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Caribbean Villas Hotel 2.5

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • 15-minute walk along the beach or road to central San Pedro
  • Home to the island’s tallest -- and only -- waterslide plus a trampoline (fee for latter)
  • Oceanfront location with sandy beach and floating dock
  • Two small freshwater pools with ocean views and lots of seating
  • Air-conditioned rooms with flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges, some with kitchens
  • Thatch-roofed restaurant has daily specials plus occasional live music
  • On-site sailing school plus kayak and sailboat rentals
  • 300-foot long dock has an artificial reef and swimming area at its end
  • Pet-friendly hotel (must be approved before arrival)
  • Free Wi-Fi in all rooms and throughout hotel 

Cons

  • Airport transportation not free, unlike many other Ambergris Caye resorts 
  • Drinking water must be purchased (unlike many area resorts)
  • Rooms slightly dated and thin ceilings mean noise on lower floors
  • Locks on sliding exterior doors stick and don’t seem secure 
  • Seven-night minimum stay required during the high season 

Bottom Line

The 61-room Caribbean Villas Hotel is a two-and-a-half pearl waterfront property with a rustic tropical vibe, just a 15-minute beach walk from central San Pedro. Air-conditioned rooms and suites are slightly dated and have flat-screen TVs, fridges, and ocean or garden views. The two freshwater pools are a big plus and overlook a sandy beachfront that’s often overgrown with sea grass. The hotel restaurant serves three meals a day and has barbecue and live music on certain weekend days. El Diablo, the island’s biggest waterslide spills into a dedicated swimming area with a floating dock and trampoline at the end of the resort’s long pier. For a similarly priced hotel in the heart of San Pedro Town with simple rooms and a great restaurant, it’s worth considering Sun Breeze Hotel. 

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Scene

A beachy resort with island vibe and rustic, tropical grounds and water activities

The current owners of Caribbean Villas took over the hotel in 2013 and shortly afterwards added 48 rooms to the seaside property. It’s a rustic hotel, and the first impression comes in the lobby: a slightly disheveled space with stacks of spilling paper on the floor and shelves. Still, that unpretentious character is precisely what many visitors to Ambergris Caye are seeking, and the sandy grounds are lush and full of coconut palms and tropical hedges. Nested in the center are two aboveground freshwater pools surrounded by wood decks and lounge chairs. Towering palms provide shade from the hot Caribbean sun, and make it a fine place to kick back for guests in search of relaxation -- though it's not all sleepy vibes here. The property's restaurant is usually buzzing with a mix of locals and guests -- generally couples from the U.S. and Canada -- under its thatched roof. Extras like a large water slide, dock with snorkeling, and water-sport rentals allow guests to tailor just how active a stay they'd like. However, those in search of a perfect beach will want to look elsewhere -- the water near shore here is filled with sea grass.

Location

Seaside location, a 15-minute beach walk to central San Pedro

With its seaside location just a 15-minute beach walk (or eight-minute drive) from San Pedro, Caribbean Villas is a short walk to tons of bars, restaurants, and shops. However, with the island’s biggest waterslide, a man-made reef, and two pools, it’s possible to stay entertained at the hotel. Those seeking things to do that are closer at hand than town are in luck as well. The Garifuna Cultural Entertainment Center serves up tasty local cuisine and hosts cultural shows across the street. A five-minute walk from the hotel is a grocery store, convenience store, a Chinese restaurant, and a bakery. The island’s best beach -- Secret Beach -- is a 50-minute drive from the hotel. San Pedro Airport is a four-minute drive from the hotel. Alternatively, many island visitors take the hour-and-half ferry from Belize City to San Pedro to catch the eight-minute taxi to the hotel.  

Rooms

Rooms and suites with ocean or pool views, air-conditioning, and flat-screen TVs

Rooms at Caribbean Villas are mostly Deluxe Standard Rooms, but there are also suites -- some with sleeping lofts -- that are big enough for an entire family. The former include wood-paneled walls that are partially painted white plus slatted mahogany headboards and matching end tables that look like TV trays. It's certainly humble, and a little dated style-wise, but pleasant enough for a no-fuss place to sleep. They also include plenty of built-in shelving, which is handy for longer stays (which are required in high season). Suites have brightly painted walls in tropical yellows and greens with two twin beds or king beds (which are just two twin beds pushed together). Living rooms in suites have built-in couches and a pull-out twin bed. Suites also have full kitchens with tiled backsplashes, refrigerators, and electric stoves plus pots, pans, and dishes. 

All rooms have flat-screen TVs -- although some are tiny -- with tons of cable channels, plus safes and air-conditioning. Wi-Fi is free, but the signal can be weak. Hairdryers, irons, and ironing boards are available to borrow from the front desk. All rooms have private balconies or porches with ocean, pool, or garden views, though foliage is dense on the grounds and views can be partial. Unlike other resorts on the island, drinking water is not provided for free.

Bathrooms are bland, but clean, with tiled floors and walls as well as stand-up showers. They include soap, conditioner, and shampoo. The Deluxe Standard bathrooms are more modern and have glass brick wall showers, but little in the way of counter space around the pedestal sinks.

Features

The island’s biggest waterslide, sandy beach, on-site sailing school, and two freshwater pools

Without a doubt, Caribbean Villas' best feature is El Diablo, a 25-foot tall waterslide that's the biggest on the island and spills into a great swimming area at the end of the hotel's dock. While it's free for hotel guests to use, the hotel's on-the-water trampoline is not. A man-made reef for snorkeling and diving sits just off the dock, which is the best place to get wet in the sea as the water near shore is filled with sea grass. Cushioned lounge chairs and a corn hole set sit on the sand, which stretches the width of the property. Beach towels are provided for free.

A wooden deck and cushioned lounge chairs surround the hotel’s two aboveground freshwater pools that are frequently shaded by the resort's lush grounds. Nearby, Amber Beach Bar and Grill serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and hosts a barbecue with live music on select weekend days. There’s also a tiki bar at the end of the pier near the waterslide.

There’s an independently owned sailing school on-site that teaches sailing and kitesurfing lessons and rents out everything from kayaks to windsurfing equipment to sailboats. A dive shop arranges diving and snorkeling tours and rents snorkeling equipment, while tours and flights can be arranged in the hotel's lobby. They also rent golf carts, arrange grocery provisioning, and laundry services -- DVDs and books can be borrowed as well. The hotel has free bicycle rentals and Wi-Fi is free throughout. Unfortunately, while most Amberigris Caye resorts provide airport transfers, the Caribbean Villas does not.

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Address

Seagrape Drive, San Pedro, Belize Cayes, Belize

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