Ambergris Caye is the largest of several hundred islands in the northernmost waters of Belize, Central America. This simple island is a top destination in Belize for tourists worldwide,and its lack of high-rise hotels or big city public transportation gives the island a relaxed, laid-back feel.
The July/August 2008 issue of Islands Magazine featured a list of the Top 10 islands across the world that are most desirable to call home. Here's an excerpt on why Ambergris Caye made the list:
The budget-friendly properties available a few flip-flop steps away from the beach, an exuberant expat community and the vibrant streets of San Pedro earned this Central American island a place on our list. It's pretty easy to move here, too, since immigration policies are friendly, the locals speak English and it takes about two hours to reach Belize from Florida. Once there, life on Ambergris Caye entails lazing the days away on star-white beaches, spending afternoons snorkeling the world's second-largest barrier reef and enjoying nights at beachfront barbecues with newfound friends. 
You can head to the airport in Belize City and book a flight which will take about 20 minutes with a stop on Caye Caulker. You can also fly to Ambergris from the Phillip Goldson International Airport. There is a modest airfield near the center of the island and next to San Pedro town. There is also air service from Corozal, Belmopan and Caye Caulker, Belize. The flight typically costs $135 USD depending on who books the flight for you.
San Pedro Belize Express  has departures, 14 first class boats and first class service to get you to and from Ambergris Caye. From Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula Chetumal, Quintana Roo The connecting hub from Mexico to Belize is Chetumal, Quintana Roo. From Chetumal, take the San Pedro Belize Express water taxi from Muelle Fiscal (Municipal Pier). The boat leaves Chetumal enroute to Ambergris Caye every day at 3:30PM and ticket cost is $30 US, one way, $55 US, round trip.
From Belize City San Pedro Belize Express has daily runs to Ambergris Caye from Belize City. Departure times are 9AM, 11AM, 12PM, 3PM, 4:00PM, 5:30PM. Tickets are One Way $15 US / $30 BZ Round Trip $27.50 US / $55 BZ.
From Caye Caulker San Pedro Belize Express has daily runs to Ambergris Caye from Caye Calker. Departure times are 7AM (Connection to Chetumal), 9:45AM, 11:45PM, 12:45AM, 1:45PM, 3:45PM, 4:45PM, 6:15PM. Tickets are One Way $10 US / $20 BZ Round Trip $17.50 US / $35 BZ.
From Corozal Town Thunderbolt Water Taxi leaved Corozal Town at 7:00AM en route to San Pedro daily. It returns from San Pedro to Corozal Town at 3:00PM daily. US$22.50/BZ$45. each way per person.
There are three main north-south streets, and several that link them, running east-west. Barrier Reef Drive is closest to the two- and three-story apartment buildings that face onto the beaches.
Only some of the roads are paved with cobblestones, and in the rainy season, many can fall into poor condition from traffic and rain erosion, and provide numerous potholes which are sufficient to slow the bicycle and golf cart traffic. There relatively few automobiles licensed on the island, and they are not needed because you can get to most places walking, by bike, golf cart, or water taxi.
Most people get around Ambergris Caye by simply walking. There's a great deal of quality hotels in town, and many resorts on the island are less than a mile from the town of San Pedro, the only urbanized area on the island. Many travelers enjoy renting golf carts, which are the dominant form of transportation, next to bicycles. Others ride bikes or take water- or auto-taxis on the island.
Wherever you are staying, you will be able to book tours that go all over Belize and even into Guatemala. Ambergris Caye is a great place to relax, and you can see a lot of what Belize has to offer with the trips that you can book wherever you are staying.
The beaches are coral sand beaches and you may need watershoes or sport sandals. There are many piers (every 100 meters or so) where a tourist can rent a boat for diving, deep-sea fishing, or sailboating to other islands. If you're going to be in town for a couple of days be sure to snorkel or dive the spectacular Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the longest in the Western hemisphere. Several marine reserves are close by.
- Hol Chan Marine Reserve, 4 miles (6.4 km) south of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, tel: 226-2247 (E-Mail: email@example.com), . Has been protected for longer than the local reef, and so it usually has more mature marine life (i.e. bigger fish) as well as more people, though it's never terribly crowded.
- Bacalar Chico Reserve on the border with Mexico.
- Do not miss the Coral Gardens in front of Caye Caulker, Shark Ray Alley, or a fishing expedition to Mexico Rocks.
The 'chicken drop' at Wahoo's Lounge where patrons pay $1 per square of a 10 x 10 floor. A rooster is then released and if he poops on your square number you win the $100 towards your bar tab.
On weekends, there are very entertaining pick up soccer matches at the small stadium near the airport.
If you visit the island during early July, take the water taxi to nearby Caye Caulker for the annual Lobsterfest. Great spiny lobster and coconut rice!
Drink rum on the beach!
San Pedro,Ambergris Caye, is a bustling town with several small and one large Western style supermarkets where you can buy pretty much anything. However, imported items can be very expensive,so if you enjoy American snack foods, pack them and take them with you. Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available. There are several bakeries and butchers shops that sell all sorts of meats.
All food on Ambergris Caye is inexpensive. Bring your appetite! The food is great and the service is even better! Eating "street food" or catching and cooking your own are part of the adventure that awaits.
- Elvi's Go here first and you will return often!
- Papi's Diner "To Go the food delivery service in Ambergris Caye. Delicious, made to order dinner meals are their speciality. Great, local, inexpensive food. Try their Tropical Chicken or Crispy Chicken Burgers among the many other items available. For orders or more information, kindly call (626) 9207.
- Caramba's, in San Pedro, off of Pescador Street. The food is great, cheap, and plentiful.
- Estelle's. Breakfast by the sea.
- Waraguma is a hole in the wall on middle street (closer to the southern end) with good burritios.
Local Central American cusine.
- El Patio. Just around the corner from *Waraguma on the way to the beach. Good food and a great atmosphere. Sand floor and beach furniture. A varied menu with options for all. Not as expensive as the *Blue Water Grill .
- Blue Water Grill. Spectacular restaurant right on the beach. Fabulous food and drinks. If you want to treat yourself, this is the place.
- Portofino Restaurant, ☎ +501 226 5096. Enjoy a complimentary boat ride under the Mayan Stars as you make your way to the Portofino Restaurant, located on north of San Pedro. Here you will delight in a combination of European specialties, ranging from Italian to Mediterranean, highlighted by what French Chefs call 'Nouvelle Cuisine'. Whether you come to enjoy lunch and the spectacular Caribbean Views from their restaurant balcony or to indulge in their specialties for dinner, it is the perfect place to relax and have a truly enjoyable dining experience. For those who might be on a strict diet or are vegetarians, Portofino Restaurant has a full Vegetarian Menu Available. Call +501 226 5096 for reservations and complimentary boat transfer. edit
The water in San Pedro is safe to drink, but on the mainland and smaller islands, use bottled water to be safe.
Many piers have bars where you might order a rum drink with a parasol in it. For a nice laid back bar on the beach try BC's. The Tacklebox makes a mean mojito.
The local beer is Belikin, which can be bought everywhere.
- Rojo Lounge, (About 4 miles North of the Cut). Wonderful, relaxed upscale restaurant directly on the beach with it's own pool. edit
- Wet Willies. One of the best bars on the island. At the end of a pier just north of downtown San Pedro. edit
- Green Parrot Beach Bar, ☎ +501 226 5096. Located 6 miles north of San Pedro, the Green Parrot Beach Bar at Portofino Beach Resort, is ideal for enjoying some cold drinks. From ice cold beers, to exotic cocktails, the Green Parrot Beach Bar has a full drink menu of local and imported spirits, delicious smoothies, ice cold beers and a comprehensive wine list. Bar service also extends to the beach and pool area, so ask their bartender for a beach towel, relax on one of their lounge chairs, and enjoy the Caribbean views while you enjoy the refreshing drinks and personalized service! edit
You should call ahead to make reservations, but can usually find accommodations even without them.
- SunBreeze Hotel. An oceanfront hotel located at the South Side of the heart of San Pedro. It has a freshwater pool, art gallery, massage studio, dive shop, bar and a restaurant (Blue Water Grill). They offer a great variety of packages for scuba diving and other activities. A great place for a family vacation in Belize.
- SunBreeze Suites. Is a cozy 20 suites hotel with entrance on the Main Street and bar & Grill on the beach side. It is located within walking distance from restaurants, bars, discos and minutes from the San Pedro Airport. They are affiliated with PADI Dive operator, so they can help you if you are looking for scuba diving in the cayes.
- Xanadu Hotel. By far the best pool on the island, and the owners treat you like family (a good thing in this case). Stay in any of the rooms in the hurricane proof huts, all have views of the ocean or the tropical garden pool. Easy walk to town, or take one of the complimentary bikes. The staff can arrange diving, snorkeling, or fishing trips.
- Conch Shell Hotel. A clean, quiet, friendly hotel. It's basic – no air conditioning or TV – but the ocean breezes blow right in, it's on the beach, and it cost only US$25 per night in July (it doubles in the high season). You'll be right in town so everything is nearby. Its convenienty located at the foot of the dock of the main water taxi between Ambergris Caye and Belize City.
- Las Terrazas Resort. Las Terrazas Belize Resort  is a luxury oceanfront resort on the island of Ambergris Caye. A member of the Preferred Hotel Group and located on 4.8 acres of private beachfront property, Las Terrazas is the perfect Belize vacation spot.
- Mata Chica Resort. A more intimate, relaxing atmosphere, on the northern part of the island. Accessible by boat from San Pedro, this small resort offers a limited number of thatched casitas right on the beach. This is a great place if you are looking to get away from it all for a few days.
You can rent fully furnished and stocked homes by the week or more, for less than what it costs to get a hotel room for the same amount of time.
- Sunset Beach, South Coconut Drive, San Pedro (2.5 miles/4 km south of town), . checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 11 am. Sunset Beach is a peaceful 12 condo resort just south of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. http://www.Vacation-Rentals-Belize.com edit
- *Victoria House, Coconut Drive, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12. Beautiful resort south of San Pedro. One of the nicest on the island! edit edit
- Carribeans Villas. On the far southern edge of San Pedro the CV is an oasis of calm. Multi-bedroom villas and single bedrooms nestle right up to one the few swimmable beaches on Ambergris Caye. A thatched bar right on the beach and a free breakfast(fruit,cinnamon buns, coffee and OJ) complete the experience.
A small pool and two hot tubs are perfect to rest in after a hard day snorkeling,diving, bike riding or fishing. Tour operators are familiar with the CV and will pick you up in the morning right on the dock. The CV office will also arrange tours for you so all you have to do is get ready in the morning. Prices are listed in the office or in the info book in your room. The villas have kitchens so you can cook your own food instead of paying the outrageous restaurant prices. There is also a small bird sanctuary behind the villas that shield you from the noisy street. Grocery stores and restaurants are a short stroll away. There are no TVs in the room and the free WiFi is spotty. MC and Visa accepted. But not American Express.
Located north of San Pedro, Portofino Beach Resort sits on a stretch of white sandy beach, away from the hustle and bustle of San Pedro Town. Although you come to a peaceful and quiet resort, town, shops and nightlife is just 15 minutes away by boat.
PORTOFINO offers various types of accommodation, each offering amazing views of the Caribbean Sea and the longest Barrier Reef in the world. Each room has a porch with chairs and hammocks where you can delight in some of the most beautiful Caribbean Sunrises. To the rear of our property, where you can also appreciate some of the most beautiful sunsets, lies the lagoon, home to an assortment of rare tropical birds and the occasional Crocodile.
Decorated with local artwork and custom made furniture, each room showcases the exotic woods native to Belize. Complete with air-conditioning, ceiling fans, Cable TV, DVD/CD Player, mini refrigerator, hair dryer, bathroom amenities, potable bottled water and Free wireless internet, guests have the unique opportunity to embrace the charm and simplicity of our natural setting and at the same time, enjoy the comforts of home.
Facilities include a gorgeous swimming pool, a full service restaurant, beach bar, and on-site dive shop.
Guest can enjoy use of our Complimentary Kayaks, canoes, snorkeling gear, movies and books. Activities include guided snorkeling tours, scuba diving and instruction, day trips to archaeological sites, caving, sailing and fishing, to mention a few.
A haven of romance, relaxation, barefoot luxury and adventure can be found at Portofino Beach Resort.
For Reservations email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +501 226 5096
- Captain Morgan's Retreat, North Ambergris Caye, ☎ US Phone: 1.888.653.9090 (toll free) Belize Direct: 011.501.226.2207, . Your tropical dream vacation can be found at Captain Morgan’s Retreat. Whether you are celebrating your honeymoon or a well deserved break, Captain Morgan’s has the suite to suit your style. Choose from thatched cabanas that lie on the 1,100 feet of white sandy beaches or enjoy the full amenities offered at the villas and condos.Feeling lucky? Well Captain Morgan’s Retreat now has on site the only casino available in Ambergris Caye. With Lady Luck on your side, 50 slot machines, poker and black jack tables will make this the most memorable vacation. edit
- Ruby's. checkin: 2pm; checkout: 12pm. Maybe the cheapest place on the beachfront. 50 B$ (+tax) for a simple room with bathroom (May 2013). Terrace and Wifi. They have a bakery on the road front. < 100m south of the dock for the boats from Chetumal and Caye Caulker. From 50 BZD. edit
- Sapphire Beach Resort, . n Ambergris Caye resort, the Sapphire Beach Resort [http://www.sapphirebeachbz.com } is located along the beach near the Blue Hole, one of the most amazing dive sites in the world. Great for kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. Also includes diverse marine life, the barrier reef, and Mayan archaeological temples. edit
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