There are more than 200 “cayes” along Belize’s coast and perhaps the most famous one is Ambergris Caye. Ambergris Caye was just named the Trip Advisor Traveler’s Choice Winner – the #1 Island in the World.
Ready to find some Belize Bliss?
Here are some Global Adventuress favorites for Ambergris Caye – how to get there, get around, what to do, and where to eat/dine and stay….
How to Get There?
Tropic Air provides regular flights between Belize City and San Pedro, and to other cities throughout Belize – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call #501 226-2012. Tropic Air has a stellar reputation – their flights depart/arrive on time, a professional friendly staff greets you to ensure you get on the right flight, have a safe flight, and when you land your baggage is off the plane and waiting for you! The Tropic Air terminal at the San Pedro airport is air conditioned, super clean, with free Wi-Fi.
How to Get Around?
Most people cruise around Ambergris Caye with a golf cart or on bicycle or by foot.
We chose all three, but found a golf cart helpful to go to the Northern Caye areas. However, due to the bumpy unpaved roads further north, it’s a more comfortable ride if you take a water taxi to the more remote destinations on the northern part of the island.
Cholo’s Golf Cart Rentals set us up with a Golf Cart during our stay, along with the “San Pedro Golf Cart Rules”. Cholo’s has a fleet of 100 golf carts for rent and the carts are well maintained, clean and get you quickly around the island. You can reserve your golf rental by contacting them at: email@example.com or Telephone: #501 226-2406 and ask for Rosie or Marlena.
Where to Eat & Dine?
There are many great restaurants with local Belizean cuisine on Ambergris Caye, and here are our recommended restaurants. Love the habanero sauce that you’ll find everywhere in Belize….but “beware” of the hot sauce with the big label “Beware”!
El Fogon –
This “hole-in-the-wall” offers authentic Belizean Cuisine. El Fogon’s has been around for many years – a local’s favorite, and has been discovered by tourists who flock here. Located at #2 Trigger Fish Street, only a block north from the airport. We went there twice and enjoyed their Belizean cuisine of stewed chicken with rice & beans, cole slaw salad, plantains. Call #501-206-2121 to place your order “to go” or stay, eat and visit with the friendly owners, Luis & Olive Dominguez.
For a fine dining experience on Ambergris Caye, we highly recommend the luxury beach resort restaurant La Palmilla at Victoria House. The colonial plantation décor and candle-lit air conditioned dining room is a romantic setting to enjoy a unique mix of island seafood and continental cuisine. You can also enjoy your meal on the patio adjacent to the restaurant, pool and beach, and dine under a canopy of island stars. Victoria House has become a destination for weddings, and everything from the venue, location, and La Palmilla’s fabulous food and stellar service will create the perfect memories! Email Javier Williams, Wedding Planner “Extraordinaire”, to help plan your dream wedding: Javier@victoria-house.com or book dining reservations on their site.
If you want to enjoy lunch or dinner on the beach, Blue Water Grill offers a variety of choices. We had the fish tacos and mojitos and caught up on email using their free Wi-Fi. If you find yourself there in June, order some of the lobster dishes!
Located at The Phoenix Resort, the Red Ginger Restaurant offers delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners – we got hooked on their Belizean breakfast, and in the evening enjoyed a 5-course dinner. Some of our favorites include the local chicken salbutes – puffed corn turnover topped with shredded stewed chicken, cabbage, and jalapenos, and the grilled snook with a guava tamarind glaze and zesty mango salsa, served with coconut rice and grilled calabazitas or try the blackened snapper fillet with chipotle plantain coulis, mango rice, and local vegetables. If you are there on Wednesdays or Sundays, enjoy the Tapas selection and the Live Music.
Aji Tapas Restaurant and Bar –
This restaurant and bar is worth the visit by water taxi on the Northern part of Ambergris Caye. We heard from local expats that we had to try the Paella Valenciana made with a variety of seafood including shrimp, clams, mussels, and fish. Pair it with red, white or rose Marques de Caceres wine from Spain. There’s also the Coconut Conch Curry and the Caribbean Lobster, or Langosta Ajillo, but our favorite dish of all was the Gambas Al Ajillo – shrimp simmered in olive oil, garlic & chili peppers. Your beachside table is awaiting you where you can take in the sun by day, or be enchanted by the lights and stars at night. Book your reservation at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call #501 226-4047, and view the menus on their site. Aji is the onsite restaurant for Bella Vista Guest Homes, a four casita boutique resort 2.5 miles north of San Pedro, so if you don’t want to head back to San Pedro, check in to a casita after dinner!
Belize Chocolate Company –
If you’re in the mood for some high-quality chocolate, stop by the Belize Chocolate Company on Barrier Reef Drive where you can sample chocolates and buy your favorites. Ask for owner, Chris Beaumont to select your favorite – or try to place your order online.
A stop by Wine de Vine on Coconut Drive in San Pedro is a must and find a nice selection of fine wines and cheeses.
Lazy Croc BBQ –
If you want some delish BBQ pulled pork, stop by Lazy Croc’s and don’t forget to try their key-lime pie. Just mind your toes if you are sitting at the bar next to the lagoon full of crocs. To get there, cross the island bridge heading north, and this casual hangout is on the right side of the road. Call #501 226 4015 if you get lost and watch for the Croc Xing sign.
If you’re in a bohemian and hip mood, head north to the Matachica Resort. Dine outside near the beach at Mambos, the resort’s restaurant and order amazing cerviche or the local catch of the day.
Roadside BBQ’s, Papoosa Stands, Fruit Stands and More Restaurants to try –
In the mood for a quick bite or snack? There are lots of roadside BBQ’s, Papoosa and Fruit stands to stop at too all over Ambergris Caye.
Where to Stay while on Ambergris Caye?
The Phoenix Resort –
Located centrally in the heart of San Pedro, The Phoenix is located on the historic site of The Paradise Resort Hotel, the second hotel built on Ambergris Caye and one of Belize’s most popular vacation destinations for over forty years. The building’s modern architecture and beautifully designed landscape and pool, are set right on the beach. The Phoenix offers spacious, spotless clean, air-conditioned rooms with amazing ocean and resort views. View the resort property and suite options online and call #877 822-5512 or email: email@example.com to make your reservations.
Las Terrazas Resort –
Looking for a more lux, chic and comfort in a remote location, head to Las Terrazas, located further north on Ambergris Caye. Book your reservation at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call #1.800.447.1553. View information about Las Terrazas.
Ready to be pampered with your own housemen in an elegant villa on a private island? Downton Abbey in the Caribbean does exist! You can stay on your own private island at Cayo Espanto – just a short boat ride from Ambergris Caye. If you want to indulge yourself and have just about every wish come true on a quiet island, yet be within minutes to San Pedro’s restaurants and activities, check into your villa at Cayo Espanto.
Victoria House is an award winning luxury resort located on the southern part of the island, and is one of the most luxurious places you’ll ever want to stroll around barefoot. The 42 room resort spans ten acres of white sand beaches and lush tropical gardens. Visit their site to learn more.
Do you love to snorkel and dive, you’ll want to anchor yourself at Ramon’s Village Resort where you are a minute away from the Resort’s own Dive Shop. If you stay at Ramon’s and you love to dive….you can sleep, dive, eat, then sleep, dive eat, and repeat again. Ask for Rick and get your dives scheduled – there are hundreds of dive sites just minutes from Ramon’s. “It’s Tahiti just two hours from Houston!” said one guest. “We had no idea something this unique existed except in the Pacific islands!” said another. Ramon’s thatched roof cabanas are styled after the Tahitian cottages, but built from native materials by local craftsmen. Take a look online or call #501.226.2071
Prefer “barefoot elegance” and a more authentic Central American place to stay, check in to a colorful casita with a thatched roof in the remote northern part of Ambergris Caye. Find out more about the Matachica Stay – Eat – Indulge Options online.
What to do on Ambergris Caye?
Ambergris Caye offers just about everything – water sports…sailing, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, water paddling! Fishing – reef, deep sea, or fly fishing! Bicycling, shopping, or schedule tours to visit Mayan Ruins.
We spent a couple days with the dive and fishing guides from Ramon’s Dive Shop. Email Rick Sutherland at email@example.com and he can get you set up with the right dive or fishing guides and help you schedule your sites. Be sure to ask for Ron Siebert, Jr of Eco-Video and Photo to join you on your dive expedition – he will capture some incredible underwater images and provide a souvenir DVD for you to take home: firstname.lastname@example.org or #501 628-9361.
We decided to go reef fishing and try our luck reeling in our dinner. After trolling for 20 minutes and no bites, we decided to anchor and bottom fished for an hour. We caught some Triggerfish but they are too pretty to eat so we tossed them back into the sea. We headed over closer to the reef and fished in the reef where we caught some snappers. We reeled in about 20 fish, some red snapper, yellow tailed snapper and almost a grouper and barracuda, but they won the struggle. Ramon’s expert fishing guide “Tino” filleted our catch of the day, and Ramon’s restaurant specially grilled & blackened our fish so we could enjoy it within minutes of catching it. It was some of the best fish we’ve EVER had!
Diving & Snorkeling
Here are a few of the snorkeling and dive sites we visited:
Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Alley –
You can find an abundance of tropical fish, coral, sea turtles in the shallow bottom chomping away on sea grass, rays burrowed in the sand, or sharks looking for their next meal.
The Famous Blue Hole –
We dove to 140 ft and saw the stalagmites and stalactites in its massive caverns and were visited by some large reef sharks coming up from the depths of the Blue Hole.
Lighthouse Reef –
Had a great dive day with some stops along the Lighthouse Reef to enjoy a picnic lunch and visit to the Red-footed Booby Bird Colony.
The Aquarium and Half Moon Sites –
we enjoyed diving and seeing the abundant tropical fish and colorful coral and sponges of all shapes and sizes.
Cypress Canyons and Tunnels –
Located minutes from Ramon’s you can enjoy dives where you can see eagle spotted rays, turtles, sharks, and all kinds of tropical fish – trumpetfish, angelfish, snapper, grouper….endless!
On the other side of the island, at sunset if you dare….
Make sure to visit the Sunset House Restaurant at sunset where you can feed the tarpons. It’s a heart stopping experience, while you dangle your hand out and tightly squeeze a sardine between your fingers and wait…and wait ….for a giant 6 foot tarpon to jump up out of the murky water and grab the sardine from your hand.
Global Adventuress wants to thank Tropic Air, Cholo’s Carts, and the hotels, restaurants named above that hosted us during our stay.