Friday, June 4, 2010

Ambergris Caye

After spending a few days on Caye Caulker, my husband and I began to plan our move in where to travel next. While Caye Caulker was very nice, about two days there is all you need because the island is so tiny. Being the off season there weren't many people around either and we were anxious for more "action." We began to research heading inland to stay in the jungle and do the cave tubing, ziplining and seeing the Mayan Ruins. However, a quick browse of some of the hotels in the area (don't you love wifi in foreign countries? It makes things so much easier) led us to the conclusion this wasn't in our budget. So I said, "Why don't we just keep living out life on the islands?" and with that we bought ferry tickets on Wednesday and headed over to Ambergris Caye to visit the little town of San Pedro (pictured above). *As a side note we almost got on the wrong water taxi heading back to Belize City. Actually we WERE sitting on the boat ready to go until someone collecting tickets noticed ours were to San Pedro and got us off. Always double check your destination!*

Ambergris Caye is considerably larger than Caye Caulker so it actually has a city named within the island called San Pedro. The main ways to get around the island are either by renting a golf cart, biking, walking, or taking a taxi van which are the only cars on the island. If you stay farther down the island away from either end of San Pedro you can take a small water taxi boat that will take you to and from your resort. We noticed towards the ends of the island were big resorts with time shares you could buy and private houses. There was a lot for sale and still reasonable prices from what I could see.

The first thing we did when we got on the island was rent a golf cart. We didn't want to walk all over with our back packs and it was raining (fortunately we had brought panchos with us....always a good decision in the rainy season) so we headed for the closest golf cart rental shop. There was one right off the end of the pier and the girl was very nice. All you needed was to be over 18 and have a driver's license and for about $45 a day we were on our way. We rented the cart for three days because our plan was to actually stay right by the water taxi pier Friday night so it would be easier to get up and get on our way home.

Once we decided we were headed to San Pedro I had researched a few places on the internet that looked good to stay. It's a little confusing when you are first driving around because you have to take some of the back streets in order to loop around and drive on the beach front road where there are many more hotels. From the looks of driving around at first it didn't appear to be as many hotels and hostels that you could just walk up too and rent a room but after we got comfortable with our surroundings we found many places that were "hidden." The place I picked to try our luck at was the Hotel del Rio. From the internet I liked the thatched roof huts, how it was farther away from the city center (so we could possibly sleep in peace?) and it had it's own dock which you could swim off of. They ended up having a casita for $50 a night so this is what we ended up with:
There were only 4 of these on the property then a cluster of rooms in a hotel behind us that were part of the same place. The one across from ours had a whole family staying in there (small kids = loudness early in the morning = not happy) so I'm assuming it slept about 4-6 whereas ours slept two. There was a thatch covered picnic area where you could sit and eat and some lawn chairs out front plus a dock that extended into the shallow water where we swam.

Here's a picture of the inside of our casita. It was very nice and cozy which was great because it rained really hard all that afternoon and we spent the majority of our Wednesday there. While the staff was very friendly and would do anything for you (including bust a coconut open that dropped from a tree that chad and I found) there were some problems here. First, don't assume a mosquito net is cute, it became essential after the rain brought the bugs in. Second this room, having a thatch roof and siding attracted A LOT of bugs. I'm talking tiny ants and mosquitoes here. Third it was really loud and not just from the kids. Being ground level you could hear everyone walking by and talking and at night there seemed to be large trucks driving by making lots of noise. We slept horrible here. And once the mosquitoes came in after the rains we couldn't even sit on our porch and enjoy. The upside however, was the staff, it came with a mini fridge and the bathroom was nice and it was right near a bakery where we could go eat in the morning. Have to take the good with the bad I guess.
But we did enjoy the dock....

and fresh coconut....

More to come on Ambergris Caye...

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