Rooms can be loud and neighbors audible through ceilings and walls
Dining closes early and fine-dining option gets mixed reviews
Beach is overgrown with sea grass and not great for swimming
No elevator for upper-floor guest rooms
Coco Beach Resort is a sprawling three-and-a-half-pearl resort north of Amgerbris Caye’s San Pedro Town. Its 58 rooms and suites -- many featuring ocean views -- have bright, beachy interiors with wicker furniture, plush sleeper sofas, and flat-screen TVs with premium channels, though noise can be an issue. The resort’s sandy beach -- like most in the area -- is prone to sea grass and the two huge saltwater pools with sandy, zero-entries are an attractive aquatic alternative. One has a swim-up bar while the other includes a waterslide. The resort’s three restaurants are decent, but close too early for late diners. Those looking for a resort that feels more South Beach than San Pedro should consider Las Terrazas Resort instead, though it will be more expensive.
A laid-back property with large resort-like vibe and beachy style
Coco Beach opened in 2010 and is the flagship property of the Ambergris Caye-based Sandy Point Resort family. The company owns the plot of land next door and during our spring 2016 visit, a huge resort modeled after Venice, Italy -- canals and all -- was under construction. Coco Beach is the company’s most polished offering, and its lobby is done in materials like granite counters and mahogany -- a decorative motif that's repeated in guest rooms as well. The grounds are appropriately beachy, with sandy pathways framed by tropical hedges and palm trees. The rooms are set in tan, three-story buildings -- with pool or ocean views -- and feel Mediterranean, with arched balconies, pillars, and Spanish-tile roofs. While the beach can be filled with sea grass, the pools serve as the resort's centerpiece. They take up a majority of the resort’s property and are often full of splashing kids. By night, the pools become a romantic backdrop for diners at Cococabana, the resort’s open-air bar and restaurant. During the day, the resort is bustling with families and middle-aged adults, but things quiet down enough at night to enjoy the stars and lapping waves.
Beachfront location, a 15-minute drive San Pedro Town
With its beachfront location a 15-minute drive (or 10-minute water taxi ride) from San Pedro Town, Coco Beach Resort is far enough from the bustle of Ambergris Caye's largest development, but close enough to pop in for dinner or groceries. For those who'd rather stay closer to home, there are a few services within a relatively easy walk, including a casino and a grocery store that are five minutes away on foot. However, the selection at the latter -- and expensive prices -- mean you’re better off shopping in town. The nearest restaurants serve tapas, international, and Belizean cuisines; all are a five-to 10-minute drive from Coco Beach, and most of them are located at the nearby resorts and priced accordingly. For a swimmable beach, the island’s best option is the fabled Secret Beach, which is a bumpy 25-minute drive from the property. The Blue Hole, one of the world’s top diving spots, is a three-hour boat ride from the Coco Beach. For underwater exploration that's more accessible, a 20-minute kayak trip leads to a barrier reef that's great for snorkeling. The closest airport is in San Pedro Airport, and takes 20 minutes to reach by car.
Bright, beachy rooms with air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, and private balconies
Rooms and villas at Coco Beach are a mostly polished take on the beach-ready vibe that's found at almost every resort in this part of Belize. Interiors are painted in tans and yellows and loaded with mahogany built-ins, trim, and -- in some units -- even beautiful mahogany ceilings. Living rooms have modern wicker couches and armchairs, and connect to huge balconies with ocean or pool views.
Flat-screen TVs with premium channels are standard in all room types and DVD players can be borrowed from reception. Villas have full kitchens with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, while Luxury Hotel Rooms -- actually the hotel's exaggeratedly named entry-level rooms -- have mini-fridges. All types include purified water, coffeemakers, and a free half-pound bag of Belizean coffee plus safes, irons, and ironing boards. Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort, but can be spotty indoors. All rooms are technically smoke free, but during our visit, multiple smelled like stale cigarettes. It's worth noting that thin floors and walls mean that noise can be an issue between rooms.
Bedrooms in higher-category rooms are a bit drab and could use some arting up. They include king-size mahogany and rattan sleigh beds with matching dressers and nightstands. Otherwise, wall art comes in neon-colored beach scenes that are a bit dated. Bathrooms at Coco Beach have tiled floors and walls as well as granite countertops. At its premium price point though, we expected rainfall showerheads and soaking tubs. Unfortunately, only glass-bricked stand-up showers are available. Hairdryers are standard, as are lotion, shampoo, conditioner, and body gel.
Two saltwater pools, seagrass-filled beach, three restaurants, and a few freebies
Coco Beach’s two zero-entry saltwater pools are arguably the island’s best pool and they remain lively all day long. Their shallow areas are great for children -- there’s a waterslide and rocky multi-level jumping platform -- plus a heated walk-up and swim-up bar for adults. The hotel hosts free morning water aerobics classes. The lovely pools are an asset because, like most beaches in the area, the resort’s waterfront frequently falls victim to excessive sea grass. There’s an inflatable trampoline at the end of the resort’s dock, which is the best spot for ocean swimming. Free kayaks and paddleboards are available, and snorkeling equipment can be rented for a fee to explore the barrier reef that's a 20-minute kayak trip from the resort.
Coco Beach has multiple restaurants that serve Belizean and international cuisines. The poolside Coco Cafe offers breakfast, snacks, and sells basic sundries. Cococabana Bar is the resort's casual open-air bar and restaurant with kid’s menu. The fine-dining restaurant, Cocoblanca, is decorated like a jazz-age cruise ship with chandeliers, dark wood, and torch wall sconces. It also offers romantic private dinners on the beach, but it's worth noting that the food gets mixed reviews for the price point and they do close fairly early.
In the lobby, there’s an activity desk that arranges tours, rents bicycles and golf carts, and books spa services -- these can take place in rooms or on the beach. There’s a computer with free printing, book library, and children’s game library as well, and grocery shopping services can be arranged. Sea View Terrace, is the resort’s rooftop event space available for weddings and parties. There’s no volleyball court on-site, but there is a beautifully carved, life-size wooden chess board. Round-trip airport transportation is included in room rates and Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort.
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