Belize Stories and Tips

La Isla Bonita - San Pedro

Shorefront in San Pedro Photo, Belize, Central America

Just like Madonna's Song "La Isla Bonita" which goes..."Last night I dreamt of San Pedro," everybody that visits Belize's San Pedro falls in love with this magical place. San Pedro is the main city on the island of Ambergris Caye. The best way to get there from Belize City is to fly the local airline, Maya Island Air, to San Pedro.

We arrived via Maya Island Air. Our little propeller driven commuter aircraft was quite cozy, seating about 10-12. The flight to San Pedro was about 45 minutes and quite scenic. You could see the nice aqua blue waters off the costline and the lagoons on the opposite side. We landed at a small airstrip adjacent to San Pedro.

San Pedro is a pretty small town. There are three main streets, Front Street, Middle Street, and Back Street. There are a few cars in Belize, a lot of the locals use golf carts and bicycles too. The roads aren't the greatest, some parts of the roads aren't even paved yet. But I did see some improvements, for instance, they're slowly building a bridge north of San Pedro over the San Pedro River. Currently, the only way across is a hand operated ferry.

Once we arrived at the island, we checked into a privately owned condo we had rented via the Internet. There seems to be a lot of small condos popping up around San Pedro. From talking to some of the locals, a good number of these condos are purchased by investors and rented out as vacation condos, like the one we stayed in. The remainder are owned and occupied by locals, especially expatriates from the USA, Canada, and other countries.

It's not too humid on Ambergris Caye. Being an island, there are nice breezes from the ocean that make the humidity quite bearable. It was about 75-80 degrees during the daytime.

One of the main attractions to San Pedro are the marvelous natural features. Snorkeling and diving are the main draw. There are 185 miles of unspoiled Barrier Reef just off Ambergris Caye. An abundance of wonderful marine life calls this reef home. There are plenty of snorkel and dive shops in San Pedro which can take you out for guided tours of these beautiful sights. We paid $35 for a quick one hour snorkel. They have day trips with lunch for $100. The tank dives are about $45-$60, but I'm not certified to dive, so we didn't do that.

We signed up for a guided snorkel tour at one of the many guided snorkel shops in San Pedro. We took the boat out to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is a few miles south of San Pedro. The water is very clear and warm. We got in and started out guided tour. We are kept on track by swimming along a rope attached to the boat. We saw manatees, stingrays, and all sorts of strange and wonderful fish as interesting other marine life and coral.

There are also nice relaxing beaches. Immediately outside our condo is the beach! It's nice to have a quiet tropical beach to lie out and read a book sometimes. Next to our condo, also beachside, is a small outdoor bar and pool. We chatted with a few of the people at the bar about where to go eat dinner. The local cuisine is basically Mexican, due to Belize's proximity to its northern neighbor. We did find a host of other restaurants run by both locals and expatriates. I wanted some Italian, so we dined at Pasta la Vista. It was a really fun experience as the owner and staff were very friendly and chatted with us about the local gossip. (Separate review.)

After dinner, we were quite tired, so we retired back to our condo. (One note, there are a lot of mosquitoes that come out at night. Bring mosquito repellent with DEET.) I was amazed at how quiet it is at night. The gentle waves coming ashore helped me to fall asleep.

Unfortunately I had to leave the next morning for Belize City. But I will always remember my time in San Pedro. I do plan on returning in a few months. I can see why there are so many expatriates in San Pedro. It's a place people can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and live amongst the natural beauty and wonderful climate. Now I can see myself dreaming of San Pedro as well. Ambergris Caye really is "La Isla Bonita."

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