I took my sister to Ambergris Caye on a dive trip for her birthday. Based on recent Internet reviews (and message board posts going way back) we booked our stay at Banana Beach resort. Other criteria that helped this decision were the price ($85 per night with the fourth night free), the location (close to town but not too close) and having a tour arranger on property as this was a last minute trip and we didn't want to waste time.
The property is clearly older but it is still a nice and clean place to stay. We got a small room with twin beds (no kitchen), a small refrigerator, a desk and a safe. There was a small closet to hang clothes and a three-drawer stand to put folded clothes. It also had a small balcony with a table and two chairs. The bathroom had a shower, sink and a standing shelf to hold your stuff.
We used the safe quite extensively (as we do wherever we go) but we never noticed any security issues. All in all, the room was perfectly adequate for our needs (which were primarily a place to sleep and hold our stuff while we were out).
There are two pools on the property. One is smaller just outside the reception area and the other, larger, pool is in a courtyard surrounded by rooms. We never used either but they seemed nice. The second pool is connected by a breezeway to the beach area where they have lounge chairs and a hammock (only one!)
They have a bar setup in that breezeway and that's where we spent a lot of our down time. They have chairs and tables setup and it's very comfortable because you are in the shade with a lot of wind blowing through and Belicans nearby!
The beach area was alright. Pretty typical, I guess, for that part of Ambergris Caye. It's nice to sit out there and enjoy the breeze, water and sun but it's not a swimming beach like you'd see in Cancun or the Grand Caymen. The beaches and the water, I think, are nicer, the further north you go (especially if you go past the cut) but the tradeoff is convenience to San Pedro for eating and shopping. Banana Beach is a five dollar (US)/five minute taxi ride to town.
Booking tours/excursions was easy at the Monkey Business shop on premises. While it might be a little bit cheaper to research dive shops or tour companies and book directly, it certainly was more convenient to book through the shop! Plus, if one tour company is full the staff can call around to find someone that is willing to take you. We also purchased water (reasonably sized, too) from this shop for $1 a bottle.
The restaurant on site (El Divino) was good! We ate all our breakfasts there as well as a couple of lunches and the food was tasty. There were also willing to improvise on the menu to adjust for my picky tastes.
The staff is the shining jewel of this place. They are all amazingly friendly and it seems that the same people have been there for years. Everyone was super helpful from the Jessica at the front desk who helped adjust our Tropic Air reservations, to the girls at Monkey Business who arranged our dives to Ingrid our very hard working bartender.
All in all we enjoyed our stay and would stay there again, especially considering the price and helpfulness of the staff. My review is four stars but, more specifically, the property gets 3 stars because of its age and the staff easily gets 5.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The friendliest resort sitting on the powdery sand of Mar de Tumbo Beach just south of San Pedro Town on the Ambergris Caye of Belize, Banana Beach Resort has been a haven of fun, adventure, and relaxation for more than 10 years. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Banana Beach Hotel San Pedro
- Banana Beach San Pedro
- Banana Beach Belize
- Banana Beach Resort Belize/San Pedro