Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

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George Hejna
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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#1 Post by George Hejna » September 15th, 2011, 7:50 am

Anybody been? We have been all over the Caribbean and to Mexico but have not been here. Primary reasons are just to go hang out at the beach/pool dive snorkel etc. drink some local beer.
Found a beautiful condo for a good price and was thinking of pulling the trigger.
http://www.seascapebelize.com/

I am intrigued by the fact that the island has few cars, golf carts and boats are the primary method of transportation. It has good diving and decent local food

We would be there in March of 2012.

Thanks,

George

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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#2 Post by Vamsi Kaipa » September 15th, 2011, 9:47 am

http://www.hamanasi.com/

My wife and I went here 3months ago. Absolutely amazing place. All inclusive and they will total take care of you. The chef is from Los Angeles so you can make requests of things you want to eat.

Have fun.
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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#3 Post by Jeff Bloom » September 17th, 2011, 7:49 pm

Very nice low key island. If you're staying north of the cut, I would definitely recommend a golf cart for at least part of your stay, although it's as expensive as renting a car in other places. You can get by with a water taxi, though it is not as convenient. Several nice properties, so check out all of your options. A number of decent but no stellar restaurants. Although many places do it well, you may get very tired of ceviche.

The big problem, one that prevents us from going back more frequently - the bugs are killer. Even with a quality repellent, they'll eat you up. Be prepared for a lot of scratching. (And as a related issue for some people, you'll be barred from giving blood or platelets for a year after your visit.)

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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#4 Post by c fu » September 17th, 2011, 7:56 pm

I did cave tubing in Belize. That was pretty fun.

http://www.cave-tubing.com/

These guys are really good. Did a lot of research before picking them.
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George Hejna
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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#5 Post by George Hejna » September 18th, 2011, 6:30 am

Jeff - Have read about the bugs. We are going in the dry season so should keep the mosquitoes down. We are pretty good with staying away from Sand Fleas although our villa is surrounded completely by sand so it could get interesting. We will see. Thanks for the heads up.

George

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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#6 Post by Gene M. » September 18th, 2011, 10:33 am

Our family went to Belize over Spring Break 2009 ~ March.
No bugs that I recall but we stayed on the beach, and mostly did a lot of dive trips.
Stayed at Banana beach Resort. Most resorts have docks and the dive outfits will pick you up at the dock.
The big highlight for my kids were the dive trip and 100-120 feet deep dive @ the Blue Hole, the night dives, my oldest caught her 1st fish (lots of grouper, a dog fish) and cooking our fish on a open fire on the beach. We also had fair amount of conch, ceviche ( we prep'ed w/ lime, tomatoes from the local street markets). After diving we also did a few day trips and bummed around town. Felt very safe, and locals are extremely welcoming.

We rented a golf cart for 7 days to trek into the town each day for dinner.

Many of the restaurants, dive operators and shops didn't accept credit cards or get charged, so they prefer cash and give discounts if you use cash.

We hit the ATM's almost every two days.

All in all we had a great time, didn't drop a huge amount of money and my kids, wife and I had a great time

I had fresh fish every day from a different restaraunt. Snook, Grouper, Hogshead Snapper, and Mahi. The wine lists are pretty sparse but there are some nice places to dine. There are a few smallish places tucked away. I think one place my kid liked was "Mad Mango" or something like that. Packed everynight, so call ahead or drop by during the day to get a table that night. Ask around to find out "what is trending" foodwise and I'm sure you'll find some great eats.
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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#7 Post by Sean Reed » September 22nd, 2011, 12:20 pm

Go south and get away from the tourist!

http://www.placencia.com/

Stayed here a few years back http://www.placencia.com/Members/Robertsgrove.html

had dinner here http://www.coppolaresorts.com/turtleinn

Had a LOT to drink here http://www.mangosbelize.com/

All in all a GREAT time! Scuba diving is great, no "Big Blue Hole" but also not near as many people!

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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#8 Post by Barry L i p t o n » September 22nd, 2011, 2:13 pm

We loved our stay, but definitely didn't think much of the in-close diving (didn't go to Blue Hole). Very strong current, but not drift diving. Might have been weather related (there was a big storm somewhere) Cozumel and Bonaire and Little Caymen (the best!) got our repeat viist.

We did a day trip to Tikal (in Guatemala) that was mind blowingly good, in spite of the long travel time. Looked like it was right out of Indiana Jones, much wilder than the sites in the Yucatan.

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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#9 Post by George Hejna » September 22nd, 2011, 3:04 pm

I looked at Placencia but it seems really far from the reef. So everything including snorkeling has to be done with long boat rides.

George

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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#10 Post by Todd Hamina » September 22nd, 2011, 3:19 pm

We honeymooned there back in 98. Loved it! Very relaxing place. Good Cuban rum and cigars, decent local beer, conch fritters out the ying yang. Ate at Rasta Pasta and listened to the late great Albert Gill do his reggae thing. Not an especially fancy locality... but I would go back in a heartbeat.

Ditto on Tikal!!!
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Re: Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#11 Post by Craig Pichette » September 22nd, 2011, 4:50 pm

George:

Connor and i went diving there in May of 2009. Fantastic trip. Great diving. Not a lot else to do there though. It is relatively undeveloped. We had a great time though.

Give me a call to discuss.

Craig

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#12 Post by brigcampbell » November 25th, 2015, 12:28 pm

Hey guys, I'm bring this back up as we'll be heading there this spring.

Staying on an island is the way to go? We like moving around, is that an issue or do you have regular shore service?

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#13 Post by George Hejna » November 29th, 2015, 11:05 am

There is regular shore service to Belize but it is via airplane. The island is quite a ways off the coast. You will fly in to Belize city and then take a prop plane to the island. There are of course many other islands and atolls you can explore by boat.

George

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#14 Post by brigcampbell » November 29th, 2015, 11:55 am

George Hejna wrote:There is regular shore service to Belize but it is via airplane. The island is quite a ways off the coast. You will fly in to Belize city and then take a prop plane to the island. There are of course many other islands and atolls you can explore by boat.

George
Thanks, George. Poking around I found ferry service direct from the airport.

http://tropicferry.com/

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#15 Post by George Hejna » November 29th, 2015, 2:28 pm

The owners of our villa strongly recommended that we DO NOT take a them very unreliable and good chance of sea sickness. The plane ride is easy. Great views also.

We were there a while ago maybe they have changed. They have pretty good reviews but not a lot of them.

George

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#16 Post by Adam.Armit » December 4th, 2015, 10:59 pm

Don't take the "water taxi." It's a loooong boat ride. Ambergris is the most common tourist destination and a lovely spot. You can venture and explore from there including a boat ride if so inclined then bus to mainland for cave tubing, zip line, Mayan ruins, etc. it's a very short ride to world class diving too. We like staying at Victoria house but there are many great accommodations around.

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#17 Post by brigcampbell » June 25th, 2016, 3:10 pm

Two thumbs up, way up. Wow, is this country laid back. Makes Costa Rica seem like NYC. Flew into Belize City, nothing there, and jumped into the car.

1. Placencia - really laid back place. Super small and very relaxing. Stayed at Wild orchid, great spot. Good food at De Hatch, Maya Beach Hotel, Rumfish, and everyone's favorite Ricks Cafe. Left here for San Ignacio and stopped to cave tube at Hemans Cave. Super.

2. San Ignacio - next to Guatemala boarder. Stayed at a cool resort Ka'ana just outside of town. Good food at Guava Limb and Canciades. Visited the Maya ruins in town at Cahal Pech, excellent. Iguana preserve in the San Ignacio Hotel, fun. Visited the Saturday market for the local flair.

3. Ambergris - stayed at Pelican Reef. Nice setup. Snorkeling is amazing. Good food at Hidden Treasures, El Fogon, Truck Stop. Great places to party like Tiki Maya, Rojo, and many other local watering holes.

Observations

Driving - Driving is very easy in Belize but it's best not to drive at night. The best roads are like country roads in the US, just go slow and steady. Pedestrian Ramps or Speed bumps are EvERYWHERE and you will hit one at full speed. But you only make that mistake once.

Evenings - there isn't much nightlife, a touch on Ambergris, but the rest of the country shuts down after 8pm. Fine with me.

Language - English is the official language. I wanted to use my Spanish but it won't help. They speak Maya and Creole at home and then English at school.

Bug Spray - uhh... You're gonna need it. Sportsmans Max Repel 40% DEET is your best friends. Every morning we had our routine, line up outside the front door for the spray down.

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#18 Post by J0seph S c h e n c k » February 11th, 2017, 7:52 am

Reviving this with a drift. We're heading to Placencia next week for 9 days to reset our seasonal affective disorder.

Any advice regarding travel to Placencia? Do we need a car there or can we rent one easily in Placencia? Should we fly from BZE or just rent a car?

What was the best manner to visit Tikal? Fly in night before to Flores and then do a tour? Fly in/out same day?

Any tips on Placencia specifically? We're seeking a day fishing trip, some snorkeling. Got the advice from Brig above. Thanks in advance.

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#19 Post by brigcampbell » February 15th, 2017, 11:00 am

J0seph S c h e n c k wrote:Reviving this with a drift. We're heading to Placencia next week for 9 days to reset our seasonal affective disorder.

Any advice regarding travel to Placencia? Do we need a car there or can we rent one easily in Placencia? Should we fly from BZE or just rent a car?

What was the best manner to visit Tikal? Fly in night before to Flores and then do a tour? Fly in/out same day?

Any tips on Placencia specifically? We're seeking a day fishing trip, some snorkeling. Got the advice from Brig above. Thanks in advance.
There's a place to rent a car in Placencia. It's very common for people to fly straight into the city. We drove there from BZ City with a rental as we drove all over the country.

Tikal is a serious drive from Placencia and definitely can't be done in a day. We stayed in San Ignacio with the plan to drive in and out of Tikal in a day but elected not to do it. It's very common for people to stay near Tikal in Guatemala if visiting Tikal.

Plenty of snorkeling/island hopping and fishing in Placencia, very easy to get it scheduled when you're there. The place is small.

You don't need a car in Placencia if you're staying right in "downtown" as everything is 100 yards away. if you're slightly north it might be worth it to rent a golf cart while there.

Definitely do a Cave tubbing trip. There's a couple but we did Herman's Cave. Good for kids and those that might not want to get really deep and dark. We had a blast.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRev ... _Cayo.html

Actun is the best cave but I had a few people that didn't want to get that crazy. EVERYONE says it's awesome
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_ ... -Cayo.html

[youtube]fZ9blgKWM90[/youtube]

[youtube]xf7U8I09lxY[/youtube]

[youtube]_qrOT-Zvswg[/youtube]

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#20 Post by C Prince » February 16th, 2017, 9:40 am

We're off to Belize for a week at the end of Feb so this is very timely thread! We're staying on Ambergris Caye before heading to San Ignacio to see Mayan ruins and then do some bird watching in Crooked Tree. Our group will snorkel at least 2 days around Ambergris Caye - Shark Ray Alley /Hol Chan Marine reserve, possibly Baccala Chico, etc. Any recommendations for a snorkel company? Seems like lots of companies all do half day tours at about $50/$55pp all in but hard to get a sense of the gear and crowd size. One company - Island Dream Tours goes out mid morning they say to avoid the crowds which seems like a plus and is only a little more $75pp. Anyone go snorkeling with a company that they would give a shout out to? Really looking forward to it!
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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#21 Post by George Hejna » February 16th, 2017, 10:05 am

If money allows I would suggest a private charter. Our "hotel" had their own private boat which made it much more calm and relaxing. We did see boats with a ton of people. Saw some nice stuff snorkeling including a very large bull shark. Most if not all the sharks you see at Shark Ray alley are nurse sharks.

We stayed here http://www.azulbelize.com and they had a guy they used... I don't remember his name but he was great. He arranged snorkeling tours, fishing, local reef dives and a day trip out to the blue hole. Maybe they can help.

George

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Belize - Specifically Ambergris Caye

#22 Post by brigcampbell » February 16th, 2017, 10:57 am

C Prince wrote:We're off to Belize for a week at the end of Feb so this is very timely thread! We're staying on Ambergris Caye before heading to San Ignacio to see Mayan ruins and then do some bird watching in Crooked Tree. Our group will snorkel at least 2 days around Ambergris Caye - Shark Ray Alley /Hol Chan Marine reserve, possibly Baccala Chico, etc. Any recommendations for a snorkel company? Seems like lots of companies all do half day tours at about $50/$55pp all in but hard to get a sense of the gear and crowd size. One company - Island Dream Tours goes out mid morning they say to avoid the crowds which seems like a plus and is only a little more $75pp. Anyone go snorkeling with a company that they would give a shout out to? Really looking forward to it!
there are great ruins right in San Ignacio, like right in town... Cahal Pech https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_ ... _Cayo.html

Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan are awesome and this guy is great for snorkeling, Lil'Alfonse

http://ambergriscaye.com/alfonso/index.html

He's #2 on TripAdvisor out of 73 tours... people love him https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_ ... Cayes.html

small boat which holds about 10 people (you want small), super patient with newbies, shows how to keep a mask clear, blah blah. Picks you up at your property on the boat. Nice as can be. local that owns the business. Two thumbs up, way up for him.

[youtube]dmNs-xBkuR4[/youtube]

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