San Pedro Travel Guide

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San Pedro is the core of Ambergris Caye, the larger and more populated of the Cayes in Belize . It is also the city with more tourist attractions, making it an important catalyst for all the water-based activities in Belize .

San Pedro is a small town, and even with the touristic flow to Belize it stayed a small town, although it became more and more "chaotic" over time. Not in the way any western city is chaotic, for sure, but for a secluded Caribbean small town, tourism has brought with it a pace which differs from what one might expect. You can walk the entire length of town from North to South in about 15 minutes, and the main mean of transportations are golf carts (available for rent in many places) and bikes, and the occasional gas-powered cab.  However, do not look for large chains in San Pedro (nor in the rest of Belize ): the Marriots and Sheratons and Starbucks and McDonalds are not at all currently present in Belize .

San Pedro is highly organized to accommodate all sort of travelers: from the backpackers to the resort guests, San Pedro has an option for all different types of tourists.

Ruby's, on the South end of town, on the beach, has great budget accommodations if all you are looking for in your hotel is a clean bathroom and basic furnishing. Most rooms are fans only, the ones facing the beach with private bath go for about US$40. However, if you are expecting any kind of amenities for your stay, you are better off abandoning the town (where pretty much no hotel has a beach where to linger) and head either North for the ritzy resorts (among all, Mata Chica has a great restaurant, Mambo), or South of the main town. If you are looking for a reasonable accommodations in town, Aqua Marina Suites is a great value: for about US$100 they have nicely furnished junior suite (extremely spacious!) and suite with full kitchen and AC. Keep in kind that restaurants in town are a great value for the money and it might be easier to eat out than to try to figure out grocery shopping.

Food is full of surprises and reserves great options, especially if you are willing to try Caribbean and Belizean specialties. The Reef, on Pescador drive, The Patio, and the bakery at Ruby's are excellent- here, don’t miss the great rum cake! The local beer, Belikin, is light and cheap, and is well worth the US $1.50 you pay for it! Fido's will have live music almost every night, and Belizean hang out during the weekend at the bar of the Holiday Hotel, next door to Ruby's.

As far as activities, San Pedro offers a wide array of options for all sort of taste: from wave runners to diving, from snorkeling to inland trips, everything starts off from San Pedro.

If you enjoy diving, the local dives are quite a sight, however the dive trip you do not want to miss is for sure the one leading to Lighthouse Reef, where you can dive the famous Blue Hole. Very impressive dive, very deep and somewhat technical (maximum depth reaches 130 ft!). Some dive outfitters will us "chum" to attract the sharks at the Blue Hole, others frown on this practice.  If you want some serious shark action make sure to ask about this possibility before you book your dive.  After the Blue Hole Dive you will picnic at Half Moon Caye and two more dives are done on the outer walls of the atoll. The coral and marine life are just amazing, with the possibility of diving with sea turtles, sharks, and even manta rays. The dive trip is quite pricey though, especially considering the low-cost of Belize as a whole. Be prepared to spend around US$180 for the three-tank trip to Lighthouse Atoll. All dive operators are very well qualified, however only one rents computers- Protech Dive at the Belize Yacht Club, a mile South of San Pedro. Every other operator rent BC, regs, wetsuit and the such, but none will have a computer for you, forcing you to rely on the divemasters' ability to keep the group under control during the dive. If you plan to dive while in Belize , and you are not comfortable without a computer, make sure you bring your own. However, the rest of the diving equipment was remarkable for both quality and conditions.

Other activities include snorkeling with nurse sharks and sting rays, cave-tubing inland, deep-sea fishing and parasailing. Wave runners are available for rent at several locations.

To get to San Pedro, you can either fly (Mayan Air and Tropical Air offer connecting flight from Belize International Airport) or take a boat from the boat terminal in Belize City (a Bz$25 per person cab trip from the airport, and a Bz$30 pp of boat ride). The boat ride is very convenient, however not all the boats are covered and rain, or sun, might be a hassle.

The town's atmosphere is generally friendly and festive, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone whose intent is to rip you off. Belizeans are wonderful people, and if they offer advice it usually is for your benefit, not theirs. The easy pace of this island is contagious, and it is not hard to fathom why Madonna sings about it in the song "La isla bonita".

Contributors

November 19, 2004 change by amandine

May 05, 2005 change by bjorn_richard

January 13, 2006 change by vanessa66

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