Great Barrier Reef, longest in the western Hemisphere, shelters the best stocked
light-tackle fishing grounds of the Caribbean. The water is warm and crystal clear ideal
for a great variety of water sports, fishing, snorkelling and scuba diving.
You should visit the impressive Mayan Centres, like Altun Ha and Xunantunich ...
and bring along your camera for some memorable shots. Unauthorized digging is prohibited
With more than 500 species of birds, this country is a bird-watcher's paradise. There are also numerous
animals, which can be observed in wildlife refuges.
The extensive limestone system gives rise to really fascinating and unexplored cave systems, often with
evidence of use in the dim past by the Mayas.
You will find a congenial atmosphere at clubs and restaurants with tasty food, easy conversation and tropical-
There are cinemas in town. Village fiestas are frequent. Other highlights are the gala
marathon St. George's Caye Day and Independence celebrations in September; Columbus day in October; Garifuna
Settlement Day in November and the National Festival of Arts in November.
You are encouraged to get your souvenirs and craft-items from department stores, hotels, specialty stores or
the Cottage Industries, the National Craft Centre and other workshops for carvings of mahogany and zericote,
jewelry, straw hats, handicrafts, postcards, etc. Please remember that the removal of black coral or the sale of black
coral novelties by any unauthorized person is illegal.
Biking - Bicycles are available through your hotel or rental centers
located throughout town.
Golfcarts - Numerous businesses offer hourly and daily rentals.
Bird Watching -
Wildlife watching is fast becoming a rage on this Caye. Visitors can be seen with binoculars glued to their eyes stepping quietly down the sandy streets in search of that special bird. Crocodiles, raccoons and a vast array of birds can be seen along the lagoon or along small mangrove cayes scattered in the north of the island.
The Lalas Bird Sanctuary offers a unique "people perch" for birdwatching. Made by Wil and Susan Lala, the people perch is a large multi-leveled tower with many vantage points to view birds. The Lalas sanctuary is located just a few minutes to the south of San Pedro Town.
Many other birding trips can be arranged, such as to Bird Caye on the south end of the island. Check with local guides or Susan at Caribbean Villas or Elbert Greer, who with his dog Bubba are long time bird watchers.
CLICK HERE for more on birding on Ambergris Caye and in Belize.
Golf - At last -- Belize has a championship golf course. Caye Chapel Golf Resort & Marina -- this is the name currently being used, though it may not be the final name -- is being developed. Click here for more information.
Diving (day, night and overnight trips) - Ambergris Caye's biggest claim to fame comes as a dive destination. Most visitors to Ambergris Caye visit because of the superior diving and snorkeling sites found close by. Local dive shops rent full gear, offer all levels of certification by PADIand NAUII and have daily trips to the reef and all local dive sites. Trips can be one, two and three tank dive trips including night dives.
Guided trips to numerous sites,
including trips to Hol Chan Reserve, Mexico Rocks, the Blue Hole, Turneffe
Reef and Glover's Reef.For a wealth of information on diving on the island, click here.
Snorkeling (day or night) - For those who do not dive, and even if you have never snorkeled, the Hol Chan Reserve, Shark Ray Alley and other coral gardens can provide an equally euphoric experience. Snorkel in 3 ft. of water with brightly colored parrot fish or drift over 60 ft. of Caribbean Sea outside the reef and marvel at the whole other world this marine paradise presents.
Numerous dive shops can arrange trips, highly
recommended is Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a popular five square-mile underwater
park accessible only by boat, is located four miles southeast of San Pedro Town on the Belize Barrier Reef and is rich in marine life and coral. Inside the reef the clear shallow water is ideal for both snorkelers and divers who will see a wide variety of fish including sharks, stingrays and moray eels. Night diving is popular to see a variety of nocturnal sea creatures that are completely different than those seen during the day.
There are many other snorkel sites easily
from San Pedro, such as Shark-Ray Alley. This shallow cut in the reef south of Hol Chan is a popular dive spot for those who wish to see sharks and rays up close and personal. Snorkelers can also enjoy this spot. It is definitely a disconcerting feeling to have these creatures rub elbows with you.
Once you do get used to these friendly creatures you're sure to have the time of your life. Skin Diver magazine describes it as one of the seven great animal dive sites in the Caribbean. Tours to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley are common and easily arranged with local tour guides. Wear a bathing suit, light cover clothing, towel, sunscreen, and bring snorkeling or diving equipment.
Click here for photos of Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley.
Click here for more information on diving and snorkeling these amazing waters...
Water Sports - Jetskis and Waverunners
are available along the waterfront downtown, check in front of the Spindrift Hotel.
Ambergris Caye is an excellent spot for all levels of windsurfer.
Winter months can offer 20 plus days of 6.5 winds or better.
October through March is generally the windy season, although in
99 may and June turned out to be 5.5 weather almost daily. July to
September tend to be the calmer months. typical winds are cross-
on or onshore
The warm clear water is protected by a coral reef about a half mile
offshore. The water in between provides great bump and jump conditions and
flatwater speeding with runs of upto 5 miles on each tack.
Most of this area is 6-8 feet deep.
Outside the reef in the deep blue there are big waves and swells.
There are several other islands which are within sight of Ambergris Caye.
It is possible to sail to them. Locals never do this alone- at least three
sailors is best- with at least one sailor who knows the coral reef well. It
is common to get separated during these crossings and boat rescue is
unreliable when you are out sailing on the frontier.
Kitesurfing - Kitexplorer, the Belizean kite surfing company from now 9 years in Caye Caulker, now offers a new exclusive riding spot in Belize, San Pedro Island. They offers 1/2 day trip from downtown San Pedro to a pristine island; to live a unique kitesurfing experience. Lessons with certified instructors or Pro Coaching with an international O’neill Pro Rider. From beginners to advanced riders, ride in one of the largest shallow water lagoon. There are kite lessons available for everyone! Kitexplorer will guide you all the way.
The Lagoon- the Back Side -
I love the back side. so quiet, peaceful. Tiny islands dot the area, you can see hundreds of miles if you get up at the top of a mast! Like the virgin everglades, beautiful and mysterious, so full of flora and fauna.
There are caves back there that you have to see to appreciate. Currents come
and out with the tides because there is a labyrinth of under island
connections. On those hammocks and savannahs in the back are crocodiles,
javelinas, deer and even jaguar and the birds abound. Click here for pictures...
Parasailing - What a way to fly!
Click here for 40 pictures in sequence of parasailing in San Pedro. To actually experience this exciting flight, go to the Fido's Dock.
Parasailing is a recreational kiting activity where you are towed behind our boat while attached to a specially designed canopy wing that reminds one of a parachute, known as a parasail wing. The harness attaches the rider(s) to the parasail, which is connected to the boat by the tow rope. The boat then takes off, carrying the parasail and person into the air. Our boat is powerful enough so that two or three people can parasail behind it at the same time. The rider has little or no control over the parachute and the activity is primarily a fun ride with an awesome view.
Ride in the air lasts 15 minutes, boat ride lasts 45-60 minutes depending on number of people.
Kitesurfing or kiteboarding is the dynamic new sport that everyone is
talking about. A cross between wakeboarding and windsurfing the rider uses a
large powerful traction kite to skate across the top of the water and boost
20-30ft jumps. Ideal conditions are 10-20knots of wind and flat shallow
water - all of which Ambergris Caye has in abundance. Its as if Ambergris
Caye was made for kitesurfing.
Sailing, Canoeing, Kayaking, Catamarans, Boating - rentals are available through most hotels or
dive centers. Sailing tours can be arranged with local companies. The Winnie Estelle does many local trips. Sailing trips usually last the entire day and encompass a tour around Ambergris Caye as well as other nearby cayes such as Caye Chapel and Caye Caulker often with lunch being a beach barbecue. Kayaking is done both around the island, and all over Belize as well.
Catamarans can be rented that offer you all the conveniences of a resort. But unlike a resort they will move daily to give you the experience of a new destination and exotic island every day. Discover sailing charters, adventure trips, fishing, snorkeling, scuba and more. Make your island dreams a reality. The the Aubisque has a webpage on this site, and TMM BELIZE also rents catamarans for exploring the atolls and waters of Belize.
The Sirena Azul (Blue Mermaid) has a sunset sail, and is also available for snorkeling and charters. The 40 foot traditional style sailboat is made out of hardwoods found in Belize, including Santa Maria, Bullet and Mahogany. The boat has a very unique style with its cabin shape and wide beam. Beto Munos says it was the largest wood sailboat ever built and launched in Sarteneja. The boat capacity is 20 people plus 2 crew.
Click here for more on boating in Belize and links to the companies that provide this service.
Ecological Nature Trail - a guided 1 km mile walk through the jungle.
plants and relatively stationary insects ( such as very large
Movies at the Paradise Theater - Welcome to San Pedro's movie theater, the Paradise Theater. Located just north of the bridge, Paradise Theater is a one-of-a-kind performing arts & movie theater on Ambergris Caye, consisting of 2 theater rooms, full service bar, & concession stand. Their phone number is +501 636-8123.
Exploring by Land -
Take a golf cart ride (golf carts are rented for a fee and are the most common means of island transportation) to the very end of the island (south). Then you can truthfully say that you stood at the very end of the Yucatan Peninsula. Moncho's Rentals has four locations, and can deliver the cart right to your room!
To visit the north end of AC by bike, golf cart or foot,
the rule with an electric golf cart is: no further than Journey's end (3.5 mls North), if you can't come back to town (a matter of battery power). You can go all the way to Avalon (7 miles North) by cart on the beach, but you probably won't have enough power to get back.
Caribbean Golf Cart Rentals has fuel operated golf cars; they can go a lot further, but you can't go much past Avalon (because there's no path anymore; the beach is jungle).
The road goes about to Journey's end, then you have to follow the beach, Mata Chica is 5 miles, Portofino is 6 miles and Avalon is 7 miles.
Palermo is 13 miles, Punta Azul is 16 miles, Robles is 20 and Rocky point is 22 miles. You can reach it by bicycle; I have seen tourists go as far as Habaneros by bicycle (round trip) in one day!
Exploring by Sea - Charter a boat with guide to go around the island or rent a kayak to explore around the northern part of the island and the San Pedro Lagoon. beautiful scenery, solitude and silence...
Boats and boating -
For information on boats and boating, click here.
Whether you just want to have a little fun or you are an avid fly or sports fisherman,the right tour guide can be found on the island. Catch your supper with a part-time tour guide/fisherman or inquire at your hotel for the highly skilled fly-fishing guides who closely guard their "secret" fishing grounds. Interested in big gamefish? - several hotels offer deep sea fishing and the country has several tournaments annually.
Guided half and full day trips can be arranged. Some include a
picnic on the north end of the island where the fish you catch is cooked
your lunch. To see some big ones caught on the island, or just read about the seasons, tournaments, how and where to catch, and lots of information, click here.
Night Life -
There is no shortage of things to do in the evening in San Pedro. Lots of good live music, dancing at Fido's, Big Daddys, Jaguar Temple, Barefoot Iguana.
Big Daddy's is a real hot spot on the island, and things sometimes go late and loud here. At Fido's there is often live music. Across the street, the Jaguar Temple hops, too, especially toward the weekend. The Barefoot Iguana has the tunes spinning and is agreat spot to go dancing. Several hotels have busy beach bars, including the Pier Lounge at the Spindrift, Coconuts, and several others.
Many restaurants and bars provide entertainment for their customers including bands, solo performers featuring country and rock as well as local "Punta" music, a unique drumbeat from the Garifuna culture which will set your feet tapping. If you visit during a national holiday more than likely the town will be holding a concert or event to commemorate the occasion. Make inquires at your hotels front desk to learn more about what events or special celebrations are taking place during your stay.
Fido's is good for folks who like live bands. Wet Willy's for a more crazy night dancing outing. Jaguar's & Bid Daddy's for the more younger generation dancing people.
If, after a long day in the sun, you're too pooped to pop a Belikin, you'll be glad to know that many of the island's hotels have cable TV, with about the same channels as you'd get in the U.S.
At the Pier Lounge Bar, you can't miss the World Famous Chicken Drop Game. It is very popular on the island and only at the beach of the Pier Lounge at the Spindrift Hotel. Gambling at its finest.
Big-time gambling has come to Belize (:>), as Belize's first Las Vegas-style casino is at the Princess Belize Hotel & Casino. Click here for more info.
Several of the catamarans offer sunset cruises, check with your hotel or peek at their websites. Watch the sun explode into magnificent colours each evening before it sets in the sky. Enjoy sailing along the island's coast, while sipping a delicious tropical drink and enjoying fun and romantic music.
A night at Lighthouse Reef is fun to do too.... Dive the Great Blue Hole and Turneffe on the way and back... Night time diving is also great fun, you will see many different creatures out and about underwater than you do in the daytime.
The nighttime sky is fun to behold. Relax on the beach, or some of the fun viewing spots like the people perch at Caribbean Villas, the top of the Sands Hotel (yes, I love it there even tho its not what it once was), Azul Belize up north has rooftops with hot tubs and that incredible view. Smell that great Caribbean breeze...
Shopping is fun at night too, on weekend nights a large part of downtown is blocked from traffic so folks can shop to their hearts content.
And there are many bars that will cater to the quenching of your thirst after a beautiful sunny day. From Cholos on the beach (Hangovers installed and serviced) to the incredible beauty and quiet of the Rendezvous lounge, you will find the variety of surroundings to be quite fun and satisfying.
|Don’t know what to do while you are on Ambergris Caye? Make sure you visit Jungle Water Adventures where you can get the best service possible on all activities, at the best rate. Their service goes beyond the Belize border, as it extends as far as Tikal and Flores in Guatemala. They provide several options to accommodate your specific needs. It's mainland tours can be done from the island by air, by water taxi or on your own private boat if so you desire. The mainland tours include: Cave tubing, Zip, Xunantunich, Lamanai, Altun Ha, The Belize Zoo, Baboon Sanctuary and much more. They also allow you to personalize your own Adventure. This mean you can choose your own combination of activities. On the island they offer bicycle rental, golf cart rental, reef, flat, and deep sea fishing, snorkeling, diving, catamaran tours, manatee watch, bachalar chico, beach bar-b-q, the blue hole and much more. There is no competitor as flexible and affordable as them. Jungle Water Adventures works with passion to serve you and make your vacation a wonderful one.
Dining - San Pedro's restaurants caters to all tastes from seafood to
from Italian, Chinese or just a sandwich. Of course, many restaurants
Belizean cuisine (fish, bar-b-que, rice and beans, etc.) Whatever you are
craving, you can find it at any one of the several restaurants. For a list of restaurants on this site, click here.
Ambergris Caye does not have great big shopping malls but rather a few quaint little gift shops and street side venders that are more than willing to help you to take a little piece of paradise home with you.
Most gift shops sell tropical apparel, eyewear, shoes, sunscreen and lotions and hats as well as the work of local artisans. These include local paintings, pottery, sculptures, handmade dolls, hats, baskets, beach chairs and hammocks. Worrying about packing it up and taking it back home? Most business can provide safe shipping back home for you for a fee.
Click here for more information on shopping!
In addition there are street vendors will probably give the best price on woodcarvings and handmade jewelry.
The shops are open til 9 or 10, sun goes down about 6, 6:30, then one can go to dinner, and after dinner you can wander around town, and all the shops are open, there is plenty of time to shop after dark. Have fun!!!
While reading material is not extensive there is usually a selection of new novels and magazines as well as a wide variety of post card to send home to your friends and family or just to take back as souvenirs.
For more information, and a textual tour of San Pedro's shops, click here.
Gym- Working Out -
San Pedro Family Fitness Center has two real tennis courts, real gym equipment and a 4,000 sq. ft. pool. San Pedro Family Fitness Center is located by the airstrip, around the corner from the Barefoot Iguana. You can use it even if you are a visitor to the island, they have daily and weekly rates.
Oscar's Fitness Center is located at the north end of town near the bridge at the cut. It is a 3 story white building on the beach, with fully equipped gym downstairs, with the ladies having their own gym section and equipment on the second floor. He has free weights and machines which are well used. It is a real workout gym, nothing fancy, no carpets or air conditioning. But the view out the open wood slant windows in front is great. The San Pedro Community Park and ocean front are right outside that window. They don't have a lot of the newer style equipment, such as elliptical trainers. Mostly Nautilus style and free weigths. If you seriously want to lift weights, you will find all the basics +. Maybe a big guy to spot you. However, there is absolutely NO cardio equipement from the last 2 decades. Nothing too fancy. But fun anyway. Oscar charges $5 Belize per workout if you pay by the visit.
Waterfalls - Waterfalls in Belize are among the consummate hang out places for spending an impeccable Belize vacation. The pristine beauty and the tranquil atmosphere in the areas of waterfalls are a special treat to the eyes. Click here for information on seven waterfalls from around Belize (on the mainland).
Hiking in Belize - Apart from its popular and prestigious barrier reef, ancient Maya cities and ceremonial caves, and other numerous attractions, Belize also has an incredible and spectacular array of opportunities for hiking.
Click here for a list of one person's idea of the top ten best hiking destinations around Belize (on the mainland).
Chocolate Tour - Mayan kings once traded cacao seeds as currency and drank them in a spicy, sacred beverage. Now, Mayan farmers are cashing in, thanks to the world's growing appetite for specialty chocolate. The work is slow going. My wife, my mother-in-law, and I need more than 30 minutes to peel enough beans to be ground into a single bar of chocolate. Click here for information about the Chocolate Trail in Belize.
Reef Camping - Go camping on the reef by spending a few days on a boat with your own captain and crew, plenty of food, and the ability to go wherever you like! Swim, snorkel, fish and explore reef and islands. Very private. Click here for more information.
Relaxing - It's OK here. If you're not in the mood for any strenuous activity then you find a beach towel, hammock,or lounge chair, on your balcony, on the beach or under a shady tree and enjoy the view, work on your suntan, read a book, take a nap sip a delicious cup of coffee from Caye Coffee, our local coffee roaster, or just do nothing.
Water Taxi's & Ferry - You can get around the islands and back to the mainland with the water taxi's or ferries. The Coastal Xpress travels up and down the eastern shore of Ambergris Caye, and the Caye Caulker Water Taxi can get you between islands and back to the mainland. To see the schedule for Coastal Xpress, click here.
Local Airlines - Hourly flights to International Airport and Municipal
in Belize City. Check with local airlines for scheduled flights to other
destinations in Belize and neighbouring countries. Click here for the Maya Island Air, and Click here for Tropic Air.
Mainland Tours - Tours to ruins, the zoo and other parts of Belize can be
arranged by any of the several travel agencies on the island (click here for island travel agencies) or through
Try any of these:
CLICK HERE for a downloadable PDF of this for printing and posting....
- The Ancient World: Click here for MUCH more info, tour guides, photo exhibits, all kinds of goodies...
- Altun Ha
- Chechem Ha Pottery Caves
- Ix Chel Farm
- Tanah Mayan Art Museum
Other island adventures and fun spots...
Boca Del Rio Park -
The Park has a playground for children and a picnic area. It is located at the northern most part of San Pedro Town at the channel (called Boca Del Rio or "Mouth of the River") that separates San Pedro Town from the northern end of the caye. There is a swimming area with a slide in the shallow, sandy waters of the park. Swimmers, beware of tidal currents in the deeper channel. Wear a bathing suit, cool clothing, a hat and sunscreen if you're going swimming as the sand can become very hot. It is a leisurely 20 min. walk.to get there from the center of San Pedro Town or rent a golf cart or bicycle and get there in no time.
Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Preserve -
One of Belize's newest preserves, the park is accessible only by sea. It is at the northern tip of Ambergris Caye overlooking the Bay of Chetumal and Mexico. The ranger station is located amidst the ruins of Chac-balam, which was an important Maya trading center. Fifteen hundred years ago these same Maya cut the narrow channel that separates Ambergris Caye from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Diving opportunities are spectacular. Tours to Bacalar Chico can be arranged through local tour guides. Dress lightly; wear a bathing suit, repellant and or sunscreen, comfortable shoe or sandals, sunglasses and a hat. Click here for more information on Bacalar Chico.
Little Iguana and Rosario Caye -
These cayes are two small mangrove island reserves managed by Green Reef (an Ambergris Caye local based non-governmental organization) along with the Belize Audubon Society. These two cayes are great places to spot blue herons, roseate spoonbills, greatfrigate birds, reddish egrets and other coastal zone birds. Tours can be arranged through local guides. Dress comfortably. Wear insect repellant, sandals, hat and of course bring along your binoculars.
The Butterfly Jungle -
Imagine walking through a lush jungle that is teeming with bright Belizean butterflies and exotic flowers. Wouldn’t that be a sight to behold? Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore because you can now do this without travelling the jungles of Belize. The Butterfly Jungle is a beautiful place that raises butterflies found in the jungle of Belize right in the heart of Ambergris Caye.
Valley Ruddick and Tom Thomas have made a butterfly garden where they raise butterflies and allow you to see each stage of their transformation from a miniscule egg from a lowly caterpillar to the miraculous jeweled butterfly. Located at Rendezvous Estates, which is just less than five miles north of San Pedro Town, the Butterfly Jungle allows visitors to walk among hundreds of butterflies inside a greenhouse that is filled with exotic flowers and jungle plants that attract butterflies.
Currently, the Butterfly Jungle has 15 to 25 species at any one time flying in the flight room, which depends on the time of the year. All of them are distinctive and beautiful in their own way, and many of them show strange behaviors that are unique to their family. There are about 17,000 species of butterflies all around the world, and more than 800 of these species are found in Belize.
Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Site -
This Mayan site is a late pre-classic era sea-trading center located at the southern end of Ambergris Caye. During the dry season it is approachable by trail and can also be reached from the lagoon side. The site has been heavily looted and has yielded grinding tools, pottery, obsidian blades and jade. Although the site is still under excavation, stelae and temple mounds are visible.
Chac-balam Archaeological Site -
A Mayan residential and sea-trading post, that is being excavated seasonally by teams from the Royal Canadian Museum. It is located at the northern most tip of Ambergris Caye and is on the property of the Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve. When visiting any Archaeological Site remember that these sites are located in the forest, the home of bugs and mosquitoes. Wear lots and lots of repellant. Wear comfortable clothes that cover legs and arms. Wear a hat and comfortable shoes. You will be trekking about in the bush.
San Pedro Lagoon -
Accessible by boat ride or kayak, this lagoon the largest on the island offers visitors the opportunity to get a glimpse of a crocodile, raccoons which inhabit mangroves, and countless magnificent bird species. Take a ferry boat ride to the north of the island past the river and have lunch at one of the quaint restaurants in the area. The atmosphere of the north differs because of the littoral forests with its associated plants and animals. Iguanas and Wish- Willies are common to this area. Also visit the Zaak Ba Ajo Lagoon in the San Juan Area. Great place to snorkel, go kayaking or birdwatching. Click here for photos of the lagoon by kayak...
Belize and San Pedro are wonderful places to take pictures. For a peek at many photos of the island and Belize, visit the AmbergrisCaye.com Photo Gallery. If you have questions about bringing film to the island, click here.
San Pedro Family Fitness Center has two real tennis courts, real gym equipment and a 4,000 sq. ft. pool. San Pedro Family Fitness Center is located by the airstrip, around the corner from the Barefoot Iguana. You can use it even if you are a visitor to the island, they have daily and weekly rates, so next trip bring your racket.
There is also a court available at the high school, where there is one tennis court and it can be arranged for use after school hours when the kids are not using it for basketball. It is a multipurpose court.
Spa - The Jade Spa at Mata Chica is a real delight, featuring aromatherapy massage, facials, mask massages and more. Alexandra Nicholson,
who developed Maruba Resort Spa ...and a Gymnastics Hall of
inductee, lives in San Pedro, has created a mini
maruba Spa named Mayan Secrets Day Spa featuring
signiture treatments mood massages and Tropical
facials for couples. Packages include soaking in
their AQUA Therapy POOL. 226-3584. They are located just north of the bridge by
Villas At Del Rio.
The girls from La Diosa (near Victoria House) do massages, manicures, and pedicures. A good friend went to see Carrie and Shar with Sol Spa and enjoyed it a lot.
Tropical Touch Spa is a wonderful place to treat yourself to a day of ultimate self indulgence. At Asian Garden Day Spa
, there are fully certified therapists offering aesthetic treatments as well as Holistic
and Thai massage offered in peaceful surroundings with a unique Asian theme.
Also, Maruba on the mainland is a treat if you are over on the mainland.
Belize is an ideal location for the formation of caves. With abundant limestone
and a wet climate, caves abound in many places throughout Belize. Chiquibul, at
600 ft. wide by 1600 ft. long, is the largest known cave
room in the western hemisphere.
Caving is a dangerous sport, and it is advisable to check with the locals before
exploring any caves on your own. Because of the isolation of many caves, they have
not been thoroughly explored. in fact, many caves are closed to public exploration
- most have archaeological significance
- many caves systems are subject to sudden flooding
- few maps exists
Having said all that, there are a number of caves that are safe and easy to visit.
- Actun Tunichil Muknal - Cayo's newest jungle cave attraction. Discovered in 1989, today this water cave boasts a large and diverse collection of preserved Maya artifacts. Good physical fitness is required to visit this one.
- Caves Branch - Guided cave tubing - Float in rubber tubes deep within the Caves Branch River system.
Chechem Hah Cave - Near the Guatemalan border this cave iis impressive for it's mother lode of huge intact Maya storage jars called "ollas".
- Barton Creek Cave - Canoeing here is a popular Cayo attraction featuring natural bridges, skeletal remains and Maya artifacts.
- Rio Frio Cave - With possibly the largest cave opening in Belize, is located in the Mountain Pine Ridge. It has its own parking lot and steps for easy walking.
- St. Herman's Cave - Part of Blue Hole National Park and is easily visited.
- Che Chem Ha - Cayo
- Blue Creek - Toledo
- Ben Loman's - Manatee Lagoon
For more information on caving in Belize, click here.
Also, Ian Anderson's CAVES BRANCH ADVENTURE Co. & JUNGLE LODGE is doing incredible caving trips, check with them by
For information on driving on the mainland, click here.
Cave Tubing - A great fun trip to the mainland, for a ride you will never forget! Click here for more information on cave tubing in Belize.
Click here for one group's experience...
Here's a lil information from someone who just returned....
We picked up our truck-sized inflated tube with Manuel Lucas, our guide provided by the lodge, and once again trekked over a jungle path until we reached an opening into the cave.
We waited until a small group ahead of us was out of earshot before wading into the water to start our adventures. (A tip: Go tubing Thursday through Monday; on other days, cruise ships ferry hundreds of passengers to the caves, making for a raucous time in the cavern.)
We drifted lazily and entered the mouth of the cave. There are stalactites and stalagmites still forming, since the Mayan Mountains are limestone karsts. Water seeps from the ground above and the slow steady drip creates the formations over eons.
As we lost the last of the outside light, we turned on miners’ headlamps we had been issued. We looked at bat holes above, driftwood caught against the roof in a previous flood. At one point we turned off our lights, just to experience total darkness and silence.
The Mayans once used these caves for ritual purposes. With our lights on again, we stopped at a small beach and climbed up the rocks to the top of the cave. There we saw remains of ancient pottery.
Just as we had at the beginning of our trip, we tried to imagine what life was like for the original inhabitants, where spirits populated the underworld and there was no electricity. We continued our quiet journey, lost in another world.
Jaguar Paw's Aerial Trek Zip Line Tour is the first in Belize, added within
the past year. Zip-lining is essentially rappelling above the jungle canopy,
secured safely by cable and pulley equipment. The adventure sport originated
from rappelling, where safety climbing harnesses and ropes are used to repel
or jump from one point to another.
Similarly, zip-lining employs a series of cables and platforms suspended
high above the ground over the rainforest tree tops; the zip-lines attached
from one platform to another allow you to slide via harness and pulley
through the tree tops or rainforest canopy. It is 6 or 7 stations, each with 2 main lines(very safe).
The sport allow participants to enjoy a "bird's eye view" of the jungle
One will often see Howlers and tons of birds..... Great guides and some good fun for sure! The total time is about 90 minutes. There is also a zip-line tour on the left just before the entrance to Tikal National Park. One can stop by after touring Tikal. They have two different tours: one for the family, which is a 20 minute walk with 11 platforms with zip-lines of 75,100,150 meters in length, to a height of 25 meters. The second is located off the highway with 7 platforms, but two of them are 200 meters in length and go to a height of 40 meters. The guides are very nice and one will feel safe the whole time.
Here's a lil information from someone who just returned....
Our two new adventures were zip lining and cave tubing. We did the zip line in the morning, climbing up a trail to stand atop a wooden platform where we could then glide through and over the jungle canopy on cables attached to seven other platforms.
Our guides George Ramirez and Kristy Frampton re-assured us. They possessed the right balance of care and kidding that put us at ease as they harnessed us to the line. Remember, hold on in front with one hand and keep your gloved hand as far behind you as you can. This keeps you sailing straight, like a keel on a boat and that hand also serves as your brake. Pull down too soon and you may get stuck in the middle. Pull down too late — well, one of them will be on the other platform to keep you from hurting yourself.
A jump off the platform, zip, a little wiggle to the side and a safe landing. Hitched again and like this seven times, each run was more fun than the last. We loved it.
The Black Hole Drop -
The “Mother of all Caves”... Actun Loch Tunich! Start with a vigorous hike up into the foothills of the Maya Mountains to the mouth of the cave. The edge of the Actun Loch Tunich sink hole sits over 300 feet above the basin below, 200 feet above the rain forest canopy that grows out from the sink hole basin.
Fully trained caving guides rig a system of rappelling ropes for your descent to the basin below. The first 10 feet provides the adrenaline, the next 200 feet provides an unforgettable experience and sights to behold, the last 100 feet takes you down through the rain forest canopy. The sink hole is not actually black, but you can't see the bottom from where you start. Once you're at the bottom you rest with a delicious picnic lunch. The next question is... how do we get you out??? Climb of course! After a return hike including some rock climbing, ladder climbing, and a lot of sweating, it's just a short ride back to the lodge for a dip in the pool with a well deserved cold drink.
The San Ignacio Market -
Local market days are great opportunities to experience Belizean life and colour, and this is certainly true for Cayo where every Saturday the market area comes alive with its own multicultural blend of colours, sounds, flavours and foodstuffs. This is the day when farmers and almost everyone comes into San Ignacio town to buy, sell, trade, gossip and generally catch up. If you want to experience real Western Belize life, this is the place, and what a pleasant, heady experience it is. Vendors from nearby and remote communities contribute to the melodic mix of Maya, Creole, English and Spanish while Mennonite farmers can be heard conversing in German.
In addition to local market staples such as fruits and vegetables, there are also dried fruits, homemade cereals and condiments, Maya herbal remedies, arts and crafts, clothing and tropical plants to be found. A number of local restaurants, bars and shops are all nearby, so this is the perfect opportunity to shop for a variety of things while absorbing the local colour and discovering for yourself the easygoing friendly warmth of Belizeans.
10 Best Things to Do with Kids -
Belize is best for kids old enough to
appreciate nature and to entertain themselves outdoors. There are no
fast-food restaurants, malls or video game parlors in Belize, but many
hotels in Belize City, San Pedro and a few other places do offer cable TV
with all the U.S. channels. Here's a list of the top 10 things for
kids to do in Belize:
# 1 Visit the Belize Zoo
Hands down, this is Belize's favorite place
for kids of all ages.
# 2 Beach it
All over Belize, you'll see local kids swimming off
piers and beaches. Belize's beaches may not be as wide and sandy as some,
but kids don't mind. They'll have a ton of fun.
# 3 Hang out with Belizean kids
About two-thirds of Belizeans are
under age 21, so kids are everywhere.
# 4 Go snorkeling
Kids as young as 5 or 6 can enjoy the wonders of
undersea life, but don't push them too fast. If you're with a guide, ask
for water wings or a life jacket for the little ones, as some currents
through the reef are strong.
# 5 Climb a Maya ruin
Young'uns go where adults are too tired to
tread ¤ they love running up and down the temples and other structures at
Altun Ha, Xunantunich, Lamanai and elsewhere. Kids may not think much of
the history, but they'll enjoy the exercise.
# 6 Take a guided nature hike
Most Belize guides are highly
knowledgeable about wildlife and flora. They'll open the eyes of your kids
to all kinds of natural wonders. Tarantulas, crocs, snakes, wee-wee ants
and monkeys seem to hold more appeal for kids than birds. Kids seem to
especially enjoy seeing the howler monkeys ¤ there are troops at Community
Baboon Sanctuary, at Lamanai, in Cayo, around Monkey River and elsewhere.
# 7 Hit the river
Most kids will get a kick out of swimming or
tubing in one of Belize's many rivers. Resorts, lodges and tour operators
offer river trips on the Mopan, Macal and other rivers by tube, raft and
# 8 Visit a butterfly farm
Belize now has six butterfly farms and
centers. Kids will enjoy seeing one, though after that their
interest may wane. For kids, we especially recommend Tropical Wings near
# 9 Splash in a pool
A swimming pool makes any day more fun for
kids. Increasingly, as part of the upscaling of Belize tourism, Belize
hotels offer swimming pools.
# 10 Make friends with a quash
It may not be 100% ¦EC˛ (Ecologically
Correct) but a number of Belize lodges have once-wild animals as pets.
Often, these are animals that have been injured, and the managers are
nursing them back to health. In other cases, such as with iguanas, the
lodge may be raising these in a controlled program. In any event, the
opportunity to see monkeys, small cats, coatimundis, iguanas, parrots and
other animals up close and personal is a treat for kids. Among the hotels
with animals around are Lamanai Outpost, Jaguar Paw, Banana Bank, Pook's
Hill and Hotel San Ignacio.
SUGGESTED ITINERARY FOR A WEEK ON THE ISLAND
- Day One: Relax. Decompress. Forget about the real world. Take
a lazy walk through town.
- Day Two: Relax some more. Take a snorkel trip to Hol Chan and
Shark-Sting Ray Alley (or go diving).
- Day Three: Bike or cart to the North End. Walk the beach and have
lunch at one of the North End beach hotels or have a seaside picnic.
- Day Four: Take a day trip to Lamanai or Altun Ha ruins or to the
- Day Five: Take a catamaran or other boat trip to Caye Caulker,
or take a day trip to the Belize Zoo and Western Belize.
- Day Six: Bike or cart to the south end of the island. Take a snorkel
trip to Mexico Rocks (or go diving.)
- Day Seven: Relax and start worrying again about going back the
Camping in Belize - There are no longer any campgrounds on Ambergris Caye.
Here are a few places to camp on the mainland, and some other lodges and hotels not listed here often will
allow campers to pitch a tent on their grounds, and of course that's also the
case with private landowners (though there could be a safety factor):
- Lagoon Campground, north of Corozal Town near the border (also set up for RVs, about the nicest little RV place in the country)
- Caribbean Campground, in Corozal Town
- The Trek Stop, near San Ignacio, Cayo
- Mida's, Clarissa Falls, Inglewood in Cayo
- Howler Monkey Lodge, Bermudian Landing
- Cosmos, San Ignacio
- Chaa Creek, San Ignacio (has "safari tents" set up)
- Mountain Equestrian Trails, Pine Ridge
- Clive's Campground, Placencia
- Vega's on Caye Caulker
Following are some of the reserve/park areas with some type or another of
"official" camping. At some of the other parks and archeological sites (Altun
Ha, for example) camping is permitted but with prior permission.
- Cockscomb Preserve, Stann Creek
- Community Baboon Sanctuary
- Five Blues Lake, near Belmopan
- Bocatura Bank, on the Sittee River
- Douglas De Silva in the Pine Ridge
Visitor / Guest Water Safety Tips
Ambergris Caye relies heavily on boats for transportation not only around the island itself but for inter island travel, mainland travel, transportation of cargo and of course tourism. When Swimming or snorkeling on Ambergris Caye please
BEWARE OF BOAT TRAFFIC and follow these safety guidelines:
1) Swim/snorkel between docks and in designated swim areas when available.
2) Do not attempt to swim out to the reef.
3) Consider not wearing jewelry when snorkeling or swimming.
4) If any vessel is heading in your direction signal to make yourself visible.
5) Use a life vest or diver down buoy for visibility when snorkeling or swimming.
6) Touching coral, plant life and dock posts may cause extreme allergic reactions.
7) Always have someone watching when snorkeling or swimming at night.
8) Do not dive from docks as there could be shallow water or obstructions under water.
9) Pay attention to the wind speed and direction when kayaking away from shore.
10) A kayak and/or paddle are useful to make yourself visible while in the water.
11) Your belongings should not be left unattended on the beach or dock.
We want your vacation on Ambergris Caye to be a memorable and enjoyable one so please be safe while exploring our natural wonders.
For a custom designed vacation or honeymoon, email Lara Goldman, founder of Romantic Travel Belize. Not only will RTB set you up with any of the 'things to do' on this page, as a 7 year full time resident she has the inside scoop on some special, private and exclusive tours only available for Romantic Travel Belize guests and clients.
The 1/2 mile from the beachline to the reefline has an abundance of wonders. Click here
for detailed information about this area.
A detailed list of the various mammals, invertebrates, fish, birds, and other creatures that inhabit these waters
can be read by clicking here.
Click here for a thorough examination of the plant life on and around the island. The tree, bushes, underwater grasses, a botanical sweep of the