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“Great location and employees, but does need to be updated”

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Banana Beach Resort
Ranked #37 of 55 Hotels in San Pedro
Reviewed 1 June 2011

My boyfriend and I just returned from our Ambergris Caye trip yesterday. We stayed at Banana Beach May 26-31. First off, Banana Beach pays for your taxi ride to and from the airport. I would totally recommend flying....Crystal made our flight reservations...We took the water taxi one evening from Belize City after our mainland excursions via San Pedro Express...the trip is 1 1/2 hrs long (vs a 20 min flight), unsafe, as they overload the boats with passengers, and cramped if you manage to even get a seat. The taxi drivers who run passengers for Banana Beach were all very friendly. The location of Banana Beach is on the south end of the island, and after visiting the entire island for 5 days, I prefer this side since it's close to town, but not too close. Keep in mind that the water/beaches on this side are not great compared to downtown and the north side. I wouldn't swim in the water from this side since it's very shallow and full of sea grass....not appealing!

Upon arriving to Banana Beach, you can see that the grounds are tropical, but it reminded me of a 1970's Florida apartment complex. Nice, but needs updating. There are 2 refreshing pools, but many planks on the deck need to be replaced. Check-in was easy, although there was some confusion with our golf cart reservation.

As for the room, it was very similar to the online photos. Clean, but needs updating. The furnishings are quite outdated, mismatched tile, and just an overall worn look. We stayed on the 2nd floor with an ocean view balcony, which I would recommend. Balcony was spacious, although patio furniture was very worn. The master bedroom had a wall A/C unit, which is consistent with the other buildings on the island, so you do get a cool comforatable room to sleep in. I thought the beds were quite comfortable. The rest of the unit can get quite hot, but just open your patio doors and let the breeze...it really helps. Overall, the rooms were clean, and meets all basic needs, but if you're looking for luxury, this is not the place.

The beach has a seawall, so you're not actually on the beach, you're in more like a sandbox. The resorts on either side have "beaches" but again, the swimming is not good here due to the sea grass. If you're wanting to swim, look at the street maps and you'll find locations for public swimming. Those locations have very little sea grass and crystal clear waters.

The staff are excellent. Very friendly and helpful, from the waitstaff, housekeepers, and groundskeepers. Mr. Trap is the hardest working man! Romeo in El Divino is great! Tip them well, they deserve it!

El Divino is very good, we had dinner there 2 nights, and free breakfast every morning. We drank all over the island for 5 days, and my boyfriend and I both agree that El Divino had the strongest, best tasting drinks on the entire island.

Some basic tips: get a golf cart, it's totally worth it! Fly from Belize City and back instead of taking the water taxi, that expense is totally worth it, too! Keep in mind that the island moves at a different pace than the states, so know that things will run behind schedule. A start time of 8am really means about 8:30-9am.

Overall, pleasant place to stay with good food and drinks, good location and great customer service. Just do not expect luxury or a great beachfront.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank butterf160
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2011

Food is amazing! Free breakfast is plenty to eat and the continental has fresh fruit and bread. There are 2 swimming pools. Our room is on a corner on the second floor balcony. The view is amazing.

It is not the US and the decor is very casual. There is a small sea wall but you can walk around and into the water. Then it is a half mile till it gets deep. Fish and seahorses dance in the water. I think everything is reasonable since it is US$ 1 vs BZE$ 2. The guy who complained on Trip Advisor should stay at a big chain hotel. This is a place you can become family.

The Massage by Helen is the best I have ever had in my whole life!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Benita C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2011

We stayed at Banana Beach Resort Hotel in April of 2011. I thought it was amazing. The staff was friendly, helpful and always followed through with committments. The location far from San Pedro was nice as it was quiet and not dirty. The hotel does have a sea wall and not a beach, but that was actually better, because it kept the sand cleaner, and there were beaches to the right and left of the sea wall. To the right of the sea wall, there is some really nice snorkeling to be done. Mata Rocks must be named for all the rocks just a few feet into the water. Here you'll find an abundance of tropical fish, stingrays, morays, crabs, conches, and sea anemones, at leaste few of them. I even saw live coral growing. I spent hours with my husband exploring and moving rocks to see what we could find. Often I found myself in the middle of a large school of fish, and finding beautiful shells, including a live 6" conch shell, which we kept, cooked, and cleaned. It is a purple/white/pinkish color, and very fragile. The larger one in the photo was found in just two feet of water right under the peer out back; an amazing find, and quite rare, its over a foot long.

The bed was very comfortable, and the maids were great. The rooms were very clean and sitting on the balcony at night reading was amazing. All they facilities were very clean, and we could see the staff cleaning them daily early in the morning, they were constantly power washing the stairs and floors around the pools and rooms. The pools were very clean, unlike the resort to te right. Banana Beach takes care of its facilities. I wonder if the bad reviews are owners of hotels close by trying to steer people away, because I could find nothing wrong, except a faulty phone in our room, but that was no big deal.

Security was well done. Sometimes at night, I would walk out the peer and a security guard would keep me within eyes range to make sure I was safe. They were very friendly, and I never felt as if I was in danger.

We brught most of our own food, So I cant speak for the food in the resturant, but dont expect "ethnic" carribean food. We could not find any on the whole island. It's like being in a impoverished town in the US, but with a diferent look. English is the official language, and everyone is fluent.

BRING BACK COFFEE!! I found a wonderful coffee shop run by a man named Saul. They roast it there, and it is amazing. I believe it is called "The Rum, Cigar & Coffee House
" I cant say for sure, but its up the street from Mickeys Resturant. They also sell fine cigars. Dont leave without the coffee, its aoung the best Ive ever had!!

There is so much to do in Belize that would be short changing yourself if you just stayed on the beaches. Go to the caves, ruins, lagoons, and small towns. The people are very friendly. Also, Invest in your own snorkeling gear, the 150$ is well worth it, plus if your form somewhere that has access to snorkeling locations, you'll get your use out of it. I plan on making the Florida keys a frequent stop, just to snorkel.

All in all, Banana Beach was far better than a three star in my opinion. Sure they may not have had the deluxe amenities as an all inclusive resort, but why go to Ambergris if you just going to stay in the hotel. This is an activity destination, and Banana Beach can help you do it all. There are many things that are a once in a life time experience, and in 30 years, scientists are predicting that the barrier reef will be bleached, so do it NOW!!! I'm already saving for another trip in 2-3 years.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank curtisbehappy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 May 2011

On April 16, 2011 my wife and I got married. About 6 weeks before that day, we chose to go to Belize. I wanted to see some Mayan ruins, and experience excellent snorkeling, while my wife wanted a nice Caribbean beach, with white sands. We scheduled our trip to Banana Beach through AAA Travel Agency while only seeing pictures of it in a brochure. After feeling that I haste-fully chose the hotel, I began to read up on reviews of the location. After reading numerous reviews, I was weary of my decision, and began to wish I had chosen someplace else, alas, it was too late. I originally reserved a balcony suite, but then upgraded to an Ocean Front Balcony Suite, and ultimately received room 330B. I thought, “Hopefully, it would be nice”.
I had read reviews stating, “It was nasty, musty, and dirty”, “it was nothing special”, “Ok, for the money”, and such. I did read a few reviews that spoke highly of Banana Beach, but in the end, I was not expecting much. Although, I was going more for the activities, than to sit all day in my hotel room.
First off, let me say that I was amazed that someone would write a review that had such a low opinion of the hotel, as to write, “It was nothing special”, or “It was nasty, musty, and dirty”. My experience at Banana Beach was amazing. The pictures I’ve posted should tell the story.
First off, don’t go to Belize and not visit some Mayan Ruins, and make your visit to one of the major complexes, like Tikal or Caracol. There are several smaller complexes, but the major ones were spectacular, and the ATM cave was amazing. I scheduled the ATM Cave through Monkey Business Travel at Banana Beach, and it went as smooth as could be; everything else was through AAA and Avanti Travel.
Also, if you plan on snorkeling, go and spend the 150.00 for good equipment. I bought an Oceanic Ultra Dry snorkel, got fitted for a mask and bought my own fins. Not only were they perfect for the barrier reef, but I snorkeled for hours up and down the sea walls, (especially in front of Mata Rocks, next to Banana Beach), and had just as good of a time as on the barrier. There are rock formations to the left of the sea wall in front of Mata Rocks that create a mini reef system where I saw all kinds of fish, crabs, stingrays, morays, and such. I even found a large conch shell under the peer right out back. I even saw what seems to be some sort of ancient road. There were rectangular slabs 3 abreast and straight for 30 feet. I asked some locals if they knew of a road that was once there and they said that their families had been on the island for 150 years and never knew of a road. The Maya were known to have been on the island, so I have no idea why they were there, but it was a mere 15 feet into the water off the beach. Snorkeling in the shallow water is a great way to find cool shells, most of which are inhabited by tiny crabs.
If you plan to explore the island by golf cart, take the bridge to the north part of the island and snorkel up there too. It’s so pristine and untouched (the beach), but the north side also has a lot of construction and was the garbage dump for the southern part for many years. Many of the expensive resorts are here, and I am so glad I did not stay at one of those. They have walls around them so you don’t see the trash, sewage, and filth. Good luck with the smell if you choose one of the northern locations, they may be nice resorts, but it’s surrounded by garbage and construction. It’s nice to explore though because there is little boat traffic, and its much closer the reef. I snorkeled to it like 5 minutes and spent a whole day there snorkeling the reef on my own with only my wife (make sure you have a large orange floater so you don’t get run over by a boat). There too I found a live conch shell and boiled out the critter, the conch is a reddish-purple,…. So beautiful.
So now to the review on the hotel. I would agree with the statement that Banana Beach Resort is not really a resort, more like a really nice hotel with its own restaurant, spa, and travel company. Not quite a full resort. Do not let that information take away from how nice this place is. First off, it’s nice and far away enough from San Pedro that you miss all the trash and noise pollution that you would find in the town. I read a lot of people commenting on how far the hotel was from the nightlife, but what I experienced of the nightlife was not that special, and you don’t want to be out on the streets after dark, just like any town stricken with poverty, However, I never felt unsafe at any time.
The room was very nice and well stocked. We brought a lot of our own food and, brought along our own cookware because I read a review that stated there was none, so that you would have to eat at the restaurant. That was untrue, The kitchen was completely stocked with everything you could need, except a paring knife, which we brought.
The maid did a very good job, and even washed our dirty dishes, which we had planned to do later. Every time we requested clean towels and sheets, they were changed (don’t forget the daily $5 us tip). The maids cleaned everything perfectly, and left our supply of tissues, soap, and other sanitary items well supplied. One maid saw our conch shell and even left a tip on how to clean it up and make it beautiful.
The hotel actually has two pools, one is very large, clean and unheated, while the other is smaller and heated. These pools were cleaned daily early in the morning. The sun rises early here, like 5am, so I was up early to see every beautiful sunrise, and all the staff getting the place ready for the day. I took photos of the pool, and comparison photo of a pool from a facility right beside (Mata Rocks), see the difference? The sand in front of the sea wall was always clean, and well taken care of. Yes the hotel has no direct beach, but either side of the seawall does. It was actually kind of nice this way, because there was no stinky sea grass washing up next to the chairs. All the staff was extremely friendly and helped with everything we asked for, except for our room phone, which didn’t work very well, but we just used the lobby phone and it was no big issue. Security was always present and patrolling the grounds 24 hours per day.
All in all, the hotel was much better than I expected. Every evening we sat on the balcony, read, and listened to the sea breeze (more like wind) and the water crest on the beach. The upgrade was worth every penny, definitely get the oceanfront suite. It’s is well worth it. When I come back to Ambergris Cay, I’m staying here again, great value, location, and scenery. Make sure to check out all my photos. I went away from my honeymoon with the most amazing memories, and the hotel was by far one of the luckiest on the fly decisions I made. Go there if you can, and get the ocean front suite, you won’t regret it. I can’t really think of anything that I didn’t like. Maybe only one thing, the living room was always way hotter than the bed room, but it did face the rising sun with a large sliding glass door. The best thing?...... The beautiful views and it was right on the beach. With my own snorkeling gear, I could snorkel all day for free, and I found a trove of cool stuff in the water, shells, 2 conches and ½ conch shell, coral, jewelry, coins, and awesome old bottle that I filled with sand and made a neat keepsake!

This site will only let you post 10 pics at a time so see the follow up pics in 3 more of my reviews!

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank pcjoseph1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2011

I stayed there 8 years ago and it was great, however they have let it go. Don't go with children, the pool deck is not good and needs to be fixed. I have faith they will repair it, however not sure when. The pool area is dangerous with bare feet and for children. The WIFI needs an upgrade, it doesn't work in the rooms or the pool area. There is also a long term resident that is living next to the pool, they have dogs, a grill and a pile of shoes.................hate to say it, but it takes the charm out of the hotel. Nasty.

  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Lovetotravelfamily4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 April 2011

April 21, 2011 - 13 adults arrived at Banana Beach after normal business hours due to flight delays and cancelations, and the resort staff was waiting for us when we arrived.
The grounds are clean and everyone is friendly and helpful. All our rooms were placed near each other and very comfortable. Ocean front resort & 2 pools will accommmodate everyone and never a shortage of chairs. The restaurant was spectacular. We ate breakfast daily and dinner there several times. Prices were reasonable, service was outstanding, (the little waiter was funny) and the food was very good. Not one of us had a bad meal in our 6 days there. Monkey Business Tours arranged our excursions, bicycle and golf cart rentals and were always very pleasant. I would like to thank Crystal & staff for the Banana Beach Hospitality you showed our group. We are already starting to make arrangements for our return.

  • Stayed: April 2011
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1  Thank CrewedAffair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2011

I stayed for 1 week in June with my wife and another couple. The weather was beautiful and the resort is clean and well maintained. We enjoyed the restaurant at the resort, and the beach bar and the beautiful Caribbean sea. We did some scuba diving and fishing and that was a lot of fun. The resort is nicely located, away from down town but not too far, a long walk or short ride. We were surprised that prices for groceries, reataurants, entertainment, etc. were a little higher than we expected, but overall we have very fond memories of the Resort and Ambergrise Island and we look forward to returning next year!

Room Tip: Go ocean front!
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  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Chris4444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Banana Beach Resort

Address: Sea Grape Drive | PO Box 94, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize
Region: Belize > Belize Cayes > Ambergris Caye > San Pedro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#20 Top resorts Hotel in San Pedro
#35 On the Beach Hotel in San Pedro
Price Range: £71 - £139 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Banana Beach Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 64
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

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