We took our travel recommendations for this trip from Jennie, as I mentioned, and even though I looked into other places to stay, I fully intended on just staying where she and Mike had stayed on their recent visit to Belize. Originally I planned on staying on Ambergris Caye the entirety of our trip, just to make things easier and avoid the whole “repacking a suitcase just to have to use things from it” thing, especially in a beach climate where clothes already used might be sandy or have the slight musty smell. Alas, by the time we could book, The Portofino was booked solid for ONE NIGHT smack dab in the middle of our window. That lead us to decide to just do exactly as Jennie and Mike did and stay on Caye Caulker for the second part of our trip.
Unlike Jennie and Mike, we did not have a Living Social deal for The Portofino but we were able to find a deal on it via Amex Travel. If you have an American Express card, I highly recommend you use their website to look for hotels. This is the third time I have used it to locate a hotel for us and gotten a way better deal than I could find on any of those deal sites. I always have those up as well so that I can compare what’s available to me but just as an example I did this when we went to Arizona and a hotel on Amex Travel was avail to me for $179 a night that was listed on Expedia AS A BARGAIN at $499 a night, so it’s my first stop when looking at hotels now.
Anyway Jennie shared her thoughts about The Portofino in her post about Belize and like her I also emailed them about 1000 times before we arrived and JuanCarlos was nothing but patient and gracious with my questions and requests.
When you arrive you are greeted right on the dock with cold towels soaked with aromatherapy oils and ushered into the lobby to fill out your paperwork. This sounds a bit tedious but they bring you one of these to make it easier
which you can choose to drink virgin or knock back a swig to allow room for rum…as much rum as you’d like.
Our cabana looked directly over the pool
and was decorated when we walked in
In addition to that bit of surprise romance by the hotel, I prearranged a private dinner on the beach (after Jennie recommended it) because they set it up for you free of charge and the day we traveled to Belize was the 9th anniversary of when Willy and I became engaged. I wanted to surprise him so he had no idea and when we were all in the pool that afternoon we could see them setting it up. Everyone else was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, pointing fingers at each other and this lady Courtney started teasing us that we were renewing our vows and just not telling anyone. It was REALLY hard to keep it a secret for like 4 hours until dinner. Ha.
When I posted the picture on IG, Slynnro mentioned she was afraid of fire and funny story, those palm leaves caught on fire! Several of them burned and floated off onto the sand. Thankfully that’s all that happened but after seeing our dinner another couple was convinced to have the same dinner the next night when it was even windier and the FABRIC melted. There are giant holes in it now.
We got sunburnt our very first day and I think that would be one of my only wishes for change in the hotel: more shade. I would like some umbrellas by the pool or down by the water but I wore my giant sun hat and was more diligent about the sunscreen the rest of the time and am not the one that is peeling right now. We spent a lot of time in the pool
or reading in a hammock
I got up at sunrise and did yoga on a mat provided by the hotel
and even though the breakfast area doesn’t open until 7 they have a self serve coffee area open way earlier outside by the pool so I was able to drink coffee on my porch after yoga and not wake Willy
We had planned on taking the sea kayaks out but from our first full day on the property we had 20 knot winds and it just wasn’t viable, sadly. Instead we took the beach bikes (I didn’t get the broken one that Jennie had, I did however hit a mothereffing coconut and almost wreck.) over to X’Tan Ha for lunch where I had the weirdest nachos of my life (don’t get them. Willy said the burger was great, get that)
and we walked to Rojo Beach Bar for dinner where we had an AMAZING veggie pizza. Note: It gets DARK at night, so if you walk to other resorts, make sure you bring a flashlight or have the flashlight app on your phone to get back easily. Unless you eat someplace that will send a boat for you.
The next day we had the same crazy winds, boo, so we hopped on the hotel boat and went to Palapa Bar for a few hours
The best area for swimming in the ocean, at the hotel, is from the end of their dock which was under construction during our stay, I’m looking forward to being able to check it out next time, but they do have these amazing hammocks in the shallows for sunbathing.
and of course you could always just take walks along the beach and check out the scenery
and when it’s time to go
you receive a little message from housekeeping and a tray of handmade Belizean soaps to take with you. Lovely.