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“Pretty Much OK - Paradise Wise” 4 of 5 stars
Review of San Pedro

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San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Iowa
Top Contributor
237 reviews 237 reviews
Reviews in 166 cities Reviews in 166 cities
266 helpful votes 266 helpful votes
“Pretty Much OK - Paradise Wise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2009

Ambergris Caye - Alot of what Madonna sings about San Pedro in La Isle Bonita actually applies to this place.

We stayed at Caribbean Villas on the beach about a mile south of town. Warnings: Walk the beach into town!!!! While downtown SP has a whopping total of 3 streets (Front, Middle & Back), the only hard-surfaced road heading north from our resort was a Caribbean version of the Indy 500. Total golfcart gridlock; sometimes had a sidewalk. Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way. Watch out for the sneaky [--] electric golf carts. At least the gas powered carts, cars, etc can't creep up silently from behind and run you over. Also, unlike a lot of places in Central America, Mexico, Caribbean countries where the first one to honk has the right of way, no one in San Pedro ever honked.
A couple of construction & unlite zones makes it advisable to take a flashlite on your first nite's beach foray into SP till you learn the route, but we always felt safe. Did get a few offers for local weed while walking the beach, one guy even had his young child with him while vending his wares?
Food: While the menus at Blue Water and Sunset Grill made my mouth water, we vacationed this trip with a cousin whom the locals in Zihuatanejo last year nick-named Senor Barato (Mr Thrifty en Espanol). Plenty good, economical food can be found at the likes of Mickeys on Middle Street's fresh fried Snapper sandwich for lunch. There's Warumugas on Middle street. Watch for lady frying papusas in street. Restaurant behind her is same dimensions as a mobile home. English menus on right wall, Spanish on left. A papusa is sorta like a calzone made with corn tortilla dough containing beans, cheese & pork(in that order). But for $2.50 BZ ($1.25 US) eating several and washing them down with a cold Beliken made this place the high-lite of Senor Barato's trip. Jambel Jerk Pit's jerkpork wasn't quite as tender as what I've had in Jamaica, but had a good flavor. Try their award winning orange/key lime pie. Spindrift Hotel beachside - Caliente's good mex food and can get a very good tart margarita - just booze & fresh lime juice (no sweet&sour mix with a 5-year shelf life used). Also has a good balcony to watch the Chicken Drop at Pier Lounge nextdoor (Wednesday's only, 6 to 9 PM). Georges Kitchen south of town opens at 6 AM and had good breakfast. Beach vendor's fried plantain was good.
Tacklebox's menu drew us in with $30 BZ lobster(half the price of high-end places) but was told they were sold out. Unfortunately I then ordered their lobster & shrimp in fresh tortillas. I got over-grilled pita bread with a few chewy chunks covered in a gooey cheese. Go for the burger instead - cheaper & better(Sr Barato liked it). Sunday BBQ at Caribbean Villas Catamaran beach bar was decent. Was also a great place to watch Superbowl 09 barefoot in shorts rather than in bluejeans & sweatshirts like back home. The Rum & Cigar House on Middle Street gave us free samples of 3 rum liquors. Buy a fresh Cuban cigar for a relaxing on your veranda or beach bar.

We booked a half-day Reef fishing trip with Tino Gonzales. He used a net to catch live-bait off a pier south of CV. We caught several Spanish mackerel, yellow-tail snappers and Bluerunner & Horse-eye jacks. We had Tino filet just half the fish for us and had enough for 3 lunches and 1 dinner of fresh fried fish back at the condo.
Also did Hol Chan & Shark Alley snorkel with Lil Aphonso (booked at CV). He loaded about 10 -12 snorkelers on his boat, but shows everyone how to use equipment, checks before you jump in water and does an excellent job of finding and showing everyone the coral & sea creatures. His 2nd-mate swims along pulling several life-preserver rings tied to a rope for anyone that poops out and needs an sea sag-wagon. You can pet &/or hold nurse sharks and sting rays in Shark Alley. Both guides picked us up at CV's pier.
Rumor - heard from Canadians next door if you order a case of Beliken from SP brew distributor they will deliver and costs $1.25 a bottle (Not sure if that was in Canadian, US or BZ). However, Beliken brewery uses the thickest glass in their bottles I've ever seen. Sorta disappointing when you think you still have some brewski left only to find 1/2 of the bottle weight is the glass, but this is one time I can say I drank my weight in beer while on vacation. All in all - AC, SP & CV were pretty much OK paradise-wise.

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North Carolina
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“The Most Patient Tour Guide”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2009

I am not a good swimmer, so how could I get to see the Barrier Reef at Hol Chan? My concierge at Casa Maya Reef Resort recommended a glass bottom boat and on the morning of New Year's eve was able to procure the Reef Seeker for a cruise.

Mercedes Valdes (Mitch) turned out to be the kindest and most supportive tour guide I have ever experienced.. He could not understand why I would be content to look through the glass and helped me to lean how to use the snorkle mask. Mitch stayed with me, guiding me along the waters and pointing out the many wonders of the reef. It is an experience that I never thought that I would have in my life, since I am well over sixty years of age. He was proud of the beautiful resources of his country and went way out of his way to help me to see them too.

I highly recommend Reef Seeker and Mercedes (Mutch) Valdez. Phone 501-610-3061.

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jswztw
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Weather could have been better but loved it!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 14, 2008

My husband and I recently spent 5 nights in San Pedro. Ambergris Caye is different than anywhere that we have ever been. If you are looking for and expect luxury accommodations, do not go there as there are no big luxury resorts. However, that wasn't what we were looking for and we loved our vacation in San Pedro. Everything was very laid back and relaxed. Flip flops acceptable everywhere. We stayed north of the cut at Cocotal Inn. It was almost like staying in someone's back house. The property has only been open for 1 year and the rooms are very nice. There is an honor bar and not really any amenities. There are other resorts within walking or biking distance that you can go to for full service bars, restaurants, dive shops, etc. I can see that there are pros and cons to staying south of san pedro and also to the north. The roads are definitely better around and south of San Pedro. North of the cut is quieter and we found it to be a bit cleaner and nicer. The resorts are newer and there are also several private homes there. We are very active so we liked that we were far enough north that it was easy to go to dinners on the north part of the island by boat (they were some of our favorite meals) but also close enough to town to have a golf cart to get around the island and and go to town when we chose. I would not advise a golf cart much more north of the Cocotal Inn as the road really gets bumpy and some of the pot holes would not be passable if it rained hard. The golf cart was definitely a must for us. It gave us the freedom to go and come as we pleased. Also the water taxi was $8/per person each way, so a trip to town for us was $32. If you plan to go into town each day, which we did sometimes twice a day, it really adds up. The golf cart was ~$250 with taxes and gas for 4 full days and we found it to be worth every penny for us. I must say we did not have a bad meal the entire time we were there. Our favorite meals were the Lobster A La Ritz at Portofino, grilled lobster at Elvi's, breakfast at George's, and chocolate souffle at Mambo's. We also ate at Beach n Kitchen for breakfast, Fido's and Caliente for lunch, and the Capricorn for breakfast and dinner and had very good meals at each. We did a flats fishing excursion for a day and caught some bonefish, little snapper, and saw a giant manatee. The guide cooked the fish we caught for us on a private island. It too was delicious! I was very unsure about going to shark ray alley and hol chan but found that it is definitely a must do. The snorkeling at Hol Chan was unbelievable! The weather was overcast most of the days we were though so we did a lot of bar hopping on the golf cart, which was fun, and eating. At the Cocotal Inn they have free use of kayaks and you can kayak out about 15 minutes in front of the place and tie up to a buoy and snorkle around the reef. Weather cooperating, we would've done this every day. The only thing I would do differently if we go back to Belize is to spend maybe 2 nights in the jungle doing the cave tubing, horseback riding, zipline, Mayan ruins tours, etc. and then 3-4 nights on the island. The locals in San Pedro are very friendly and we would definitely go back. We loved this trip! Also we were able to use skymiles easily (and at short notice) and the accommodations are Cocotal are very reasonable, so we were able to do this trip very affordably.

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Calgary
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Why Belize is better”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2007

San Pedro, and Belize is a very beautiful country, and the local people are the best.

I caught up with my single buddy in San pedro, who was able to rent a great 1 bedroom apartment for the month, for $500US. We were right on the beach, across from Chuck & Rob's dive shop. What an excellent view, and everything is so close. We hung out mostly at a great restaraunt, Fido's.....the staff are excellent, and the food is top notch. Cayrumba's is also another excellent place for food, and the staff go out of their way to get you good service. Jaguars is also excellent, and a fun place to hang out. I don't smoke, but you can smoke every where, drink alcohol anywhere, and even bring your drink into the next bar. They don't have any militant anti-smokers or morality cops here. It is very laid back, a great atmosphere to have a vacation in.

Since much of the food and other groceries are flown or barged in, not much is cheap there. If you don't like the 3 flavors of Belikin beer, there is not any other choices other than Heinikin. I suggest the rum punch as an alternative. The tap water is ok, and only on the lagoon side are the bugs kind of bad.

Even though most of the locals drive golf carts there, or ride the 'old school' bikes, it is easy to get around on foot. It seems that most of types who are on golf carts, could use some days on foot. As well, if you are looking for your future bride here, it seems to be a cultural thing for the local women (and some men too) to be over weight....it must be all the fried chicken! But the people them selfs all are fantastic, and it is easy to make friends there. There is the rare odd type who trys to con you out of cash, but they don't do it well, so watch for them.

The best thing to do there other than relax is to dive. We hooked up with Ecological Divers, and the staff is great. Diving the blue hole is awesome, and if you have time the cave tubing trip to the mainland, it is well worth the trip. The staff at Ecological took care of all our trips, and made it easy for me to get my dive certification.

If you want to do something that is not mexico, this is the place to go. Coming from Calgary, the only good way there is via Houston. Canadians fit in there very well, and among the many US travellers there, you can connect with some canucks there too; but don't plan to watch any hockey there; all the cable tv comes from the USA.

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Austin, Texas
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“You Betta Belize It!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2006

Our experience in SP was brief but very enjoyable. For sun and water lovers, this is a destination not to be missed. There are numerous and colorful accomodations along the seawall facing the Caribbean, and plenty of bars and restaurants for a fun-filled nightlife. The beaches are sparce but the sun is plentiful and watersports of any kind are at the beckoning. Just a short boat ride from Ho Chan Marine Reserve and Mexico Rocks, two of the best diving and snorkeling locations in the area. Our trip was spent mostly on a Tradewinds Cruise Club sailboat but we had the privilege of hitting both of these places during our last couple of days. Be sure to take in at least one meal at Caliente in the heart of SP. Great spicy food if that's your fare. Being from Texas (and Florida) we could eat there every night. Don't let the unpaved roads deter you. Golf carts with big knobby-like mudding tires are the best way to get around. This is a great place and were sure to go back.

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