Quiet beachfront boutique hotel south of San Pedro Town
Multiple room types with simple beachy decor, many with ocean views
Some rooms have kitchenettes
Tiny pool and popular beach bar
Free continental breakfast, bicycles, and Wi-Fi
Rooms on the ground floor can feel basement-like
Not much to do in the immediate area — 10-minute golf cart ride from town
Island-wide seaweed problem is unsightly and fowl smelling
Free continental breakfast is measly
Mata Rocks Resort is a mid-range property located on the southern end of Ambergris Caye, about a 10-minute golf cart ride from San Pedro Town. The hotel has 17 rooms with simple, beachy decor and a tiny pool that overlooks the ocean. Its beach is marred by the piles of seaweed that wash up on shore, though travelers will notice this everywhere on the island. Mata Rocks offers free continental breakfast, free bikes, and free Wi-Fi, but there isn’t much to see or do in the immediate area surrounding the hotel. Travelers who’d prefer to be in San Pedro Town should check out Caye Casa, a more sophisticated property with nicer rooms and slightly pricier nightly rates.
A small beachfront property with a quiet atmosphere
Mata Rocks Resort is an ideal spot for travelers seeking a quiet atmosphere. There’s nothing to do here besides soak up the sun and take in the beautiful scenery. Many guests spend their days lounging by the pool or sipping tropical drinks at the beachfront bar. Mata Rocks is a bit far from town and most of the island’s major attractions, but guests can use the hotel’s free bikes to explore the area.
Mata Rocks’ entrance is marked by a simple blue sign that leads to a sandy circular driveway. Golf cart parking is hidden tidily behind perfectly manicured hedges, and a narrow walkway meanders past tropical foliage to the tiny front office. Inside, there’s a simple front desk, a communal computer, and a take-a-book-leave-a-book library. Island maps and activity posters serve as the room’s only decor, and a small shelf holds T-shirts, baseball hats, and other souvenirs available for purchase.
On the southern end of Ambergris Caye, about a 10-minute golf cart ride from town
Located on the quiet southern side of Ambergris Caye, Mata Rocks has a peaceful atmosphere, but feels far from all the action in San Pedro Town. There isn’t much in the immediate area surrounding the hotel, so guests will definitely want to rent a golf cart if they plan to explore the island or dine at restaurants in town.
San Pedro is the largest town on Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island. Ambergris Caye is best known for its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef, which is a mere 20-minute boat ride from the island. The Belize Barrier Reef is part of the larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which extends from eastern Mexico to Honduras — making it the second largest reef system in the world, after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Needless to say, travelers visit Ambergris Caye to experience its rich marine life and exceptional dive sites, such as Hol Chan and the Blue Hole. Ambergris Caye is an ideal destination for divers and avid snorkelers, and is an excellent place for those seeking scuba certification. It’s not an ideal destination for travelers in search of beautiful beaches (check out Placencia or Hopkins instead). Nearly all of Ambergris Caye’s beaches are man-made, and all of the beaches on the island — like the one in front of Mata Rocks— are plagued by the mounds of seaweed that constantly wash ashore.
Like many parts of the Caribbean, Ambergris Caye is currently dealing with a massive seaweed problem. Due to rising ocean temperatures, large amounts of seagrass accumulate along the shoreline and wash up on the beach. The piles of dried seagrass are unsightly and foul smelling, and the stagnant seaweed prevents a lot of people from swimming directly off shore. Its sulfurous smell may also aggravate some travelers. This is a natural phenomenon, and there isn’t much hotels can do to get rid of the seaweed, but it’s something travelers should anticipate when visiting Ambergris Caye.
Rooms at Mata Rocks are clean and simple spaces with subtle beachy decor. Ocean blue accent walls contrast nicely with the rooms’ neutral sandy tones, and wood furniture adds a classic feel. Beds are dressed in white sheets, with blue accent pillows and patterned bed runners. Canvas artworks hangs on the walls, showcasing various tropical scenery. There’s no wow factor, but rooms are comfortable enough for a good night’s sleep.
Some rooms and suites are equipped with kitchenettes, which include mini-fridges, microwaves, coffeemakers, and flatware. Some even have electric stovetops. Rooms on the second floor are substantially nicer than those on the ground level, which feel basement-like thanks to drop ceilings. Rooms on the second floor have vaulted ceilings and private balconies with ocean views. Bathrooms aren’t particularly memorable — most are cramped and have dated tile work. None of the hotel’s bathrooms have bathtubs, only shower stalls.
A tiny pool and a beachfront bar, plus free bikes, Wi-Fi, and breakfast
Mata Rocks’ greatest features are its pool and beachfront bar. The tiny oddly shaped pool overlooks the ocean and receives direct sunlight all day. A few cushioned lounge chairs surround the pool, along with pink and periwinkle Adirondack chairs, which look striking against the hotel’s bright white facade. Next to the pool, the thatched-roof beach bar is where guests order drinks throughout the day. It’s also where the hotel serves free continental breakfast each morning. The tropical drinks are great, but the breakfast isn’t worth waking up for. The spread typically consists of toast, fresh fruit, and coffee — adequate, but not satisfying.
The beach in front of Mata Rocks is pretty small, but feels even smaller thanks to the mounds of seaweed that block guests from entering the water. Hotel staff members try their best to clear the smelly sea grass, but the job is futile; fresh piles of seaweed wash up on shore every morning. This is an island-wide problem, so guests should expect lots of seagrass wherever they are on Ambergris Caye.
Mata Rocks has free bikes for guests to use and offers free Wi-Fi across the property.
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