Our group of 13 (6 parents and 7 teens) stayed at Casa Tortuga in July of 2010. We requested information after seeing their great website and soon were speaking with the owner, Peggy Mason.
Casa Tortuga Villa has five bedrooms, and can accommodate 11 guests. We also rented the Pelican’s Nest Guest house, which can accommodate four additional guests, for a total of 15 guests, so the villa and guest house were ideal for our group.
We reserved both houses by October and received a 10% discount making the rent and taxes for both houses a total of $10,708.02. In the end, with initial grocery money and cleaning fees we paid $12,250.00 for 6 nights in July. Peggy has not had a rate increase in six years.
This rate INCLUDES the services of Maria, who lives in an apartment under the Pelican’s Nest suite. Maria is awesome. Maria is the reason we would return to this house. She prepared meals for us every day. She would ask what meals we would like to have at the villa and then ask for grocery money. The next day, voila, the meals would be prepared and served and cleaned up after. Her cooking is sublime! It was great to wake everyone up for the day’s adventure by announcing breakfast. Maria created a different menu everyday and it almost seemed like it was served on a different and very pretty set of dishes each day. We were so pampered. She considered the dietary needs of the group and included vegetarian options at every meal. She makes a fabulous Margarita with fresh squeezed lime juice and her own chopped salsa.
The Villa is gorgeous. From the cherub fountain in the pool to the beautiful stained glass windows every detail has been considered. We continued to discover the house’s unique design features all week long. We were actually concerned that the house was too pretty for us. We asked Peggy if we could throw a football in a pool that has a fountain from Versailles? We could. The beds were carved with amazing wooden designs but more importantly, they were comfortable. Check out the website for it’s accurate pictures of the property. It even has a giant chess set on the beach. www.casatortuga.com
Casa Tortuga is located less than two miles from town. I walked there once and took a taxi back, but mostly we drove golf carts around which was a riot. Bumpy but fun. Ambergris Caye is gorgeous. There was a good breeze all week except for one day. That day the ocean was like glass. It was eerily beautiful and then the mosquitoes arrived. Yikes. Bring bug repellant (at least a gallon). We were so glad that the wind came back the next day.
We became certified Scuba Divers by completing our open water dives at Chuck & Robbie’s Dive Shop. They were great. Listen carefully to Gill’s presentation about finding your way under the ocean without a compass. That was really interesting. Robbie was a great instructor and I felt confident that we were in good hands. The reef is amazing. We went to 100 feet.
Do not miss shark Ray Alley! You’ve seen the movie Jaws, right? Forget it. This was an entirely new view of sharks; they were nurse sharks, not great whites, but still really interesting. The rays were so graceful and appeared everywhere. It felt like Iowa must be on a different planet than Belize, one a little farther from the sun.
We also did the river rafting trip. The caves were very interesting but the tour felt like a Disney ride. Maybe we went in too large a group? Walking to the caves through the jungle was gorgeous but again, the mosquitoes feasted on us. If we had bug repellant in a water proof bag maybe we would have been able to stop and enjoy the jungle instead of racing thru. You wade across a rushing river before entering the jungle which may have washed off the bug spray. We did get to stop and taste the termites. They really do taste like carrots. The trip by bus to the caves was hot and long. On the way back, with rum punches added to the mix, the trip was much more pleasant.
We zip lined thru the trees on that same trip. It was fun! Again, it is very monitored, like a theme park ride but most of us found it thrilling. It’s a neat way to see the jungle. Our tour provided lunch, which was delicious and picked us up at Casa Tortuga’s own dock.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the wonders of the trip but the point here is to highly recommend Casa Tortuga. It is fabulous.
|Friends getaway||A romantic getaway|
|People with disabilities||Older travelers|
|Families with young children||Families with teenagers|