Ambergris Caye or Placencia

Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 03:36 PM
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Ambergris Caye or Placencia

We only have time for one of these locations. Can anyone describe the differences? We like a bit of town life and a bit of solitude with lots to do on/in the water.
Thanks, Janet
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 04:11 PM
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I've only been to Placencia once and Ambergris Caye three times, so I'm not the expert some on this board are. I really like both places, but for now, my favorite is Ambergris Caye. I'm not sure I can even tell you exactly why. I like it that the reef is VERY close to the island, so you don't need long boat rides to get out and snorkel. Way more restaurats and bars, but with that comes way more people. It may be that in a few more years AC will just be too busy for us, and we'll head to Placencia for future visits. For now, AC is our first choice for a destination.

People say the beaches are better in Placencia. To be honest, I'm not sure there's much difference. I thought the water was more of that awesome turquoise Caribbean blue in AC.

I don't think you'll be unhappy either place. Jean
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 05:35 PM
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Hi Jean,
Thanks for the feedback.
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Old Nov 3rd, 2004, 06:07 PM
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We stayed 6 nights on Ambergris and 4 nights in Placencia a few years ago. I was not crazy about Placencia - I didn't think the beaches were all that terrific, and it just didn't appeal to me the way that Ambergris did. I think we started off badly - we had made a bad hotel choice, so we moved. The next place was much better, but the room was very very hot. Overall it was not a highlight of our trip to Belize.
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 03:02 AM
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Sounds like Ambergris would work best for you, maybe book north of town where it is quieter, but somewherre with easy boat access to town when you want to see people and be more social.
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 04:55 AM
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Placencia is infested with sand flies. If you sensitive to any insects avoid this place. Ambergris Caye may sometimes have its share of sand flies but it is not so bad.
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Old Nov 4th, 2004, 05:35 AM
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Here's my standard take on the differences between the two areas:

A few of the differences between Ambergris Caye and Placencia:

AMBERGRIS CAYE (often referred to as San Pedro):

* The biggest island in Belize (originally a peninsula jutting down from the Yucatan) -- northern Belize

* Settled by Mestizos from Mexico

* Most popular destination in Belize (for many good reasons)

* 7,000 residents on the island

* Mostly sand streets, no building over 3 stories -- significant new development taking place in the zone from town to about 2 miles south of town

* By FAR Belize's widest selection of restaurants and hotels

* Among the best top-end hotels: Victoria House, Mata Chica and Portofino and condotels Villas at Banyan Bay, Banana Beach, The Palms, Xanadu

* Among the best mid-range lodging: Mayan Princess, Corona del Mar

* Among the best budget lodging: Ruby?s, Pedro?s Backpacker Inn

* Some shops, sizeable groceries, lots of bars and places to hear live music

* Very nice beaches though like all beaches inside the reef somewhat narrow and with some goop bottoms and a good deal of seagrass

* Beaches along most of the Caribbean side (20+ miles)

* Reef just a few hundred yards offshore

* Decision about locations -- more remote North Ambergris requires water taxi, south end or in/near town

* Lots of snorkel tours and day trips to the mainland to visit ruins

* Good diving locally and excellent diving on day trips to Turneffe or Lighthouse atolls

* Get there by flights from international (US$4-$52) or municipal airstrip (US$26-$28) or by water taxi (US$14)

* Safe and friendly (though usual cautions are in order)

* Transportation on the island -- bikes, rental golf carts, cabs, water taxis

* Hotels from US$15 to $500+ a night

* Small condos and vacation rental houses available US$100 to $500+ a night

* Golf available on nearby Caye Chapel (but expensive -- US$200 a day)

* Tennis available at sports club and at a couple of hotels

* Water -- safe to drink from municipal system or RO/wells

* Good fishing -- tarpon, bonefish and other

* Very little snorkeling from shore (best snorkeling requires a short boat ride to Hol Chan Marine Reserve (including Shark-Ray Alley)

* About the same amount of rain as Atlanta, Ga.


* 16-mile long peninsula in southern Belize (Stann Creek District)

* Access from Belize City via road by rental car (3 1/2 hours, US$55+ a day), bus (6+ hours, US$8), air (40 minutes, US$70 from international, US$55 from municipal)

* Placencia village is 25 miles from the Southern Highway on a mostly unpaved road

* Two villages on peninsula -- Placencia (Creole) and Seine Bight (Garifuna) plus the Maya Beach settlement

* Peninsula population about 3,000

* Wide choice of hotels from budget hotels in Placencia village to upscale resorts farther north

* Hotels from around US$15 to $400+

* Few condos but some vacation rental houses, US$100 to $300+ a night

* Among the best to-end lodging: Inn at Robert's Grove, Turtle Inn

* Among the best mid-range lodging: Kitty?s, Mariposa, Barnacle Bill?s, Nautical Inn

* Among the best budget lodging: Tradewinds, Ranguana, Seaspray, Harry's, Manatee Inn

* Some restaurants in Placencia village such as Wendy's, and elsewhere, though most of the better restaurants are at hotels (Robert's Grove, Turtle Inn, Kitty's)

* Transportation on peninsula -- taxis or your rental car (taxis are fairly expensive, especially if going way north)

* 15+ miles of very nice beaches along Caribbean side -- best beaches on mainland but not much different from those on Ambergris Caye

* Day trips to mainland to visit Cockscomb jaguar preserve and to Maya sites near Punta Gorda

* Day snorkel trips -- reef is 15 + miles out, though snorkeling is also available at islands and patch reefs closer in

* Little snorkeling from shore

* Few shops, only small groceries

* No golf; tennis for guests at Robert?s Grove

* Safe and friendly (though usual precautions are in order)

* Water from municipal system safe to drink

* Good fishing for permit, bonefish, tarpon and other

* Access to small islands offshore for day or overnight visits

* Good to excellent diving on day trips

* Limited nightlife

* Usually more rain than Ambergris Caye (especially during rainy season June - November)

* Sandflies can be irksome (though not always)

--Lan Sluder <Fodor's Belize & Guatemala, San Pedro Cool, Adapter Kit Belize, Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize, Easy Belize eBook, etc.>

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Old Nov 8th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the helpful info.
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