Lots of relaxation but no boredom on Belize’s Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye is the largest of some 200 small islands scattered along the spectacular Belize barrier reef, and although only 25 miles long, it offers a wealth of things to do. There are so many choices, in fact, that you’ll want to pace yourself to maintain that all important level of relaxation.
While services have become more efficient over the years, San Pedro and the rest of Ambergris Caye remain laid back and friendly compared to more bustling Caribbean destinations, and the lack of hustle makes it easier to choose what you want to do while moving at your own pace.
And there is so much to choose from. This tropical island paradise offers not only all the attractions of the Caribbean Sea, but loads of things to do ashore as well.
Swimming, snorkelling, sea kayaking, catamaran sailing and other aqua sports can all be enjoyed from most beaches, while short boat hops will take you to Belize’s barrier reef, the world’s second largest and which Charles Darwin fell in love with back in 1842, calling it, “the most remarkable reef in the West Indies.”
It’s no less stunning today and offers incredibly rich scuba diving, with experienced divers able to find everything they need from equipment to knowledgeable guides. There are also certified scuba lessons in NAUI, PADI, and SSI for the novice or those wishing a refresher course.
You’ll also find abundant fishing, reef snorkelling, and trips to neighbouring cayes and uniquely Belizean Caribbean attractions such as Shark Ray Alley, the Great Blue Hole, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Lighthouse Reef, all in close proximity and easy to get to, as are some of the best fly fishing spots on the planet.
Where ever you wind up along the reef and cayes, you’re sure to encounter a wealth of marine life, with an amazing array of colourful tropical fish, as well as rays, dolphins, turtles, manatees and other sea creatures cavorting about in their natural habitats.
Back on the sandy streets and beaches of Ambergris you’ll still find enough to do that the beautiful sunsets seem to come too quickly. Private cars are not allowed on the island, but the ubiquitous golf carts for hire are the perfect transport to the many restaurants, bars and shops that dot the beaches and sandy streets. A perfect lazy afternoon, after the morning swim and breakfast of, say, conch fritters and a lush fruit salad, can be had by driving along the palm fringed, sandy track road past the colourful assortment of shops and resorts. Stop in for refreshment at local watering holes such as the venerable Victoria House with its old world charm and great bar. The birding is great, so look out for hummingbirds, parakeets, woodpeckers, roseate spoonbills, the laughing falcon and other colourful species.
Night life has also come a long way in San Pedro and the Ambergris Caye Resorts without sacrificing the laid back charm that makes a Belizean holiday so special.
Sandy bars line the beachfront or perch on piers above the clear waters with some offering live music most nights. Jimmy Buffet’s recommended hangout, the Purple Parrot is typical of San Pedro’s nightlife. The Caribbean atmosphere is quite family friendly, and you’ll find kids enjoy the tropical evenings as much as adults.
Then there are the more dedicated dance clubs such as Big Daddy’s and the Jaguar Temple Club, and even lively betting action at the Belize Yacht Club’s Casino Belize and the smaller Palace.
Yes, Belize’s Ambergris Caye does indeed offer something for everyone, but don’t forget the main reason why you came here – get in some good quality hammock time and just laze on the beautiful sandy beaches. After all, there’s always next year…