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The Hunt for Aquarium Bar

Our research takes the Belizean floating pub crawl into uncharted waters with a jaunt toward the Mexican border in search of the super-elusive Aquarium Bar.

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The Belize leg of the floating pub crawl started off with a bang.  The cocktails and atmosphere at Rojo Lounge cannot be beat, and we will definitely be back for more.  Following a long session there we decided that at least one more stop on the afternoon’s crawl was in order.  ’Where to go’ was the question.  My guide, Mike One, tells me about a beautiful stretch of beach several miles up the coast that might be worth a look.  This spot is called Tranquility Bay and is known for crystal clear waters, sandy beaches and world-class snorkeling right off shore.  The important question, of course, was if we’d find any world-class beach bars.  Let’s hope so.

We load into our rum research vessel, a 25 foot fiberglass fishing skiff called Marci, and make our way north.  The waters are indeed crystal clear and the beaches beautiful.  The further north we go, the closer the coral reef is to land and we get an up close look at nature’s beauty and furious power.  Marci’s 50 horsepower outboard motor purrs along as we get further and further away from any signs of life on land.  Just when I think that we’re destined to spend the rest of the afternoon searching rather than drinking, we see small signs of civilization on shore and decide to pull in to see if we can find rum.  We do!!

We tie up at a dock that hosts two small buildings, both painted the same beautiful blue-green hue as the surrounding sea.  One is a dive shop  that is gearing up for an afternoon trip to the reef.  The other is a small bar that is prepping for an afternoon of thirsty patrons.  We have successfully stumbled upon the not-so-world-famous Aquarium Bar.

Like many Belizean bars out on Ambergris Caye, Aquarium sits perched above the water on a rickety wooden dock.  It is a simple place with reggae music on the stereo, whole fish and conch ceviche on the menu and cold Belikin beer and One Barrel rum behind the bar.  We order a couple of ‘Barrel & Cokes and take a look around.  This bar is part of a small resort but feels nothing like any other hotel property we’ve been to.  It is an authentic dock-top dive bar and we immediately feel right at home.

The day is hot and a few people lounge in hammocks on the white sand beach nearby, but for the most part, we are the only ones around and it’s wonderful!  There is an extremely unhurried vibe at Aquarium Bar and we both agree that its the perfect place to continue our lazy afternoon of drinking.  

We drain our first round of cocktails and the bartender immediately makes two more and delivers them with a smile.  He tells us that the bar is usually pretty relaxed with a small rush of patrons during the afternoon when tourist boats return to the dock from a day of fishing.  The pace suits us perfectly and we kind of hope that those fishing boats and drunk tourists never show up.

Aquarium Bar is little more than a shack with a chilled out vibe and perfect view of the sea.  They serve stiff rum drinks and keep things simple and uncomplicated, just the way we like it.  It sure isn’t easy to find or easy to get to, but that’s part of what makes it the special place that it is.  I can say with absolute certainty that our visit, cold rum drinks and relaxed drinking session made the hunt totally worth it.  

If you find yourself in need of some serious rum and relaxation, make your way 12 miles up the coast from San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye, Belize and look for two little green buildings perched on a wooden boat dock.  Aquarium Bar-this is island life at its best.  Cheers!