SAN PEDRO, AMBERGRIS CAYE, BELIZE
TRIP REPORT 3/5 - 3/12
I met my son Mark and Lisa at the International airport in Belize about noon Saturday. We took a Maya Air small plane’s 16 minute flight to San Pedro Island. The next trip we will use Pacific Air to the island. They have newer and larger planes at the same price as Maya. We checked in to a 2br condo on the beach on the second floor at Banyan Bay resorts. We spent the rest of the day at the resort and at their Rico’s restaurant in the evening. We shared a large plate of the smallest ribs we had ever seen. However, they were meaty and had a good bbq sauce. That was the only meal we had at Rico’s.
Sunday, we rented a gas powered golf cart for five days from the resort for $280, US. We took off for Caliente’s (Mexican) and spent some time there for drinks and appetizers. Then we were off to the north side of the island for Palapa’s Bar and Grill. This was a neat laid back spot out in the water for drinks, the view, and conversations with some locals. Also, we met some Americans who have moved here permanently and live on the north side of the island and hang out here.
Then it was off to Lazy Crocs BBQ for their special Sunday BBQ buffet. It was crowded, but we shared a table and had some excellent bbq pork and chicken. No croc that day; he was sleeping! We didn’t have any leftovers to take back, we ate everything! We stopped at the Super Buy on the way back and stocked up on some essentials. Coming in we were a little worried about finding a spot for groceries. It turns out there are many small grocery spots all over the island. They may not have what you want, so just go to the next one or the last one you saw. Super Buy seemed to have almost everything we needed. Prices vary widely, so you really need to shop the prices. There wasn’t any store we found that had low prices on everything! All prices are in Belize dollars. It wasn’t a problem. Just cut each price in half and pay with US dollars. We went back to Caliente’s that night, since they were having a special chicken drop for $1000 next door. We couldn’t hang long enough to see it, we were beat!
The next day we looked for Crazy Canucks Beach Bar and when we found it, Lisa gave the owner a gift from her brother who spent a lot of time here a few weeks earlier. Then we looked and found the El Fogon restaurant just north of the airport. It was a small place with original Belize cooking. The meals were $40 per person and you got what they were cooking that day with a reservation only. That was a little too steep for us after looking the place over. We hit a couple of beach bars, BC’s and Fido’s, then started looking for Waruguma’s that we had read about. This is when we found out how friendly and helpful the people are here. We just stopped people and asked where it was. Everyone was helpful. It is a small nice clean place, not a dive as I had read. There is also a small good bakery across the street. The prices are low to reasonable and any shrimp meal is excellent. We had very large carne asada burritos, which were just ok, and I had some shrimp tacos also. The burritos were huge and we ended up taking 2 ½ of them back to the resort. We used the burritos to make carne asada stew, with Lisa’s pico and eggs and bloody marys for brunch three mornings at the resort.
The next day we went south exploring for bars and restaurants. We looked at the Banana Beach Resort and their menu. We found the Hidden Treasure restaurant, but it looked closed to us. We found the small Mata Rocks Resort and had drinks at their beachfront bar. Then we found the El Divino Resort, and after looking at their menu decided to go back there later for dinner. We went on south on the main road and looked at and took pictures, with prices, of property for sale. That evening we had a very good dinner at El Divino. We had a Filet steak, a special chicken dinner, and their ¾ lb hamburger. We rated this as our #2 meal on the trip.
We took a break the next day. We had our carne asada stew brunch with drinks, enjoyed the pool, beach and reading. Then we decided to find Jambel’s Jerk Chicken place. We looked all over, checked maps, asked people and we still couldn’t find it. We were close to Fido’s, so we stopped in there. During our stop we asked the bartender if he knew where Jambel’s was. He said they just moved and are now on the east side of the curve on the main road in an old house across from the airport. So we went and had their all you can eat buffet with some decent reggae music playing. We all three put this meal on the bottom of our list. The prices were ok ($20 per person), the value just wasn’t there.
We decided we were going back to the Palapa Bar and Grill and this was the day. We had a good time with the crowd and a good meal. We had two grilled grouper dinners and one ½ lb hamburger.
The next day, our last day we decided to go to one of the best restaurants in San Pedro. We went to Wild Mango’s without a reservation and it was crowded. We got seats at the bar and had the best meal of the week here. I had their black bean soup and it was the best I have had since I was introduced to it in Costa Rica many years ago. I also had a special shrimp skewer that was excellent. I don’t remember what Mark and Lisa had, but they were impressed also.
We left the next day. We are of the opinion that San Pedro is probably like Cabo San Lucas was 30 or 40 years ago. A small village growing, but still has a long way to go. I was disappointed in the food choices. I thought they would be much better. In ranking the restaurants we would definitely put Wild Mango’s #1 and El Divino #2, and would put Lazy Croc BBQ #3. The next three in no particular order for good food at reasonable prices would be Palapa Bar & Grill (1/2 lb. hamburger), Waruguma’s (any shrimp), and Caliente’s (any Mexican).