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Belize

Ambergris Cay

By Patrick O'Donnell
Contributing Writer

Ambergris Cay, Belize is the largest of the top Caribbean destinations that dot the turquoise waters near the Belizean coast. One look at the stunning white sand beaches and inviting, clear waters of the Caribbean Sea shows why Ambergris Cay is one of the most popular destinations in Belize.

Things to do on Ambergris Cay
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 Cay 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, Ambergris Cay, Belize
San Pedro, Belize is not only the principle town on Ambergris Cay, Belize, but it’s also the only town on Ambergris Cay. 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.

Getting to Ambergris Cay and San Pedro, Belize
Ambergris Cay and San Pedro are easily reached by a short flight or quick ferry from 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 Cay.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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October 04, 2010

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