A Sunday Trip North of The Bridge, Palapa Bar and More, Part One

Yesterday was a beautiful, hot day and perfect to drive north of the bridge on Ambergris Caye.  Something that I haven’t done in years.  I have been making a huge mistake.  Let me back up a bit…Ambergris Caye is the largest caye in Belize, is 25 miles in length and has a “cut” with a connecting bridge.  The main town, San Pedro is south of the bridge (on the much smaller part of the island).  The “suburbs” and large resorts are to the north and even farther north is a large nature reserve, Bacalar Chico.  (See a vague map of the island at the bottom of this blog…the actual town is in red and I live 1.25 south of that).

The road once you cross the bridge is dirt and the farther you drive, the worse the roads get.  It is a good bike ride (you can ride on the beach for miles and miles) or golf cart ride for a mile or two…and then the roads start to get ugly.  Most people take the water taxi from town to the resorts up north.  (http://www.coastalxpress.com/)

Here is the story of my drive from Royal Palms (1.25 miles south of town) up to CocoBeach (about 3 miles north of town) and how I found my new favorite spot on the whole island.

Just north of town on the beach is Wet Willy’s.  Home to a VERY popular late night Wednesday night party – Ladies Night.  Possibly the biggest party of the week for locals and tourists.

A new place right across the street.  Ambergris Brewing Co.  Not sure if they have received permission to brew actual beer.  As you can imagine, the Belikin monopoly is not an easy one to crack.

The drive north on the beach before the bridge is a very pretty one.  And Sunday is Funday in Belize…lots of families and kids and dogs in the water.

There is a $10bzd toll for a round trip golf cart trip over the bridge.  We paid at the little booth and headed over the crossing, a bridge that is relatively new.  Just 5 or 6 years ago, you crossed the cut in a hand-pull ferry.
That old fashioned method now seems hard to imagine as you drive over and see this giant (and a little bit ridiculous) movie theater.  I mean…I love the idea of a place to watch movies in San Pedro (there was only one movie theater in the country – in Belize City, in the Princess Hotel & Casino – before this thing was built at Reef Village) but this seems over the top in this town.  Not exactly helping us project an islandy, tropical feel.  You might as well be at a strip mall in New Jersey.
A short way up the road (and past quite a bit of new condo construction) is the famous Legends Burger House.  Home of the very popular Tuesday Night jam session.  They are now closed for an extended slow season (typically Sept thru November). http://www.legendsburgerhouse.com/ They have lots of cool pictures on their site.
A little less than a mile north of the bridge (and a very pretty ride) is an island institution.  The Palapa Bar.  It is a bar you definitely want to visit when you come to this island no matter where you stay.  It’s a cool two story palapa bar out on the water with some great food (from DEEP FRIED BACON to a $50bzd 3/4lb lobster dinner), a great sunning deck, the most beautiful view of the reef and a very cool place to enjoy your beers and hang out for the day.  They will actually lower your drinks down in a bucket while you float on inner tubes.  Beat that.  I dare you to even try.  http://www.palapabarandgrill.com/

My buddy Cindy on the left.  She manages Asian Garden Day Spa in town (across from Ramon’s).

Part Two tomorrow.  We continue on to Ak’Bol Retreat (my new favorite spot on Ambergris Caye, I kid you not) and to Coco Beach.
If you can’t find me for the next few weeks, I’ll be hanging out on the most perfect dock (my new office) and at the most perfect beach bar – Ak’Bol.
Here’s the map of our island.

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