We stayed in Paradise Villas unit 15A, or B (can’t remember) in March 2012.
Overall we enjoyed our experience very much. However, I wanted to make a couple of notes about the property:
The property itself:
12 buildings for a total of 48 units (1A, 1B, 2A, 2B – etc) either 1 bed/1bath or 2 bed/2bath – with an adjoining door to make as large as a 2 level 3bed/2bath. The grounds are nice. The beach is pleasant. The pool is small but quite clean and never was busy. The property is not a hotel. Rather it is 12 individually owned condos managed by one of two rental companies: Nellie Gomez, or Tradewinds. There is no onsite management. Tradewinds has an office across the street, and Nellie Gomez has one about ½ a mile away. This is why you let them pick you up at the air strip or pier on arrival – because if you go on your own no one is there to give you a key or show you your unit. We didn’t know, and since we arrived on island an hour early we caught a cab on our own. Fortunately the groundskeeper called Nellie Gomez office for us and she came over in about 5-10 minutes with our keys.
There are 4 units with a great ocean view 1a,1b, 24a, 24b. Everything else is really pool view or Garden view. The pool views are situated best in my opinion. The ones back away from the beach (the garden view) are situated closest to the street. Mine was right next to the street – every AM around 4 I would wake up to street noises – usually the 4am garbage pickup. Man those garbage men don’t even try to be quiet. The beach units are likely quiet in the early AM – however, in the late PM you MIGHT be bothered by beach noises – there are bars about 50 meters down the beach and on one or two evenings they play music.
The pool views are halfway between the back (street) and front (beach) so likely are the best compromise.
Also – about the management companies – I do not believe that all units are similarly equipped with amenities. Since they are individually owned some may have better/worse: beds, televisions, air conditioners, stoves/etc. We didn’t really care if our TV was made in 1995 – but some might.
There really wasn’t anything to dislike about the property or unit. It’s about 20 yards from reef adventures dive shop. However, there’s a pier on the beach for the hotel, so likely anyone could pick you up to take you diving.
I think my only gripe was with the early morning wake ups – which was really no big deal.
The units have air-conditioning in the bedroom. The living area is not air conditioned. However, if you leave bedroom doors open it circulates pretty well in the 2 bedroom. Also, if there’s a ocean breeze – just open windows. There are screens on the doors and windows so you can enjoy ocean breezes. It is more pleasant than air conditioning.
Oh, I did notice one thing that spazzed another guest out. There are loose dogs all over the island – on the beach, on the property, everywhere. It’s not unusual to find once napping on your porch. Leashes and fences seem to be in short supply (though they mostly all had collars. Honestly, I love animals and appreciated having someone to scratch behind the ears. However another guest kind of had a little fit over it, and asked/told the grounds keeper to kindly remove the dog in front of her unit from the property. Maybe she was allergic. The groundskeeper complied politely, but this is really in clash with the overall laid back culture of the island. At any rate – if this is something that would bother you – be warned, the dogs are permanent residents, you are just visiting : - ). Besides, it’s part of the charm.
The location of the property:
San Pedro is a small town – the ‘town’ is about a mile long, and 4 blocks wide. Paradise Villas is located on the barrier reef shoreline/beach about ¼ mile north of the center of town (Central Park/Town square). That means that it’s about a 5 minute ride from the airstrip (they will pick you up, but a cab cost $5 USD if you paid your own way). It’s about a 5 minute walk from Paradise Villas to town square. There are two grocery stores within about 50 yards from the property entrance.
You really have no need to rent a golf cart if you don’t plan on leaving the town. However, if you want to see the far north or south – as far as you can anyway – rentals available for the day or week. I think it was about $40 for the day. You can also rent bicycles. We just walked everywhere – which was easy as everything is 5 minutes walk tops.
Practical info about eating and provisioning near the property:
Just FYI – groceries are kind of pricey – at least for typical American junk food. Anything that is imported is expensive because first it imports to Belize, then takes a boat from the mainland out to the Caye. A bag of chips that might run $2-$3 USD here, runs about $6 USD there ($12 BZE) sodas run $1 USD each for 16 ounce (1/2 liter) bottles. Ice cream, candy, cookies (unless baked locally) are all expensive compared to back home, double, or sometimes triple the cost of home.
There are places to eat out everywhere – 2 minutes in either direction on the beach will give you 6 options. Again, I found the beach eating to be a little pricey. Ched at reef adventures dive shop explained it like this “you pay about 30% extra in San Pedro for Ambiance, if you want a good deal go 2 blocks back from the beach and the same food can be half as much” You could eat out cheap if you wanted to. We ate on the beach most evenings, and ate food in the condo for breakfast and lunch.
Typical cost to eat out: burger/fries= $10 USD + 10% tax and tip on the beach (plus whatever you drink). It just goes up from there – fish seafood plates were typically $15 - $20 USD. I enjoyed the food, but it’s like any other beach – you pay extra to see the water.
On the other hand move a few blocks back and eat out of a shack or a tent and get rice/beans + bbq chicken plate for $4-$5 USD. My favorite meals of the trip were Saturday and Sunday about 50 meters from the hotel in front of the grocery store a family sets up a tent and bbq’s some chicken – great meal for about $5 a plate.
The tap water – drank it for a week – no problems.
If we visit Ambergris caye again, we’ll likely stay here again. Remember – simple place with charm. Not fancy. No granite countertops, no resort experience – just clean, comfortable, and well located.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- You will find Tradewinds Paradise Villas nestled in a beautiful beach front location on the north edge of San Pedro. If you are looking for a place to stay that will offer you personalized service, uniquely decorated rooms in the Belizean style, a freshwater pool with swim up b.y.o. bar on lush grounds with sandy pathways that lead you to your fully equipped villa, Tradewinds Paradise Villas is where you want to spend you vacation. LOCATION-LOCATION-LOCATION On the Quiet North edge of San Pedro. Airport is on opposite side. You can Walk to every thing. Restaurants, Pubs Shops and Grocery stores a block away ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Belize Tradewinds Paradise Villas Hotel San Pedro
- Belize Tradewinds Paradise Villas San Pedro