Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond

Ambergris Caye Shore Excursion Tips

Belize beach
Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Ambergris Caye, Belize, is the largest of the Caribbean islands that dot the turquoise waters near the Belizean coast. One look at the stunning white sand beaches shows why it is one of the most popular destinations in Belize.

Anyone who visits Belize City on a western Caribbean cruise can get to Ambergris Caye by plane or ferry. A plane ride takes about 15 to 20 minutes and costs anywhere between $60 and $160 (or more) depending on the date and time.

A ferry ride to San Pedro, the only town on the island, will take about and hour and 15 minutes each way. A one-way ticket is about $25 with discounts for children.

Cruise visitors to Belize City may want to make the trip for the sake of the island’s beaches. There are few good beaches near Belize City.

While incredibly scenic views of the island and the Belize Great Barrier Reef are part of the plane ride, those who take the ferry might spot pods of dolphins or even a manatee on their way to beautiful Ambergris Caye.

Things to Do on Ambergris Caye

Ferry Distance to Ambergris Caye

If relaxing under a thatch-roofed hut on the beach with a cold drink in hand while being soothed by the whispers of Caribbean waves on snow-white sand isn’t enough, Ambergris Cay offers up a veritable buffet of attractions and activities.

The gorgeous, white sand beaches with crystal clear waters that take on jewel-like green and turquoise hues so typical of the Caribbean are excellent for swimming and snorkeling. However, even better for viewing tropical fishes and corals is the nearby Belize Great Barrier Reef. The second largest of its kind on the world, this extensive coral reef hosts hundreds of colorful fish species and corals and can be experienced on tours that leave from Ambergris Cay.

Visitors to Ambergris Cay who aren’t certified to dive or know how to snorkel can still view some of the amazing marine life in the surrounding waters on glass bottom boat tours that visit the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Situated just south of the island, this channel that cuts through the reef is also known as “shark alley” because Nurse Sharks and other fish such as groupers and stingrays are frequently seen here.

For those more interested in catching fish, the waters around Ambergris Cay provide world class action for a number of gamefish. Going after crafty and lighting-fast Bonefish that frequent clear shallow waters in the area is especially popular. Tarpon and Snook are two of the other most commonly pursued hard fighting, shallow-water fish that occur around Ambergris Cay. Fishing guides and charters are available to go after these as well as deep water species such as Wahoo, Dorado, and Tuna.

Watersports are also popular on Ambergris Caye and everything from jet-skis to hobie cat sailboats and windsurfing kits can be rented in San Pedro, the main town on Ambergris Cay. Larger sailboats can also be rented or even chartered for mini-expeditions that explore the beautiful waters and small islands of coastal Belize.

San Pedro Tips

San Pedro, Belize, is not only the principle town on Ambergris Caye, Belize, but it’s also the only town on the island. Tourism has helped San Pedro swell to its current size of 7,000 inhabitants, but it hasn’t lost its small town appeal.

It continues to be a relaxed place where golf carts and bicycles are the main modes of transport on the sandy streets of this Caribbean beach town although it tends to become more lively at night when the few discos and bars turn up the volume.

Popular San Pedro has lodging options for just about every budget and offers up some of the finest dining in Belize, the seafood being particularly good.
By Patrick O’Donnell, Contributing Writer

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
November 14, 2022

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