Belize // The cayes and atolls //

Ambergris Caye and San Pedro

The most northerly and, at almost forty kilometres long, by far the largest of the cayes, is Ambergris caye. The island’s main attraction is the former fishing village of San Pedro, facing the reef just a few kilometres from the caye’s southern tip. San Pedro is a small town, but its population of over nine thousand makes it the biggest of any of the cayes. As the result of massive recent development, it has lost most, though certainly not all, of its Caribbean charm: it still retains a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, despite the fact that some of the most exclusive hotels, restaurants and bars in Belize have been built here. The island’s only budget places are in the original village of San Pedro, though even these are extremely expensive. To save money and still visit Ambergris, consider staying on Caye Caulker and doing a day-trip.

San Pedro’s main streets are only half a dozen blocks long and the town does not boast any particular sights. The main focus of daytime entertainment is the sea and the reef, with activities from sunbathing to windsurfing, sailing, fishing, diving, snorkelling and glass-bottomed-boat rides. Beaches on the caye are narrow and the sea immediately offshore is shallow, with a lot of seagrass, so in town you’ll usually need to walk to the end of a dock if you want to swim. Be careful, though: there have been accidents in San Pedro in which speeding boats have hit people swimming off docks. A line of buoys indicates the “safe area”, but speedboat drivers can be a bit macho, so watch where you swim.

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