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“Our new home in Belize ...” 5 of 5 stars
Review of El Pescador Resort

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El Pescador Resort
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   PO Box 17 | 2.6 miles north, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 53 Hotels in San Pedro
Phoenix, Arizona
Top Contributor
191 reviews 191 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 110 cities Reviews in 110 cities
78 helpful votes 78 helpful votes
“Our new home in Belize ...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2011

What a wonderfully simple, luxurious and relaxing vacation we had as a result of the amazing staff at El Pescador! Special thanks to Alli, Alfonso, Judy, Susanna, Adriano, Max--if you get the feel that we knew many of the folks, you're right. Not only do we know them, we quickly became like family. Everyone knew our first names and, after just one encounter, they knew our menu and bar habits! While we were lured here as a result of an Orvis-sponsored fishing expedition, there is much more than fishing to keep you occupied. Rent a golf cart and see San Pedro and the rest of the island; take the water taxi into town and walk back along the white sand beach; swim in the 2 salt water and one fresh water pools; use one of the bikes for excursions; use a kayak or canoe on the 4 foot deep lagoon behind the resort. Loads of excursions are available: Mayan ruins, snorkeling, jungle tours, diving the second largest reef in the world. Food was spectacular, to include appetizers before dinner which, barring heavy winds and the threat of rain, were alfresco. The bar was very competent, the owners were very engaging. Fly fishing, as a result of the winds, was spotty but the guide were brilliant and patient; our group caught bonefish, permit and tarpon, in spite of the winds and overcast skies, thanks in huge part to these seasoned guides. Boats were large and accomodating and the resort supplied the beverages and lunches needed to get through the day; there is a fishing expert on staff. Judy runs the front office with uncharacteristic military precision--she arranges tours and outtings and really anything you want. We stayed in the very nice rooms in the main lodge but by all means, spring for the villas if you can--they are massive and provide kitchenettes and much more living space with balconies that open to the beach. While there are books throughout the compound, bring LOTS of reading material--the place begs luxuriating hours and hours of decompression. This resort, this country, this staff gets our highest endorsement!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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341 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (116)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2011

We recently travelled to El Pescador to renew our wedding vows. We also went flats fishing and diving.

I cannot say enough good things about the staff at the resort. As an American from Philadelphia, I am not used to the kind of service and politeness exhibited by all of the staff at El Pescador. Starting with the friendly service and greeting from their boat captain who picked us up at the San Pedro airport, we were made to feel like royalty. No request was unanswered or even met with hesitation. I have stayed at Four Seasons Hotels as well as other "luxury" resorts. I have never been treated so well. Within minutes of our arrival, all of the staff knew who we were and greeted us by name. After our first visit to the bar, Antonio, the bartender knew what drinks we wanted and knew to what room to charge the drinks. He never had to ask us in what room we were staying. Tipping is prohibited during your stay. The management prefers that tips be left at the end of your stay to be split by all of the staff. It is really nice not to have to constantly be reaching in my pockets looking for a tip like I have experienced in Mexico as well at other places.

The divemaster, Alonzo, is a local who has lived there his entire life. He is extremely serious when it comes to safety, but is relaxed and friendly after the dives. He even had cocktails with us after returning some of our afternoon dives. But in the boat, he is all business and takes his job very seriously. He seemed to know all of the best spots and was able to make the best of some less than ideal surf conditions by taking us to a site inside of the reef. We never had more than 4 divers in our group. After our dives, he produced ice cold, local fruit and bottles of water for our refreshment. The rental equipment was like new and was carefully maintained after each of our dives.

We spent one day flats fishing with a guide named Tomas. He has been guiding people for many years and is truely a professional. He did an effective job of guaging our level of seriousness (not very serious) and tailoring a trip to us. We had a great time including an excellant shore lunch. We caught bonefish in a deserted lagoon within our first few casts. I get the feeling that he is able to adapt to different clients' desires easily. I heard no complaing by the other guests about any of the guides. Some of the other guests were extremely serious about fishing. I fish a lot, but was not considering our trip to be a serious fishing trip. However, I caught my first ever bonefish within several minutes on a fly amd think I might be hooked.

The resort's food was tasty. By then end of the trip, I must admit that I was craving American food rather than the local dishes served at the resort. But, I am unable to complain about anything I was served. The local food is a blend of Mexican and island influences and includes fresh seafood and meats with every meal. I really liked everything. Dinner is served family style and the other guests become new friends immediately. It was fun to hear the fishing stories from the other guests at dinner. We dined under the stars with a nice tropical breeze and very very few bugs. Breakfast and lunch were ala carte and were also yummy.

The level of cleanliness of our room was unlike anywhere else I have stayed. Each day the bed was made tighter and neater with whiter sheets than any high end hotel in which I have stayed. The housekeeper was extremely polite and flexible about the timing of our room cleaning. Our room had hardwood floors that were swepted daily. There was a lot of shelve space to stow our clothes and diving gear. The tap water is brackish which means it is not entirely fresh. It is safe to use to brush your teeth, but tasts a little salty. A pitcher of refreshing fresh water was kept full in our room. It was pleasant tasting and very pure. The well on the property supplies the brackish water and purified rain water is used for drinking. The somewhat salty showers took some getting used to, but were pleasant and refreshing. By day two, the slightly salty shower seemed normal. We preferred to keep the ac in our room turned off, instead enjoying the tradewinds blowing through our open windows. The crash of the surf on the reef lulled us to sleep at night. We went to bed early, and got up early. Over a week, we adapted to island time and became very relaxed. It is easy to see why all the people who live there seem so contented.

The three pools are open 24hrs and were never crowded. They were immaculate.

We took the water taxi to town several times. The town is very third world, but also charming. The local restaurants were good and the drinks at the beach bars were cold. The villagers were happy and helpful. We walked all over the island and always felt safe. We did not see any beggers or time share salesmen. The vast majority of the shops were geared towards serving the locals with staples. It is not a town for shopping for jewelery or fashion. There are no cars and only a few vans. Most of the vehicles were golf carts and bikes.

We had an amazing time and are currently trying to figure out how we can return soon. It is not New York city. It is not La Jolla. It is not the Hamptons. If you are a person who wants the experience of a Four Seasons Resort or a Disney hotel, this resort is not for you. This is a resort for active, outdoorsy, conservationally minded people who are looking to be pampered with service while having an authentic experience. Go there to fish an amazing fishery. Go there to dive at exceptional sites. Go there to tour the jungle, archeological sites, and other ecoadventures. But, most of all go there to experience the native people and decompress in an amazing paradise.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Jolla, California
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2011

Just north of the quaint town of San Pedro, this fishing/diving lodge is fantastic for fishing diving, as a jumping off point for ecoturism, or just relaxation. The accommodations are very nice, especially the "villas" which provide a lot of great living space, very relaxed, excellent food (family type) and extremely accommodating. The staff just couldn't be nicer.

  • Stayed March 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bowser, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2011

good staff,good food,good fishing always felt safe ,locals were friendly we were treated like family at the resort, met some really good people We will be back

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2011

If you're a fly fisherman looking for bonefish, permit or tarpon, the El Pescador is a dream come true. Get up early, have a nice breakfast and walk down the dock to a waiting boat and guide for some outstanding flats fishing. I liked it so much that I plan to go back with just my older son exclusively to fly fish for a few days.

The dinners, however, reminded me of nothing as much as cafeteria food. Everyone gets the same meal, served buffet style, and sits outside at communal tables to eat. Grilled zucchini was both undercooked and burned, on a bite-to-bite basis. Key lime pie was substituted for bread pudding at the last minute and tasted like a thawed dessert from the freezer section, and I'm sure it was. The crab cakes had the texture of crab cakes, but no taste, whatsoever. The chicken parmigiana was actually quite tasty, but it was the only thing that was really enjoyable.

We sat with a father and two grown sons who apparently cast their flies occasionally between beers. By dinnertime, they were completely lit and charming company.

We don't buy package deals for just this reason and after one dinner at the El Pescador, we went exploring. Aji Tapa Bar Restaurant, a short walk down the beach, was excellent. It cost about the same as El Pescador, but both the ambiance and the dinner were far better. The next evening we had fried grouper at a tiki bar between Aji and El Pescador and it, too, was better than the meal at El Pescador.

My wife and daughter enjoyed the room. It was quite nice, but don't get the "Suite" above the dining room where they serve breakfast unless you plan to get up at 6:00 each morning with the other fishermen. It's like sleeping over a bar.

The staff are absolutely delightful. They're friendly as can be and you feel like you're leaving friends behind.

My guide was Carlos, an older gentleman and a legend with four sons who also guide for El Pescador. Carlos can be a bit stand-offish until the two of you get in sync, but after that he's the best. If you can't catch fish with Carlos, take up golf.

The hotels on the northern end of the island are practically inaccessible to town. The only reasonable transportation option is an expensive water taxi and you're wife is probably not going to want to get sprayed and windblown every time she goes into San Pedro. Besides, you're adding $14 per person for the round-trip to a less expensive restaurant.

Even getting to nearby restaurants at night is a challenge, since the primary path runs along the beach. Parts of it are lit by floodlights on buildings and parts are pitch black. Next trip, I'll take a flashlight. I used a single-LED reading lamp and, believe it or not, it was adequate to make it through the areas of total darkness.

If they improved food quality at dinner (breakfast was fine), the hotel would be outstanding. They also packed a box lunch for my fishing trip and it was atrocious-- two dry wraps and a wet piece of sheet cake. Unfortunately, there really aren't any alternatives. You're pretty isolated at these north end hotels.

Here's my recommendation. If you're in AC for fly fishing, you can't do better than the El Pescador. I'm going back. Try some nearby restaurants instead of the meal package plan. If you're there for snorkeling or other diversions and don't plan to use a fishing guide, you can probably find a better hotel and a more reasonable price closer to town.

PS Book your snorkeling guide through El Pescador. I can't recall his name, but his boat is named "Under the Sea". (Yeah, some of the other guides call him "Sebastian".) He works with his cousin, Carlos. A better snorkeling trip you will not find.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2011

El Pescador---

BOOK IT AND GO. You will NOT regret it. I was called by my first name from arrival to departure and no request went unattended to the whole time.

This is more like HOME AWAY FROM home with a warm feel and quite the opposite of a big hotel chain.

Enjoy... We all did...

Roan King

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2011

Great service, both fishing and resort staff. lodge or upgraded villa accomodations which have full kitchens, with beautiful views.
Complete meal package, including local rum and beer, available. Food acceptable and fresh, but a bit disappointing for evening meals.
Knowlegeable guides. Skilled angling guests repeat yearly.
As the main focus is fly fishing, with snorkling or scuba as second endevors, the non-fishing spouse can have few options. Women fly-fishers were well satsfied with the fishing experience.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about El Pescador Resort

Address: PO Box 17 | 2.6 miles north, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#2 Business Hotel in San Pedro
#4 Romantic Hotel in San Pedro
#4 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
#6 Family Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — El Pescador Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
El Pescador’s beachfront lodge and villas are situated on over 45 private acres with ambiance, specializing in fishing, diving and eco-adventures. We are family-owned and operated with emphasis on creating camaraderie and an authentic Belizean experience. El Pescador is proud of our philosophy to protect and nurture friendship, adventure and the environment. El Pescador has long been known as a world-class fishing destination offering outstanding flats fishing for bonefish, tarpon and permit. El Pescador has been the only resort on Ambergris Caye specializing in saltwater flats fishing since 1974. Since coming under new ownership in 1997, the resort has established itself as an eco-friendly tropical getaway, including a commitment to offset all carbon emissions generated by its guests flying to Belize. Donations are made on behalf of guests to a local Belizean non-profit organization, Green Reef Environmental Educational and Coastal Research Institute, to offset the carbon emissions used to travel to Belize. El Pescador was also among the key organizations to implement the new Law protecting bonefish, tarpon and permit as catch and release species. This is the most all encompassing legislation of its kind worldwide. It is great news for Belizeans, anglers, tourists and conservationists alike. El Pescador is a serene and gracious establishment on the doorstep of the world’s largest living Barrier Reef. El Pescador offers accommodations in guest rooms within its colonial style, mahogany main lodge, as well as in 1, 2, and 3 bedroom luxury beachfront villas. The villas are perfect accommodations for couples seeking romance and privacy, and for families and small groups traveling together. All rooms and villas are beachfront and have unobstructed views of the Caribbean blue waters. In addition to unequaled fishing, this first-rate resort offers all the eco-adventures which take full advantage of Belize’s exotic flora and fauna. Scuba diving, snorkeling, manatee watching, cave-tubing and zip-lining, and Maya archaeological explorations are just a small assortment of the activities available while staying at El Pescador. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
El Pescador Hotel San Pedro
El Pescador San Pedro
El Pescador Resort Belize/San Pedro

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