The Good, The Bad & What the Hell is that Smell?

I recently shared how my husband & I fell in love with Ambergris Caye, Belize…first, as a daydream and then as reality. Like with any destination, our slice of paradise has locations we love, parts that could be improved and recently, a phenomenon that is really cramping the ambiance for locations in the Caribbean.

If you are reading this blog in preparation or are considering traveling to Ambergris Caye, hopefully I will paint a fair picture that captures the magic while addressing hot topics like

  • Great dining locations
  • Navigating the island
  • Safety questions
  • Seagrass

The Good

If you are looking for more high level details on what makes the island great, check out my previous blog, Mopeds on the Beach. However, if you are looking for specific island spots, keep on reading!

Being foodies, my husband and I prefer to sit at the bar where we are able to chat with bar staff and fellow patrons. And as Texans, we can talk! While the island has absolutely provided the backdrop for some of the best conversation and introductions, savoring some of the dishes often shut us up.

Blue Water Grill

On our first trip, we were within walking distance to this beachside restaurant. Interestingly enough, it is actually owned by a Texas couple. This can be the only explanation for how an island restaurant managed to have one of the best steaks we have ever tasted! We also enjoyed tasty items from the menu like conch chowder. Conch shells are all over the island so we had to see what the fuss was about! We expected it to be similar to a clam chowder but the heartiness of it actually more resembled a corn chowder. Seriously delicious!

The vibe of the place was lighthearted and fun. It is a very popular location so get there early or make a reservation. If you find yourself too late for a table, check out the bar for available seating. We found it to have attentive service and had great conversation with some fellow travelers.

Losers

Losers is a bar and restaurant located at the end of a pier, over water and with an amazing view.

Boats are able to tie up to the pier and come in for a drink or bite to eat. The owners are from Tennessee so it definitely has a Nashville feel to accompany the country music piping through the speakers. It is a family friendly location (at least during the day) and often has live music. While the food was tasty, the atmosphere and views make Losers a place to visit!

Truck Stop

Although we love the beachfront locales, the northern portion of the island is where we prefer to spend the majority of our time.

If you like food trucks, you will love the Truck Stop! It is a very cool, family friendly location. A handful of container carts converted into stops to grab a bite to eat or a tasty beverage.

While it is family friendly, it is also a great spot for couples of all ages and groups. In addition to a pool tucked in the back for its patrons, with a large movie screen behind it where they host movie nights. The Truck Stop has different events almost every evening such as Family Feud, bingo, karaoke, local entertainers , etc.

The Capricorn

Our absolute favorite location for breakfast, lunch and dinner is The Capricorn! Also found on the northern portion of the island, this location is beachside and available for events. One trip, we saw it set up for a wedding and it looked beautiful! Our last trip, we enjoyed a rainy day borrowing one of their game boards (Connect FOUR), chatting with the incredibly friendly staff and enjoying the view.

The Bad

While Ambergris Caye is a popular tourist location and hosts a large ex-pat community from the US, the mainland of Belize is currently under a category 2 warning for US citizens traveling there due to safety concerns. The hubby and I approach it very much as we would navigating parts of our own hometown in Houston. Simply, we are mindful of our location and intuition. With any uneasy feeling, we turn back and find another location. Also, we talk to the locals at places like I mentioned above. They freely answered questions and were genuinely helpful and honest. Finally, the mainland has exciting excursions that we look forward to enjoying. However, we have not explored because of our own comfort level and heading the caution.

While there have been tragic events in the news lately regarding some of the most popular tourist locations, the States are not immune to crime and murders. Based on our own coverage of crime rates in Chicago, what would be its classification?

What the Hell is that Smell?

Thanks to heavy storms and flight delays, we first arrived and were introduced to the beaches of Belize by moonlight. While we were unable to clearly see the beaches, we asked ourselves, “what the hell is that smell?” The next morning, we were introduced to the smell’s culprit: sargassum or sea grass.

Prior to 2011, sargassum was located in the Sargasso Sea. It is suspected that climate change and the introduction of elements such as fertilizer and wastewater into the oceans resulted in the movement of seagrass to locales such as beaches in the Caribbean. In 2015, sargassum caused tremendous havoc on locals and tourists for potential safety reasons.

Along with the beaches of Belize, locations such as Aruba and Cancun are being bombarded with sargassum. Workers are diligent about removing it from the beaches before peak beach time. However, along with its unpleasant presence in the water, a pretty notable smell accompanies it.

Solutions

Other than being diligent in the protection of our oceans, there are a limited amount of options available to us to prevent sargassum. However, there are a few options to help have a great beach time while visiting San Pedro!

Secret Beach

Secret Beach is located at the northern portion of the island and is on the bay side. As a result, the beaches are sargassum free and a beautiful location to spend the day. The water is clear and still as if you are on a lake so you don’t have to worry about being pounded by waves. The water is relatively shallow so you can walk out probably 50 yards and still only be chest deep (that’s only waist deep for my hubby). There are several beachside bars and restaurants at secret beach. There are also water activities such as jet boards (like a surfboard with a motor), paddle boats and kayaks that can be rented by the hour. As you make the drive out to what seems like nowhere, just follow the signs and they will guide you to this gem. As you get closer to the beach there will likely be people waving you down when you enter. However, they are only telling you about one of the bars. The beach is free so do not give anyone money when you enter. Just find an open parking spot and head toward the water. We gave a 13-year-old jewelry salesman a ride and were thankful for this tip!

Brandy

Welcome, friend! My name is Brandy and I started this blog to share the love of my favorite things, specifically reading and traveling. Writing is also a passion of mine. By day, I am one of those odd creatures who enjoys writing policies, procedures and project plans. My dream is to write my own book one day but for now I am perfectly paced.

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One Comment on “The Good, The Bad & What the Hell is that Smell?

  1. Planning a trip and will look at your blog when looking for a nice place to hang!

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