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7 Incredible Things to Do in Ambergris Caye

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Looking for the best things to do in Ambergris Caye?

If the idea of island life and staring out at crystal turquoise waters is appealing, then look no further than Ambergris Caye, Belize. This small island is the closest spot to the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the second-largest reef in the world!

Of course, checking out the sea life at the reef is a top thing to do in Ambergris Caye, but that’s not all you can do on this popular island. Here are the top things to do on Ambergris Caye and all you need to know to visit.

big san pedro belize sign letters in the sand, palm trees and water in the background, san pedro ambergris caye, ambergris caye belize, belize san pedro, belize city to san pedro
San Pedro Square

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About Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is one of the islands off the coast of Belize. It’s a small island, around 25 miles long (around 40 km) and just over a mile wide (1.6 km).

It’s the largest island and fairly well-developed. It has been populated since the Mayan times and since the coconut plantations of the 17th century. Even still, you’ll find pristine white coral sand beaches and a mangrove forest.

San Pedro Town is the only town on the island. There are some small villages and resorts as well.

It’s one of the most popular islands to visit, given its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef. You’ll find a bustling town center with a thriving community filled with locals and tourists.

7 Top Things to Do in Ambergris Caye—Quick List

As you might expect from a popular tropical island, there are a lot of things to do in Ambergris Caye. And this is beyond enjoying the white sand beach and gorgeous turquoise waters.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Ambergris Caye, here are the top things to consider.

  1. Snorkel at the Belize Barrier Reef
  2. Explore the island by golf cart
  3. Find the Secret Beach
  4. Enjoy the local tunes
  5. Taste a bite (or two!) of local chocolate
  6. Wander the narrow streets of San Pedro Town
  7. Enjoy the art galleries
boats at the dock, colorful beacj homes, palm trees in the distance, san bedro belize, things to do in ambergris caye, ambergris caye hotels, ambergris caye resorts

Things to Do in Ambergris Caye

The island may be small, but you won’t lack incredible things to do when you visit. Here are some of the top spots to hit when you go to make sure you don’t miss the fun!

1. Snorkel at the Belize Barrier Reef

It wouldn’t be a trip to Ambergris Caye without heading to the Belize Barrier Reef. This incredible spot is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is worth visiting.

Tours here are to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. These are located along the Belize Barrier Reef and are the top spots to see.

You can scuba dive or snorkel at the reef. Many tours take you to the reef for swimming, where you can see hundreds of different types of sea life, including sea turtles, nurse sharks, eagle rays, and so much more.

There are also over a hundred different types of coral. You can go diving or snorkeling at Mexico Rocks and Tres Cocos, two other popular places near Ambergris Caye.

This is considered a must-do by most and something I’d highly recommend. The water is gorgeous, and much of it is a beautiful turquoise blue that will spoil you for other beach destinations.

2. Explore the Island by Golf Cart

The primary modes of transportation on Ambergris Caye are feet and golf carts! In fact, you see the carts lining the streets all through the center of San Pedro Town. It can get quite crowded!

It may be a little strange to have an Ambergris Caye golf cart rental in a list of the top things to do, but riding them is an experience. It’s a lot of fun and worth doing, even for a morning or an afternoon.

You definitely don’t need a golf cart to explore the town center, but you will want one if you decide to venture out. The roads are dirt and quite bumpy in some areas, so it’s an adventure!

Head to the south of the island to see some of the resorts and gorgeous beachfront homes. If you’re thirsty and want to stop to enjoy the incredible turquoise ocean, take a break at Toast. They pour a strong drink, though, so beware!

Golf carts are rented by the hour, day, or four-hour increment. You can rent them in advance or ask your hotel if they have any available.

row of golf carts parked, palm trees and ocean in the background

3. Find the Secret Beach

When you have your golf cart and are finished with the south part of the island, head north on Ambergris Caye to explore more. One stop you’ll want to make is Secret Beach.

This is a bit of a misnomer as it’s not really a secret at all, but it’s worth visiting. There are lots of places to lay out and enjoy the ocean breeze.

Some are quieter than others, as there are a few fun bars here. You’ll also find a waterpark and other entertainment. If you want to get out of the crowded center of San Pedro Town, this is a welcome retreat!

Be prepared, as there are a lot of tasty adult beverages in this area!

big red secret beach letters in the sand, purple umbrellas and chairs in the background, search beach ambergris caye, secret beach san pedro
When you’re a tad too tipsy to get the shot. Oops!

4. Enjoy the Local Tunes

You’ll find a lot of fun bars to stop in to check out the local brews and tunes. Many of them are right on the beach, so you can dance the night away in the sand or enjoy a chill time with a drink and people-watching.

Sandy Toes is one of the popular places in town. Palapa Bar is a great option for local bands. It’s on a pier right over the water. During the day, you can paddle in their inner tubes with a bucket of Belikin beers, the local brew.

palapa bar at the end of the dock, bar lit up with green lights and green palm trees
Head to Palapa Bar & Grill for live music

5. Taste a Bite of the Local Chocolate

Who doesn’t want to give local chocolate a try when visiting a place? Right along the water in the heart of San Pedro town is the Belize Chocolate Company.

Dip your toes in the sand and walk to try some of the best chocolate ever. They source it from local Belizian chocolate at small family farms, so you’re supporting the economy, culture, and small business all at once. It’s a purchase you can feel good about.

This company prides itself on making the best craft chocolate in the area. Grab a piece (or two!) and sit on the porch in their comfy chairs overlooking the water.

They have a wide range of truffles and chocolates to suit any taste. I *might* have gone back a second time. You know, to support the small family farms.

outside view of belize chocolate company
Belize Chocolate Company

6. Wander the Streets of San Pedro

When you get off the ferry to visit Ambergris Caye, you arrive in the heart of San Pedro Town. The streets are bustling with cars, golf carts, and people.

This vibrant town center has a lot packed in a small area. It can get quite crowded, but exploring is a lot of fun.

You’ll find restaurants, small local eateries, markets, handicraft shops, and even a small handicraft market. There are some great coffee shops, bars, and pastry shops.

I don’t know about you, but as much as I hate grocery shopping at home, I love checking out markets when I travel. It’s interesting to see what items they offer, how they market them, and what familiar products are available.

You can even do a local rum tasting at Tiburon Run. This rum packs a punch! They offer two rums for their tasting, including infused rum.

bartender at tiburon rum company, different liqours out for tasting, san pedro town

7. Explore the Art Galleries

When you’re wandering around San Pedro Town, you’ll see a number of art galleries and handicraft shops. They are worth going in to check out the local arts!

Belizian Arts was one of our favorites. It carries everything from paintings to tapestries to jewelry. There are gorgeous carved and painted pieces as well, and more.

This is an upscale spot, and the prices reflect it. But the items are gorgeous, and if you buy something to bring home to remember your trip, this is the place to do it.

How to Get to Ambergris Caye

There are only two ways to get to Ambergris Caye—by ferry and by plane. (I suppose you could swim if inclined, though I don’t recommend it!)

Two ferries with several daily routes take you to Ambergris Caye. They stop at Caye Caulker first, a smaller and less populated island, then make their way. The best is the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi. Ocean Ferry Belize is your other option.

This ferry runs between Belize City, Caye Caulker, and San Pedro eight times daily. It also has routes for Caye Caulker to San Pedro as well.

The trip from Belize City to San Pedro on the water taxi costs $63 USD one way, including a $2 port fee charge. It takes 1.5 hours for the full route.

You can also take a 15-minute flight on Tropic Air to the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. Prices will range throughout the year from just under $100 to around $150, and it only takes 15 minutes. Maya Island Air is another option.

We took the ferry to San Pedro and the flight back, as it took us directly to the airport. It cost around $90 USD, and it was quite exciting! The plane seated around 12 people, and we were right up front, just behind the pilot.

small local airport in belize, tropic air plane
Tropic Air plane

How to Get Around Ambergris Caye

If you’re sticking to San Pedro Town, the best way around is by foot. The heart of the town center is only around ten blocks by a few blocks, so you don’t have to walk far to see it.

And the center is quite crowded with cars, golf carts, and pedestrians. So, unless you’re heading out of town, it’s not worth having a golf cart (or a car!)

Riding the golf carts is so easy it’s not worth considering a car rental here. Mainly as the cost of gas is so high! You could, I suppose, though it would likely be quite pricy.

Bike rentals are also available.

view of a street in san pedro town, cars and golf carts parked on the sides of the street
San Pedro Town

When to Visit Ambergris Caye

The dry season in Belize is from November through April. This is also when the country’s high tourism season is, so it can be a bit more crowded. Hotel prices are often a bit higher than during other times of the year.

During the dry season, it doesn’t rain as often, and when it does, it’s for short periods. It’s a great time to visit. Or, come during the shoulder seasons of October/November or late April/May for a balance of the weather and prices.

Best Ambergris Caye Hotels

You’ll find a lot of accommodations in San Pedro Town and Ambergris Cay with a range of prices. There are a lot of Ambergris Caye resorts here, offering luxury stays right on the beach, too.

Prices tend to be a bit higher on the islands than on the mainland, but you can still find a range of prices for any budget.

  • BudgetSun & Reef Hotel: We stayed at this hotel and were thrilled with it. It’s a one-minute walk from the ferry and right in the heart of San Pedro Town. The rooms are comfortable, and the hotel is fairly new.
  • Mid-RangeRamon’s Village Resort: I was gawking at this place when we set out in the boat to snorkel at the reef. They have palm-thatched cabanas over the water! There is a gorgeous private beach, a lagoon-style pool, a great restaurant, and more. They even have their own dive center. They’re on the high end of the mid-range but worth every penny.
  • Luxury—Mahogany Bay Resort & Beach Club, Curio Collection by Hilton: This stunning resort is a short way out of San Pedro town, and you feel like you’re in another world! It’s located in a grove of tropical foliage and mangroves. There are villa-style accommodations and cottages decorated with gorgeous hand-carved Belizean hardwoods. Your only risk in choosing this Ambergris Caye resort is that you might not want to leave!

Best Restaurants in Ambergris Caye

San Pedro in Ambergris Caye is packed with great bars, restaurants, and coffee shops. There are a lot of amazing places to go, from small, local dives to upscale eating establishments.

Most have a casual island vibe, but they serve up some incredible local cuisine. Here are some favorite places you won’t want to miss.

  • Elvi’s—One of the top spots in the heart of San Pedro is Elvi’s. Don’t let the sand floor fool ya; this place is amazing and packed full of incredible local cuisine. Ask about the fish of the day and check out the assortment of tacos and other Latin American bites. The drinks here are top-notch as well.
  • Toast—If you rent a golf cart to explore the island, this is a great spot overlooking the ocean. Their drinks pack a punch, though, and they are tasty but strong. Word of warning if you get a painkiller—it’s deceptive. Do yourself a favor and only get one. (And please, don’t ask why! It makes my mouth water thinking about it!)
  • Hungry Grouper—This cozy little spot has some of the best fish and local dishes on the island. Interestingly, they didn’t have grouper when we went, but their snapper was fantastic.
  • French Croissant—Looking for some delicious French pastries for something different? This is the spot. They have great croissants, cookies, and more, as well as great coffee.
  • Caroline’s Cooking—This place was unfortunately closed on the day we planned to go. Several locals recommended it, so give it a try!
  • Cool Beans Cafe—This spot was not only the best breakfast we had on the island, but it might just have been the best breakfast I’ve ever had! Get the avocado toast! They serve it up with deviled eggs and homemade tomato bacon jelly. Even if that doesn’t sound incredible, trust me, it truly is! The chef is a magician! The creme brulee french toast is also decadent.

All of the Top Things to Do in Ambergris Caye Are Waiting for You!

San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, is one of the top spots for tourists and a local favorite. If you want an island spot with a thriving town center, it’s a great place to visit.

It was much busier than I expected and not a sleepy island town, but it’s a lot of fun and there’s a lot to do.

And, of course, it’s right next to the Belize Barrier Reef!

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