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There are no paved roads on
the island and the primary means of transportation, after walking, is the golf cart. We walked to town most days and took a
cab when the margaritas made the trek seem impossible. One day we rented a cart ($ 55 for
a full day ) and toured the island. The landscape of palms, mangrove, sea grape trees and
fauna and along with the architecture of the homes, reminded us of Grand Cayman. Most of
the tourist attractions in Belize are on the mainland. There are tours of the Mayan ruins,
rain forests , etc. available but we went to relax and dive.
The cuisine of Belize is
much like youd find in Costa Rica or Cozumel. Fresh seafood, usually Snapper, Mahi
or Grouper pan-fried in garlic and butter and served with rice & beans, fried plantain
and cole slaw. Almost everyone recommended Elvis in San Pedro and we found
the food to be excellent, especially after a day of diving and a fresh Margarita.
Aqua Dives is the
largest dive operation on the island and they picked us up at the Yacht Club, just a short
walk down the beach. Summer is not a good time to dive in the Western Caribbean since the
trade winds have not yet shifted to the southeast and the seas on the east are rough.
Ambergris and the other islands do not have dive sites on the leeward (west) side where it
is calm, since the reef is to the east. For the four days diving, the seas were very rough
with ten foot waves and the water relatively murky. It was an adventure but December or
January would have been a better time to dive.
The great "Bills
Adventure" of the trip was our experiencing the great "Blue Hole"
This dive site is actually a giant sink hole in the barrier reef which collapsed over
underground caves. The hole is approximately 300 feet deep with formations of stalactites
and stalagmites at 135 feet which is the maximum depth of the dive. It was a must dive for
anyone visiting Belize.
What they didnt tell you, until you
were on the 40 foot boat, was that to get to the site you had to travel 2 1/2 hours over
open seas, and in our case, with a boatload of New York singles making their play all the
way. Since there were no rest rooms on the boat, divers were quick into the water once we
This dive and the next dive
off Lighthouse Caye were interesting as was a lunch visit to Lighthouse Caye where Jane
traipsed after the famous red footed Booby bird. Yes, she has a picture.
All in all, we found the
reef dives to be near to those found in the shallow waters of Grand Cayman and, as
importantly, the Dive Masters were very professional and mindful of the safety of the
divers. We recommend Ambergris and the more rustic sister islands of Caye Caulker and
Turneffe Atoll for those wanting an alternative to the Cayman Islands .
Finally, Belize is not
expensive, nor is it cheap as it once was just a few years ago. As the flights are
pleasant and direct, Belize is a great destination for a short get away, especially if you
are a diver or just want a quiet place to lay on the beach.