Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spotlight on the "Tres Cocos" neighborhood of Ambergris Caye, Belize...

Since we have opened PUR, in the Tres Cocos neighborhood of Belize, I have had a LOT of questions coming my way about what Tres Cocos neighborhood is like, where it is, why is it up and coming, why should they choose it as a place to stay, what are they missing if they don't stay in town? There isn't much info online about this neighborhood so I thought I'd give a fresh perspective about this area!
Tres Cocos is the area just north of the bridge in San Pedro. San Pedro is the biggest town on Ambergris Caye, and there are different neighborhoods around the island that you will hear talked about. One of the more famous destination neighborhoods is called Boca Del Rio - which is the heart of town, where the majority of beach bars and docks are. This is a definite must-do, it has some of the anchor places on the island, like Palapa Bar, Sandy Toes, Wayo's, all the excursion docks, Melt, Sandbar, and many more. The other great parts of town to visit are south of there, where you'll find Estelle's, Nook, Blue Water Grill, and then farther south, an entirely different neighborhood with the fun of Crazy Canuck's, Road Kill, AJ's and more....this is why Belize gets many repeat guests, as each area has its own vibe and I am barely scratching the surface of all the places to go, eat, see, and do.

Back to Tres Cocos. Tres Cocos is really, really pretty - and looks different than the rest of the island. It is newer and less developed, and less busy. One definite positive most will agree is that the road north is amazing compared to the rest of the island. Much of the road on the island is cobblestones and bumps and is pretty rough to drive on, not to mention, BUSY! Once you get north of the bridge, you find a very polite, straightforward, smooth, two lane road with mostly golf carts and bikes. The road was just paved within the last couple years, which has helped the growth.
This cute market is just north of the bridge...
 One of many beachfront scenes you'll see on your drive up...
 One of the first cute restaurants, Pirates Treasure....
 Another cute place to stop - 
This neighborhood has recently started to be on everyone's destination list partly because of Truck Stop and Croc's, which are two super unique experiences to have on the island. Truck Stop is a veritable carnival of fun, with games, movies, food trucks, and is a must do - it is always a hub of activity.
Great photo opp at Truck stop
Croc's is an amazing 3 story tiki bar - HUGE! - that overlooks the lagoon and has amazing sunsets. It has become the place to be for many major events - the Superbowl this year was so packed on every floor that there was barely a seat available.
Many, many condo developments can be found in Tres Cocos, along with an amazing, tranquil beach walk that is a must-do. It is just gorgeous. You can walk to Ak'bol Yoga on the beach, and do yoga on a palapa over the sea.

There are some wonderful resorts north of Tres Cocos for spas and upscale dining, including rooftop dining at Rain. Coco Loco's is a very friendly, warm pool bar that has some fun events weekly, and Dive Bar is an amazing experience.
"Marbucks" is a great place for coffee and breakfast. 

Stella's is a romantic stop for wine....
Lisa's Kayak rental....
There are also little tiki bars tucked here and there, like Tiki Maya and Paco's Tiki Bar. There is a new bbq place and an Irish Bar. All of these places are popping up and there seems to always be something new!


There are plenty of stretches of really pretty landscaping, homes, and stretches of road...

 Really interesting houses to be seen!
I think it is fair to say that there is less authentic local culture north of the bridge, it is newer and many of the larger fancier resorts are just north of Tres Cocos. Downtown San Pedro has a very authentic feel, and it can be crazy - busy, loud, hectic...a little bit gritty - and always fun. North of the bridge in Tres Cocos is quite tranquil, you will awake to hear birds in the morning, and there is some space and nature between each establishment, as opposed to in town where things are right next to each other.
Some scenes from the tranquil beach path...




Scenes from the beach front...






One other reason that north of the bridge is great is that it is a perfect takeoff point to get to Secret Beach, which is most definitely not a secret, but may never lose that name. Secret Beach is a place where there is no sea grass, and the sandbar extends forever, so you can walk out in waist-deep water, and enjoy an amazing number of super fun beach bars that have popped up there. Belize has been getting Sargassum seaweed in large amounts recently, along with all of the Caribbean, and for beach fun, this is definitely the place to go when the sea grass hits the east side of the island.

You can always book something in town for half the trip and spend the other half in Tres Cocos!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Sargassum is gone....but there is still plenty of beauty to enjoy no matter what mother nature brings!

Sargassum has been an issue for a few weeks in parts of Belize - and it is a nuisance to everyone. It can come and go, or stick around pretty nastily for days at a time; it is very unpredictable. Many visitors in their first time to Belize had a lot of questions. Because having it wash in, in the amount it has been, is still a relatively new phenomenon, there are many different theories you will find. It is everywhere in the Caribbean - not just Belize by any stretch, and many places get it much worse.

Guests ask why Belize doesn't use nets or bulldozers, the way they would imagine it would be done in the US? Belize is unique in that it has a fragile barrier reef, the 2nd largest in the world, to protect. It typically gets more sea grass than an average beach because the sea grass helps support the marine life. Without it, there wouldn't be the amazing sea creatures that people come from all the over the world to snorkel with. It is part of the ecosystem and is not seen as a negative thing in reasonable quantities. We cannot use nets and heavy beach equipment because it destroys the fragile beaches (you can see much beachfront all over the world is seawalled - the seaweed helps build up the shore, and it doesn't take much to erode a beach.) Belize takes the protection of sea creatures very seriously, and the use of nets or other water devices will cause those same creatures to get caught up in them.

So Belize tends to take care of the seaweed the old-fashioned way - by hand...one person at a time, with a pitchfork and wheelbarrow, or just a shovel and rake. This means that it doesn't get cleared fast, and while we all hate the Sargassum, and we are all concerned about the garbage that tends to get caught up in the seaweed and wash in, it can be helpful to see the bigger picture and what is best in the long run for the environment. This post is meant to show the other beautiful things you can look at - even if the shore is messy. Also, the final pictures show what the beach is like when it inevitably goes away - and Belize is working towards environmentally friendly ways to balance the desire for our beaches to stay clear, and to do what's best for the long run!
You can take a walk through town - we have an amazing sidewalk with jaw dropping, postcard worthy snapshots....





We are fortunate in Placencia Village to have a wide enough beach in areas that even if the shore is messy - the views are still incredible.



You can always find a hotel that has a pool that provides you the exotic experience you came to Belize for....
 Paddleboarding is always an option if you can get past the shore!!
And one morning - poof! It's gone and back to normal :)
 And Sticks has been enjoying an extended vacation in Placencia...his favorite place in the world :) He has thoroughly been enjoying each and every dog-friendly guest!!



Wednesday, April 11, 2018

We've been busy at CBC, and the secret is out, we opened our 2nd hotel in Belize!

Although the staff at CBC have known about the new hotel for about 2 months now, we were only able to start talking about it in the last two weeks!! What a crazy 4 weeks it has been!!

The old Casitas Tres Cocos, about a mile north of the bridge, was a gorgeous, boutique hotel built with an amazing aesthetic eye....I remember the first time I saw it in early 2017, I was in awe and I had a bit of FOMO wanting to stay there! They had a super fun, cozy-but-yet-sexy swim up bar, and it all just had the right "feel" to it - that feeling that everything is just right, very comfortable and pleasing to the eye.

We were so fortunate it came on the market, and when we realized - hey, this place has the same feel as CBC, what an amazing sister resort this could be! We put a bid in, and wow, it all worked out!!!

So now we all had to shut our traps and act like everything was normal....even though our team started to be spotted an awful lot on the island...and hmm......Carlos seemed to be missing in Placencia for a while? (we stole him for PUR for a while :))  It is a small country and word got out, and now we can finally shout about our excitement. In a 3 week span, we all descended onto the island, closed on the hotel, rebranded, worked with staff, redid a bunch of aesthetics - mainly making it more earth colors, less bright colors, so it would match our look at CBC. We changed the restaurant into a Taco Bar, and started to recruit our first guests. :)
About 2 weeks ago we finally put our sign out on the road! And then the secret really was out that we were reopening Casitas Tres Cocos as PUR Boutique Cabanas. We have been working our tails off ever since and loving EVERY minute! CBC does not have the bar/restaurant right on site, as we are walking distance to all the great ones in the village. We used our same customer service passion (obsession?) to make the Taco Bar a fun, high energy, good-vibe place - so far - it is AWESOME!


We welcomed our first great guests on April 5th and we are going on a week being open. We are learning a ton every day - and so grateful to the local community for welcoming us so warmly. We had a super fun soft opening party where we got to cut our teeth on our local friends, and have been making needed tweaks each day to improve the experience. We are trying hard to serve the residents on the island, as well as our guests, and to do our part to use as little plastic as possible. We are building great relationships within the community and with our staff, and we can't wait to continue to contribute positively to our little corners of Belize!


We are hoping to appeal to guests who want to experience both Placencia and Ambergris Caye with us - and we offer a discount to those who want to try both places. The new PUR Boutique Cabanas is a lively, fun, social place, where you can definitely find tranquility in our gorgeous rooms, hammocks, the beach walk out back, or at the pool - or find fun and new friends at the bar round the clock (until a reasonable hour of course!)

We are still working on our website and online presence. Right now you can book our rooms by emailing us at info@caribbeanbeachcabanas.com or info@purboutiquecabanas.com, or going to www.purboutiquecabanas.com. You can also follow us on Facebook HERE. We hope within about a month to have everything just right ;). Oh did I mention the super low rates through most of the summer?