This was my 3rd time to Belize and 3rd time to Mata Rocks. And while the island itself has changed some since my last visit 4 years ago (more built up), Mata Rocks still feels like home. The reason: The staff will remember you (specifically Sherilyn & Chrisella) and treat you like long-lost family (as well as do whatever it takes to make your vacation pleasant and comfortable)
Mata Rocks isn't fancy. If you want luxury, it may not be for you. What Mata Rocks does well is offer a sense of community. The heart & soul of the resort is the Squirrel's Nest Beach Bar. It is there that you will have your coffee (very, very strong) and sweet treats in the morning, get your beach towels, arrange diving/ snorkeling/mainland trips, view the restaurant book (favorites include Celi's for rum cake &, believe it or not, spaghetti on Thursdays; The Reef for seafood; Estelle's for breakfast; Elvi's; Hidden Treasure; and the martini bar next door), and enjoy any number of yummy drinks at happy hour with your fellow resort mates (as well as ex-pats who frequent the place because of the friendly and welcoming vibe).
What kind of people frequent Mata Rocks? This is something that I always like to consider before I travel. As an introvert who prefers a more low-key environment to party-central, I prefer smaller, more intimate resorts with a diverse group of people, minus the kids. At Mata Rocks, I noticed single travelers, gay couples, and friendship groups (ages late 20's to 60's). I tend to like this mix. Some people kept to themselves (which is cool), and others made it a practice to hang out at happy hour each night. You can completely be yourself.
As far as the accommodations go, the rooms are spacious and kept very clean, and I love the fresh flowers they put on your table. However, I might change a few things - I would add a dresser or cabinet for clothes; I would update the air conditioning systems; I would include some things in the kitchenettes like silverware, plates & dish liquid; and I would make the mattresses a little softer.
I find the location of Mata Rocks to be perfect. It's just outside of town so as to avoid the crowds, but close enough so that you can walk the beach into town (takes approximately 25 minutes). Some prefer to take bikes or golf carts, but I enjoyed the daily walk.
I first chose Mata Rocks because of the white washed buildings and pastel colored beach furniture (call me a sucker for that Grecian look). It remains one of the most visually beautiful resorts I've seen on the island (this side of Santorini). The beach however is relatively small and full of sea grass. They do their best to keep the beach clean (they are literally always raking), but when it's windy, the sea weed piles up like you wouldn't believe. There is a sand bar down the beach a bit (2 docks towards town), but in order to get to it, you either have to swim out or jump off the dock to swim out to it. The annoying part is that you can't just climb up out back on to the dock as there are no stairs - you have to swim in. If there is one thing I would change about the island is the sea-grass/weed. I would much prefer the sandy bottom of other beaches in the Caribbean. The pool at Mata Rocks is small but okay, and the patio area is lovely.
Final tips: For those who don't dive and are nervous about even snorkeling, arrange a trip in the Glass Bottom Boat (staff will do this for you). The tour guy (sorry I can't remember his name) is outstanding and will swim with you to reduce your anxiety (people who aren't strong swimmers or don't like to have their heads submerged). Also, bring mosquito spray and use it! Bring a sweater for those windy nights. The water is fine to drink, but if you want bottled water the closest place is right next door at the Monkey Business gift shop (otherwise, the markets are a bit of a walk).
Lastly, when I think of going back to Belize I always initially think of trying someplace new (say with a swim up pool bar), but I always almost immediately decide against it and opt for going back to Mata Rocks. There's just something so special about this place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Intimate beachfront hotel providing personalized service in a casual atmosphere. Located one mile south of San Pedro on a beautiful sandy beach. All rooms and Jr. Suites have ocean views, A/C, cable TV, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, hair dryers, safes. Some rooms have kitchenettes. Complimentary continental breakfast, daytime use of bicycles, and taxi transfer upon arrival/departure are included in room rates. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mata Rocks Hotel San Pedro
- Mata Rocks San Pedro
- Mata Rocks Resort Belize/San Pedro