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“Not the eco-resort we envisioned”

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Ak'bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort
Certificate of Excellence
NYC
Level Contributor
93 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
“Not the eco-resort we envisioned”
Reviewed January 22, 2011

We've stayed at a lot of eco resorts in the past. This didn't feel as though it had been completely finished. The rooms had very poor air circulation but because of the beach front location and foot traffic it didn't feel safe to leave the doors open. A hurricane was coming, which was not the fault of the resort. Their offer was to put up guests in a friends house, or for guests to share suites in an adjoining hotel, without refund from the hotel. They stopped stocking the kitchen because of the food so food choices were minimal. Bar was a meet up scene to chat with other guests. At times felt uncomfortable with negative comments made by the owner. They also seemed to know very little about their own rules, always referring to the website as if it were the written code. The high light for us would have been the outdoor activities, but yoga only happened one day because of the storm.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Fabiolaabu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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280 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
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English first
Houston, Texas
2 reviews
Reviewed January 16, 2011

First let me say that if you are the kind of person that likes resort style accommodations, this is NOT the place for you. However, if you are like my husband and I, and like simplicity this is the perfect place for you. Ak'bol is on the North side, which in my opinion is the best part. It is quiet, peaceful, and has a completely laid back style. The owners do a great job maintaining the place, if you want to talk to them they would love to tell you their story, if you want to keep to yourself and not talk to them, that is cool too. The bar/restaurant on the beach had the best food we ate the whole trip, not to mention it was by far the most affordable place on the island. The only complaint about the bar/restaurant is that it closes at 5pm. We stayed in one of the ocean front huts and it was spectacular. Our doors opened up to an amazing view of the water and the outside shower was romantic and private! Oh yah, forgot to mention it is a yoga retreat and as my husband and I sipped on our Dirty Bananas we watched Kirsten and others do yoga on the end of the pier. You DO NOT have to be a yoga freak to stay here, they welcome everyone. I would recommend this place to anyone and we will definitely be going back soon!

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank SNMitchell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
121 reviews
116 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2011

This place was a joke. It doesn't have a reception desk, the owners handle all administrative issues at the bar are on the beach, you have to sit around to catch them as they run around and bark orders at their employees. The baraks building is actually a hostel only it doesn;t have a fridge where to keep drinks or food, has no computers or internet access. It is across the main resort separated by a dirty road full of loud golfcarts, bikes and cars. Also teh bathrooms are co-ops even though there are 2 different entrances, and can easily be designated as women and men bathrooms. Food at the bar is not cheap, a pizza is US$22 and an iced coffee US$4.
Yoga lessons are dissapointing as the owner seems stressed out and not very happy. She gives orders thru her class, she doesn't have a good energy to spread, plus the lessons are more expensive than in USA, $15 per class.
Bring a flaslight, it is really dark at night and a few people fell off the dock into the water at night. The only way to get in town is on the water taxi, $5 on e way, this resort is far from town, no one will tell you the water taxi schedule, it is shocking, it is their responsability to list the schedules, one cannot stay for hours on the dock waiting for the boat to show up....
If you take snorkling trips you are better off going with a professional tour company, there are many in town. The owners do offer their own guy but they are not licensed to do such things. Overall I felt like a meal ticket to these owners, a verry, very disapointing experience.....

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank bella134
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roanoke, Virginia
1 review
Reviewed January 7, 2011

Ak'bol completely lived up to everything I'd heard about it, and everything I expected. One hundred percent. Absolutely THE greatest vacation I've ever had. The atmosphere is relaxed (in the extreme), the food is great, the accommodations are great, the people are great (both staff and visitors), and you can't beat the sunrises with a stick. Milio and Kirsten and their entire staff made us feel like part of their family. Kirsten is an incredible yoga teacher, and Milio's two-hour massages are not to be forgotten. Tears were shed when we had to say goodbye. We will be back!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank JoeSchmoeVa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NC
Level Contributor
16 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
Reviewed January 5, 2011

I travel quite a bit for work and leisure, thus very much thought I knew what I was getting into when staying at Ak’Bol…I expected, no frills, rustic, 3rd world country. Overall, much was true, Ak’Bol exceeded my expectations. Above all, the staff is AMAZING. Bernadette & Philip in the cafe and Steve with excursions, my favorite! The energy in this place is welcoming and lovely, I plan to return here a few more times this year, I am sold!

Owners – Milio and Kirsten own the resort. Milio does massages, runs errands and is quite a funny and lovely guy. Kirsten, does the yoga lessons (AMAZING), coordinates the reservations, checking folks in/out, etc. Maya, is their dog, she wears her cute pink handkerchief and runs the whole resort, she is super quiet and just lays around, an adorable dog indeed.

Getting There – fly into Belize city and either take a water taxi from Belize ($25US water taxi +$15US taxi from airport to water taxi) or 20 minute plane ride via Tropic Air ($64 US one way). I recommend the cheaper water taxi on the way there (it takes 2 hours) and the Tropic air on the way back. Kirsten from the resort will book the Tropic Air flight for you. Also when returning, double check if your deportation tax was included in your airfare, usually is for Delta, if not it is about $25-35 per person.

Accommodations – I stayed in the barracks at $35/day. You have the beach, café, private cabanas, pool and owners home on one end, a couple pathways (not lit in the dark) to the main road, cross the road, then the barracks. The barracks are a two story building with about 20 or more rooms. The rooms are spacious with ceiling fan, twin mattress (clean sheets and simple cover (I loved it, if you are cold nature d, you might need something heavier) on a platform, under the platform are dresser drawers and a cabinet that has a lock (for stowing personal items), trash bin, wall hangers. The communal bathroom is fairly large, and co-ed, there are lockers for each room so that you can stow away toiletries and not have to carry them each time, and note all stalls and showers offer good privacy. Barracks pros – (1) cheap, (2) not too much different than cabana as far as amenities, (3) communal bathroom experience was fun. Barracks cons – (1) if you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, you have to get up and go in the dark, (2) lack of privacy in bathroom (if you get sick and need to poop, just being honest, it is communal), (3) you have to walk through a trail to get back and forth to the café/beach/pier, not really an issue, but scary at night (meaning for critters). There is no hot tub and the pool has no heat…..is COLD….but this is common with the resorts there, I checked! Grand Caribe is only a few steps away and the bar guy let me use the hot tub once….. Oh last item, the Cabanas have a queen bed, private toilet and shower, a loft with two twin beds. Ok, one more, wifi, there is none, if you stand by Milio's and Kirsten's house, you can steal their internet (linksys) and they let you. Most laptops will not connect to the internet, but my iphone did just fine on the wifi.

What to Bring – I would recommend bringing the following: (1) towel (one is provided but thin), (2) toiletries (this is not a 5 star hotel with Aveda toiletries!), (3) headlamp (trust me, you will thank God for headlamps, (4) BUG spray (mosquitoes and sand fleas, yikes!).

Food – The café is truly the cheapest and best Belizean food on the island, seriously. I was there for 10 days, ate most meals and drank plenty of stout beer, bill, low $200. In the island, the north side, where Ak’Bol is, I would not recommend Palapas, we went there twice and the food was ok and service was bad. Make it a point to stop by every night, anytime you can at Legends. Tyler and Jules moved to Ambergris Key after falling in love with it from Fresno, CA, they had their precious son Legend and named their business after him. This place is a burger/bar grill. But the ambiance is amazing and has the best live music ever, plus everyone dances! There is also a tapas place north of Ak’Bol, but it is pricey, and was told it tastes good, but not for the price. Note, I mentioned the North Side, the bridge separates the North side (where the Americans and tourists buy property, nicer hotels, etc.) and then San Pedro, the city where the locals live. I rode my bike to San Pedro 3-4 times every day. I recommend Wild Mangos (pricy, but great food), Pupuseria (el Salvadorian delish, cheap food, try the lobster ceviche, or eat a pupusa made right in front of you), there is a Cuban place (only one) that is worth trying with delish food. I am doing humanitarian work and connected with many precious locals, they kept telling me be careful if I went to Big Daddy’s and Jaguar cause a lot of fights break out there. Also there is a central park, there are vendors that have side spots there, some of that food is super cheap and delish too. Richie’s supermarket has a good ATM, if the banks are closed, this is a good option. FiDos is a must do, especially if there is live music.

Excursions – I did the Mexico Rocks ($25) and Hol-Chan/Shark-Sting Ray Alley ($45) tours directly done by Ak’Bol and loved both, I am a free water swimmer and regret not bringing my underwater camera (hint hint). Avoid Aqua Divers, they left my friend behind at the Blue Hole, and her diving buddy could not find her on the boat so he made them go back and search for her……yes #1 basic diving rule of checking attendance after a dive before taking off was not done. Plus they picked her up 1+ hour late every time. We did the Lamanai tour for $150, it was fun, just bring a jacket and REI type pants where you can turn into shorts….the boat rides are fast and cold. For divers, its all good, but Cypress Tunnel is the BEST because you have a mixture of everything in one spot. Last, from Ak’Bol, you can kayak straight ahead to, ahem……the great reef….there is Buoy you clip your kayak ($5 at Ak’Bol) to, jump off and snorkel away. Also, on the pier at the resort, there is a ladder to climb down and swim, sting rays and fish, recommend that too. Make sure to take at least one yoga class, Kirsten is amazing plus priceless to take it right on the water. Milio also does an amazing massage for $65, I’m talking 1.5-2 hours, nothing like that in the states!!

Transportation – Best is golf cart or bike. I chose and loved the bike. White Sands about a few minute walk from Ak’Bol is $5USD/day, the best price I found on the island.

Warning for female solo travelers – There are men in Belize that will try to flirt with you. If you befriend any at a bar and they offer you a drink…..they are bringing you a drink that you are paying for……be careful that you are not also paying for their drink. Happened to my friend and thought it would be nice to pass on.

Warning – There are many common critters in Belize…..the anaconda, crocodile and tarantulas are tops. Just beware, if you see a hole, it is likely a snake or blue crab hole. Crocs are not bad, but further north my friend saw a ‘log’ which was a croc. Anaconda’s, my friend had an 8 footer removed from under their home. Not all over the place, and you are likely not to see one of these 3 critters while on vacation, but just know and respect nature, and maybe shake off your sheets each night (at least I did).

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank FrequentTravelerNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South Lake Tahoe, CA
Level Contributor
16 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2011

I didn't actually stay at this resort, so I can't comment on the rooms. I was staying at another resort just down the beach and discovered Ak Bol while riding my bike down the beach. I stopped for lunch and the food was incredible. Best food I had on Ambergris Caye- and by far the best prices. Extremely vegetarian firendly, lots of local Belizean dishes, seafood, etc. Came back for a yoga session (open to non-guests of the hotel). incredible! 2 hour morning yoga class right on the end of the pier (yes, there is cover for shade) overlooking the ocean. Loved it.! Afterwards enjoyed another delicious meal Next time I visit Ambergris, I will stay at Ak Bol. They have a great location just north of San Pedro (which is easily accessed by bike or boat taxi)

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Location
Helpful?
1 Thank tahoejules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sechelt, Canada
Level Contributor
69 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2011

We spent ten days at Ak'Bol and came away feeling relaxed and rejuvanated. We were spoiled with our oceanside palapa, listening to the surf crashing nearby. The owners, Emillio & Kirsten were attentive and friendly and are working hard to create a special place. Kirsten's 2 hour yoga classes were personalized to meet our specific needs and a great start to the day. Breakfast and lunch were unparalleled and the resort is nearby to a good choice of dinner options. If you're going to Ambergris, get away from the town and enjoy the paradise that places like Ak'Bol provide.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SecheltWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ak'bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort

Property: Ak'bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort
Address: One mile North of the Bridge, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Location: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 30 Specialty Lodging in San Pedro
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The only full service Yoga Center on the Island. Stay nightly (meals and yoga not included in room rate) Join 7 night yoga retreats with meals and yoga included, prices on our retreat schedule. Daily yoga classes open to the public at the end of our pier with mats available. Massage and snorkel trips with Ak'boL guide. We help line up all trips, so you can relax. Come unplug with us! namaste ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ak`Bol Yoga Retreat And Eco-Resort
Ak`Bol Yoga Retreat & Eco Hotel San Pedro
Ak'Bol Yoga Retreat & Eco-Resort Belize/San Pedro

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