After touching down in Belize City, we got on a flight to Ambergris Caye, the largest and arguably most popular island in Belize. Belize is home to numerous islands, rainforests, jungles and fascinating points of interest like the Great Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole. Most people don’t go to Belize to stay in Belize City. Ambergris Caye is about 20 minutes away from Belize City if you fly on a Cessna like the one pictured below. It’s a convenient and memorable experience especially to have a birdseye view of the jaw dropping clear blue water that surrounds the islands. You can buy tickets for your flight from Belize City to Ambergris Caye here. The cheaper option is to take a water taxi. Once you get out of the airport, you first have to take a regular taxi to the Marine Terminal for a fixed price of $25 – from there the speedboat takes about an hour and a half and it’s a stunning, scenic ride. The price of the speedboat is $20 one way per adult and you can conveniently book them online here.
Update: El Secreto has been permanently closed*
Whenever I find a cheap flight to any destination, I always like to splurge on accommodation. I admit it – I am a complete sucker for luxury hospitality; the service, the comfort, the value, the experience – I crave for it everywhere I go. When searching for luxury accommodation in Belize, I didn’t come across big names like The Ritz-Carlton or the Four Seasons however, there are many other five star properties native to country. I stayed in two of them: El Secreto, which is privately nested about 11 miles north of San Pedro town, and Pelican Reef Villas Resort which is conveniently located near the main area of San Pedro and close to popular tour destinations such as the Hol Chan Reserve for snorkeling. In reality, there is a wide variety of accommodation available on the island that fits virtually any budget. I like exploring high end resorts wherever I go, but in Belize you can easily score budget friendly accommodation.
El Secreto is a luxury boutique resort that offers the ultimate private experience. In fact, it’s so private that you can only reach it by boat – 25 minutes away from San Pedro. The captain of the boat is warm, welcoming and very knowledgeable about marine life. On multiple occasions we stopped along the way to look at dolphins, manta rays and other fascinating sea creatures – that alone was such a fabulous start to our mini getaway. There are thirteen villas on the property each with it’s own so-called ecosphere. The tropical villas stand surrounded by exotic emerald green plants. The lake villas are surrounded by the resort’s saltwater lake and the sea villas are a short walking distance from the crystal clear water.
El Secreto is located in a remote location 25 minutes away from San Pedro by boat. There are no local stores or dining options near the property however the resort has a romantic beachfront restaurant. All inclusive options are also available and you are always able to take a boat shuttle out into San Pedro. Boats run on a set schedule and while the resort tries its best to accommodate guests, you do have to adhere to the general shuttle schedule if you plan on leaving the property.
The villas are incredibly spacious and each comes equipped with a private outdoor jacuzzi, huge outdoor shower, and an indoor hot tub! Quite impressive if you ask me.
Pelican Reef Villas
On the other side of the island is another luxury hot spot called the Pelican Reef Villas Resort. While it has the look and feel of a resort, the rooms are actually condo’s, even equipped with full kitchens. Pelican Reef Villas Resort is a small and exclusive property with only 24 rooms. What I loved most about the resort is that it has so many activities on site; kayaking, biking and paddle boarding to name a few. The property also has a man-made snorkeling reef which is incredible, especially at night.
They also have a fabulous swim up bar that looks like a cave. The resort is very close to San Pedro and a cab ride is only $10.
Belize has been one of my favorite food destinations by far! Not a single place where we ate was disappointing – that should say a lot. As long as the food is good, I can eat anywhere be it a food truck or local mom & pop restaurant. In Belize I did just that and below are the most memorable dining spots from my trip. The best part about it? They are super affordable!
Delicia’s was our go to spot every day. It’s about a ten minute bike ride away from Pelican Reef Villas and for $5 you get a plate of rice, chicken and coleslaw.
El Fogon is another must in San Pedro especially if you want a taste of authentic Belizean cuisine cooked the old fashioned way with firewood in the open.
Last but not least is Waruguma, where the lobster tacos are so attractive that I highly suggest you don’t sit outside and near the street because I promise you EVERY single person walking by will stop and stare. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!
Things to Do
San Pedro is a petite area that’s very easy to navigate. Small wooden houses pile the streets of this laid back town which is only about a mile long. The principle method of transportation is via golf carts and nobody really wears more than flip flops and light beach clothing.
There are a ton of activities you can do in Ambergris Caye & beyond; some of the most popular attractions are ziplining, cave tubing, and diving in the Blue Hole and the Great Barrier Reef (amongst other things). We took a tour to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which is right off the coast of Ambergris Caye – about 15 minutes away from the Pelican Reef Resort by boat. The tour included snorkeling in the Marine Reserve as well as with the nurse sharks in Shark Ray Alley. I was a little disappointed with the snorkeling tour because it was long and we weren’t given a lot of freedom to navigate on our own.
On the other hand, swimming with nurse sharks was an absolutely unbelievable experience and I highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and doing it too!