We arrived safely at the airstrip in San Pedro which was blessedly much longer than the one we had just narrowly departed from. We grabbed our bags and headed out to find our accommodations.

 Baggage Clain at TropicAir
Baggage claim at TropicAir. Two guys and a hand truck.

The hotel we had chosen, Lily’s, is located on Front Street, in the heart of town and right on the shore overlooking several busy piers. As we were not planning on spending a lot of time there, a sumptuous luxurious hotel room was not necessary. We selected Lily’s based on its price, seaside location and proximity to all the activity of downtown San Pedro.

Lily's Hotel San Pedro
I "borrowed" this image off of the web. Thank you Google!

As soon as we arrived a felt as if we can been somehow transported into an episode of “The Twilight Zone” . Down a dark, narrow, dirty alley we found the reception area (and I use the word reception in the very loosest terms possible). The dingy office was piled high with papers, folders and old dusty books. Colorful Caribbean kitsch littered the walls and every available open space. On the wall, to the right of the desk was a vibrant portrait of a handsome older man. Seated at the desk were the shriveled, pallid remains of that same gentleman. After waiting and listening intently to an enthusiastic and barely intelligible discourse between the man and several youths looking for place to crash, we were showed to our room. It seemed important to him that we familiarize ourselves with the concept of modern locks and keys. He himself seemed to have just caught up on all this new fangled technology as it took him 5 minutes to open our door. Certain we could manage nicely on our own, we demonstrated our mastery of the security system and sent the gentleman on his way.

The room at Lily's

The room at Lily’s was as expected, basic but clean. The toilet and full bath tub were separated from the main room which contained a sink set into a long well lit counter along the back wall, a small refrigerator, a rusty standing fan, an ample armoire, night stand and two queen sized beds. Separate beds!! Let the romance begin!! Just outside our door was a spacious covered terrace with several small tables and chairs and two steps leading right down into the sand. Next door, Lily’s Treasure chest served up tasty Belizean breakfast, lunch and dinner to a mixed crowd of locals and visitors. All this, with air-conditioning, for just $65 usd per night. Perfect.

Lily's Hotel and Restaurant at night

As, by this time, it was quite dark, and we had been travelling for about 6 hours, we quickly unpacked and went out in search of food and fun. Local favorite, Fido’s, had been given good reports on both playa.info and In the Roo so we headed off down the beach, chatted up the local tourist board hawking their wares on the beach and shortly arrived at Fido’s Bar and Restaurant.

Fido’s is the quintessential, Caribbean beach bar set under an enormous palapa on Front Street. The bartenders are friendly and animated but not in a Carlos & Charlies/Senior Frogs/Disney World kind of way. They genuinely appear to be having a good time with each other and the guests. We ordered ourselves 2 beers and a couple of apps. off of the bar menu. At this point, I should point out that in Belize, beer means Belikin. Light beer means Lighthouse by Belikin. For those of you who like your beer as a meal, they have a stout made by…yes, you guessed it….Belikin. 

Belikin - The Offical Beer of Belize
Thank you again Google Images ;)

I have to say, While Fido’s is not shy about their pricing $$$, the food is delicious. Not your garden variety bar grub. I ordered the fried calamari and Rob, the conch fritters. My calamari was very lightly dusted with batter, cooked to perfection and served atop a duo of sauces, a garlic aioli and roasted tomato sauce. Delicious. Rob’s fritters were moist, flavorful and chock full of chunks of conch and flecks of habanero peppers. We were both pleasantly surprised by the flavor and presentation of our meals. Well done Fido’s.

Shark Attack at Fido's in San Pedro

Caribbean Colors
This one's for you, Barry. The ladies room at Fido's. More of Barry's beautiful artwork can be found at www.CaribbeanColors.com

Late night (after 9pm for us old folks) at Fido’s means live music. We were once again surprized as the level of entertainment far exceeded our expectations. Living in Playa, we are no stranger to the cover band. On any given evening, we can stroll into a bar in Playa and listen to a band offering their renditions of classic rock tunes. While we have a few very good ones (notably  "The Nasty Bastards" ) most are passable and some are downright torturous to endure. Occasionally, we will be blessed with a visit by a really talented musician on extended holiday in Mexico, between tours or CD recording sessions. We live for those visits. We don't let go of them easily. The band at Fido’s is “Red Rocket”, a group of young, talented ex-pats, singing for their super in paradise. And sing..... indeed they do. I tried to find some information about them on the web, but no luck. These guys are terrific and you ever have the chance to catch them, stick around for the show. Well done “Red Rocket”!

Impressed by the band, delighted by our meals and sleepy with Belikin and a long day of travel, we turned in early in anticipation of the next day and a chance to explore Ambergris Caye. Lots more photos to come in Part 3 - Changes in Attitude