I had heard of curb side service before but this was ridiculous. Ridiculously nice that is! The travel day had been long. Longer than we had ever experienced as you can read from this previous post, so by the time we had made the last leg of the journey to Coco Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye, the first thing we needed was a refresher. Who knew it would be waiting for us at the dock when we pulled up in our water taxi. There standing on the dock was our host of the resort with some cold, damp towels to wrap around our perspiration-riddled necks. Not long after that was a cold drink as we are led up to our room for a quick tour of the digs we would stay in for the remainder of our week. But first, a little history on how this resort ended up being the choice for us.
If you’re planning a trip to Belize, and you should be, there are many options. Being that we were bringing the kids along as we always do, Ambergris Caye seemed to be the logical destination within Belize. It is the most built up area of Belize and with that, probably the safest. It’s not that the rest of Belize is shady or anything but when you have your kids, you opt for the safer “looking” areas. Ambergris Caye gets most of the tourist traffic due to their location on the Belize Barrier Reef which in most parts of the Caye is hugging the shoreline. Close enough to kayak out a few minutes for some fantastic views. The easiest way to get around the Caye is to take the water taxis, but be sure to have some cash on you, whether it’s Belizean dollars or American which is accepted across the country. You’ll also be glad to know that English is the official language in Belize and there are many examples of their former relationship as the colony of British Honduras before gaining independence as Belize in 1981. There are a vast amount of hotel and resort options on the Caye, but with a couple of kids in tow, we knew we had to pick somewhere with a good pool to quench the kids thirst for fresh water after playing in the ocean all day. The beaches in Belize, although pretty, are small and don’t lend much in terms of sand castles, games, etc. So the pool would have to pick up where the ocean ended. Luckily, Coco Beach came to the rescue…in a big way!
Beyond the many water parks we have been to, this resort may have had one of the best pool areas we have seen throughout a complex. The resort is rather quiet, beyond the drifting reggae that is heard wafting from the pool bar not far from many of the rooms. In terms of layout, the grounds are exceptional and the buildings are situated with pool views for literally all rooms. There are very few beach view rooms and the ones there are step up in price considerably. Had the price been right, we may have opted for this, but the ocean views have been better in other places. Not to mention, a good part of our days are spent at the beach anyways, so I’m not sure we would have benefited that much more in the end. There are no elevators to take you up to the rooms, so keep that in mind when making a reservation. It was not a concern for us so we asked for a 3rd floor room, which is the highest level with view of the Grotto pool, which happened to be our kids favorite. You still receive a partial view of the ocean, but nothing mind-blowing. Still, the reviews I read all stated that the ocean would not be visible. At least for us, this was a bit misleading.
The room itself was very nice and quite large. It is definitely one of the cleaner places we had been to in some time. Two bedrooms which were of good size. being that our girls are not big on sleeping in the same bed, which they sometimes do, the fact that the second bedroom had a trundle-bed below was a nice touch, especially for the teenager in the group. High maintenance I tell you! The room also had a fairly large living area that included an eating area, sitting area with a flat screen television and a kitchen area that had plenty of room for us to move around when we opted to cook and eat in to save some money. One nice perk was the fact that we were able to order groceries before we ever left the US, and when we showed up at our place, the groceries were there waiting on us, cold beer and all! Mata Grande Groceries online ordering was simple, although not too cheap, which was to be expected here.
Food is not cheap,period, on Ambergris Caye, unless you choose some local food which we did from a house behind the complex that held soccer games for locals during their work breaks. Simply walk over there, ask them what’s on the menu and get a huge amount for only a couple dollars. Most of the tourists we ran into shied away from this, but luckily we took advantage a few times to our delight and the delight of my wallet. Beyond that, you could find some cheap food in San Pedro, but you would have to pay for the water taxi to get you there. It’s fairly cheap as well and you’re better off getting a package deal for the week instead of paying each time. Keep in mind, they don’t accept credit cards on the water taxis. Be prepared with cash! back to the food. Explore, find yourself a hole in the wall and eat like a champ. The food is mainly rice and beans scattered with some chicken and fish. Nothing fancy, but it sticks to the bones rather well. Plantains seem to be on just about every plate also which is good for some folks, not for others. I will say having traveled to the Caribbean several times, they are starting to grow on me. You will be tempted to eat at some of the resorts lined up the beach, but be prepared to spend, and in the end, I’m not sure if they are worth the money. Yet, somehow we still spend our money to test that theory?
At the end of our trip we figured out that Coco was a winner for us. A little more resort-like but the pools were worth it for the kids alone, everything else was gravy! So pack your bags, bring your english speak and dollars along and have the time of your life at Coco Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye, Belize.