We just got back from a week long vacation at Banana Beach Resort in San Pedro, Belize. We had to get out a day early to play things safe with Hurricane Wilma. While the trip is fresh in my mind I will include some thoughts from our trip.
Impressions: Belize is a very poor country and that may be a shock to foreigners when they first arrive. Tourist money is one of the only way people can survive here. Things are somewhat expensive, so be prepared. San Pedro may not be the most picturesque town to most. The streets are dirt, there are shanty homes, and somewhat polluted with litter. With that said, San Pedro’s beaches (yes there is a beach) and resorts are very nice. People are usually friendly and polite, but some will see you as a dollar sign. The town is full of ex-pats, tourists and natives. Generally everyone we met was very pleasant and helpful.
Activities: Watersports are the thing to do in Belize. Some of the activities we did included snorkeling, scuba diving and cave tubing/zip lines. Snorkeling is a must, even if you dive. Do the Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley trip. We went with Lil' Alfonso's and they were great guides. I got to hold a Nurse Shark and touch Sting Rays, along with seeing a ton of cool fish and coral. Diving was cool; we just did local dives, but heard that the blue hole is the dive to do. Cave tubing and zip lines were great, truly a surreal experience floating down those beautiful rivers and into the dark caves. However, try to go on a trip that flys to Belize City, instead of taking the boat which is a long and tiresome ride. Other than that, the beach and pools offered enough R&R for us.
Bar/Restraunts: Night life was kind of slow during October, but we had a great time at Fido's (bar). We checked out Big Daddys night club, which was OK and the Tackle Box (bar). Elvi's kitchen was our favorite restraunt, we liked El Patio, Carumbas was OK, and El Divino (Banana Beach) was sub-par. Seafood is big here and lobster and conch will be on most menus. If you like seafood and cilantro try the conch ceviche.
Resorts: We stayed at Banana Beach and it was pretty much everything we expected based on the reviews. Other nice resorts that we saw included: Xanadu, Victoria House, Banyan Bay, Ramones, Belizean Shores and Captain Morgans. I am sure there are more, but these were some of the nice ones we saw.
Final Thoughts: We had a great time in Belize. The people were nice, the weather was pretty good, the watersports were great and the food was good. Many people have a love hate relationship with Belize and Ambergris Caye. The people that will enjoy Belize and Ambergris Caye are couples and singles that are active, enjoy watersports, enjoy meeting different people, are open minded, are not strapped for cash and can stomach some less sightly things to see true beauty. I realize I could write for hours, but if anyone has specific questions I will check the forum periodically.