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Portofino Beach Resort

Posted on 28 May, 2010 in the Articles about Portofino Beach Resort Category. 1 Comment

GayTravelBelize

May 28th 2010 by Cori Sterrenberg

Located 6 miles north from the centre of San Pedro town, Ambergris Caye, lies this rustic and truly romantic resort Portofino. Nestled on stretch of 330 feet of private white sand beach, and immersed within 4.5 acres of property, Portofino offers travellers the ultimate in peace, tranquility, romance, and relaxation. Each of the 17 rustic beachfront accommodations offers thatched roof, wide plank natural hardwood floors, free WIFI ,television, dvd/cd player, AC, fridge, lush towels, soft linens, and luxurious bathrooms. The exteriors offer chairs, hammocks, and patios to relax, and enjoy the breeze. There are 6 beach cabanas, 2 Junior suites, 2 VIP suites, which offer expansive views of the caribbean sea, 1 honeymoon suite that is truly the room to book if you are wanting a romantic getaway, and if you are a large group they also offer the “mansion” which accommodates up to 10 people.

My partner and I came here for a little get away, and we were truly blown away by the accommodations we had. The resort is private, and tranquil and offers couples an amazing place to be together, as well as enjoy the stunning scenery of the caribbean sea. We were in the top floor honeymoon suite, and it offered unparalleled views of the reef, and the clear blue waters. The suite itself was stunning. Rustic, roomy, and sexy are for sure the adjectives that come to mind. The deck off the suite offered lounge chairs as well as a hammock, and it was the perfect way to enjoy the view, the breeze, and one another.

The resort offers a full restaurant and bar, with exceptional staff, and great food. We had a very satisfying lunch the day of our arrival. I ordered the chicken burger, which came on a house made bun, and really yummy crispy fries. I was actually still a bit tired from the night before, so ordered a bloody mary to help replenish myself. It was fantastic, spicy, hot a full of flavour, the bartender really knew how to make the ultimate cure for my “condition.”

For dinner that night we were seated at the end of the deck overlooking the stunning pool, and started with a caesar salad, and a delicately marinaded beef tenderloin strip, which was tender, and very tasty. The waitress was extremely helpful in helping me decide what to order as my main. I ended up ordering the grouper with a caper wine sauce, and my partner ordered the pork tenderloin. Both dishes were presented in a creative array, and offered a well balanced flavor. Portofino is well know on the Island for having lobster year round as well, so if you are a lobster fan, then this for sure is the place to get your fill.

The owners of the resort live onsite, which in my opinion is outstanding. Both Sandra, and Jan van Noord are there to greet you, and really make you feel welcomed. Their passion for the Island, fishing, diving, and the living the life here in San pedro is certainly refreshing especially if you are looking for some real honest direction as what else to do while you are here on your vacation. They will take care of all the bookings for diving, snorkelling, fishing trips, and also mainland trips to the zoo or the ruins. If you just feel like hanging tight at the resort, they offer a small book library, free use of snorkel equipment, canoes, and kayaks are readily available, and at no extra charge.

For the gay and lesbian traveller this would be my pick of a resort to stay at. Never did we feel uncomfortable, and the setting allows for privacy, that I would think would be hard to achieve at any other resort on the island. Even with almost a full house, we were almost always alone, with the exception of meals time, and even then the seating options are great, and the staff is truly wonderful, respectful, and welcoming.

For more information on how to get here, and how to book your stay at Portofino, please check out the accommodations page and I can help make your gay destination plans a reality.

1 Response to "Portofino Beach Resort"


1 | Nicole and Jameson Schroeder said on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:41 am

Hi ladies,

It was really nice meeting you at Portofino and getting to know you! You posted some beautiful pictures and your review of the hotel is dead on in my opinion. Hope our paths cross again in the future!

Jameson and Nicole Schroeder


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Fantastic Fishing news @ Portofino to share with you!

Posted on 26 May, 2010 in the Belize News|Portofino News Category. No comments

El dorado

At the moment we  have our guests Nicole and Jameson staying here with us, for their well deserved Honeymoon here at Portofino Beach Resort. Jameson is a true fishing passionate who has been a  professional fisherman for many many years.

Because Jameson’s heart is into fishing, and did a lot of research regarding Belize, he did not only come to Belize for his honeymoon but also came here to attend the “El Dorado Rodeo 2010”, which was held past Saturday, May 22nd 2010, with the official weigh in and trophy ceremony at the Holiday Hotel, located in the center of San Pedro Town.

Alexander Easter

Taking the well deserved first place with ‘The Reel Deal’ with Captain Hillyboo Lara, having his son Byron reeling in the largest 22lbs. Dorado, giving him the prize for Top Junior Angler. Not only the boat got manned by the two of them, our guests Nicole and Jameson where part of the team. The second largest Dorado 19lbs. got caught by our guest Jameson, however didn’t t got recognized as the same boat and team couldn’t makefirst and second place at the same time.

Nicole and Jameson where very happy with the results and adventure they had that day. Nicole, was great as well, as she caught herself a 20 lbs barracuda, which took her about 25 minutes, and another fish caught by Jameson during this exciting event was a 4lbs. Skip Jack.

For more information please visit:

Ambergris Today

San Pedro Sun

And the great Ambergris Caye Message Board

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Lazing around in beautiful Belize

Posted on 21 May, 2010 in the Articles about Portofino Beach Resort Category. 1 Comment

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From: The Sunday Times, UK published on March 7, 2010

Life too stressed? Holidays too hectic? Get a taste of the Caribbean in English-speaking Belize, Central America
By: Bernard Lyall

In the words of Fyodor Dostoevsky, I find myself in some difficulty: on the one hand, I feel professionally compelled to lift myself from this wooden bench-seat, leave this tiny open bar, with its wooden jetty reaching out into the tranquil, turquoise sea, and head off down the sandy street in search of the essential Belize.

On the other, I feel personally compelled to have another beer. This place seems to have that effect.

Belize sits below Mexico, to the right of Guatemala and to the left of the Caribbean, which here, now, is a balmy 26C and contains one of the most glorious sets of islands and atolls in the western hemisphere. It’s a former British colony, it’s the only Central American country that officially speaks English and, of course, it’s where Lord Ashcroft may, or may not, be domiciled.

So far, so Wikipedia; what’s harder to explain is why so few people in the UK know it, or why so many of those who do — often ex-servicemen or diplomats who’ve been stationed there — have a habit of making it their home. Okay, so there’s the white coral sand, the tropical jungle, the sea life — but there’s something about Belize they really like.

First off, it’s not large. The vogue for describing land areas in terms of Wales works perfectly here: it’s about the size of Wales. Yet the population is only that of Cardiff, so a lot of the country has nobody in it. Culturally and ecologically, it’s both Central American and Caribbean, so, given its diminutive size, there’s a great variety of easily accessible experiences on offer, from the rainforests, caves and Mayan remains inland to the coast and islands in the east.

The great inescapable presence off shore is the magnificent coral reef, the largest in the world except, you know, that Australian one, and it’s peppered with hundreds of islands (or cayes, pronounced “keys”). Only one has what you could respectably call a town, and that’s Ambergris Caye, for many their first stop in the country.

San Pedro sprawls along the reef side of the caye and is reached from Belize City by a short ride in a small boat or a shorter ride in a smaller plane. Both are a blast.

The plane deposits you on a scrubby airstrip that is both at the edge of town and 500yd from the centre (get the picture?). At this point, you’d be well advised to do what I would have, had I known — march straight out of the airport and into Limey’s Bar, across the road.

Sharon and Tracey, who run it, seem to know everyone in San Pedro, and everything about having a good time there, perhaps because Limey’s is also a tour centre and can arrange anything from diving, snorkelling, fishing, sailing and mainland excursions to accommodation, local transport and golf-cart rental.

Yes, golf carts — the main mode of powered transport in San Pedro, and not just for tourists: you can tell a local-owned one because it’s travelling at twice (or in Sharon’s case three times) the speed of the others.

Personally, I didn’t bother: nothing here is more than walking distance away, and if you find yourself in a hurry to do anything, you’re seriously missing the point. But keep an eye out — being mown down by a golf cart is not something you want to have to explain to your mates.

What is there to do here? Well, San Pedro is trying hard to catch up with the rest of the Caribbean, with bars and nightclubs along its beach and all three of its main drags — they do have names, but everyone calls them Front, Middle and Back streets. But it’s still all about the sea: being on, under or above it, gazing at it or eating things that until recently called it home.

If you dive, you’ve arrived: I went out with Ecologic Divers, and, although I’d never met sharks before, after one morning I was getting blasé about them. And the rays, the groupers, the morays… and that wasn’t even at a marine reserve site such as Hol Chan.

If you snorkel, the water is warm and clear, and you can expect to see similar things — Shark Ray Alley is exactly what it suggests, and only 8ft deep.

Though Ambergris Caye is fringed with sand, the beach is narrow, and busy near town, so swimming is usually off resort jetties or on nearby islands — Goff’s Caye, for example, provides a manatee-watching snorkel site and a beautiful sandy beach. For a unique view of the Caye, Toucan Fly, at the airstrip, will take you up in a microlight for an unforgettable wind-in-the-teeth experience.

The next largest island, Caye Caulker, is another short boat or plane ride away. Twenty years ago, when I first came here, it was so quiet that, after a week, I got itchy for burgers, freeways and someone to get annoyed with.

Now, the northern end of the island is aiming to become a mini San Pedro, and where once nothing moved on wheels, there are now a few golf carts — even more pointlessly, as it takes all of 20 minutes to walk the populated part of the island.

But if, when you get off the wooden jetty, you turn south, or left rather than right, within a few paces strange things happen: your pace slows, you squint into the sun, you see a bar and, before you know it, you’re getting round a beer, watching pelicans diving for fish, or kids throwing themselves off the jetty, and falling into conversation with someone who seems to want nothing more from life than to do the same. Hours may pass.

While visitors have undeniably had an impact in some places (including the Placencia peninsula, further south), in others they seem to have had almost none.

Staying at Hamanasi resort, just south of Dangriga, I found everything the well-heeled holidaymaker could desire. But cycle down the, er, charmingly rural road to Hopkins village and it’s as if none of the resorts existed: clapboard houses, derelict cars and excellent food in simple surroundings. Fancy lobster at £10? Go to Iris’s. Beer, stew and drumming? King Cassava. Just ask.

That’s how I eventually found Driftwood, an excellent pizza bar on the beach, run by Ollie from Manchester. I passed it twice before I asked someone, who pointed to a building 50 yards away. I mentioned to Ollie that a sign might have helped, and he pointed to one behind the bar: “I’ve been meaning to put it out for a while now.” He’s only been here for a few months, but it’s happening already…

The resorts here, as in San Pedro, will organise any activity for you — or, for less money, you can ask in Hopkins where you see a sign. Either way, do it: inland, there’s river kayaking, “tubing” (floating through the rainforest in an inner tube), caves, ruins and hiking through nature reserves with a guide. Off shore, there’s diving, snorkelling, kayaking, sailing and fishing. And some of the cayes are idyllic, for day trips or longer:

Tobacco Caye is a tiny patch of palm-covered sand and simple cabins, right on the reef. Many of the cabins are partly over the water, and if the idea of chilling out, getting wet and eating and drinking under palms, in perfect peace and for £27 a day does it for you, look no further.

Of course, this may not be your thing — you might be from Mars or something — or you may want more luxury, in which case check out the equally idyllic Southwater Caye, St George’s Caye or some of the atolls further out — Turneffe, Lighthouse or Glover’s Reef.

There’s a range of accommodation, from posh to primitive, and reputedly awesome sea and bird life. The Smithsonian Institute has an island base nearby, where a handful of scientists conduct research into, ooh, lots of really important things that leave them very little time for relaxing on the sand between cooling dips or sipping beer while watching the sunset.

So it’s hard to believe there’s not something here for you. But even that’s not the point. I’m not sure quite what is, though, because, whenever I settle down to work it out, within a minute I’m wondering whether a palm tree bending in the breeze is the most evocative sight I know; or how seagulls feel about being pushed off their perches by pelicans (although it makes me laugh every time); or whether I prefer grouper or lobster, either on my plate or in the sea. Maybe another beer will help…

Travel Brief

Getting there: there are no direct flights to Belize from the UK or Ireland, but Continental (continental.com), American Airlines (020 7365 0777, americanairlines.co.uk) and Delta (delta.com) have flights via their American-hub airports. Returns start at about £700; allow extra for an airport hotel on the way out because of the connection times.

Where to stay: in San Pedro, Portofino (portofinobelize.com) is calm and beautiful, with beach cabanas from about £150. Like most resorts, it’s a short boat ride out of town. At Banana Beach (bananabeach.com), doubles start at £63.

On Caye Caulker, try the impeccable Tree Tops Guesthouse (00 501-226 0240, treetopsbelize.com), which has doubles from £33. Around Hopkins, the excellent Hamanasi (520 7073, hamanasi.com) has doubles from £130. On Tobacco Caye, the prettiest rooms are at Tobacco Caye Paradise (520 2742; doubles from £51).

For more options, visit travelbelize.org.

Tour operators: several specialist firms can organise a tailor-made trip to see the country’s highlights, ending with a beach break. Journey Latin America (020 8747 8315, journeylatinamerica.co.uk) has nine days in Belize, staying at the Hamanasi, in Dangriga, and the Portofino, on Ambergris Caye, from £1,868pp, B&B, including flights from London, domestic flights and transfers. Or try Reef & Rainforest (01803 866965, reefandrainforest.co.uk) or Veloso Tours (020 8762 0616, veloso.com).

When to go: the high season is December to April, which is drier and cooler, although the temperature still ranges between 28C and 35C.

Bernard Lyall travelled as a guest of Journey Latin America

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1 Response to "Lazing around in beautiful Belize"


1 | Ronchetti said on May 31st, 2010 at 6:17 am

Nice post,
Thanks for the effort you took to expand upon this topic so thoroughly. I look forward to future posts.

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