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This Backpack and Snorkel Travel Guide (Ambergris Caye Purple Guide) provides information about the best things to do in Ambergris Caye and ensures that you will be Making Memorable Moments on a relaxing vacation in Ambergris Caye.
We took the high-speed water taxi “Ocean Ferry Belize” from Caye Caulker to Ambergris Caye.
Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island, one of its biggest tourist attractions and it has a large expat community with people from the US, Canada and Europe. It borders Mexico and Belize can only be reached by boat from here.
It is 25 miles (40km) long and 1 mile (1.6km) wide) and the majority of the island is protected mangrove swamp encircled by white sand beaches.
San Pedro Town is the largest settlement. Because of Madonna’s song “La Isla Bonita” where she mentions San Pedro (she did however not mean any specific San Pedro), Ambergris Caye is sometimes called “Isla Bonita”, the “Beautiful Island”.
While Caye Caulker is all relaxed, San Pedro is a very busy place with lots of gas powered noisy and smelly golf carts.
One tip: Our hotel was south of the downtown area. We once walked into town on busy Coconut Drive which took us about 10min. Unfortunately, this sometimes involved walking on the street as there are areas without a sidewalk and it involved inhaling plenty of exhaust gases from the cars and golf carts. We then found out that walking on the beach instead is much more relaxing and safer and will only take 5min longer.
For us, Ambergris Caye was all about relaxing and enjoying its white sand beaches. That means we did not do any excursions here. Instead, we enjoyed the beach near our hotel and at the Ramons Village Resort.
The Ramons Village Resort, which was about a 10min walk to the north from our hotel, has a beautiful beach that allows you to directly walk into the water for about 75ft before the sea grass starts. Swimming is barely possible as the seagrass starts where the water is approx. 4ft deep. If you stay close to the pier then I guess you could swim over the seagrass into deeper water.
A popular excursion here is a day trip into the Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve. We did not go on this excursion as we were planning a Monkey River excursion in Placencia.
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We stayed in this hotel for 3 nights and had room 31 on the 3rd floor. Room 31 is a large room with a large bathroom. It has a partial ocean view out from the entrance door and a queen size bed with a very firm mattress. There is a TV with many (!) US cable TV channels, a fridge, coffee maker, microwave and a safe. The room has a desk, 2 tables, 1 chair, 3 couches, a drawer and a draped off area to hang your clothes and a ceiling fan. Unfortunately, there are only has 2 double power outlets and none is near the bed. The bathroom is huge and has a shower. Complimentary soap bars, shampoo and conditioner are provided. Pay special attention to their towel folding art! The A/C is quiet and efficient, but it misses an air redirector bar.
There is a bar on the 1st floor and an adjacent pool. The pool is fairly large but not deep and this best suited for kids. The beach is well maintained and has beach chairs. The hotel has its own pier with a small marked swimming area at the end. There is some sea grass in the swimming area, but most appears to be cleared. The water was muddy and you could barely see the ground.
There is another pier (2 piers to the south) with a larger marked swimming area a few minutes walking to the south at the Caribbean Villas, but the water there was even muddier.
The Corona del Mar offers free rum punch from 1-6pm in the lobby. A continental breakfast, which was included in our room rate, was served in the bar area until 10am. You have to go to the lobby to get your breakfast coupons first and then surrender the coupons to the chef in kitchen near the bar. She will prepare a hot breakfast (scrambled eggs, 1 breakfast sausage, 3-5 fruit slices (water melon, pineapple and sometimes cantaloupe). There is also a table with a limited buffet-style selection. It has white bread, a toaster, cinnamon bread, coffee, fruit juice, water, peanut butter, margarine and strawberry marmalade (each in Tupperware containers).
There is a restaurant right across the street. Some other restaurants and supermarkets are within easy walking distance. It takes about 15min to walk into town on the side of busy Coconut Drive which has a sidewalk only in some areas. A taxi ride into town is US$2.50 per person.
The hotel rents kayaks, golf cars and bicycles. We did not use these services, however. At the reception you can also get beach towels should you need them.
The hotel has free wifi; the connection is not too stable and got disconnected once in a while, but typically only for a couple of seconds to a minute.
Long story short: Corona del Mar is a nice ocean-front hotel. As it is South of town, it is fairly quiet, but you will hear some noise from Coconut Drive and the near-by airport. I would stay here again.