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Questions I Get Every Day: What’s the Weather Going to Be Like? Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye? Can I Eat Gluten-Free?

I get quite a few questions emailed to me each day.  I get ones specific to me like “what is it like as a single woman in Belize” or “how did you find a job” to broader questions like where to stay or eat to even broader ones like “Why visit Belize?”.I thought I’d go through a few of the most popular questions that I get and my answers.  If anyone who lives here or visits frequently has anything to add or disagrees with me, definitely let me know.  I know it’s hard to believe (for you and me alike), but I am not always right.  (Be forewarned: I seem to have lots to say this morning.)

What is the weather going to be like when I visit?

People usually ask this if they are visiting in the summer or fall (typically the rainy and hurricane seasons).  Will it rain while I am there?  What are the odds that there will be a hurricane?

Will the weather look like this?

Or this:

August, September and October are the main months when tropical storms affect Belize.  It does rain more than during the rest of the year.  Often at night but there can be some rainy days during your trip as well.

And since I moved here, we have had tropical storm scares in San Pedro but never a direct hit.   I think over the past 5 years, we have had 1 to 2 watches a season.  Times when the weather channel is on at every bar all day long, when people often pack up things outside, sometimes board up windows and now and then, some people will leave the island and head to the mainland.  Knock on wood, nothing terrible has happened. And I have never left the island.  Often we have rain for the day, dark skies, heavy seas and wind.  I have seen a mandatory closing of restaurants and bars in town, but that is rare.

That does not mean that it can’t happen.  But hey, apparently it can happen in New York City too.  Hurricane Irene hit the northeast pretty hard in 2011.

Final answer?  Your odds of stormy weather are better than during the rest of the year but there are some great advantages to visiting during the fall months (see:  Visiting Sept 21 and Visiting in October).  You need to weigh the positives (like cheap airfare and amazing September celebrations) vs. the negatives like a few possible rainy days or even the much slimmer chance of a tropical storm.  I wouldn’t hesitate but would check policies of the airlines and hotels in relatively slim chance that I would have to adjust my plans.

Another quick weather note:  No matter what time of the year, people log onto some of the large weather sites (like to check the forecast for their vacation.  They see the menacing picture below + “isolated t-storms” for the entire 10 day forecast.

These sites are pretty much never right beyond a few days.  Plus, we NEVER have thunderstorms at this time of year.  Summer, yes…winter and spring?  No.

For the most accurate short term forecast that I have seen, check:  Belize’s Meteorological Service

Should I Visit Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye?

Let me start with saying that I love them both, but after visiting both, I chose to live on Ambergris Caye so…I’ve gotta bias.   Let me just break it down into the reasons to visit each.

Reasons to Pick Caye Caulker

  • Overall, lower budget hotels
  • You really get to know the island and all of the people there very quickly.  It’s very homey.
  • Very easy to explore by foot.  No traffic.  No need for golfcarts or taxis like much of AC.
  • A generally younger crowd.  Also tends to be a bit more international.
  • It’s very quaint, very pastel, very charming.
Reasons to Pick Ambergris Caye
  • More restaurant and bar choices.  You could easily stay for one month and try a new place each day.  Probably two.
  • More varied choices of hotels, from simple bed and breakfasts to high end resorts.  You can stay in the busier town or at a very remote spot up north.
  • Lots of events each afternoon and night (see my event calendar below) from live music to karaoke to fund raisers to the famous Chicken Drop.  You will never be bored.
  • More dive and tour companies.  You will have a larger selection of trips that you can take each day.
  • It’s a relatively long island.  There are lots of different areas, (better) beaches and neighborhoods to explore.
  • If you are doing your own food shopping and cooking, you have a much larger range of options.

You can swim, dive, snorkel, sun, sail, windsurf and take to trips to the mainland from both islands. Both have great bars, restaurants and lots of friendly people.   So it ends up being all about personal preference.  My personal preference?  5 days on Ambergris Caye and 2 days on Caye Caulker (or even just a day trip to CC).   And this blog is all about my opinion.

Can I follow my celiac/gluten-free diet while in San Pedro?

This one is new to me but I’ve probably been asked it about 10 times in the last month.  I do not follow a gluten free diet (or any diet for that matter!) but here is what I think.

Many of the most popular dishes in Belize are totally wheat-free.  Chicken and fish, rice & beans, plenty of corn tortillas and tortilla chips, plaintains, foods like salsa and ceviche are available at almost every restaurant.

While I have never seen items on menus specifically marked “gluten free”, I think that people should have no problem at all finding lots of gluten-free things to eat.
My only tip?  When ordering anything with a tortilla make sure to ask whether it is flour or corn.  Unlike parts of Mexico where it is all corn, flour tortillas are very very popular in Belize. It’s easy. Just ask.  Often they can substitute for you.
Phew…that’s lots of typing for one morning.  As always, feel free to email me at [email protected] with any questions that you have.  I’ll try to be more concise!

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9 thoughts on “Questions I Get Every Day: What’s the Weather Going to Be Like? Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye? Can I Eat Gluten-Free?

  1. Emily

    Great idea for a blog post, and good answers! The only thing I’d disagree with is on thunderstorms. I had read or heard that AC did not get t-storms. We moved here late last August, and in the first few weeks we were here, I remember several intense t-storms overnight. I know this because I had to sit up with with my terrified little dog, as our shipment from the US containing her crate (where she feels safe) had not yet arrived. We also had no shades on our windows yet, so the lightning was VERY visible (and scary) inside our condo at night. Yes, there are occasional thunderstorms on Ambergris Caye in August/September, at least. Not that that should keep anyone from visiting then, but just something to be aware of.

  2. Me

    I adjusted on the t-storms. Just meant that they never really happened this time of year. Summer? Yes…we get super cool ones.

  3. Jena

    So…did you ever answer those other questions (what’s it like to be a single woman in AC, or how did you find a job)? I’ve been reading through your older posts and haven’t come across them yet.

    I love your blog BTW – very informative and oh so witty!

  4. Kris

    I am interested in the answers to the other questions as well. love your blog, and saving for a trip to belize this year. Hoping it will lead to a permanant move. Kris

  5. nannersyak

    Thanks for the info on eating gluten free. I am excited about our trip and feel more confident I will be able to eat safely LOL I really enjoy your blog, perfect blend of information and personality.

  6. Carolyn and Surendra Kumar

    Gunter and Anna at Matieu’s Deli always have something that is Gluten-free. Great post

  7. Kim

    how about a blog entry on where a tourist should shop to stock up on basics like shampoo, suntan lotion, etc as well as where to get snacks

  8. Carbunkle Trumpet

    good post scoop but I thought you had compared San Pedro to Long Island but saw that I read it wrong.
    The weather, some days it rains, some days it is sunny, some day it is windy but NEVER have I seen it snow.

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