Eleven miles off the coast off the eastern of Belize is a paradise known as Ambergris Caye. The water is so perfectly blue it looks like a Van Gogh painting has come to life. This is the largest island of Belize with a single town San Pedro. 👈🏻More on this later. This is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the western Caribbean.
It is extremely easy to get to by air from the United States. Several airlines have direct flights to Belize City from major cities in the United States and neighboring countries. But that isn't going to get you over those eleven miles of crystal blue water. Now the real adventure begins. You can take a ferry over to the island. The Belize City San Pedro ferry route connects Belize with Ambergris Caye. Currently there is just the 1 ferry company operating this ferry service, Ocean Ferry Belize. The crossing operates up to 35 times each week with sailing durations from around 1 hour 30 minutes. If small planes are your thing then you are in for a real treat. There are two local airlines, Tropic Air and Mayan Air with flights every 15 minutes for a total of over 40 flights per day! 🛩 I said it was easy to get to San Pedro. No matter how you cross the views are beautiful.
Once at the airport in San Pedro your next mode of transportation will be to rent a golf cart. It is the main mode of transportation on the island for both tourist and locals. Golf cart rental is about $300 per week and can be done at just about everywhere. Most resorts and hotels have them available and even some private rental homes include it in the rental. However, we rented ours from the liquor store, we're practical like that! Two birds one stone and all!
I did a lot of research before booking our accommodations for the week. First, I have extremely high expectations being in the luxury villa rental business. Secondly, we wanted to have access to some of the local attractions. Mainly a casino and bars...it is a vacation after all.
After many phone calls to local resorts I decided on Coco Beach Resort. Aside from being gorgeous, on the water, and next door to a casino the two-bedroom apartment was perfect for our group of four. The apartment has an open floor plan that features living room, dining table for six and breakfast bar ten feet long running the length of the kitchen. The kitchen features granite and stainless appliances. While the living area was smaller than I had hoped for the dinner area was very large and an it all opened onto a balcony that was the span of the entire apartment. I was very specific when booking that I wanted to have a large balcony overlooking both the water and the pool. The master bedroom had ensuite bath with another balcony overlooking another pool! 👈🏻 I guess I made the balcony point very clear. The second bedroom was large, but the bath was across the hall. Not a deal killer as it was large enough for two people to get ready at the same time. My weekly rental rate was $3500 being high season in January. My decision to stay at Coco Beach was partly based on the opportunity for purchasing a condominium. 👈🏻 I explain this in a future post about vacation rentals.
Belize is known for its wildlife both on land and in the water. I was more interested in the wildlife in the water being an angler. Nothing is better than fresh caught fish eaten raw with a squeeze of lime and some diced veggies. 👈🏻 therefore I wanted a kitchen in our rental. With that goal in mind booking a local fishing boat was next up on the agenda.
Coco Beach has fishing charters for rental through the private pier on the property. But our group would never do anything so convenient, no...we went next door to the casino in search of a local to take us fishing. It was soon discovered that our big game deep sea fishing expedition was not what the waters of Belize yield our time of year. Truth be told I doubt they fish big game anytime of the year. So, it was fishing past the jetty for a fish I had no intention of eating raw or cooked. 🎣
Belize is known the world over for its diving and snorkeling. However, our group isn't exactly into looking at fish that we can't catch and eat. I don't do diving mask due to an accident that broke both my eye socket and nose. Oh, and Luis can't swim, then there is that little issue. 😳 If putting on a mask that makes your feel like your eyes will pop out of the sockets and look at fish you won't be able to eat is your thing then Belize is your place!
After two failed inshore fishing trips we decided to head over to Secret Beach. Which obviously isn't so secret if we knew about within ten minutes of being on the island from the guy at that liquor store where we rented our golf cart. The ride over the island to the east side is down a path (because roads are paved) that had me worried we would be pushing our cart in some spots. Once on the east side there was more beautiful blue water, because that's how islands work with water and beautiful sandy beaches but not much else. The restaurant had some good food and great drinks but other than being able to say we have been to Secret Beach there isn't much going on. The locals will tell you all little islands you are looking at from Secret Beach belong to whatever celebrity is in the tabs that week.
The Playa Bar is cool. First it is over more of the amazing blue water that Belize is famous for. Secondly, they have tubes that you can float in while the waiters serve you from the bar. But it is faster to take turns with your friends getting the drinks from the bar on your own. The food was great, and the vibe is layed back.
The casino at Captain Morgan's Resort is fun to play in at night if the bar scene isn't your thing. 😎 They have the usual slots, table games and free drinks.
We did a lot of wandering around while in San Pedro. I was on the hunt for vacation investment property, so we hit some off the beaten path places. Cute shops and restaurants dot this paradise are every turn.
Back to that whole island thing. Ambergris Caye is not really an island but a peninsula. So, water only on three sides. It is divided into two main sections with the bridge being the key factor. The bridge is key because sometimes you pay to cross both ways, other times you pay to cross one way. If you’re lucky maybe one day you don't pay at all. Guess it just depends if the toll taker showed up for work that day.
Overall San Pedro Belize is amazing. I will be back again. There is so much to see and do that didn't make the list this week. Next time around we will be doing some island hopping. 😎