Officially renowned as Belize’s largest island and commonly referred to as a tourist magnet, Ambergris Caye is a captivating Central American vacation destination that has something for everyone. This sandy tropical haven stretches along the world’s second-largest barrier reef – the Belize Barrier Reef, which is host to some of the most celebrated water adventure sports in the continent.
Swamped with lush green mangroves and surrounded by white sand beaches and turquoise waters of the majestic Caribbean sea, Ambergris Caye is a sight to behold and an unmissable vacation destination. If you’re planning a trip to this tropical paradise, this guide has everything you need to know to have a memorable experience that lasts a lifetime. So, let’s dive right in.
How to Get Around in Ambergris Caye, Belize
To properly explore this gorgeous Caribbean island, you need to know how to be able to get around and make the most of your trip. Here are some common ways to commute in and around the island and explore Ambergris Caye at your own pace:
The best part about Ambergris Caye is that the island is extremely walkable and one can truly explore and appreciate its beauty on foot. Most sightseeing spots, restaurants, and beaches can be accessed simply by walking while allowing you to soak in the charm of this quaint island. A mix of cobblestone, concrete paved, and dirt roads, there are three main north-south streets that you need to familiarize yourself with to easily walk around and get to your respective destinations. With very few vehicles on the island, Ambergris Caye makes for a very tourist-friendly beach destination with a relaxed and laid-back vibe.
Apart from walking, the primary mode of transportation within Ambergris Caye island is golf carts. You can either pre-book a golf cart for yourself or simply rent one from the many stations around the island. The best part about getting around in a golf cart is that it allows you to explore the picturesque streets of the island at your own pace while enjoying everything it has to offer. For as low as 30 USD for an entire day, you can rent a 4-seater golf cart and commute around the island with ease.
What better way to explore the narrow, old-fashioned streets of this charming island than riding through them as the cool sea breeze hits your face? Probably the most inexpensive mode of transport in Ambergris Caye, renting bikes costs as low as $10.00 USD/day. You will find multiple bike rental shops all across the island where you can easily rent your ride by the hour, day, week, or month. Riding through Ambergris Caye allows you to capture the true essence of the island and live the island life to the fullest.
Whether you need to get to Ambergris Caye from Belize City or to Caye Caulker from Ambergris Caye, water taxis are a reliable, quick, inexpensive, and enjoyable way to reach your destination. Water taxis are serviced by two major companies and you don’t require a driver’s license, passport, or prior planning to get a ride. Water taxis in Ambergris Caye make for a relaxing and pleasant mode of transport while you are exploring the island.
Outdoor Activities to Enjoy in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Outdoor activities are what the beautiful island of Ambergris Caye is known for all across the world. If you are here, you cannot possibly leave without indulging in some adventure sports, and sightseeing activities based on your interest and bucket list. Let’s look at some of the major experiences and attractions you can enjoy in Ambergris Caye that are truly unique and unforgettable.
Go snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine reserve
Ambergris Caye is just a quick boat ride away from excellent snorkeling sites and Hol Chan Marine reserve is the most popular of them. Known for its unique underwater wildlife and breathtaking coral reefs, snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine reserve is truly one of the most wholesome experiences you can indulge in. One of the oldest marine reserves in Belize, snorkeling here in Hol Chan Marine is perfect for first-timers and experts alike.
Scuba diving in the Belize Barrier Reef
Leaving Ambergris Caye without scuba diving in the Belize Barrier Reef is not an option! A life-altering experience to say the very least, scuba diving in Ambergris Caye has its own unique charm that cannot be discovered elsewhere in the world. With multiple deep and shallow diving sites, scuba diving in this island is an absolute bucket list activity where you can explore breathtaking marine creatures and biodiversity as you cruise through the deep blue Caribbean waters.
Book a cave tubing and zipline experience
The ancient Mayan caves found in Ambergris Caye have a significant story to tell. For an adventure-filled experience where you get to float on air-filled tubes through limestone caves surrounded by Belizean mangroves, don’t forget to try cave tubing – another exciting attraction native to the region. The lush, green, and dense Belizean jungles are also known for featuring multiple zipline courses where you can soar through majestic mangroves and capture a bird’s eye view of the island.
Explore the San Pedro Town
Traditionally a fishing village, San Pedro Town is colloquially referred to as a ‘tourist mecca’ owing to the endless number of diving sites it hosts as well as the narrow, chaotic, and sandy streets that boast a laid-back atmosphere. Situated in the southernmost part of Ambergris Caye, San Pedro Town has galleries, artisan markets, dive shops, authentic restaurants, and so much more that deserves a visit. This quaint and colorful town is known for its relaxing ambiance that sets it apart from the hustle-bustle of modern-day cities we are accustomed to.
Plan a day trip to the Secret Beach
The perfect day in Ambergris Caye entails lazing on a sunny beach without a worry in the world! The Secret Beach is where you can do exactly that. No longer a secret, the Secret Beach in Ambergris Caye has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. But, it still deserves to be on your itinerary owing to its charm and beauty. The Secret Beach is perfect to unwind, sip a few cocktails, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy the sun, sand, and sea in its unadulterated form. With lots of food joints, bars, and chairs, the Secret Beach is your go to destination after a long and hectic week of sightseeing and exploring the island.
Shop at San Pedro Artisans Market
From intricately crafted jewelry to traditional handicrafts to vibrant textiles and wooden carvings, the San Pedro Artisans Market is where you need to be headed to shop for souvenirs and gifts to take back home. This Belizean market featuring local craftsmen and their work is a delight for anyone looking to explore the culture of this island and the people who’ve lived here.
Exploring the Belizean History and Culture
Visit the Belizean Arts Gallery
Founded over 30 years ago, the Belizean Arts gallery in San Pedro features an impeccable collection of traditional paintings, Mayan jewelry, sculptors, wooden carvings, and so much more by local artists that are the pride of Belize. You can even plan your visit during one of the special events being hosted by the gallery for a special treat.
Take a Belize City tour
A city with huge historical significance, Belize City is an old-fashioned and ethnically-diverse place bustling with colonial architecture, parks, shopping arenas, and museums. Visit this culturally-vibrant city to explore an urban destination while on your trip to Ambergris Caye to get a sneak peek into the art, history, and tradition of Central America.
Explore the ancient Mayan ruin sites
There are multiple Mayan sites in Ambergris Caye open for public exploration that you can visit to check out archaeological ruins of structures that ancient civilizations called home. Plan a sightseeing trip with a guided tour to understand what life in Ambergris Caye looked like thousands of years ago.
Where to Eat in Ambergris Caye, Belize
While planning your trip to Ambergris Caye, here are some of the most popular eating joints you must absolutely add to your itinerary:
Aji Tapas Restaurant and Bar
Located in San Pedro on the white sandy beaches and along the deep blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, Aji Tapas Restaurant and Bar is a one-stop shop to indulge in authentic Belizean flavors while enjoying the cool sea breeze. Whether you want to stop by for a simple meal with your family or are looking to celebrate a special occasion, Aji Tapas is perfect to enjoy a tropical dining experience in all its glory and authenticity.
What started as a take-out burger joint in 1974 is now one of the most popular fine dine restaurants in Belize serving authentic Caribbean flavors that are loved by locals and tourists alike. The beauty of Elvi’s kitchen lies in the special twist that traditional dishes are given – making it a unique and must-visit restaurant in the San Pedro town in Ambergris Caye.
The Truck Stop
Is it a food truck? Is it an outdoor eatery? Is it a fast food cart? Not really! The Truck Stop is Belize’s very own one-of-its-kind shipping container food truck park. A complete entertainment district on its own, visit The Truck Stop to explore tons of local food trucks, catch a matinee on the 18-foot movie screen, have a fun time in the extensive outdoor games area, and enjoy the special events each night including live music, game shows, and multimedia trivia! The Truck Stop is a unique experience that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.
Indulge in an Authentic, Luxurious Stay at the Bella Vista Resort Properties in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
When planning your trip to Ambergris Caye, you will notice that there are few too many resorts in San Pedro, Belize to choose from. However, not all promise a truly indulgent and luxurious experience that you will cherish for years to come. At Bella Vista Resort Properties, we offer an entire range of suites that you can choose from, based on your preferences and needs as well as all-inclusive packages where you can immerse yourself in the island life while we manage the operational aspects of your trip.
Located along the sandy beaches of Ambergris Caye and barely 2.5 miles away from downtown San Pedro, Bella Vista Resort Properties is sure to win you over with its unparalleled views of the Barrier Reef, unbeatable location, and on-site amenities and services. Whether it’s fine dining by the sea or adventure sports or sightseeing tours, we’ve got it all covered so you can have the time of your life without a worry!
If you’re looking for a customized package for your trip to Ambergris Caye, please reach out to us and we can design one as per your expectations. Book your stay at Bella Vista Resort properties for a memorable stay that makes you feel right at home while indulging in Belizean luxury.