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Belize's Beaches all they're cracked up to be? Please help!

Belize's Beaches all they're cracked up to be? Please help!

Old Jul 26th, 2005, 08:31 AM
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Belize's Beaches all they're cracked up to be? Please help!

My family and i are really trying to plan a Christmastime vacation to Belize but i keep getting conflicting feedback about Belize's beaches, watersports, etc. I know my husband originally mentioned Belize as an option because there is supposed to be some of the world's best bonefishing, but i heard from a traveler on another site that the water was murky and the beaches were full of garbage!!! Isn't belize supposed to be home to the western hemmisphere's barrier reef? Anyone with experience please let me know on this issue. Thanks
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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My experience over the past 15 years in Belize is that the water off the beaches is almost always clean and clear (after rains or near a river mouth it can be murky). Some areas do have garbage on the beach -- either stuff that washes up from boats or from nearby villages, but that's something you'll find in most developing countries. Hotels and private owners usually clean up their beachfronts, rake them, etc.

Because of the barrier reef, beaches inside the reef tend to have low wave energy. This results in seagrass and also fairly narrow beaches. The seagrass is part of the reef ecosystem and is a nursery for small fish and other sea life. Some beaches also have soft or mucky bottoms, though others have hard sand.

Belize has some lovely stretches of beach on Ambergris Caye, on the Placencia peninsula, around Hopkins and on the cayes and atolls. And there is great bonefish, permit, tarpon and other fishing.

However, if you are looking first and foremost for classically beautiful swimming beaches you might look at the Yucatan or in parts of the main Caribbean such as Anguilla, the BVI, Antigua and the Caymans.

--Lan Sluder
www.belizefirst.com
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Old Jul 26th, 2005, 07:14 PM
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Lan is the expert but I'll go ahead and throw in my 2 cents. The beaches on Ambergris Caye are nice but as Lan states there is a lot of sea grass just off shore and thus the swimming is just ok (not bad not great). However, unlike the Bahamas and some of the other places in the Carribbean I've been, Belize offers a whole lot more than just beaches and ocean. If I wanted that I would go to Florida or even California. The diving, snorkeling, Mayan ruins, and nature are truly excellent. Enjoy!
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Old Jul 27th, 2005, 12:33 PM
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And my shillings worth-Our beaches are okay, much better beaches elsewhere in the world. Fishing? A grand slam is more than possible-permit, bonefish, snook and tarpon. Water sports? Great sailing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking inside and out of the largest barrier reef in the hemisphere. The mainland has interesting maya sites along with lots of soft and more challenging adventure-caving, horses, hiking, biking, zip lines, kayaking and canoeing in a friendly, easy going English speaking country.
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 08:29 AM
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thanks for your help...but now i have another question!!! If we were to decide to go to Belize for ten days, what is the best way to get around the country, say if we wanted to spend five days on the beach, fishing and snorkling, three days by the Mayan ruins and two days in the jungle looking at wildlife? I really appreciate all your help so far! Thanks
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 09:05 AM
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We did our 11 days in June as follows:
3 nts at Chaa Creek lodge (San Ignacio area & 7 nts Banyan Bay (Ambergris Caye). Since you fly to and from AC and the only time we really need a car was to and from Chaa Creek, we opted to use a transport /transfer company (Katie Valk arranged). While it cost us (party of 4) nearly $125 each way, I figured it was cheaper than paying the nearly $100 a day (taxes, insurance, gas, etc) for a rental car. Based on my research, a rental car would cost approximatley $100 a day. FYI- the transfer company only charged an additional $25 (each place) for stops at Xunatunich, baboon sanctuary, and/or the zoo. I think it all depends on how much driving you're planning on doing?
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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thanks, i think we're going to go through an agent too, so we can figure out stuff like the transportation company you mentioned. By the way...how as staying at Chaa Creek and Banyan Bay? Are there any additional places you recommend, espcially on AC?
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Old Jul 28th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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We loved Chaa Creek. The only downside was the time of year when we were there (June). Since there is no air conditioning, it was very very hot. If we went when it was cooler, I'd probably stay at Chaa another night or two (4-5 nts total). As far as Banyan Bay, I was pleased and had/have no complaints to speak of. The pool is nice and the beach area is about as good as we saw on AC. However, if I went back to AC, I'd look into the hotel (name escapes) which houses the Blue Water Grill (bar & restaurant). While I did not see any rooms, the pool was nice, the hotel/restaurant was very clean, and the location is right on the edge of downtown so the location is very convenient. I really can't rememeber what the beach area was like but there would be ample places close by to swim/play. I'm sure Katie or Lan can give you the name of the hotel. I checked out the prices when having lunch at the Blue Grill and remember them being pretty reasonable. Enjoy! PS: If you're going to Chaa, I'd probably consider making reservations soon as I'm sure it gets very busy in Dec.
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 03:53 AM
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SunBreeze, has always offered good value for the $. Hotel facade and rooms have been renovated and upgraded, great staff, on the edge of town, ac, cable tv, phones, large property with a pool, dive shop, sea wall.
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Old Jul 29th, 2005, 09:52 AM
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To add to what Katie and others have said:

I've stayed at both Banyan Bay and SunBreeze. They're both good spots, but in different ways.

Banyan Bay is one of the top upscale condotels on the island, with mostly two-bedroom, two-bath units. SunBreeze has motel-like rooms, large but still just rooms.

Banyan Bay has one of the best beaches on the island, and certainly the best on the south. SunBreeze has a seawall and I wouldn't want to swim there, though you can walk a short ways to Ramon's beach.

SunBreeze does have a nice pool, though it's an above ground. Banyan Bay's is quite a bit larger.

Blue Water Grill on the SunBreeze grounds is a very good restaurant, though it's operated separately from the hotel.

The SunBreeze location is great if you want to be right at the edge of town and close to everything.

SunBreeze is very well managed.

Rates vary, but Banyan Bay is probably on average at least twice as expensive as SunBreeze.

--Lan Sluder
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Old Jul 30th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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I agree that SunBreeze is a great reasonably priced hotel, especially in comparison to the prices of other hotels on AC! Blue Water is a nice restaurant too.
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Old Aug 1st, 2005, 08:33 AM
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First off, I want to thank Katie for all her help, our trip was awesome. Just got back on Saturday. We stayed at Banyan Bay and there were seven of us, including a 1-1/2 and a 3-1/2 year old. As for beaches, Ambergris has awesome sand and views and the first 10 feet are great, but the rest was seagrass, so the swimming off the beach wasn't nice at all, but the pool was great, it's seperated so that the little ones/kids have there entire area and the adults/bigger kids have theirs. the grounds and staff are also great. We went through the SunBreeze hotel and walked to the back to eat at Bluewater Grill and was glad I was at BB. There is no beach, only a small seawall separated by boat piers/docks on either side. the pool looked nice but there wasn't any area for kids to play. Spend the extra money, it is well worth it. Friends we met went fishing everyday, some 2 hour trips, some 6, with stops on secluded islands to cook and eat there recent catch. I didn't have those opportunities with the little ones, but really wish I did. I did however get to eat alot of the grouper that came back, thanks bob if your reading this. Anyway, I could post a ten page report, but I have to get back to the papers on my desk before I get avalanched. hope this helped.
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