Our Travel Specialist Alex’s time exploring Guatemala and Belize is coming to an end, but where else could be better than finishing off her trip on the paradise island of Ambergris Caye. This stunning destination has the perfect balance of having just enough amenities to keep you occupied while not being so overdeveloped that you have to squeeze yourself onto its white sandy beaches.
For those of you who are fans of Madonna, you’ll be happy to hear that it was Ambergris Caye that was the sole inspiration behind the lyrics to her chart-topping song, ‘La Isla Bonita’.
Ambergris Caye has the paradisiacal characteristics you would expect to find on any Caribbean island with sun-drenched days, refreshing fruity drinks, clear azure waters and palm-backed white sandy beaches. Here is your one-stop guide that will inspire you to find paradise on Ambergris Caye.
♦ Where is Ambergris Caye?
Ambergris Caye is the largest island of Belize and is located to the northeast of the country surrounded by the beautiful clear, warm waters of the Caribbean. The island is just 25 miles long and 5 miles across at its widest point, though much of it is less than half a mile wide. Running parallel to the island and just a half-mile from its coast is the second largest reef system in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef, which is the islands prime asset. The island was once home to the ancient Maya who created the island by digging the narrow channel between it and Mexico. The Caye has a diverse mix of languages from English and Spanish to Creole and Maya speakers adding to the culture of the island.
♦ Traveling to Ambergris Caye
Located 35 miles northeast of Belize City, Ambergris can be easily reached by sea or air. Both ways are beautiful although it is certainly quicker and drier by air taking between just 15 to 30mins by plane. There are dozens of daily flights between Belize City and Ambergris Caye’s airport, San Pedro (SPR). Flights leave approximately every 30 minutes from the Municipal Airport and the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City adding to the ease of traveling to the island. If you’re arriving to Belize on an international flight and flying straight to Ambergris Caye, it is better to leave from Belize City’s International Airport. However, if you’re already in Belize City or traveling around the country, it is better to fly from the Municipal Airport as it is closer to downtown. If you’d prefer to go by sea, scheduled boats travel regularly between Belize City and Ambergris Caye although be warned, you’re likely to get wet as most are open speedboats. The journey takes anywhere between 1hr 15mins and 2 hours so if you’re traveling by boat, you should be prepared for a longer and wetter wait to reach the paradise island of Ambergris.
♦ The best time to go to Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye’s climate and temperature is relatively constant throughout the year with highs during the day of around 85°F and lows at night of around 75°F. If you’re going to Ambergris Caye, you will definitely be taking part in some water-based activities and the welcoming clear Caribbean waters typically stay above 80°F. Ambergris Caye’s dry season runs from February through to June while July through to January is considered the wet season. The humidity on the island remains at about 80%, but with refreshing onshore winds, a range of cool fruity cocktails available and the relaxing calm waters off its coast, the humidity is no problem at all.
♦ Top things to do on Ambergris Caye
Formerly a quiet fishing village, San Pedro is today a compact but bustling village with its sandy streets lined by tiki bars, dive shops and waterfront restaurants offering delicious, fresh seafood. The village of San Pedro has a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere and the waterfront restaurants and bars are the best places to watch the sunset over the Caribbean Sea. The island’s proximity to the barrier reef means that the main activity here is diving, especially at the Great Blue Hole, although there is plenty to do as a non-scuba diver too. Aside from swimming and sunbathing at Ambergris, you can sail, fish, kayak or windsurf, visit the nearby and laid-back Caye Caulker or snorkel with sharks and stingrays at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. At the southern tip of Ambergris, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve covers an area of 6.5 sq.miles. With spectacular coral formations and an abundance of marine life diversity, it is Belize’s if not one of the world’s best spot for diving and snorkeling. Within the marine reserve is Shark Ray Alley which will give you the unique chance to snorkel and swim with laid back nurse sharks and southern stingrays.