An updated list: Low Season closings and openings in San Pedro

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Melt Cafe opens a new chapter in the former Ambergris Brewing Company building on Boca del Rio. on Sept. 1. Now open every day, serving meals until 9 p.m., with a full bar open until 11 p.m.
Melt Cafe opens a new chapter in the former Ambergris Brewing Company building on Boca del Rio. on Sept. 1. Now open every day, serving meals until 9 p.m., with a full bar open until 11 p.m.

(Editor/Blogger Bob: List has been updated today, Sept. 3, 2015)

Ah, low season on Ambergris Caye.

Do restaurants, resorts and hotels close down because the visitors aren’t coming to Belize? Or do the visitors stop coming to Belize because so many restaurants, resorts and hotels are closed?

Some other reasons:

  • It is hurricane season
  • Long national holidays in September during which employees are eligible for double pay make it too costly to operate.
  • Hospitality industry workers need a break too, ya know?
  • It’s too damn hot to do anything.
  • And soon it will be too damn wet……

Well, for whatever reasons a lot of places here on Ambergris Caye close — for as little as two weeks to as long as two months. During this time some places upgrade, change menus, add fresh coats of paint.

It is pretty safe to say that come November, the island will be back in full swing and looking as beautiful as ever.

Here is an updated list of Low Season venue closings (with some who plan to stay open through the season). If you know of others e-mail me at robertj.hawkins2012@gmail.com or call 650-1987. I will update as needed.

Taking a short break -- oh, my meat pie fix!
Boogie’s Belly reopened Sept. 1!  Took a short break — oh, my time for my meat pie fix!

Currently closed are:

September and October closings:

  • (New) The Baker will close its doors at the end of the day on Sept. 19 and reopen Oct.7. Expect a mad rush for cinnamon buns on that day!
  • Belize Chocolate Company on Front Street closes Sept. 6 through Oct. 2.
  • The Black Orchid Restaurant & Lounge closes after the last meal on Sept. 5 and reopens for the the South Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch General Meeting on Oct. 14 from 5-9 p.m.  After that,  public service resumes Oct. 15
  • Blue Water Grill on waterfront at the Sea Breeze Hotel closes Sept. 9-24.
  • Caramba! on Middle Street will be closed Sept 10 to Nov. 10.
  • Caroline’s Cookin’, across Coconut Street from the airport, closes Sept 15 and reopens Oct. 1
  • (New) Chuck & Robbie’s Scuba Diving and Instruction closes Sept. 7, reopening Sept. 28.
  • Elvi’s Kitchen on Middle Street closes Sept. 28 and reopens Oct. 14.
  • (Update) Estels Dine-by-the-Sea will be closed Sept. 7 through Oct. 5, sending breakfast devotees scurrying across the island for a suitable replacement.
  • O Restaurant (at Las Terrazas Resort) closes Sept. 7, reopens Oct. 10
  • Lick’s Beachside Cafe, in front of San Pedro Express water taxi, is tentatively planning on closing the first two weeks in October.
  • Red Ginger, the restaurant in The Phoenix resort closes at 3 p.m. Sept. 8 and will reopen for breakfast on Oct. 1.
  • (New) White Sands Dive Shop, at Las Terrazas, will close from Sept. 7 to Oct. 1. “We’ll be on line and answering emails for reservations but the shop is closed and the employees are on a well deserved vacation,” writes Elbert Greer.
  • Wild Mango’s closes Sept. 12 for one month and customers can “look forward to a new re-tweaked menu on our re-open.”
  • (Update) Zen Belize, the source for yoga, dance and Pilates in San Pedro Town, will close Sept. 6 – Sept. 28 for yoga. Zen Belize will offer a full schedule of Dance, Zumba and MMA in the evenings and Capoeira returns on the 17th Sept, according to Tara.

Some resorts close as well, for example:

Staying open

For the first time, El Fogon on Trigger Fish Street, will stay open through Low Season. A steady flow of locals, expats and visitors has encouraged the Belizean cuisine restaurant to remain open. The San Pedro landmark draws a hearty lunchtime business from nearby banks, airport staff and area businesses.

Others who will remain open during the Slow Season include:

  • (New) Ak Bol Retreat, just north of the Palapa Bar, remains open through Low Season for daily yoga and great dining, 7 a.m.-8 p.m. The yoga schedule changes in October to Monday/Wed/Friday 9 a.m. Oct. 12-17 there will be 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. classes with a visiting retreat teacher. (See Kirsten’s message in the comment section for more details.)
  • (New) Boogies Belly on Pelican Street, home of the hottest breakfast meat pies in town,  was closed for a short break but reopened on Sept. 1 with some freshly painted woodwork and meat pies!
  • The Coffee Bar on Front Street will close only on Sundays for now. “We’re a new business. We can’t afford to close,” said a spokesman.
  • (New) Fido’s Restaurant and Bar on Front Street will remain open — as it has for six of the past seven seasons that general manager Brian Cook has worked there.
  • Hidden Treasure Restaurant, 1.5 miles south of town, will be taking Tuesdays off and may add Wednesdays if the season really slows. Otherwise, open for business!
  • (New) Island Dream Tours, a fairly new operation located at Fido’s Dock, remains open through the Low Season for snorkel trips, sunset dinner cruises and more.
  • Jambel’s Jerk Pit, serving Jamaican/Belizean cuisine at the Sun Breeze Hotel, plans to stay open all season, as does the hotel. Both recently underwent extensive renovations, including an enlarged beachfront.
  • (New) Marbucks Coffee House, in Tres Cocos community, will not close, nor its boutique Daydreamin’ Bed & Breakfast. As the golden-tongued entrepreneur/co-owner Rob Eykelbeysh puts it, Marbucks will “continue to titillate your taste buds with excellent coffee beverages and baked goodies as well as continue with our Thursday night wine and snacks with live music.”
  • (New) Palapa Bar and Grill  in Tres Cocos remains open year ’round, demonstrating that it is an island icon for a reason.
  • Pirates Treasure in Tres Cocos, where lion fish is a specialty, plans to remain open year round.
  • (New) Portofino Beach Resort, six miles north of San Pedro, remains open through low season. That includes Portofino Restaurant,  The Green Parrot Bar and Bistro, Portofino Dive Shop and Portofino’s Beach Spa.
  • (New) Sandy Point Resorts will all remain open during Low Season. They are X’tan Ha, Belizean ShoresBelizean Cove Estates and Coco Beach. The much-renovated Costa Blu is said to be opening up some time this year. Non-guests are welcome to eat in resort restaurants and drink at their pool bar but the swimming pools and lounge chairs are for guests only. Sorry.

Some re-openings and new venues coming up:

  • Legends Roadhouse officially reopened for business with its Tuesday night jam session on Aug. 25 and will more than likely be expanding nights and offerings in the months ahead. 
  • (Opens today, Sept. 1) Melt Cafe has to be out of its location in the Exotic Caye Beach Resort by Sept. 1. On that day they will reopen at the site of the former Ambergris Brewing Company in Boca del Rio. With an expanded outdoor seating venue and bar, Melt will be open seven days a week.
  • DJ’s, next to the Boca del Rio Park was once known for the best burger in San Pedro. It reopens Oct. 1 substantially renovated under a new lease holder, as a family-friendly venue with  a new menu.
  •  Nook Restaurant and Cocktail Bartique opens in mid-September on the beach, adjacent to Lily’s Treasure Chest. The former cowboy bar is undergoing major renovation.  The new owners are experienced restaurateurs,  owners of  the popular Mojo Lounge Restaurant & Bartique in Placencia.
  • Stella’s Smile, an outdoor wine bar and bistro one mile north of the bridge, debuts Sept. 4. Besides a vast wine cellar, Stella’s will offer a different menu each night, each prepared on-site by a different local restaurant.
  • The Truck Stop Food Park and Beer Garden, practically next door to Stella’s, will offer several local restaurants plus a bar and ice cream shop in a food-truck atmosphere. Four new freight containers are being converted into the bar and bistros around a central dining courtyard. Look for an early November opening.

Think of any others? Let me know!

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21 thoughts on “An updated list: Low Season closings and openings in San Pedro

    Emily said:
    August 25, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Is Ambergris Brewing out of business? I was so hoping they could make a go of it and bring some different beer choices to Ambergris Caye. I know that that is a difficult and daunting task.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      I believe the license is in the hands of somebody who might actually care about brewing beer. The latest owners of ABC didn’t have any use for the license.

      Like

        Emily said:
        August 26, 2015 at 5:57 am

        Ah, I guess the young couple who originated the business (as I recall it) were thwarted in their attempts to start brewing their own beer…I remember Rebecca doing a post about that way back when. They even had a cute orange logo bottle cap. I was hoping they’d make it, but sounds like they had to sell to someone else. Thanks for the clarification!

        Like

    Linda Czestochowski said:
    August 26, 2015 at 6:38 am

    We enjoyed visiting so many of the fine establishments on your list (Estel’s, Elvi’s, Wild Mango, Lick’s and the delicious Belize Chocolate Company being amongst the top 5!)….how do you improve upon perfection?? Totally understand the use of the rainy season to “tart up” and prepare for the next wave of happy tourists! We hope to return to this particular slice of paradise during 2016. Cheers 🙂

    Like

    Julia Smith said:
    August 26, 2015 at 7:13 am

    I guess I won’t ever be coming when the coconut french toast place or the chocolate place is closed. 🙂
    By the way, when is the best time to visit there? And also a time when it’s not high season with high rates?

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 27, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Hi Julia! I think Spring is a great time, before and after Easter. This past year has had remarkably good weather, making any time a great time. Right now though, the air is still and the heat is stifling. Rose said the tropic storms far to the east are sucking out all the steady breezes we were enjoying …. makes sense to me.

      Like

    Kirsten said:
    August 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Ak’boL never closes! Just One pier North of Palapa Bar….you can get here by beach or road….dine on the beach with all the local favorite foods (local approved) and fish/seafood specials, pizza too…breakfast all day….we are the home of the original coconut French toast! Open daily 7am to 8pm….Yoga is available daily drop ins 9am Monday thru Saturday (Sunday is only day at 10am)….yoga schedule will change in October to Monday/Wed/Friday 9am. Oct. 12-17th there will be both 9am and 4pm classes with a retreat teacher here. We also have massage $75US 80 minutes. We have thatched seafront cabanas available.
    Come unplug with us for the day…bring your suit and swim from our pier…hang out!
    We are open! Namaste http://www.akbol.com

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 26, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      Yes, thank you Kirsten! I’ll add you to the list!

      Like

      Emily said:
      August 26, 2015 at 5:48 pm

      Ak’bol is wonderful! Great breakfasts and amazing yoga. Got me hooked, although I’ll never get to practice in such a perfect place — a palapa over the Caribbean Sea!

      Like

    tacogirl said:
    August 26, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Garrick is doing the brewing for Ambergris Brewing Company and currently Lola’s is the only place I know that sells it. Great list Bob.

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 26, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      Excellent. Thanks, Laurie! He has a beer called Island Tyme (I think) which seemed like a herb infused IPA? Think I still have one can of it in the fridge.

      Like

      Dean said:
      August 31, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      I just had a can of Island Time beer at Wayo’s today (Aug 31)

      Like

    Maresha said:
    August 26, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Pirate’s Treasure Restaurant and Bar opens everyday, year round for Lunch/Dinner and of course our unique Chef’s Table Seating experience nightly. We have a full menu for lunch and dinner which doesn’t require reservations. Chef’s table require reservations with a minimum seating of four people and seats up to 17 people. This three course dinner special prepared in front of you is based on Chef’s choice and what is available fresh that day. Please call 668 2156 for available seating and secure your seat. From fresh lionfish, conch and lobster(seasonal), pork and chicken there is something for everyone! Come check us out! Do your part and eat more lionfish!

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

      First place we dined at when we moved to Ambergris Caye. I remember your sauces for the lion fish were transcendent, Maresha!

      Like

    johnhenryeast said:
    August 27, 2015 at 6:55 am

    They were sellng Island Time beer at Carlo & Ernie’s Runway Bar & Grill as well (posters up up promoting it).

    Like

    Jodie and Scott Harnish said:
    August 27, 2015 at 9:52 am

    The famous Palapa Bar and Grill is not closing at all. Come and join us for cool breezes , beautiful views wonderful food , cool drinks , float in the inner tubes with Beer by the bucket, and let our wonderful staff wait on you!

    Like

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      August 27, 2015 at 10:32 am

      I will gladly add you to our list and accept your invitation!

      Like

    Kevin Smith said:
    August 30, 2015 at 9:15 am

    The new Island Dream Tours is staying open as well. A nice comfortable spacious catamaran boat. We offer sunset dinner cruises, and day cruises to shark/ray alley & caye caulker as well as private tours that can take you where you would like to go for the day or 1/2 day. We offer a nice dinner with drinks at sunset, and brunch with beverages on the day snorkel tour.

    Like

    Brian said:
    September 1, 2015 at 8:52 pm

    Hi!
    I enjoyed reading your blog. I am the GM at Fido’s Restaurant and Bar. We will not be closing for the slow season. In fact, we’ve only closed once in the seven years I have worked there. Would it be possible to add that we will be staying open to your list? I would greatly appreciate it!
    Thank you,
    Brian Cook

    Like

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