Caribbean Islands Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

San Pedro Ambergris Caye, Belize OR Grand Cayman

Jump to last reply

Help! I think I've *finally* narrowed my husbands and I's winter vacay to one of these two destinations: San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Belize and Grand Caymen, BWI. But I need some input from those of you who've been to either/both!!

The similarities I've found between the two:
-Similar flight cost and travel time (both are really long flights-I think Belize is slightly shorter)
-World class diving
-Warm, tropical environment

Grand Cayman
-Less inexpensive lodging options, thus, overall more expensive
-World famous "Seven Mile Beach"
-Rental car is a MUST
-Great food, but heard it's costly
-No idea about night life (we're not looking for crazy, but at least some options)
-Limited sight-seeing around the island (I could be wrong here??)
-USD conversion CID is 20% less

San Pedro/Belize:
-Not much for beach, or swimming off shore for that matter (so I've read)
-Lots of great food and a plethora of fun bars/restaurants to go (not sure about cost)
-USD to BZD is 2:1
-No rental car needed-golf carts are primary means of transportation on the island, or inexpensive cabs, or bicycles
-Several things to do on mainland Belize, but requires water taxi to/from (not sure about cost on this one)

Please! Could someone provide their personal opinion of each of these destinations, your experiences, facts about cost, things to do, etc. etc. I am having a hard time making a decision. I feel that Belize would be much less expensive, but is it worth the extra $$ for an experience in GC? I don't know. We are novice divers, but would like to do some diving, love culture, food, and being able to try adventurous things that are off-the-beaten-path or different.

Thanks!

  • Report Abuse

    I took my wife to San Pedro for our 20 year Anniversary. It was great. This year we are taking my youngest son to GC for his high school graduation. We are leaving in a cpouple of weeks. Already with the research and prep work I have done, I can tell you San Pedro will be cheaper by far. It is also a nice slow pace kind of place with lots to do and eat. But yes, most of the beaches are pretty full of turtle grass. Not that you cant swim there, but you cant see thhrough to the sand. We enjoyed the snorkeling and fishing. The fishing was by far cheaper and more intamate. Grand Cayman is going to have nicer beaches and night life, but will cost more in entertainment and food. Keep in mind Grand Cayman dose not produce much and therefore has to have everything imported. Ambergris Caye is not far off the mainland and gets regular shipments of local goods. We will be back from GC June 15th. I can give you an even better comparrison then. Hope this helps some. Just so you know, we enjoyed San Pedro so much, we are considering retiring there.

  • Report Abuse

    I've never been to Grand Cayman. Too expensive, and it sounds too 'Americanized' for our tastes.

    We live on Ambergris for several months every winter. Obviously, I'm biased.

    Your research on Ambergris appears to be pretty accurate. As far as restaurant prices go, it depends on where you eat. The higher end properties are similar to what you'd spend at a nice restaurant in the States.

    However, there are lots of more moderate options with good food. I can get a whole fish dinner, either fried or grilled with a baked potato and small green salad for a bit more than $US$10.00.

    I can also get a really, really good freshly made burrito from a vendor in the park for less than US$3.00.

    We live a mile south of San Pedro and walk pretty much everywhere. We could bike, but, my back doesn't like bicycles much....If we happen to be out late, which isn't often, we will take a cab. It's US$5.00.

    If you think you'll want to be in town most evenings for drinks/dinners, I'd stay either south of town, or not very far north. Too far north and it becomes a bit of a hassle coming and going to town, you'd need to take a water taxi, which puts you on their schedule. Some people don't mind that, it would make me nuts.

    People do swim on Ambergris, they just swim off the end of the docks. Many have steps into the water. Even with all the sea grass, the water is clear and blue and the sand is soft and white, even though the beaches are narrow.

  • Report Abuse

    We have been to both about 8-10 years ago. Thought the diving was better on Ambergis Caye, in fact one of our favorites was a shallow dive I think called the aquarium. One thing that was fun in GC was driving around the island in our rental car (opposite side of road) and doing various shore dives. The sting ray dive was an adventure too. No rental car needed in Belize but we did have to take a flight to the Caye from Belize City and then took a water taxi to the mainland one day for an underground river rafting trip which was awesome. If you go to Ambergis you may want to spend a couple nights near Belize City and do some adventures on the mainland to avoid having to do the flight or water tazi day trip. As I recall there was a pretty good dive resort south of the city. Either way you go you can't miss, both are beautiful.

  • Report Abuse

    I have been to both, and they are very different.

    Belize/AC is a fun laid back atmosphere, and everything from food to lodging to charters are definitely cheaper. The biggest negative for me was the beach. It was below average at best, and not what you dream about when you think of beautiful Caribbean beach. Plenty of good places to eat, and they are quite affordable, but you won't get the gourmet dishes you'll find on GC. I loved the golf cart rental, certainly a lot more adventure then a car....but San Pedro has a very 3rd world feel to it. People are extremely friendly, which I really liked.

    Grand Cayman is a much more developed island. Seven Mile beach is gorgeous, with some of the prettiest water you will ever see. The restaurants are top end, and you can dine at some amazing gourmet places. I am from the Boston area, and understand great food....Grand Cayman has it....truly some of the best meals I've ever had. The diving is world class in GC. By far some of the clearest water I have experienced anywhere in the Caribbean. The snorkeling from shore is also incredible, which you don't get in Belize. The only downside to GC is that it's pricey, and looks a little americanized with some fast food chains, but once you get on the beach and in the turquoise water, you'll soon forget about minor stuff like that.

    I think it all boils down to what kind of vacation you want. I view Belize as very 3rd world, and casual. I view GC as more refined and updated. Belize is cheap, GC is expensive. I personally will not go back to Ambergris due to the crappy beach, and no shore snorkeling to speak of. GC may cost you more, but in my opinion, it's a LOT nicer. One stroll down 7MB might be enough to change your mind....it is stunning.

    I really enjoyed both....But Belize is the Chevy, and GC is the Lexus.

  • Report Abuse

    Wonder if OP has gone already, since she posted in January?

    In any case, GC is a huge cruise destination and downtown Georgetown can get crazy with tons of cruisers. You might want to check the days you will be there to see how many ships are in port each day.

    http://www.caymanport.com/shipschedules.php

    And for what its worth, I've taken land vacations to both and they are both great in their own way. Which is absolutely no help at all. :P

5 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement: Writers Needed for Morocco Guidebook
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Apr 11, 14 at 05:51 PM
View all Caribbean Islands activity »
  1. 1 Snorkeling In Close Proximity to Hotel
  2. 2 Grotto Bay Beach vs. Fairmont Southampton w/kids 6&7
  3. 3 Beaches, Rainforest, Waterfalls- Can I have it all?
  4. 4 Cayman restaurant ?s
  5. 5 Trip Report Tortola & SADE villa rental
  6. 6 Warning-Grand Turk "Palm Grove Villas" a horrible experience!
  7. 7 Looking for inexpensive villas/bungalows with a private/secluded beach.
  8. 8 What is the best place in Turks & Caicos?
  9. 9 Trip Report St. Thomas is dangerous
  10. 10 Punta Cana vs Santo Domingo, differences?
  11. 11 Best grocery shopping in St Thomas on way to Red Hook
  12. 12 Looking for luxury (but less developed) resort in Turks and Caicos
  13. 13 barbados advoce for family villa trip
  14. 14 Trip Report short report: Barbados - is there anywhere this friendly?
  15. 15 Meditation and yoga Retreat in Caribbean or Costa Rica
  16. 16 Which island?
  17. 17 Cuba travel from Miami for US citizens
  18. 18 A week in TCI, and some questions
  19. 19 eighty+ travelers thinking of St. John
  20. 20 Resort hotels on St Croix
  21. 21 Crime in Providenciales TCI
  22. 22 Trying to Figure Out Whether to Stay at Airport or in Old San Juan
  23. 23 Turks and Caicos problems
  24. 24 Bahama Out Island/Turks /Cozumel
  25. 25 customs
View next 25 » Back to the top