Ambergris Diving Holidays
Ambergris Caye Travel Information
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and the main destination for tourists. With its sandy streets, brightly coloured signages and friendly people, it has a distinctively Caribbean feel to it. 40 km long and just 2 km wide in places, it is home to a surprising amount of flora and fauna, both above and below the water. Some locals have even reported seeing jaguars here, but then the local rum is very cheap and strong ...
With a good selection of bars, restaurants and nightlife in San Pedro, a multitude of beaches and accommodation options, lots of activities and the barrier reef running the entire length of the island, it's a very popular place with both the young and the more sensible, and the ideal base for your Belize diving holiday.
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How to Get There
Ambergris is 55 km east of Belize City. It's a short 20 minute flight from the city's Philip Goldsen International Airport. Return tickets cost about US$ 160 and are run by Maya Island Air and Tropic Air. A cheaper alternative to get to Ambergris are water taxis which cost around US$ 25 for a round trip. These are open air speedboats which take between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours, depending on route stops. Boats leave from the harbour on North Front Street, next to the Swing Bridge in Belize City.
Beaches and Nearby Islands
You're never far from a beach in Ambergris Caye; beautiful white sands stretch almost the entire length of the eastern side of the island. The few small cays around Ambergris provide much of the same but on a smaller, quieter scale. Caulker Caye provides a few small resorts and Chapel Caye has a golf course.
Sightseeing and Adventure
Along with the fantastic diving at Ambergris Caye, there's plenty to do and see here. For the nature lover, bird watching is becoming more and more popular with over 200 species of birds recorded including the endangered black catbird, roseate spoonbills, pelicans, hummingbirds and parakeets. This is becuase the east coast of the island is made up of creeks and lagoons with mangrove swamps that provide natural sanctuary to wildlife.
At the north end of the island, Bacalar Chico reserve is home to whitetail deer, raccoons and crocodiles.
Watersport enthusiasts can find sailing, kayaking, kite surfing, parasailing and superb flats fishing for tarpon, permit and bonefish throughout the cays. There's also a fitness centre with tennis courts and lap pool. There are also several yoga, spa and massage facilities on the island.
There are some Mayan ruins here which indicate that Ambergris was once an important Mayan hub for trading, but most have been reduced to little more than mounds by the prevailing winds and the march of time.
Dining Out & Nightlife
Most of the nightlife is centered in San Pedro, the main town at the southern end of the island, with Wednesdays and Saturdays being the big nights out. Clubs, bars, karaoke and many local and international restaurants are easy to find here. The Clubs tend to only get going after 11 pm so warm up with a few drinks in the bars beforehand. You may even want to try your hand at the 'chicken drop game' (Dive The World can assure you no chickens are harmed, although their pride maybe slightly dented).
There are several bakeries, barbeque huts, pizza houses, Belizean and Mexican eateries, and fining dining restaurants. Dining at exclusive hotel restaurants or those with prime beach front locations can make a serious impression on your wallet as well as your waistline. Local eateries tend to be back from the beach and here you'll find the cheapest meal options, including burritos, rice and beans, and stews.
If you're tired after your day's sightseeing or diving, you can just relax at your resort. Most of them have good quality restaurants and bars where you can sample the local Belikin beer.
The gift shops in San Pedro offer the usual suspects for upsetting the bank manager - art, jewelry, precious stones, local furniture and clothing, as well as Cuban cigars and local rum and spices.
When buying any consumable in Belize, always check the product expiry date. Many shops have the annying habit of selling goods that have passed their 'sell by' date.
The Local People
A population of 20,000+ is mostly of Mexican descent with a liberal spattering of expats from the USA. Spanish and English are both spoken by the locals.
Catholicism is the most widespread, but most major religions are represented here in a small way.
Walking and bicycles are the most popular forms of transport but if you're really in the holiday mode then renting a golf cart or taxi are both popular and easy enough.
If you would like to dive the stunning waters around Ambergris Caye, then click below to check your options now for:
Most resorts only have a small number of rooms, so book early to avoid disappointment!
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