Ambergris Caye (pronounced Am-BUR-gris or Am-BUR-grease Key) is the largest of some 200 cayes that dot the coastline of Belize. Ambergris is 25 miles long and a little over a mile wide, in some places, and it is located in the clear shallow waters of the Caribbean Sea just off the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Our coastline is surrounded by the 190 miles long Barrier Reef, the second largest living coral reef in the world. In Mayan times, Ambergris Caye was a trading post. The narrow channel that separates Mexico and Belize was dug by the Maya to provide a trade route from the Bay of Chetumal to the Caribbean.
San Pedro Town is only densely populated on the island. It’s atmosphere is that of a small busy fishing town. The town is laden with wood houses, some with Mexican decor, others Caribbean style, and the remaining with English colonial architecture. Gift shops, boutiques, bars, cafes, and restaurants adorn Front and Middle Streets (officially named Barrier Reef Drive/Pescador Drive). A short stroll in town center and you’ll experience the friendliness of the residents and feel the ease of their lifestyle. Barefeet, tee-shirts, and shorts are the typical island dress code.
Belize Native People
The natives of the island are called “Sanpedranos” and speak English, Spanish, Creole, and Maya simultaneously. Before tourism picked up in the 80s, the Islanders were mostly Mestizos (Maya-Spanish). Today the original Sanpedranos share their island with Creole, Maya, Central American refugees, Europeans and Americans that have made San Pedro their favorite home.
Attractions in Belize
The most famous tourist attraction is our Belize Barrier Reef which runs parallel along the entire coast of Belize. The reef is only 1/4 mile from the beach of Ambergris Caye – making diving very accessible. The island’s seaside is jammed with jetties and dive shops which provide trips to the different dive sites as well as to the Great Blue Hole. There are also certified scuba lessons in NAUI, PADI, and SSI. Some of the most popular dive sites are the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is merely a 10-minute boat jaunt from town. The reef’s beauty and richness have put Belize in lists of the top ten dive destinations in the world.
The evenings on the island are a social event. You will find tourists and islanders at different bars and restaurants listening to reggae and Latin music and sharing the day’s adventures.
Getting around San Pedro is very easy. There are a variety of methods. The most popular source of transportation for visitors by far is Golf carts. They are the only vehicle that can be rented by tourists. They can be rented from a variety of companies, but we do have our favorites. We only use companies that treat our customers right. In high season they should be ordered before you arrive and we think a gas golf cart is better than electric because you get more range.
Downtown San Pedro, Ambergris Caye Belize
Golf carts can be Electric, or Gas Electric carts need to be changed daily for recharging but are nice and quiet.
The companies do make changing easy by delivering a fresh one every day to the apartment but if you want to do some serious touring up the coast…gas is better due to increased range.
Taxis are also easy to use and popular. It costs $6US to get to town by taxi. Most taxis are minivans, and ALL must display a green license plate .. so look for that. Do not be surprised if you are not the only one the driver picks up on the way.
Bicycles are also commonly used and can be rented from various locations in Town.
For trips up the coast to some very nice restaurants or just to take a water tour, water taxis are the answer. They are also used to go from Island to Island. Such as a trip to Caye Caulker or Caye Chapel for a game of Golf. Airlines are used locally to fly around the country. They are not expensive and take a minimal amount of time. Beautiful view also! Belize City to San Pedro is only 16 minutes. Great Pilots and safe planes.