Why stay here??? Well I'd start with the people. The owner, Iz, and his staff make a huge difference in the experience. Included in the stay is the pick-up from the airport. Our vacation started with not only one flight delay, but two. I felt so bad texting Iz about the delays and having him rearrange our pick-ups, but he did so without any hesitation. We stopped at the grocery store and the driver packed everything up for us and we headed to the resort. San Pedro itself is very busy and crazy. I'm glad we did not stay anywhere near there! When we arrived at the resort, Iz welcomed us with rum punches to relax by the water after our long trip. Then he showed us around our condo and I must say it was the cleanest of any place we've ever stayed. Normally I wouldn't put my clothes or toiletries in a drawer as there's always some kind of dingy look/feel to the drawers. NOT HERE! It was spotless even to the corners! White bedding and towels further complimented how clean it was. So, rest at ease.
The next day we sat with Iz and planned our week. As many activities are included with the stay, we scheduled those and a few other excursions recommended by Iz, all of which ended up being top notch, safe and very reasonably priced. Our family of five (three teenagers) are very active, so we planned as much as we could for our weeklong stay including deep sea fishing, snorkeling, becoming scuba certified, trip to Secret beach, trip to Mayan ruins and cave tubing. Once we had it scheduled out, Iz coordinated it all including transportation to and from. There was nothing we needed to worry about other than what time to be ready and what to bring. I'm normally a control freak and need all the details, but Iz took care of it all, which was very nice.
We made our breakfasts every morning and then ate most lunches & dinners at the resort, and they were wonderful! They simply kept a tab of whatever we ate and drank and we settled up at the end of the week. It was nice not always having our wallets out and just showing up ready to eat.
We also did laundry midway through the stay, so that made our packing lighter for the week.
Overall, Iz creates a fun, laid-back, safe and entertaining environment. He really knows how to take care of his guests and follows-through to ensure everything is perfect. If his name is associated with it, you can be sure it will be top notch! I can't say enough about him and his staff.
Things I didn't know:
* Groceries are VERY expensive in San Pedro. Well over double US prices. For example, a pound of bacon was $15! Just be prepared if your family likes big breakfasts. They do take credit cards at the grocery store, but be sure to stock up for the week as you don't want to go back if you don't have to.
* We brought $1,000 in US cash. We should have brought twice that, but again we did a lot while we were there. It's easier to do things on the island in cash. I was just worried about taking a lot of cash. Iz has a safe in the condo, and it's easy to lock up whatever you don't need on a daily basis.
* We should have used more bug spray as the no-see-ums got to a couple of us. They are like super small mosquito bites, but not as itchy. Again, no big deal, but take anti-itch cream and bug spray in case.
* The golf cart ride to town takes about 45 minutes. So it's not something you'd want to do every day.
* I didn't get an international cellphone package for 4 (out of 5) of us for the week. We just turned our phones to airplane mode and relied on wifi. No need for all five of us to incur the cost. It wasn't a problem at all.
* You don't drink the water out of the tap there. Iz provides water, so just be sure to bring your water bottles.
* The condo is located inside the reef, so the water is very calm.
* The condo has a beach area, but the entrance to the water is via sea wall.
* There's 2 hammocks and a huge chair at the end of the dock for watching the sunrise and enjoying morning coffee.6
*Buy your reef friendly sunscreen, bug spray & anti-itch in the US as it's much cheaper.
* I bought water socks for us all, but we never ended up using them. The day we did the cave tubing, we needed shoes, but they rented them for $3 each, so we just did that. Otherwise, we just went barefoot or in our flip flops.
* Bring a nice water camera as there are so many great photo opportunities in the water! You'll be very disappointed if you miss out.
* If you have left-overs from breakfast, etc, bring a handful of ziplock bags. I found them useful.
* If you want to save money and you have room in your suitcase, bring what you can from the US like snacks or oatmeal packages, etc. Iz supplies coffee, a small amount of sugar, salt & pepper, dish washing soap, liquid hand washing soap and a shampoo/conditioner. My kids like to snack a lot, so I wish I'd have brought granola bars, nuts, etc.
* Iz supplies beach towels, but I should have brought a big beach bag to lug them around. We brought a couple backpacks for sunscreen, books, sunglasses, etc.I also borrowed a cooler from Iz the day we went to the secret beach.
* Be sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, water bottles aloe vera and hair detangler!
Enjoy your trip! It will be memorable!