The largest of hundreds of islands in the sea north of Belize, Ambergris Caye is the largest. It is also the most popular Belize island among visitors. Not a large island by any means, Ambergris Caye lacks tall hotels or huge tour buses. Along with many native San Pedranos who inhabit the island, there is also a vibrant expat community. Below, we’ll talk about what makes this island such a unique Belize attraction. We will also highlight prime things to do in San Pedro, and where to stay.
The main town of Ambergris Caye is San Pedro, and many people use the two names interchangeably. We will do the same in this blog post.
There are two primary ways to reach San Pedro: by plane or by boat.
Tropic Air Flights
The plane option is the fastest, as there are frequent flights onto the island from Belize City or even from Corozal, Belmopan, or Caye Caulker. Airfare via Tropic Air is typically around $135USD.
Belize Water Taxi
At least two boat companies offer daily service to and from San Pedro. The San Pedro Belize Express has connecting hubs from Mexico (Chetumal, Quintana Roo) to Belize (Ambergris Caye), as well as from Belize City to Ambergris Caye with a stop at Caye Caulker. Tickets from Mexico to Belize will usually run around $55 USD round trip and $20 USD round trip from Belize City to the island.
Once you arrive in San Pedro, you will find that most key areas can be reached on foot. Unlike the nearby Caye Caulker which is devoid of any motor vehicles other than golf carts, San Pedro has small cars and minivans running around the island as well as golf carts. Golf carts can be rented for use, whereas other motor vehicles typically serve as taxis or local buses.
Ambergris Caye Accommodations
In terms of overnight accommodations, there are not a ton of budget traveler options. But there are many mid-range hotels and high-end resorts to choose from.
Hotels and Resorts
Things to Do in San Pedro, Belize
San Pedro’s main attractions are its coral sand beaches and proximity to the world’s second-largest great barrier reef and popular marine reserves that are popular among scuba divers and snorkelers. Daily guided tours will take visitors to the nearby Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the Bacalar Chico Reserve, Coral Gardens, Mexico Rocks, or Shark Ray Alley for half or full days of marine exploration. The waters surrounding San Pedro are always brimming with lots of sea life including many varieties of tropical reef fish, turtles, sharks, rays, eels, lobsters, and more.
Great Blue Hole Day Trip
Belize’s famous submarine sinkhole, the Great Blue Hole, can also be reached by boat from San Pedro. Spend the day at the Great Blue Hole scuba diving, snorkeling, or marveling at this unique natural formation in the middle of the ocean.
Caye Caulker Day Trip
The smaller island of Caye Caulker is also a short water taxi ride away. This island is far less populated offers a laid back environment where you can spend a nice day exploring.
San Ignacio Day Trip
If you want to explore the jungles and Maya ruins of Belize, you’ll have to head inland to San Ignacio. It’s a bit far from the Belize islands. You’ll first have to take the water taxi to Belize City, and from there get private transportation, which takes about 90 minutes one way. If you’re traveling with a larger budget, you can also take a Tropic Air flight. But the trip is well worth it to explore the mountains, jungles, and many Maya ruins including Xunantunich, El Pilar, and Caracol.
Food and Drink
San Pedro is brimming with lots of food and drink choices ranging from nicer sit-down restaurants to more casual laid back eateries. You can find lots of popular western dishes, and traditional Belize food and drinks including rice and beans, pibil (pork), plantains, Caribbean rum and local Belikin beers. Be sure to try the locally-caught lobster, conch, and other fresh seafood.
Ambergris Caye Restaurants
- Palapa Bar and Grill
- El Fogon Restaurant
- Rain Restaurant and Rooftop Terrace
- Blue Water Grill