simon, I'll do that.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/09/05 07:18 PM

Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/09/05 07:19 PM

Perhaps if you had eliminated your opening paragraph (about being pissed off about fishing) and simply reported your concern about drugs you would have received different responses.
My third trip to San Pedro was in January 2001 and I brought 10 people from my underwater photo club. One guy got on the plane in San Francisco with an attitude. We later learned that a woman he had been dating had just dumped him.)
Every step along the way was a battle with him and everyone who tried to help us. He came expecting to get ripped off and caused havoc every where he went.
I had arranged diving with a dive master I had used before. We met on his dock a little before the prescribed 9:00 (that’s the time all the dive operators go out from here). The DM was busy putting everything together and when we had not shoved off at 9:10 this AH lit into him about how to run a business. You know the joke: “You think the service is slow, just complain and see how slow it can get.”
He managed to alienate everyone and we all suffered.
I know it is too late for splecs – but a word to the wise to anyone else who is coming down. If you get started off on the wrong foot – take a step back – reassess – and try a different approach. Splecs – you were not bound to fish with who ever it was you went with. After the first day you could have said ‘later mon’ and I think even the guide may have been happy.
I’ve been coming here since ’98 and lived here for awhile and had lots of friends from California come and visit. Only one was approached about buying a girl and only one has been offered ganga.
Yes, we who live here know there are drug problems. Yes, the officials know where they are dealt and who deals them. NO – nothing is really done about it. Every week in the paper there is a list of the small time dealers who get caught with a bit of stuff – but the real dealers are left alone.
But hey – I do buy shells from Paisano! I have also been know to throw a dollar or two at the three stooges (AKA: rummies, drunks, bums) who hang out across from the Lions.
Posted By: Laguna Punta

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/10/05 12:21 AM

Hey, Harriet...I represent that last remark!!! :rolleyes:
Posted By: sandb

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/10/05 02:09 AM

splecs, not to worry. I'm sure the two areas of concern you have raised are both legitimate and honest recollections. I'm a bit surprised at the degree of defensive reponses. Anyone who could deny such situations might occur or are of your doing has quaffed one too many Belikin/One Barrell depth charges.
Thanks for the report and glad that overall you "had a good time in Belize".
Posted By: papashine

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/10/05 01:50 PM

Unfortunately this problem is occurring more frequently these days, I can assure you that the authorities are aware of the problem, until the Police start cracking down on these characters there is not much anyone can do. It would be a good idea as a money spending tourist to register your complaint with the Town Board, also cc Tom Vidrine, C of C, and the BTB.
Posted By: sandb

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/10/05 06:06 PM

As a frequent tourist to AC I think this is an excellent idea. Someone should be kind enough to post the appropriate mechanisms/addresses to contact these groups. I can't help but believe that leverage in the form of repetitive complaints will go a long way towards ensuring the appropriate agencies keep this issue on the front burner. Both the tourist and the local will win.
Posted By: SP Daily

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/10/05 07:17 PM

San Pedro Town Council- <[email protected]>
Belize Tourist Board <[email protected]>
ACCofC <[email protected]>
Posted By: Cathy Arizona

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/24/05 08:51 PM

Thanks Splecs for your post. My husband and I are in the planning stages for our next trip. Your information of your experience is something I am glad to be aware of. We have been going to the Abacos in the Bahamas for 10 years and never had anyone approach us to sell drugs. I kind of thought San Pedro was probably alot like the small towns in the Out Islands of the Bahamas. I'm sure the drugs are there but we've never been approached. That would annoy me. But it's good to know that they aren't persistent like places in Puerta Vallarta where you can't even lay on the beach without someone trying to constantly trying to sell you a trinket or something. Anyway, I for one thank you for the info. This is the first I've heard of this problem but it's also good to hear that overall you enjoyed your vacation and the hotel.
Posted By: sandb

Re: Reflections-first visit to SP - 07/24/05 11:54 PM

Originally posted by Jesse:
San Pedro Town Council- <[email protected]>
Belize Tourist Board <[email protected]>
ACCofC <[email protected]>
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