Ambergris Caye, Belize

Spiny-tailed Iguana, Ambergris Caye, Belize

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.

 

Ambergris Caye, Belize

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.

 

Ambergris Caye, aerial view

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.

 

Ambergris Caye pier

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the reef is a prime source of industry and tourism to Belize. Wikipedia Belize information here.

 

Southern Stingray

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.

 

Snorkeling with Rays, Belize Barrier Reef

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.

 

Ambergris Caye street scene

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.

 

San Pedro village square

 

Two wonderful posts by fellow-blogger and friend Indah Susanti on Ambergris Caye:

Restaurants and Shark-Diving

 

It was an entertaining land and sea adventure, always with a refreshing sea breeze…melted our winter bones.

 

Spiny-tailed Iguana

 

Frigate birds, Pelicans and Gulls

All photos by Athena Alexander

 

Sea Turtle

 

Ambergris Caye Snorkeling Map

Courtesy tropicalsnorkeling.com

 

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66 thoughts on “Ambergris Caye, Belize

    • It is indeed a fantastic place to spend winter days, Amy. That turtle photo was taken with a little digital underwater camera strapped to Athena’s wrist. She was very pleased with the results. Many thanks for your visit, and I hope you are having a lovely weekend.

    • I’m happy to have introduced you to the winter warmth of Ambergris Caye, Nan. Just a few days in winter with tropical temperatures and sea breezes does wonders. I always appreciate your frequent visits and comments, dear Nan.

    • The world is big and vast, there are so many places I will also never get to. So it’s a pleasure to bring the world of Ambergris Caye to you, SWI — thanks so much for your visit, always appreciated.

  1. Sold! I would love to gallivant about in a golf cart on this beautiful little island. Friendly people, lovely vistas, interesting wildlife and great places to eat – an island paradise! Thanks for sharing this, and my cold winter bones are a little warmer now.
    Have a great weekend!

    • A total pleasure to share the gallivanting in Ambergris Caye with you, pc. I so enjoyed your comment, and always appreciate your visits, my friend. I hope your spring break was a total pleasure, and my best to Mrs. pc too.

  2. Looks like a nice place to visit! I’m going to put this one in my giant wish bucket! A friend was there and loved it, the only thing she didn’t like was the size of the spiders! Great post my friend! 🙂

    • Thank you, HJ, I’m glad you enjoyed this Belize visit. And you know the tropics, insects are part of the scene, and whoa what a lovely scene. Always a delight, thank you.

    • We were meeting a small birding group on Belize’s mainland, and had the great idea to begin the trip early with a few days on Ambergris Caye, and we were so glad we did. While there was warmth and tropics on the mainland, we went further and further inland so the sandy beaches would have never been experienced if we hadn’t gone on our own to the island. I so enjoy sharing the adventures with you, Gunta — thanks so much for stopping by.

    • The golf carts were gas-powered, and in fact we had quite an adventure finding the gas station to fill up before returning it. A local woman gave us directions to their only gas station by drawing a map in the sand. We found it but the attendant warned us not to turn our backs (while filling up) on the canal due to caimans. ha. Fun to share this little tidbit with you, Alastair — thank you.

    • We get to this point in the winter, after months of cold and rain. We know it is waning, because the plants are changing and the earth is warming, still wishing it would finally be spring again. It percolates the wanderlust in many of us. I’m glad I could give you the warmth of Belize, David. Always a pleasure. 🙂

    • I really enjoyed Belize, Helen — not just the seaside caye, but also inland with the jungles, mountains, wildlife, and Mayan influence. I hope you get a chance to visit. Many thanks~~

    • Hi Sherry, I spent the perfect amount of time there. The main purpose for the trip to Belize was a ten-day birding trip across the country, so we stayed on our own for a few extra days in Ambergris, and then met up with the group. They had a wonderful variety of birds, which we were thrilled about. Many thanks for your visit.

    • Lots of blending in, Donna, there were actually two iguanas in that photo. I love iguanas, and had never seen this species before, so what a joy it was finding these camouflagers. Many thanks for your visit and comment. You would like the birds in Belize, my friend~~

  3. How beautiful Jet – this looks like paradise! Love those beaches and blue water. And amazing how clear the water is. Snorkelling with stingrays sounds like a lot of fun! 🙂

    • It was indeed a fun trip, and oh yes, snorkeling with the stingrays was really a lot of fun. With that thin body they have, they are wiley. I found I was always trying to find their eyes to know what was up and what was down. Thanks so much, Inger. 🙂

  4. Swimming with sting rays definitely uplifting. Hope you found the Ambergris (there’s a bit of excitement about some found on Abaco right now, but hard facts are difficult to estabish.. RH

    • Yes, it was uplifting to swim with the stingrays, really fun. As for ambergris, no we found none of it, not surprising, though it would’ve been a lucrative find. Exciting to hear there may be findings on Abaco. I always love hearing about Abaco findings. Many thanks, RH.

  5. I have heard how beautiful Belize is and have it as a “to do”….been so close relatively speaking (Tulum). Great pictures…I’m with Teagan…I can smell the salt air and feel the sunshine!!

  6. It looks like a beautiful place and the blues in your photos project the beauty of the area well. Any town where you travel by golf buggy is a place I want to visit. 🙂 How long did you stay there?

    • Yes, the golf carts were definitely a very fun feature. We were there three days, Draco, then took a short flight back to the mainland for ten days of birding. A delight to have you visit, my friend~~

    • Hi Frog Lady. How fortunate for you to be going to Botswana! We really liked the Moremi Wildlife Reserve and Chobe National Park, for safari and wildlife viewing. We were there in July, which is typically the best time for this activity in Botswana; but it always depends on what you are there to do. Have fun!

      • I mis-read it, sorry Froglady. Ambergris is very small, as you might have noticed, so you’ll want to choose your accommodations to suit your style. I noticed that the closer you are to the center of San Pedro, the more of a party scene you will find at night. The large resorts, on the outskirts of the island, are more self-contained and orderly; whereas the San Pedro accommodations have music, karaoke, and busy restaurants and bars at night. Therefore, if you’re looking for a quiet night, do not stay in town. The good thing about staying in the town is that you walk the beach to everything (restaurants, snorkeling boats, etc.) and have more connection with the locals and local scenes. We stayed in town, but our nights were rather sleepless. If we were to go again, we would stay at one of the outer resorts. Hope this helps…and have a great time!

  7. Well isn’t that one off the bucket list I’d say! What a beautiful adventure that must of been! I find it interesting that everyone drives around in gold carts.The hydro bill for the resort must be interesting!
    I bet you’ll be going back!
    W

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