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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

VISIT TO BELIZE (part 1 of 2)
by Gordon
July 2005

I managed to get a short trip scheduled to Belize last month to check up on the bareboat companies there. I wasn't able to do any sailing this time but I did get a chance to see most of the boats and all three bases: TMM andThe Moorings in Palcencia, and TMM in San Pedro.

The direct flight from Boston to Miami and then a second flight on to Belize City International took, what seemed to be very little time. A few minutes wait, and I was on my way to San Pedro on a nice little Cessna Caravan with about 10 other happy travellers - some locals, some visitors like myself. The flight only takes about 20 minutes and gives you a great view of the inner reef areas. I'm not a real fan of small airplanes, but the pilots are great and I arrived in San Pedro none the worse for wear. The San Pedro airstrip is small but in very nice condition, so the landing was smooth. This is nice because there isn't much run-out room at the end of the runway, which actually ends in town...literally. I could have thrown my bag inside the front door of the Sun Breeze Hotel (my home for the next few days) from the plane's doorway!

San Pedro is a bustling little town with lots of shops, restaurants and resorts, many of which are within walking distance of the airport. The Eastern side is all beach and is somewhat unique in that you can walk, as long as your legs hold out, pretty much from one end to the other. There are dive shops and watersports rentals, resorts and restaurants all sharing the same beach. It is nice and clean and is puncutated by well maintained wooden piers, many with cute palm-frond roofed huts at their ends. There is a nice Polynesian kind of name for those huts, but I can't seem to remember what it is, oh well it'll come to me. See the rest of my photographs (part 1).

TMM's tidy little office is just off the main street, about a two minute walk from both the airport and their pier in front of the The Palms resort. A number of the boats were in, which was good for me as that is really the primary reason for the trip. I was very pleased with the condition of the boats, even some of the older ones. I fell deeply in love with their new Lagoon 380 S2 3 cab 'Innisfree IV'. This boat is just beautiful and is very well equipped. The new large deadlights in the hull make the sleeping cabins feel very open, and the varnished cherry woodwork gives the boat a very classy feel. What's not to like?

The Island Super Market in San Pedro is quite large and really looked more like a 2nd world or even 1st world set up. They have a well stocked selection of goods and there is a bulk beverage store right next door. You can easily walk to it from TMM, but it is a little far to walk back if you have groceries to carry.

As mentioned, I stayed at the Sun Breeze Hotel which I found to be very nice. An attractive, two story "U" shaped affair, with the open courtyard and pool area facing the ocean. There is a restaurant and bar next to the pool and right on the beach. There is no actual swimming beach for the hotel itself, but there is a beach volley ball area. The food at the restaurant was very good, breakfast was reasonable, the dinners were a bit pricey. My room was very comfortable with an interesting vaulted ceiling and nice mahogany woodwork.

I was also able to see several other very attractive hotel and resort properties all of which have their own personalities, but perhaps we can talk about them some other time. I'm off to Placencia in the morning, so in next month's installment we will cover that area.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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