A small island in the Caribbean Sea, Ambergris Caye is only 25 miles long (40 km) and one mile wide (1.6 km). The island is ringed with white sand beaches–endless vistas of resplendent blue-green water cover the second largest reef in the world.
Upon arrival, our hotel guide loaded us into a golf cart, and we sped off down a cobblestone road. The narrow alleys were swarming with golf carts, the main mode of transportation.
The only town is San Pedro, it has a population of 16,500 and caters to tourists. Most natives speak both Spanish and English fluently, as well as a creole mix. Clad in cotton and flip-flops, locals were friendly and relaxed.
Located on the Belize Barrier Reef, Ambergris Caye is among a series of coral reefs along coastal Belize spanning 190 miles (300 km) long. It is part of the 560-mile-long (900 km) Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, starting in the Yucatan (Mexico) and ending in Honduras.
Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reef is a prime source of industry and tourism to Belize. Wikipedia Belize information here.
One day we snorkeled at the two most popular sites: Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We saw rays, turtles, and many fish on the white sandy sea-floor.
Another day we rented a golf cart and explored the island. Free to gallivant wherever we wanted, we had a picnic and spent the day birding in the mangroves.
At first we were in that golf cart jerking down the street, making happy fools of ourselves — but eventually we figured out the cart; found many avian waders and sea birds, iguanas, and mangroves.
Each night we walked down the sandy beach to a new restaurant; there were colorful tropical drinks, festive Caribbean music, and most restaurants were open-air, with sea water lapping only a few feet away.
Two wonderful posts by fellow-blogger and friend Indah Susanti on Ambergris Caye:
It was an entertaining land and sea adventure, always with a refreshing sea breeze…melted our winter bones.
All photos by Athena Alexander