You’ve probably already heard about the island of Ambergris Caye and the lovely town of San Pedro. The small town is situated on the southern part of the Island. As the largest island off the coast of Belize, Ambergris Caye is one of the more famous vacation destinations in the country. With sandy beaches, reef views, a dizzying array of restaurants and bars plus activities in and out of the water – getting to know La Isla Bonita in just one day can be a special feat. The island can keep you busy from morning to late night – it’s no wonder Madonna sang about it!
Even though realistically you’d need at least a week to explore this curious place, if you are on a time crunch the best way to ensure you’re getting the optimal San Pedro experience is as easy as asking the locals. From the moment you fly in or dock, simply start asking questions. San Pedranos love to suggest their favorite foods and hangout spots. By keeping it social not only will you get great recommendations and insider tips but, by the end of the day, you’ll find yourself waving to new friends all over town!
The Journey Begins
Firstly, we begin with breakfast – not a meal to skip in San Pedro. To grab something quick, join school kids and tour guides jostling at the counter for breakfast tacos, meat pies and fresh fruit juice at one of the local delis. If you have a bit of time to linger, no trip to this island is complete without breakfast at Estel’s Dine by the Sea. Sitting beachfront with your toes in the sand, you must also try the fry jacks. Fluffy fried flour tortilla-like dough – eat them sweet with honey or jam, or savory with refried beans and hot sauce. Moreover, fry jacks are the ultimate breakfast food and you’ll be hooked after the first bite.
After a hearty breakfast, the sea calls! Snorkeling is a must-do for everyone visiting the island. You didn’t come to the home of the second-longest barrier reef in the world to not explore it. Jump on a tour to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and get up close and personal with fish of every color. You’ll see beautiful corals, eels, and rays before you travel to your second and last stop to see sharks! Beckoned by the boat engines, docile nurse sharks and stingrays approach ready to have a swim around, under and over you.
If you are more of a beach bum, head north to Secret Beach. At the beautiful beach, you can lounge in clear turquoise water all day. It is worth it since you can enjoy scenic views while soaking up the sun and working on your tan. If you like fishing, you are in luck! San Pedro is surrounded by some of the best flats, perfect for the pursuit of that coveted grand slam. If that is too much pressure, you can always opt to drop a line off a pier. You will surely catch a stray snapper. For the foodies that prefer to spend the day fork in hand, a few hours with Belize Food Tours will be an unforgettable experience.
As Night Falls…
Pick up a rental golf cart and toot around town like a local. Having a good cocktail is bragging material in San Pedro. Many mainlanders head to San Pedro to bar hop, searching for the perfect beverage to satisfy their spirits. Furthermore, on the beachfront of Boca delRioyou can mingle with the locals and trade Michelada recipes over a delicious serving of ceviche. After a few drinks, head back north to check out some popular spots like the Truck Stop or swanky beach bar, Rojo Lounge.
Ambergris Caye has a busy nightlife. You can go in search of live music or a night of gambling island-style. On Tuesday nights, you can wager on hermit crabs at Crazy Canuck’s Beach Bar or on Thursday nights. Bet a few dollars on the famous Chicken Drop at Wahoo’s Lounge. If you are looking for something outside the “coop”, head out onto the dark lagoon with Crocodile Chris from the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary. There, be ready to track, catch and learn more about the amazing American crocodile.
Whether you choose to spend your day at the beach or go, go, go, you’ll find that Ambergris Caye is jam-packed with adventure.
Written by: Rebecca Countant
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