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Costa Blu Dive & Beach Resort 3.0

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Waterfront location at the north end of Ambergris Caye
  • Private dock plus free kayak and stand-up paddleboards rentals
  • Air-conditioned rooms have flat-screen TVs, kitchenettes, and private balconies
  • Distance from civilization means inky black nights great for stargazing 
  • Sandy, zero-entry pool with sea views and walk-up pool bar 
  • Restaurant serves local and international cuisine
  • Free round trip transfers between resort and airport 
  • Simple on-site dive shop and a basic spa
  • Cell phones given to guests to reach concierge or order food
  • All rooms come with a free bag of Belizean coffee 
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Rooms poorly soundproofed, noise from neighbors often audible 
  • No swimmable beach due to sea wall and sea grass
  • Rooms in center of resort have partially-obstructed ocean views
  • More dining options means a 35-minute drive into San Pedro
  • Hot water never gets quite hot enough

Bottom Line

The three-pearl Costa Blu Dive & Beach Resort is a homey seaside property on Ambergris Caye’s north shore. Its 36 one-bedroom suites have at least partial ocean views and pleasantly bright interiors, with modern wicker furniture, large flat-screen TVs, and kitchenettes. However, they are poorly soundproofed. The thatch-roofed bar has great waterfront views and the adjacent restaurant serves tasty international cuisine. There’s no swimmable beach, but the freshwater, zero-entry pool is usually uncrowded and has a walk-up bar. Freebies include stand-up paddleboards and kayaks plus round-trip airport transportation. Getting to San Pedro is a trek and visitors looking for a resort closer to the action with (generally) modern rooms, full kitchens, and more hotel amenities should consider the condos at Captain Morgan’s Retreat.  

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Scene

Oceanfront resort with a beachy vibe and great nighttime stargazing 

After a renovation in 2015, the Costa Blu Dive & Beach Resort transformed from a dowdy property to one with a nice dose of bright and beachy style. Buildings are painted in rich blues and lime greens and run parallel to the resort’s long shoreline. Coconut palms dot the seafront and hammocks are strung between the arched trees, in line with so many of the kicked-back resorts up and down the coast in Ambergris Caye. A tiled pathway passes through Costa Blu’s grassy grounds, which are full of blossoming hedges and palm trees. San Pedro is a long drive away, but that distance means night skies that are inky black and all of those hammocks provide the perfect vantage for star gazing. 

Public interiors are simple and modern including a lobby with vaulted ceilings and exposed wooden beams that radiate out like a bike tire. Quirky design details keep everything fresh, including orange chevron-patterned chairs, a turquoise-walled library, and artfully arranged wall-mounted planters. Elsewhere, things are a bit more rustic, and the open-air bar’s setup is very Belizean, with its A-frame thatched roof, mahogany bar, wicker chairs and tables, and great water views. Despite its name, this isn't the most dive-oriented dive resort that we've ever seen, and the lack of a swimmable beach and the bare-bones dive shop may be a bit underwhelming to some. Still, the hotel remains a solid pick for the area, drawing groups of friends and couples. 

Location

A 35-minute drive from San Pedro Town, near a UNESCO-listed barrier reef

Costa Blu sits along Ambergris Caye’s sparsely-developed northern shore. It’s far enough from San Pedro town -- 35-minutes by car or a 20-minute water taxi ride -- to make the journey inconvenient on a daily basis. However, the lion's share of Ambergris Caye's restaurants, bars, shops, and grocery stores are located there, for anyone looking to throw a little variety into their seaside stay. San Pedro is also the transit hub for the 15-minute flight or hour-and-a-half ferry to Belize City. Otherwise, there's little nearby. The closest restaurant to Costa Blu is an 10-minute walk down the beach and situated on another resort, so expect a pricey bill. There’s a small grocery store about a 10-minute drive from the resort, although shopping in San Pedro is cheaper and the selection significantly better. The island’s best beach, Secret Beach, is a bumpy 30-minute drive from the resort for those looking to splash around in the water (which isn't possible at Costa Blu). The island’s snorkeling and diving reef, a UNESCO-listed wonder, is a 20-minute kayak trip from the resort's shore, or a 10-minute boat ride. 

Rooms

Bright and homey suites with private balconies and kitchenettes, but poor soundproofing

Costa Blu’s 36 ocean-view suites are situated parallel to the ocean and have private balconies with mostly great ocean views. However, units 4D and 5C are behind the restaurant and have partially obstructed views. Suites feature rustic Saltillo tile floors and a turquoise color palette -- the living room walls, bedspreads, and throw pillows all share the cheerful tropical tone. Living rooms are set with modern wicker furniture that includes couches, side tables, and coffee tables plus funky lamps with rectangular Lucite bases. They also have 42-inch flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and air-conditioning. All suites come with kitchenettes that include microwaves, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers. Also included are a five-gallon water jug of purified water, a free half-pound bag of Belizean coffee, and tea.

Bedrooms are large, with king beds plus additional wicker headboards and night stands. Colorful tropical art hangs on the walls and there are walk-in closets with irons and ironing boards plus safes. Unfortunately, though, the rooms aren't ideal for light sleepers -- walls and ceilings are poorly insulated and noise from neighbors is a common complaint. 

Bathrooms have bright walls and built-in mahogany shelves plus glass vessel sinks, contemporary fixtures, and tiled walk-in showers. Toiletries include shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, lotion, and bar soap. Hairdryers are standard. It's worth noting that hot water doesn't always get super hot in the showers.

Features

No swimming beach, zero-entry pool, dive shop, free kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals 

We wish Costa Blu had a swimmable beach, but like most Ambergris Caye resorts, the beach is overgrown with sea grass. A breaker wall separates the sandy seafront from the turquoise water, making swimming and snorkeling only possible from the end of the resort’s private pier. However, the resort has a great, sandy, zero-entry pool that's surrounded by a wooden deck with lots of lounge chairs and umbrellas. Its rarely crowded and also has a walk-up pool bar that serves happy hour specials. Blu Restaurant serves local and international cuisine for all three meals, though like most resort restaurants on the island, prices aren't cheap. 

Free kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available, while bicycles and golf carts can be rented for a fee (many other resorts in the area offer free bicycles). Costa Blu Dive Center is a bare bones office that rents snorkeling gear and arranges snorkeling and diving tours by working with dive companies affiliated with the resort’s parent company. There’s also a small waterfront spa set in a thatched hut with three open walls that offers standard spa pamperings.

The lobby has a few additional freebies: DVD players and DVD library, a book library, and board games. There’s a computer with free printing and a sundry shop selling basics like snacks and sunscreen as well. All guests are given a cell phone on arrival they can use to reach the concierge, order food, or arrange tours. Round-trip airport transportation is also free, but guests have to wait until the boat fills up before it departs, so fluid travel plans may be necessary. Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort. 

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Address

6.5 Miles North, San Pedro, Belize Cayes, Belize

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