Don’t miss the beginning of the trip…read about the trip in order.
San Pedro, Belize:
After spending a few days with my brother in Chetumal and exploring the nearby area, Mark headed back to work at Maya Palms and we headed to Belize.
We stayed in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the largest island off the mainland of Belize.
I absolutely loved it.
The island has a laid back Caribbean feel. The buildings are wooden, often with slightly peeling colorful paint from the salt water environment. The diverse local population speaks a combination of English, Spanish and Jamaican style creole. But English is the national language, and we didn’t find anyone who didn’t speak English. Everyone is friendly and will gladly chat with you for a bit.
The small downtown area is just a few blocks in size, with narrow streets lined with golf carts. The only real vehicles I saw where mini-van taxis. Everyone else either walked, rode bikes or had a golf cart.
Where We Stayed:
Most of the hotels in on Ambergis Caye (pronounced key) are very small, offering just a dozen or so rooms. After reading through Trip Advisor reviews, we decided on Ramon’s Village.
It was a great choice.
Ramon’s Village is located less than a 5 minute walk by street to downtown. Or you can walk along the beach and get to the far end of downtown in about 10 minutes.
The biggest resort in town with 69 rooms, the Ramon’s Village is a cluster of thatched rooms cottages with the best strip of beach near town. There are no paved streets or sidewalks here. You step out of your room’s front porch directly into the sand.
The staff was unbelievably helpful…delivering you and your luggage to your room via golf cart, and then picking you up when you were ready to check out.
The resort was the only one we saw that had beach chairs, and they were reserved for hotel guests, not just anyone who agreed to pay for a drink. The result was that we never saw all of the beach chairs or palapa covered hammocks filled up.
The pool was really pretty, and also reserved for guests only. The resort has a restaurant and bar with live music in the evening.There was also a spacious palapa facing the ocean for guests to enjoy. I saw one couple watching movies on their iPad with glasses of wine in the evenings. The next time I go someplace like this, I’m definitely copying this idea.
And spa services…I absolutely loved getting a massage in the beach palapa behind some sheer privacy curtains.
Bottom line…I would highly recommend Ramon’s Village. Whether you are looking for romance or fun, I don’t see how you could do better.
Exploring the Island:
Staying in San Pedro, it’s easy to get around on foot. We walked the beach a few times both at night and during the day. We walked into town for breakfast both days at The Bakery. We ate dinner only once at Ramon’s, opting instead to walk down the beach one night to eat at Blue Water Grill and another night headed (via taxi) to the newly re-opened trendy Casa Picasso.
Just like everywhere else, the owners of Casa Picasso couldn’t have been more friendly. Jackie came over and chatted with us at our table, and when we asked Adam to take our picture while we were waiting for our taxi to come back and get us, Jackie made the bartender move and got us behind the bar for the pic.
Renting a Golf Cart:
While there was plenty to do near our hotel, I am so glad that we decided to rent a golf cart one afternoon and so we could really see the island. We started with a drive through more spread out area south of town as I got the hang of driving the golf cart. This area has some resorts, condos and housing for local residents.
I’m a real estate agent, so I couldn’t help but notice you could buy a cassita for only $85,000.
I’m glad we didn’t stay in this area as it felt more isolated…and would have required a bike or golf cart to go most places.
We then drove up and down every street downtown, which didn’t take long as there were only a couple of streets. We stopped along the way, popping into a few stores as we searched out souvenirs.
But the highlight of the day was heading north. The island is divided into 2 parts and you have to cross a short bridge to access the area north of the split. A toll bridge, our round trip fee was only $2.50 USD. Bikes can cross for half of that and you can walk across for free.
Other than just wanting to see the more remote portions of the island, we had a plan…lunch at the Palapa Bar & Grill.
After a trip filled with itchy bug bites, it was a welcome change to eat at a restaurant that advertises no mosquitos since you are eating at the end of a breezy dock. This place was fun and it is apparently a great night spot too.
Local School Kids:
One of the things that I enjoyed was watching the uniform-clad kids of all ages heading to and from school each day. You saw them everywhere. They walked along the beach, road bikes and took taxis when they had a long way to go.
They went home for lunch or walked to a nearby food stand if they lived too far away.
On our golf cart rental day, we were driving back from the Palapa Bar and passed a group of kids around 6 or 7. Most were on bikes, but 2 of the boys were jogging in an effort to keep up with their friends, unsuccessfully. Just as we passed the boys on foot, we had to stop for some reason (a pothole? a stop sign? I can’t remember!).
The boys saw their opportunity and came running, jumping onto the back of our cart before they asked for a ride. We were happy to oblige and asked them to tell us when they were ready to get off. It wasn’t long before we spotted their friends, off their bikes, looking at something. We barely had time to stop the cart before the jumped off.
Apparently, this happens all the time. The taxi driver that took us to Casa Picasso later that night said that he’s wary of letting the youngest kids climb on his golf cart since they often don’t wait for it to stop and just jump off.
Here are a few pictures of kids I took on their way to & from school:
Can you imagine having to keep these clothes clean?
- Bring bug spray for the mosquitoes (and use it!) and ointment to put on the bites that itch. It didn’t bother us much during the day, but at night it really drove us crazy.
- Don’t wait until the end of the trip to ask questions. We were using our bath towels for the beach until we saw someone else asking at the front desk for a towel.
- WiFi in the room doesn’t mean an unlimited number of devices can connect at the same time. Ramon’s Village has WiFi in the room for $3 a day, a price I was happy to pay. But only 1 device could be connected at a time. With 2 netbooks and 1 smartphone, we had to log off of one device to get on with another.
Next Up – Belize City