We just got back last night. Our trip was phenomenal. We've been to
Cozumel 9 or 10 times and weren't quite sure what to expect.
Here's our report:
We flew into Belize City via USAIR. Arrived 15 minutes early. Our plane to
San Pedro was full, so we caught the next one.
There is one road that is partially paved with concrete pavers. It
parallels the airport and Ramon's Village. The rest of the roads are hard
packed sand. After the second day, I only wore sandals to dinner. The rest
of the time I was barefoot. My mode of travel was walking on the beach.
We stayed at Ramon's Village. They picked us up at Mayan Air about 1 minute
after we called.
The room was ready and everyone there made us feel welcome- including Ramon.
I was impressed by the way the entire hotel complex was raked every day. I
usually get up early so it was nice to be "the first" to walk on the newly
raked sand everyday. The beach was nice. Breakfast on the veranda was also
very good. Breakfast was so good I ate there every day except for two days
I had early dives.
The only drawbacks I saw were no TV in the room (We didn't miss it after the
first day, though.) and no refrigerator to keep our beer cold. They brought
ice and bottled water to the room everyday as part of the daily room
servicing. There is a grocery store one block to the south where you can
buy anything you want.
There was a moderate breeze all week from the ocean and I only saw one
mosquito the whole week at Ramon's. The airport noise was never a factor.
You could only hear the planes when they feathered their props after
Good: Caliente (2 times)
Great: Elvi's (2 times), Cocina Caramba, Blue Water
Most Overrated: Sweet Basil- We had lunch there. $16 US for a hamburger
with an unripened California tomato and white iceberg lettuce? Give me a
Drinks: Ramon's, Fido's, BC's and few others along the beach. Just walk
around to find one. We saw the Barefoot Iguana, but never made it there.
Fido's had live bands. Some reggae, some 70-80's rock.
1.)We rented an "nearly" new gas golfcart from Cars-R-Us next to Ramons. We
drove to Journey's End and had a few beers. It is a very rough golf cart
ride. We forged our way across some areas where the water was a foot deep.
On the way back, we stopped at an "on the water" palapa bar whose name
escapes me. Very beautiful views from there. Drove to the south end as
well. Better roads, but swamps and bugs all over the place. Drove the heck
out of the golf cart, got it covered with mud, returned it and only used a
gallon of fuel. About $62/day to rent. Cash only secured with a credit
2.) Day trip to Caye Caulker. Took the water taxi there. $17.50 pp
roundtrip. A small sleepy town. I think we walked the town twice in 2
hours. Spent most of the day at the Lazy Lizard drinking Belikin Beer.
BTW- when the taxi says they leave at 2:30 PM, they mean it. Not a minute
later! It was a fast boat with three 200 HP Yamaha motors on the back.
There are two new hotels there. We looked at rooms in both. Both were very
nice. One has a small kitchen in it.
I enjoy diving, but I'm probably as not into it as many of the persons on
this NG. I usually dive 2-3 days, get bored and then find something else to
do. (I do open wheel, grand prix style racing for fun, so you can imagine
what gets me going....) I dove with Amigos Del Mar.
They picked me up at 5:30 AM, just as scheduled. There was coffee, rolls
and fruit for breakfast at the pier. Before and after all dives there was
water, fresh pineapple, coconut, bananas, etc. It was a treat.
Excellent boat to the Blue Hole. The water was rough and it was nice to
have two throbbing diesels driving us out there. The boat was crowded with
24 divers and 3-4 DM's, but there was plenty of room to move around.
Two dive groups of 12. Ugh, I haven't dove with more than 5 people in
years. Dive Depth 138'/30 minutes, water temp 82 at the top and 79 at depth.
My computer went into deco and then cleared itself out before I hit 45'.
Judging by the beeps I heard, my guess is a lot of computers did. Several
boats were already there. The water was a little murky or muddy and
visibility was about 50'. In a few minutes we had a group of 3 and a second
group of 5 reef sharks circling around and passing by to see us. It was
pretty cool. Overall, it was a long drive out for such a short dive. But
I'm glad I did it.
Second dive was going to be Half Moon, but since there were several boats
there, so we went to Aquarium and I think it was called Spotted Ray Alley.
We split into 3 groups of 8. Better than 12, but still crowded. It was at
this point that I became a little disappointed with Amigos del Mar. I've
been diving for 20 years and our DM, kept herding us like school children.
None of us were screwing up or having difficulties. Meanwhile, some of us
were finding some nice eels and monstrous lobsters that he simply did not
see. The DM would knock on his tank every 3-4 minutes to get us "bunched
up". I was probably 15' from him and about 7' below him when he signaled
for me to come up to him. I thought he had something to show me. What I
think I got was an underwater reaming for being "too deep" as he appeared to
be yelling at me through his regulator. Did I mention that there were 8 of
us bumping into each other? (My max depth was 75' and my computer was still
well in the safe area.) I was furious. Here's this guy yelling at me and
being completely un-intelligible underwater. I was so angry I didn't even
bother asking him what his "issue" was when we surfaced (still with 1400
psi). If he had wanted us to stay that close why didn't he simply tie a
rope to all of us? I went up on the flying bridge and tried to calm myself.
Lunch on Half Moon Caye was excellent, but I was still miffed. Several
others in our group were also a little concerned that he had us all bumping
into each other. I walked to the rusted lighthouse to take some pictures.
Our last dive of the day was Half Moon. We saw good number of rays and
skates. I moved to the back of the group so I could do a little more
exploration and observation. If I was going to get yelled at, he would
have to travel to say something!
On the way back, they provided us with beer and fruity***tail drinks. I
soon forgot my disappointment with the cold Belikins. One of the engines
had an oil pressure problem so we had to stop three times to let the engine
"recover". We got back to the dock at 5:30 PM. I decided not to dive with
Amigos the next day.
My wife is not a diver, but she does like to snorkel. We did Hol Chan Park
and Ray-Shark Alley with the Ramon's Village Boats. I did not catch the
names of the two DM's on the boat, but they were excellent. The guy would
point out a fish, say its name, talk about the markings and then say the
fish's name again. It was like being in biology class. It was a treat for
her and I learned the names of a few fish I didn't know before.
Ray-Shark Alley was true to its name and we saw a large number of rays and
We fell in love with Belize. We will definitely be back. Thanks to all of
those on this NG who provided us information and suggestions.