The Old 'Time Share' Pitch
On the morning of our only full day on Ambergris Cay, as we left the San Pedro supermarket, we were approached by two people asking us to participate in a prize draw. Sure, so Sue hauled out a ticket that said she had won US$100 and I pulled out a US$2000 'value' ticket. Wow, they said, you've won the grand prize, so we will take the $100 ticket off you and you will be taken to the Banyan Bay Resort to claim the big 'win'!! All the fancy resorts in San Pedro are located on the southern end of the island, and we had actually been planning to bike there anyway for a look, so we told them to hold off on the transportation and we'll get there on our own.
Unique Suggestions: Of course we could see what was coming, trying to get us to sign up for ownership of a time-share vacation spot. We had done something similar in Cancun during our 2003 vacation and had really cashed in on some great bonus awards for simply going through the process, even though we said NO to all their proposals.
Banyan Bay was the same - a sales team took us through all their fancy suites that looked to be fit for Royalty and eventually sat us down to a couple of waves of attack. They did not persist long after they realized we were not going to bite. It was then that we were taken to pick up our US$2000 value voucher. It entitled us to one-week of paid accommodations for up to 4 adults (over 28) at one of their Caribbean resorts. However there were a few catches - of the possible places available in St. Kitts, Bonaire, Dominican, Panama and Grand Cayman we could choose three and we also had to choose three time periods when we wanted to take the vacation - they would then let us know which destination was open and during which time period. In order to activate this, we had to pay US$109 each within 2 months of winning the voucher (ie. before the end of April). After reading the fine print, the voucher was not valid for more than one year from issue (expired Feb, 2007) and there was also a 'black-out' period between December, 2006-March, 2007. What it really boiled down to was, we would have to pay our own transportation costs to take a random vacation of their selection between April-November, 2006 - during either the scorching months of summer or the hurricane season!
Fun Alternatives: Should have just taken the $100. They did not even give us a free drink, let alone all the other great things the Sun Palace chain gave us in Cancun. Oh well, we got to have a good look at the south end of the island and were wrapped up shortly after noon to continue our wanderings.
- Family Travel
San Pedro, the beach. What beach?
If you came to San Pedro and Ambregris Caye for the beach you will be sadly disappointed. There is no real beach to be had here. Most the waterfront in San Pedro is occupied by buildings that actually reach almost all the way to the water. On some spots there is some sandy stretches but quite often it is just breakwater or wharf.
Unique Suggestions: If you insist on lying in the sun then do it by the poolside as I did. You could also just wander up and down the waterfront and see the pelicans of which there are plenty.
Hol Chan Marine Preserve
Just off the Coast of Ambergris is the Hol Chan Marine Preserve. In a gap in the Barrier reef you can dive and snorkel with an abundance of coral life. This place is heavily visited by tourists so the reef is not at its healthist there.
Unique Suggestions: It is still worth it when part of a tour with the Shark Ray Alley
Fun Alternatives: I'd recommend the Mexico Rocks over the gap.
- National/State Park
- Diving and Snorkeling