Nov. 2017 – Belize

Back in July (of 2017) a friend mentioned a trip to Belize that involved golf carting around to bars and town, with drinking along the way not only allowed but encouraged.  Say what?!  Obv, we were sold.  Since our honeymoon would be our next trip, naturally, we’d have to lovingly rent golf carts and party it up.

But. Belize wasn’t far or exotic enough (spoiled) for our big trip, so we looked into incorporating the Galapagos or some other great dive site.  Not really feasible flight or time wise, so we nixed that.

But. We still had to go.  And go soon (because, like the Maldives, Belize or the blue hole were disappearing? Clearly not).  So, naturally, we went over Thanksgiving.  Weird?  Nah, we had a few Friendsgivings that more than made up for it (although, if our families are ready, of course we missed them! 🙂 

Wednesday to Saturday night – quick trip, and we focused on diving, so we got into Belize City and immediately grabbed the ferry over to San Pedro. 

Flights: We booked the way there on Chase Ultimate Rewards points, so we stopped in Houston.  On the way back, we did a United one way flight for about $500/each – pricey, but we were set on going and got the outbound flight on points.  

Taxis: $25 from the airport to the ferry.  If you have 4 people, $35 total.  On the way back, we grabbed another couple obviously heading to the airport (they were on the ferry back from San Pedro with us) for the whopping $10 save.  The taxi drivers eagerly come up to you, and they get a commission per ride, but they don’t seem to try to rip you off/it’s a very fixed rate.  Ask if they have air conditioning to avoid being miserable.

Ferry/Water Taxi: I think this was about an hour an a half to Cay Kaulker and another 25 minutes or so to San Pedro, the second stop.  Don’t quote us, but I think was around $76 total round trip per person.  Our taxi from the airport took us to the Belize Express ferry, but it looks like there are several companies semi close to each other.  If you want to do research before, you can, but I doubt the prices vary greatly.  The ferry runs about every 1.5-2 hours, so hopefully your flight isn’t delayed like ours was, and you catch the soonest one.  If not, there are a few bars on the dock strip, so you’re covered.

*There are also flights which I think take about 15 minutes – we didn’t look into doing this.

Hotel/villa: We stayed at Casitas Tres Cocos (not to be confused with and not affiliated with Tres Cocos, another accommodation and the name of the area).  Highly recommend – about $250/night for 3 nights, and this included a stellar breakfast each day.  This place is like a bnb with 7 or so little villas, or rooms with a bathroom, etc. attached, all different styles and named things like “Jaguar” (ours), “Tortuga” (making that up, but l likely).  

None of the other rooms were booked for the first 1-2 nights, making ours a bit pricier than necessary in our opinion, but the place is really cute, kept very clean, and the pool is nice, to look at and jump in.  A security guard is on premises all night, from 7pm on, which is nice and a little creepy when you suddenly see someone watching you (and the place, obv) at some late hour.

A bar is attached to the villa – Youcan Toucan which may attract more people in the high season.  One night, the place gave us dinner rather than breakfast because we had left at some crazy early hour to go diving and only charged us for the beer.

Candy is the friendly (but quiet) guy who works at Casitas.. doing pretty much everything.  He is an amazing cook, and the dinner we had at Youcan was the best of the trip (grilled shrimp and some jerk chicken dish, both were awesome).

Jaz seemed to manage the place and picked us up (in her golf cart, stellar) from the ferry dock.  She found us right away, and we had communicated with her via WhatsApp, but the communication later in the trip/over the next few days could have been better, for example, as to where the dive shop would pick us up at the crack of dawn so that we weren’t wandering around the beach.

Golf cart rental:

We rented one right away from Rafael, a guy who owns a little travel/adventure shop (there are many) that we met on the water taxi over to San Pedro.  He offered us a golf cart and bridge permit for $40/day (a day is 24 hours, keep that in mind for what time you start the rental/what time you need it until on your last day).

Much like the roads and many other things in Belize, the whole process was janky.  Jaz from Casitas took us to Rafael’s stand/shop on her golf cart.  Of course, there, she realized Rafael is her cousin – everyone is related to each other.  The shop was closed, but Rafael’s wife happened to cruise by (in her golf cart, obv) and do the rental for us.  All they could get was an old and rickety golf cart, but they promised to switch it out the next morning.  They never did.  We didn’t care – we had a golf cart to cruise around in!

Bridge pass – Rafael’s wife reeeeally didn’t want to give us a bridge pass.  The deal is, each time you go over the bridge, which is of course each time you go into town, which is where most of the action is, you pay some $2, and again on the way back to your place.  Obviously, I was going to push until I got this, so she gave us an expired one, which we waved like pros and no one was the wiser for.

So, we happily kept our rickety old golf cart and were on our merry way.  On the way back, Rafael’s wife told us to just park it at the ferry dock and give the key to the ferry guys – seriously, the whole island knows each other.  

A friend recommended Rocks for a rental, if you don’t run into Rafael.  Or his wife.  Or cousin.


We of course didn’t book the so called fourth best dive site in the world before leaving, even on a holiday weekend, but we of course got lucky.  Jaz called around and got us a 2 tank dive for the following day (not even sure we knew to where or any details on this) and then the Blue Hole dive trip with Amigos Del Mar for the subsequent day.

Day 1: I don’t even know the name of the company.  And, they didn’t want to take credit card so we ended up putting the charge onto our hotel bill – worked for us.  We did 2 dives in the national park area and snorkeling with nurse sharks and sting rays (plenty of them) first.  Water was warm, we saw tons of reef sharks on the dives (I may have pet one, super docile), as well as a sea turtle, lobsters, eels, and a stingray.  We had a few snorkelers on the boat as well, all good stuff.  

The dive masters were good, but the boat didn’t have the little “container” deals to hold the air tanks, so we took them off in the water and handed them to the dive masters after the dive. Not a great system – one of the guys ended up hitting Jon in the head with the tank, causing an unfortunate blood in the eye/scar situation.  They didn’t seem too bothered, which was kind of good but also a little unprof.  The dive sites weren’t too far away from each other or where we took off from, which was nice.  You can ask for pick up and drop off from your hotel as well – there are tons of docks.  We got on and off in town/by the shop, and you’ll want to make sure your dive equipment is all good for the dives before you go.

Day 2: The Big Trip to the Blue Hole.  It’s a good 2.5 hour boat ride out to the Blue Hole, which is the first stop.  Amigos does a good job with pick up at 4:30am or so (a little boat with about 8 total came to get us and did a few stops), you grab equipment from the shop and give your sizing, etc., and I think we were off in the big boat by 6am.  The dive masters are really good and knowledgable, which is good given that they brief you on how different/strange/out of this world the Blue Hole is.

Blue Hole – amazing.  We saw a hammerhead shark down there, which was really cool.  I had nitrogen narcosis the whole time (bit of exaggeration, but I feel it’s true), which was wild.  We went down to 130 feet and you’re down there for 8 minutes or so (safety stop on the way up, for a total dive time of maybe 18 minutes?

Next 2 dive sites (this is a 3 tank dive).  The first was cool – more of the same sea creatures, as well as lion fish, which the dive master killed and which allowed for some feeding for a big grouper that then followed him around for the rest of the dive.

After the Blue Hole and second dive, we stopped at a tiny island to eat lunch.  They have some bird watching and a short trail, which was cool but not something we’d go out of our way to do.

After all three dives, about an hour from “home” on the long boat ride back, Amigos spruces things up with painkillers for everyone – oh heyy!  I think they had snacks/breakfast ish food available the whole time as well.

We got back to the dive shop, and a little boat took us back to our dock by the hotel (5 min boat ride).


Go to Crocs!  It was super close to our little villa and is a huge, US styled bar (I know, go figure we’d frequent it) – 3 or 4 floors, nice wood finish, tons of TV’s, and fun bartenders. We had a few shots with Abner, the owner, who was super cool and hopefully has implemented our idea of having a shotski at the bar by now.  Chicago meets Belize 🙂  Good bar food as well.

We met a few ex-pats too – they had a ton of comments on how much Belize has changed in the last 9 years or so but didn’t really seem to love the place.  Odd.

So, the bars are somewhat spread out other than right in town – makes it fun to cart around and check out each, but I felt like it made it harder to make friends/see some of the same people, which I kind of like to do on our trips.  Apparently, the high season hadn’t really geared up by the end of Nov., so it was a little dead.  We hit up Jaguar’s (in town, at the end of the beach strip), Dive Shop (closer to our hotel), and a few others but frequented Crocs the most.

Food and drink

Waruguma’s – must do!  Enormous lobster (it has every kind of seafood) burrito, and it’s good.  We were starving, had no idea on the size of this thing (70 Belizian dollars, $35 US), and idiotically ordered lobster ceviche to start as well as filled up on chips.  They should have told us on the size, and they said they couldn’t take CC at the end of the meal – machine wasn’t working or something, which was annoying.  Go there, eat the burrito (share it b/w two, or hell four people), and leave.

Elvi’s – cute spot, worth going once for dinner.  Food was fine – probably a little overpriced, as it’s a really popular place.

Youcan Toucan – give it a try (they are closed on certain days, likely in the slow season only)

We wanted to try Estelle’s but didn’t make it there.  Had good snow crab claws at a cute, little place called Caramba that also has seafood displayed outside for you to choose and get grilled up.

Local beer – Belikin.  Good and it’s a total monopoly.  We stuck to beer for the most part but did have red wine at Elvi’s – it was fine.


Flights: Book early on Southwest for a good deal (SWA flies to Belize City as of 2017 or so) and check out those one way United flights – we just booked for a trip to New Orleans Jazz Fest 2018.

Negotiate the price of your golf cart and ask them to include a bridge pass.

Dress warmly for the Blue Hole dive (or snorkel) trip and bring extra warm stuff.  Probably best to do Amigos for diving.

Don’t stay too far from town – the golf carts are fun, but the roads suck, so it does start to bring on a headache bouncing around all over the place in those things.

If you have time, Cay Kaulker is supposed to be and pretty different than San Pedro (quieter, and we heard even the food varies – not sure on this).  You can do a day trip or stay there for a few days (likely considerably cheaper) – our friends just went and loved it.

We didn’t do Belize City or the ruins there, etc. Not really our jam, but we heard good things (some people were also indifferent on this).

I loved St. John (our first dive trip) – Belize is worth going to for the Blue Hole and other sea creatures, but the nightlife (and day drinking) rocked in St. John.

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