Monday, April 9, 2012

Cocotal Inn and Cabanas

Our second week on Ambergris Caye, we moved north of town to Cocotal Inn and Cabanas.

Just two and a half miles north of the bridge along the beach path, Cocotal turned out to be the ideal location.  The resort was far enough away from town to have a quiet laid back feel, but close enough to easily use the resort's free bikes and the local water taxi when we wanted to go back into San Pedro.

The property stretches from the lagoon side to the beach, with docks on both sides.  Most evenings, we'd walk over to the dock on the lagoon side to view the gorgeous sunsets.

Our home for the week was the yellow garden cabana towards the back (lagoon) side of the property.

The cabana was surrounded by lush tropical plants.

The cabana was spacious, nicely decorated, and spotless with an extremely comfortable king bed, flat-screen television, kitchen area, and roomy porch with Adirondack chairs. 

I can't emphasize enough how great the customer service is at the resort.  The grounds and rooms are beautifully maintained. One day I even noticed the onsite maintenance man washing the exterior paint and trim on the orange cabana before the next guests checked in, so that explains why everything looks freshly painted!  Bikes and kayaks are complimentary for guests, and the office arranges and pays for transportation to and from the resort when you arrive and depart.  The office also arranges tours for guests and the boat picks up at the Cocotal dock at the appointed time.  We used Searious Adventures for the Lamanai Jungle River tour, and it was wonderful!  The Cocotal motto should be no worries because they take care of everything!  In addition, the property manager lives onsite in a cottage and is available to handle any problems that might come up. 

Service was also pretty much exemplary everywhere we went in Belize.  We were truly impressed by the friendliness of the Belizean people.     

In addition to comfortable beachfront loungers under palapas, Cocotal also provides hammocks on the dock and beach.

Craig, the ambitious one, used a kayak several times to paddle out to the reef, tie up, and snorkel.  I spent a lot of my free time lounging in the hammocks.

In addition to the extremely friendly and gracious staff, Cocotal also provides an onsite canine for those who miss their dogs at home.  Maura, a sweet soul, acted as our personal bodyguard and accompanied us to dinner almost every night.  She'd lead us down the path to our selected restaurant where she was greeted by the restaurant staff.  She'd quietly lie down at the side of the table and wait while we ordered and ate our meal.  (I did catch her licking her chops in anticipation of any possible crumbs that might fall from the table -- but she never begged.)

After reading some of the Trip Advisor reviews, I was a little concerned about whether we'd find any  restaurants close by where we could eat dinner.  Not to worry.  We had some of the best food of the trip within easy walking distance at Aji, AkBol, the Palapa Bar, and White Sands, and we really just scratched the surface.  There were two or three other restaurants we didn't try.  During the week we were there, we only took the water taxi to town once in the evening to meet a friend for dinner.

By the way, the water taxi (Coastal Express) picks up at the White Sands dock next door to Cocotal.  It's a fun little trip along the waterfront into town.  The one round trip was $20 U.S., but if we'd wanted to buy a weekly pass, it would have been $90 U.S. for the two of us.  We preferred to use Cocotal's bikes to get around during the daytime and eat within walking distance at night. 

Sunrise from the Cocotal dock.

Early morning views of the property.

When we return to Ambergris, we'll definitely stay at Cocotal again.  It's the ideal location for a relaxing tropical getaway.


Ann said...

It sounds heavenly. We have talked about going back to Belize--I'll have to keep this place in mind...loved the sunrise photo off the dock.

Life's a Beach! said...

Ann, I'd highly recommend Cocotal and Caye Casa, the two places where we stayed. Both were reasonably priced for Ambergris and had great amenities and service!

The Star Gal said...

Okay, so I just have to in the world do you manage to constantly travel to all of these beautiful places? What's your secret please!!!!

Gloria in Virginia

Life's a Beach! said...

Hi Gloria! Craig retired last year, so we're footloose now (with the exception of not wanting to leave the dog for more than two weeks at a time).

I guess one of our secrets is that we try to travel fairly cheap. I always find affordable rooms/apartments away from the pricey hotels. My friends gasp and laugh when I tell them we stay in an oceanfront studio on the Caribbean for $85 or less a night. In November/December we rented an apartment in the colonias for a month and one of our airfares was free, so basically our transportation and lodging cost for a month in the tropics was $1200. I use an American Airlines credit card instead of a debit card or checkbook for most purchases, so we booked four tickets last year on airline points.

We've also decided to weight our travel in the earlier retirement years while we're still in good health. I've seen a lot of people,including my father, retire and only have five good years before illness sets in. Knock on wood! I hope that's not us!

The Star Gal said...

Good idea. My finance died 3 weeks before our wedding. He was only 55 and didn't even make it to retirement. I was with him the first time I ever visited Isla Mujeres.

Gloria in Virginia