Pelican Reef Villas and Surroundings

After about an hour flight on Tropic Air, we arrived in San Pedro. The view on approach was beautiful. I must be honest, I’m not a fan of small planes, but sitting on a couch style seat with a child on either side of me was kind of nice!

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Small Plane + Ominous Skies = Nervous Mom

Upon arrival, our luggage was promptly delivered to us and a taxi service coordinated by the Pelican Reef Villas picked us up and dropped us at the resort about 10 minutes later. It felt great to get to the beach!

ROOM

We were greeted by Michaela who had our room information ready and coordinated welcome drinks for us. I’m not a huge rum fan, but I loved my rum punch. We were promptly shown to our villa and the amenities were explained to us. We had reserved a two bedroom, two bathroom pool/garden view villa for our family of four and it was perfect. The master bedroom had a king sized bed while the guest room had a queen. Both bathrooms had showers only and again no tub if that makes a difference to you.

The main living area was well appointed with granite finishes and nice furnishings throughout. The kids were excited to learn that not only did the villa have several TVs, it also had DirectTV which meant shows from home including Disney Channel and NFL football on Sunday! We didn’t really watch much TV, but watching a few quarters of the Pats game was nice! The best part of it all was that we were only about 15 steps to the pool. And that’s where we spent a good chunk of our time.

The resort itself is quite small and contained. We normally stay at large, expansive resorts and that is not what you’ll find at Pelican Reef. We quite enjoyed the intimacy of the place as a contrast to what we’re used to.

WIFI

One aspect of all hotel and resorts that we pay close attention to is the wifi. I need to be connected for some period of time everyday to keep up with my award bookings. The wifi at Pelican Reef was amazing by comparison to Black Rock Lodge. I believe that Black Rock was experiencing difficulties outside of their control, but it was nice that the wifi at Pelican Reef was consistent. Despite the consistency, the wifi only worked for us regularly at the pool area. Quite frequently we were able to connect in our villa, but there were periods where it did not work. Those periods may have had to do with demand at the time. We’re not quite sure.

AWESOME ACTIVITIES

It’s hard to tell from the photos online, but the pool is pretty small. There is a nice infinity edge and a swim up bar, but it’s not much bigger than a pool you’d find in someone’s backyard. That was not a problem while we were there. We rarely shared it with more than one other party, but during peak season, it may get a little crowded.

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In addition to the pool, there is also a nice beach although it was unusable while we were there. Sargassum (sea grass) had taken over and despite the best efforts of the staff to clear it away, there was no way to swim from the beach. The staff mentioned that it should be gone within a few months so this is not a year round problem. But at the end of the pier, there was no problem with swimming. There also is an artificial reef there that makes snorkeling enjoyable. We saw some pretty fish and sting rays while snorkeling there.

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Also at the end of the pier are paddle boards and kayaks tied up for use by guests. I gave paddle boarding a try and really enjoyed it. Balance isn’t one of my strong suits, but I was able to manage to stay upright until I was not upright anymore while trying to park the thing. I will definitely try it again!

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About twenty minutes away, there is a small reef that you’re able to kayak to for additional snorkeling. The problem with that while we were there was that the sun was pretty intense and there was no way to shade ourselves while paddling to the reef. We didn’t want to fry the kids to a crisp, so we didn’t get to partake in this activity. But we talked with a few people who did and really enjoyed it.

There is also the opportunity to fish from the pier. They have the fishing gear and all you have to do is ask. My husband gave it a go for about an hour one afternoon but didn’t have any luck.

Pelican Reef also can coordinate golf cart rentals so that you’re able to come and go on your own. Walking into town in that kind of heat wasn’t really feasible for us (it’s probably a 45 minute walk each way) so we rented a cart one afternoon to do some shopping. It’s a pretty bumpy road so the novelty wore off quickly for me, but the kids thought it was great.

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Pelican Reef can also coordinate any sort of activity that you’d be interested in trying, even those on the mainland (Ambergis Caye is an island). We didn’t give cave tubing a try given the kids ages, but based on talking with another couple, it appears that they may have enjoyed it.

But we did try the Hol Chan Marine Reserve/Shark Ray Alley snorkel trip. This was the perfect introduction to snorkeling for our kids. The boat ride was only about 20 minutes each way and there was a ton to see. When doing some research about this excursion before we left, I was under the impression that this was some sort of contained experience. It’s not. It’s just a buoyed off area in the sea and there are a ton of marine life to experience. My son never did get the courage up to get in the water given the presence of nurse sharks which he could see from the boat. But my husband, daughter, and I all enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was the first time I saw a sea turtle while snorkeling. It was great. Makes me want to consider a waterproof phone case for our Great Barrier Reef adventure later this year.

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In short, Pelican Reef can coordinate basically anything within Belize that you’d like to try. This makes it a pretty easy place to base yourself from. While we enjoyed staying in the jungle, you can still do many of the same activities from San Pedro.

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FOOD

As I mentioned, we only rented a golf cart for one afternoon. This was not the original plan. We had originally planned rent a cart each day so that we could come and go and so we could try different restaurants for dinner. Upon arrival, Michaela mentioned that she had made dinner reservations for our first night at Hidden Treasures in town because they offered free pick up. That sounded great to us and at the allotted time, the van was there to pick us up.

Unfortunately, the van didn’t have AC and the windows were down. I have neglected to mention the mosquitos thus far. They’re awful. Granted, our kids are especially sensitive to them, but they were still pretty vicious with my husband and I as well. Anyway, given that the windows were open, the van was full of them. By the time we arrived at the restaurant, my son, who had complained the whole way (10 minute ride), was literally eaten alive.

We felt terrible that we hadn’t been a little more understanding during the car ride over… And the restaurant itself wasn’t much better. It was open air and there were still mosquitos hovering. So, we took our meal to go (which was quite expensive, by the way) and never made it back out after dusk again.

We ended up ordering pizza from Pepperonis the second night and not having ordered pizza in some time, I over-ordered so we ate pizza on our last night there as well. There is a full kitchen in the villa so I heated up our leftovers. It was great although super expensive.

Pelican Reef only offers breakfast and lunch until 330pm. Breakfast was included in our rate and was really good. We tried a variety of things over the course of our stay and enjoyed it all. We also had lunch one day. The nachos were great as were the kids grilled cheese sandwiches.

PRICING

Given that we chose to stay at the Pelican Reef Villas during their low season, we paid the lowest accommodation rate that the villa charges, but this is not an inexpensive hotel. The base rate for two people was $216.75 plus a $40 fee for an additional person in the room (our daughter was free being under 5), plus 9% hotel tax and a 5% sales tax. The total cost for our room was $293.44 per night.

The transfer from/to San Pedro airport roundtrip was $12.50 for the 4 of us. Our excursion to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley was a total of $144 but we were told it was $40 per person and that our kids were half price. It appears we also paid to rent gear which we were unaware was an additional charge. We had our own and would have brought it if we had known it wasn’t included. Just something to be aware of if you’re planning a similar excursion.

Also, my husband so kindly surprised me with a massage on the beach which I never would have pursued myself and it was lovely. That was $110 for a one hour massage. Lastly, the food, drink (breakfast was included in our room rate), and tips were a total of $144.50. Most of this expense was for drinks. They are quite pricey so keep that in mind.

Rum Punch! Yum!

Rum Punch! Yum!

Overall, our stay at the Pelican Reef Villas in San Pedro on Ambergis Caye was great. We feared the weather before departing for Belize and even though it was the rainy season, we didn’t see a drop while on the island. We would recommend a stay here to anyone although we would caution you on the mosquitos. We will definitely return if we get the opportunity to do so again.

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