Indagare member M.A. just returned from a family trip over the holidays to Belize including a stop at Chaa Creek. Here are her thoughts.
We loved Belize. Chaa Creek was really nice with a fabulous infinity pool, good simple food, great rooms and lots of wildlife: we spotted monkeys, toucans and tarantulas. The rooms were not fancy but very comfortable with huge baths and showers. The hotel’s spa was simple but nice. The kids loved the butterfly house, and they were able to take the Monarch butterfly cocoons into their rooms to watch them hatch.
We did half-day trips from Chaa Creek, which worked well for us. We went ziplining, visited Barton Creek Cave and even saw a nearby Mayan ruin. It was really hot—I can’t imagine going at a hotter time of year!
Flying over the reef on the way to Ambergris Caye island off Belize City was a highlight and I liked the contrast from Chaa Creek. The Phoenix Resort (Pescador Drive, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; 501 226 4635) was very nice—spacious, modern and a real oasis from the town, San Pedro. The town is dirty, hot and not so charming but can be fun in a quirky way and while it would not be a place to visit for a week, it was good for four days. We had a gorgeous ocean view and also a full kitchen.
We were actually surprised by the quality of the food—it was really good unlike other Caribbean islands we have visited and most restaurants offered kid-friendly food too. The three best restaurants were Caliente (Front Street – Beachfront at Spindrift Hotel, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; 501 226 2170) Red Ginger in The Phoenix Resort (506 226 4623) and Blue Water Grill (Beachfront at the Sunbreeze Hotel, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye; 501 226 3347). Service is on the slow side everywhere. We had a delicious meal at the Victoria House (Ambergris Caye; 501 226 2067) on Christmas. The hotel is the only other place I would have stayed on the island.
Our mode of transportation was a golf cart, which was fun. There wasn’t much shopping, just a few shell necklaces and cover-ups, which had been imported from India! No one in our group went diving, but other guests at the hotel seemed really into it. We did snorkel twice and seeing nurse sharks and lots of stingrays was cool (although we preferred the snorkeling in Punta Mita, Mexico). We went fishing one day for snapper which I really loved (who would have known I like to fish?!) and the kids enjoyed it too. The guides then took us to a tiny beach and cooked the snapper for us, and it was totally delicious. One strange aspect of the island was that there were no beaches and really no place to swim off shore. The water had a lot of trash, seaweed and was quite shallow.
I would go back to Chaa Creek, but probably not Ambergris Caye. I liked the Phoenix a lot and perhaps if we were really into scuba I would go back. The Belizean people were lovely.
While we were there, many folks mentioned Costa Rica—so that’s on my list for a future trip…
Read our destination report on Belize
Read Indagare’s report on Costa Rica