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Ambergris Caye Visitor’s Guide

GETTING HERE 

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Luckily, due to the growing popularity of Ambergris Caye, more airlines are flying here than ever before. Though there are no international airports on Ambergris Caye itself, you would land in Belize City and continue on from there on a small plane, or you can opt for a seventy-five minute water taxi ride.

Currently, United Airlines, Delta, American Airlines, US Airways (and starting on October 15, 2015, we can include Southwest Airlines in the lineup!) fly directly into Belize City from origin points such as Chicago, Miami, Newark, Houston, Charlotte, Atlanta and Dallas. Connecting flights to Ambergris Caye on one of the two local airlines are about fifteen minutes, and leave from Phillip Goldson International Airport several times a day.

Once through customs and immigration, check in with your connecting airline directly from the terminal. If you prefer to get to Ambergris Caye via water taxi, you will need to travel to the water taxi terminal at Brown Sugar Market Place, from which it leaves several times a day. Here are some handy links to help you organize your trip:

Tropic Air: https://www.tropicair.com
Maya Island Air: http://www.mayaislandair.com
San Pedro Belize Express ( Water Taxi ): http://www.belizewatertaxi.com

 

GETTING AROUND

 

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Ambergris Caye, although Belize’s largest island, is still only forty miles in length from top to bottom, and about a mile wide. Probably the most popular method of conveyance on Ambergris Caye is golf cart, but you may prefer to use the inexpensive local taxi service, bicycles or just hoof it. San Pedro Town is located at the Southern end of the island, and is the largest settlement by far, although there are several resorts and smaller villages. Taxi fares are quite inexpensive, and depending on where you are staying it likely won’t cost you any more than $10USD to get wherever you need to go.

Here are a list of some companies that rent golf carts, although if you are staying at a resort this can be easily managed by your concierge or hotel liaison, as can be bicycle rentals if that is what you prefer. Most rental companies are quite small and do not have websites for online bookings, but through the local tourist center or the hotel are easily arranged.

 

STAY

 

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Whatever your style, Ambergris Caye has the perfect place for you to hang your hat. From beachside hostels to five star luxury, spa resorts, residential villas and condos, you’ll find beauty and value pretty much everywhere you look.

Here are a handful of the top-rated accommodations on the island to give you some ideas, but plenty more can be found on this site.

Hotels – Value

Caye Casa: A beachfront boutique hotel located in San Pedro

Pedro’s Backpacker’s Inn and Hostel: Located five minutes south of San Pedro, it’s got a pool

Hotels – Mid Range

Corona del Mar: A twelve unit beachside hotel in San Pedro with pool and spa.

Grand Colony Island Villas: Beachfront luxury with fifteen units, on-site amenities

Changes in Latitudes Bed & Breakfast: Seaside digs ten minute walk from town.

Resorts:

Xanadu Island Resort: Located about a mile south of San Pedro, this beautiful property is a perfect destination for romance.

El Pescador: A family owned and operated resort with all-inclusive packages, villas and plenty of on-site activities.

Villas:

La Perla Del Caribe: Several beachfront properties with luxury concierge service and more.

Belizean Cove Estates: a luxury collection of oceanfront villas and vacation rentals.

 

EAT

 

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Cuisine on Ambergris Caye features plenty of fresh seafood, as one might imagine. You will also enjoy lots of stewed chicken, rice and beans, and many dishes that are influenced by Spanish and Mexican traditions as well as Jamaican and West Indian. Enjoy tacos, burritos, tamales and tamalitos, as well as all the freshly caught lobster, shrimp, scallops, shark, squid and mussels that are so plentiful in the area. Many exotic fruits grow here as well, including bananas, pineapple, papaya, mango, coconut, cantaloupe, watermelon and figs. Several ethnic cuisines are represented on the island as well, such as Chinese, Japanese, Jamaican, Cajun and Indian, so your palate can be tempted in many different directions depending on what you are hungry for.

Best thing to do is head down to the beach and just walk around – there are tons of places to choose from, and don’t be deterred by the word ‘bar’ as most places are kid friendly and have plenty of options to choose from that don’t necessarily include alcohol!

Here’s a few that are popular, all in or around San Pedro:

Wild Mango’s: Great spot with a lovely view of the water, open and breezy. Vegan and vegetarian options.

DJ’s Seaside Bar and Restaurant – best burgers around, right on the beach.

Hidden Treasure: A high-end restaurant in a unique location. They offer a shuttle service from some of the resorts as well, just ask.

Casa Picasso: A fine dining experience featuring tapas, seafood and Caribbean flavors.

Robin’s Kitchen: Hugely favoured by the locals, specialized in barbeque, jerk chicken and chicken curry, served up by Robin himself!

Rain Restaurant and Rooftop Terrace: Treat yourself to a romantic evening: located within the Grand Caribe resort, it features an eclectic chef-inspired menu and stunning views of the Caribbean. Live music on Sunday nights.

Elvi’s Kitchen: Fabulous family owned and operated resto, specialties include fish tacos (highly recommended), Mayan Feast Friday and they feature live music on many nights.

 

ENJOY!

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Ambergris Caye is a mecca for water enthusiasts: fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, lying or walking on the beach, relaxing, eating, drinking and exploring are the things to do, and there are plenty of tour operators and boat captains that can get you to the places you need to be to enjoy these things.

Diving and snorkeling enthusiasts will want to check out the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley – the top diving destinations on the reef. You’ll see some of the most spectacular and colorful marine life you’ll ever experience, and where else on earth can you get up close and personal with massive sharks and rays? Even if you’ve never done any scuba diving, there are several pro dive shops that offer certifications, like the Belize Pro Dive Center.

Fishing enthusiasts – you have not lived until you’ve been deep-sea fishing in Belize. There are many knowledgeable fishing guides on the island that are happy to take you exactly where the good catch is, and walk you through the necessary permits. 

Even if you don’t fish, taking a catamaran cruise to some of the neighboring islands is a perfect way to spend a day – stop for a snorkel along the way and you’ve got yourself an adventure!

You can rent a paddle board, dive equipment or take a day trip to go cave tubing or zip lining through Chuck & Robbie’s; run by a couple of locals, they know all the insider spots to visit.

Mayan Ruins, bird and nature watching are all fascinating day trips, and can be arranged directly through tour operators or through your hotel. There are many tours available that are perfect for hard-core adventurers and families alike.