(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 email@example.com or call 650-1987. I will update as needed.
Currently closed are:
- Capricorn restaurant and resort to the north is closed indefinitely because of the sudden and unexpected passing of its owner.
- Casa Picasso‘s devoted fans will have to find another place to “dine artfully” until it reopens on Nov. 3.
- (Updated) Hurricane ‘s Ceviche Bar & Grill on on a pier in downtown San Pedro is closed seasonally, reopening Sept. 15.
- Lone Star Grill & Cantina to the south is closed until Nov. 2.
- Mesa Cafe, in the Vilma Linda Plaza on Tarpon Street, home of a great coconut french toast, is closed Aug. 19 – Sept. 2.
- My Secret Deli on Caribena Street is closed and undergoing some renovations for at least another week.
- Rojo Beach Bar up north is closed for the season.
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:
- Captain Morgan’s Retreat, 3.5 miles north of San Pedro, will close Aug. 29 until Sept. 25.
- Las Terrazas Resort, 3.5 miles north of San Pedro, closes Sept. 7 to Oct. 10.
- The Phoenix resort will be closed Sept. 9-30.
- Victoria House, the benchmark for quality resorts in the south end of San Pedro, is on holiday Sept. 28-Oct. 22.
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 Shores, Belizean 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!