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     When is Lobster and Conch Season in Belize?

Lobster Season 2011 is June 15 - February 15.
Conch Season 2011 is October 1 - June 30.

     Why visit Ambergris Caye when traveling to Belize?

Ambergris Caye has the reputation as one of the premier diving and snorkeling sites in the world as chronicled by National Geographic, Jacques & Philip Cousteau, and many Diving, and Boating Magazines.  The Belize Reef is less than a half-mile off the Blue Reef Island Resort beach and spans the length of Belize.  In fact, at Rocky Point on North Ambergris Caye, the reef actually is at the shoreline.  The close proximity of the Reef provides spectacular diving and snorkeling experiences for the avid diver or novice snorkeler.  In addition, a wide variety of game fishes are available via back water fishing, reef fishing, and deep sea fishing. 

What once was a trade route for the Maya, Ambergris Caye gave the Maya access to the Caribbean Sea and trade routes north from -1,000 BC to around 400 AD, and later around the turn of the 19th Century, the island became a tropical coconut plantation.  In recent times, the island has been known as a dream destination for the avid diver.  Over the last few years, this quaint tourist destination has added first class resorts and fine dining restaurants while keeping the charm and leisure lifestyle of an island paradise.  With building restrictions "nothing taller than a palm tree", the island is a rare unspoiled paradise with the "creature comforts" most often sought for a dream vacation.   

Pristine white beaches, calm emerald waters of the Caribbean Sea and lush tropical vegetation of the sub-topics provide the background.  Since Belize is an English speaking country, and most visitors to Belize speak English as their first language, the comfort level of traveling in Belize is unlike any other country in Central or South America.   

It would be remiss not to mention the friendliness of the "locals".  Most locals are of Mayan descent, and have either grown up on the island or moved to the island to cater to visitors.  They have great pride in the Reef and continually focus on the protection of it.  Ambergris Caye is a true island lifestyle.  

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem

 

      How do I get to Belize and Ambergris Caye?

The Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport is located on the mainland of Belize, approximately 10 miles from the Caribbean Sea. International airline service is provided on a daily basis by American Airlines through Miami and Dallas, Continental Airlines through Houston, U. S. Airways through Charlotte and TACA with its partner airlines through Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York to name a few. Weekly scheduled service in also provided by Delta through Atlanta and by international airlines from Europe and Canada.

Ambergris Caye is thirty-six air miles from the Belize International Airport.  San Pedro Town is the name of the town on Ambergris, and is the destination name for flights or water taxis.

The country has two domestic airlines, Maya Island Air and Tropic Air, with hourly service to San Pedro Town. Both companies operate a modern fleet of aircraft using the Cessna Caravan Prop Jet as the workhorse of the fleet.

The trip by air from the International Airport to San Pedro Town is approximately 15 minutes.  To travel by water, taxis are available outside the airport to transport travelers to the Water Ferry in Belize City, approximately 10 miles from the airport.  The boats leave Belize City every 1.5 hours during daylight hours, then it's about 1.5 hrs to reach the island.

     Where are Ambergris Caye and Blue Reef Island Resort?

Ambergris Caye is actually the bottom of the Yucatan Peninsula that starts in Mexico.  In Mexico, Cancun is located on the Yucatan, with the island of Cozumel located off shore.  At approximately 300AD, the Mayans dug a canal across the Peninsula for a "short cut" into Chetumal Bay, making the bottom 27 miles of the Peninsula an island.  Today, this canal divides the countries of Mexico and Belize, with the island known as Ambergris Caye.   

The town of San Pedro is divided from North Ambergris Caye by a river.  Blue Reef Island Resort is located on North Ambergris Caye, approximately 8 miles north of San Pedro Town, directly on the Caribbean Sea.

             

 

     How do I get to the resort?

Upon arriving by air or boat in San Pedro Town, you will be met, then take a 3 minute taxi ride to our dock, board a launch for a 25 minute boat ride to our Resort.  Check-in will occur upon arrival at the Resort.

 

   Once I get to the resort, how will I commute to different activities in Belize?

Scheduled snorkel, diving, fishing and other tour transportation is provided by the tour operator from our pier, if Guest Services has scheduled your activity. 

Our guest may also ride Blue Reef boats as they go to and from town, based on space available and reserving space via our Guest Services Office.  Guest Services posts the schedule daily.  Our boats usually travel back and forth several times a week.

In addition, there are commercial water taxi services on the island operating from Blue Reef throughout the day every  2 hours and sometimes every hour.  Simply check the current schedule with Guest Services.

When visiting San Pedro Town, golf cart rentals are available.  Golf carts are the mode of transportation to explore the town area and other areas on Ambergris Caye.  It is possible to drive a golf cart to Blue Reef for an adventure, but not very practical because of the poor road conditions, especially after a rain.

 

     Will my cellular telephone work in Belize?

 In most cases, your cell phone will not work in Belize.  However, if you have an unlocked GSM cell phone, you may purchase a Belize SIM Card (Digicell) to use in your phone for service.  (Your Belize telephone number will be on the SIM Card.)  To add minutes to your phone, Phone Cards are available in denominations from $5 to $100.  When using a SIM Card, minutes are only charged for placing calls, not receiving them.  Phone service is expensive in Belize, as it is in all Central American countries.As a guest at Blue Reef, upon check-in you are given a GSM cell phone for use during your stay.  Phone Cards are available for purchase.

 

   What is the Belize Currency and exchange rate?

 

The currency unit is the Belize Dollar (BZ$). The fixed rate of exchange is BZ. $2.00 to US $1.00. The US dollar is accepted throughout the country. There is no need to exchange US currency for BZ currency upon entering the country. However, you will always receive BZ currency as change.

 

     Are credit cards accepted? What about ATM’s?

MasterCard and VISA are the most commonly accepted credit cards.  Blue Reef accepts MasterCard, VISA, and American Express.  As in the US, the only places that do not accept credit cards are very small establishments.

Several of the Belize Banks have ATM’s that WILL accept U.S. ATM Cards.  Also, any of the banks will provide Cash Advances on your MasterCard or VISA.

 

     Do I need a Passport or Visa to travel to Belize?  What about Airport Departure Tax?

To enter the country of Belize, you must have a Passport.  Depending on your home country, you may also be required to have a visa.     

The country of Belize has a Departure Tax of $35.00 US per person, payable at the airport upon departure.  Check with your airline to see if the Departure Tax is included in the price of your ticket. In 2005, American Airlines no longer included Departure Tax in the airline ticket fare.. 

You can  use a MC or VISA credit card, US Dollars or Belize Dollars to pay your Departure Tax.

 

    Does Blue Reef Island Resort or Resort Services Belize automatically include a Service Charge or Gratuity on rentals or services? 

No.  At Blue Reef, we strive to provide exceptional service, but feel that our guests are the best to judge the service they receive.  In Belize, as in the US, it is customary to reward exceptional service with a gratuity of 15 to 20%. 

Some restaurants on Ambergris Caye DO include a Service Charge.  It is usually written in small print on the bottom of the menu.  If you are not sure, ask.

 

     How do I "tip" at Blue Reef?  What about tipping after an activity?

At Blue Reef, you may tip one of 3 ways for the services provided at Blue Reef or by any of our staff. 

First, for food/beverage, you may add a tip to the slip you sign at the time your receive service.  This tip is then included in the price of your meal at check-out.  The tip is specified tot he wait staff that provided your service.

Second, you may tip an individual you feel has provided exceptional service with cash.

Third, at the time of check-out, you may add a gratuity to your statement which may be paid via cash or credit card.  When you add the gratuity, you may add a flat amount "Tip Pool", specify an amount for an individual(s), or a combination of the two.  When leaving a flat amount, the "Tip Pool" is divided amoung all that provide service at Blue Reef as a "thank you" for the work they perform.  This includes the guys that rake the beach,  housekeepers, pool maintenance, boat captains, food service workers, guest services.... everyone providing service for our guests.

If you utilize a guide or tour not provided by Blue Reef, it is customary to "tip" the guide at the end of the trip.  The standard amount is 15 to 20%, or whatever value you place on the service provided.

 

   Are Television and Internet Services available?

 

At Blue Reef, each suite has Satellite Television.  Hundreds of channels provide US network television, movie channels and international programming.  There is also a DVD Player and CD Sound System in each suite.  We have a DVD library for our guests.  You will want to bring your favorite CD's, since everyone has individual music preferences.

A Guest Computer is setup in the Guest Services Office specifically for our guests' use.  If you choose to bring your laptop, you may access wireless capabilities from our patio area near the guest servcies office.  Few of our suites allow wireless capabilites due to the amount of concrete and steel in our structures.  In addition, there are several Internet Cafes in San Pedro Town.

     How safe is the country of Belize?

The Government of Belize is operated on the principles of British Common Law. The country's name was changed on June 1st, 1973, from British Honduras to Belize. The independence and first democratic elections were held in September of 1981. Since its independence in 1981, Belize has elected and changed Prime Ministers peacefully four times.

Belize is now a member of the British Commonwealth, the Organization of American States (OAS), the United Nations, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Diplomatic relations and embassies in the country include the United States, China, Taiwan, Mexico and other Caribbean nations.

For potential property owners, it is important to know that Belize is the only country in Central America to offer U.S. Title Insurance.

 

     What is the common language in Belize?

English is the official language and the language of instruction in schools. Spanish is also widely spoken. Belize is the only country with English as it’s officially spoken language in all of Central and South America.

When in Belize you may hear an unusual language among some of the locals.  It is Creole, a combination of abbreviated words in English and Spanish.

 

     Which banks are in Belize?

There are four commercial banks: Belize Bank Ltd., Barclays Bank PLC, Bank of Nova Scotia, and Atlantic Bank Ltd. The Central Bank of Belize has been set up to replace the Monetary Authority of Belize.

In Belize, the Banking Act permits Offshore Banking. There are several international offshore banks including The Bank of Bermuda, The Belize Bank, Atlantic Bank International, and Provident Bank and Trust of Belize. Each of these banks provide US Dollar Accounts for their customers. Several provide Internet Banking Services.