Ambergris Caye

Shutterstock/32289979/Nickolay StanevThis island (pronounced Am-ber-gris), along with the town of San Pedro, has grown rapidly over the last couple of years, with over 50 hotels and guesthouses on the island. Buildings are still restricted to no more than three storeys in height, and the many wooden structures retain an authentic village atmosphere.

Although sand is in abundance, there are few beach areas around San Pedro town. You cannot, in practice, walk north along the beach from San Pedro to Xcalak, Mexico. The emphasis is on snorkelling on the nearby barrier reef and Hol Chan Marine Park, and the fine scuba-diving, sailing, fishing and board sailing. The main boat jetties are on the east (Caribbean Sea) side of San Pedro. It can be dangerous to swim near San Pedro as there have been serious accidents with boats. Boats are restricted to about 5 mph within the line of red buoys about 25 yards offshore, but this is not always adhered to. There is a 'safe' beach in front of the park, just to the south of the government dock. A short distance to the north and south of San Pedro lie miles of deserted beachfront, where picnic barbecues are popular for day-tripping snorkellers and birders who have visited the nearby small cayes hoping to glimpse rosets, spoonbills or white ibis.

Around Ambergris Caye

Just south of Ambergris Caye, and not far from Caye Caulker, is the Hol Chan Marine Park. This underwater natural park is divided into three zones: Zone A is the reef, where fishing is prohibited; Zone B is the seagrass beds, where fishing can only be done with a special licence (the Boca Ciegablue hole is here); Zone C is mangroves where fishing also requires a licence. Only certified scuba-divers may dive in the reserve. Fish feeding, although prohibited, takes place at Shark Ray Alley, where about 15 sharks and rays are fed for the entertainment of tourists - not the most natural of experiences!

San Pedrois well known for it's diving. Long canyons containing plenty of soft and hard coral formations start at around 50-60 ft going down to 120 ft. Often these have grown into hollow tubes, which make for interesting diving. Tackle Box, Esmeralda, Cypress, M & Msand Tres Cocosare only some of the dive sites. The visibility in this area is usually over 100 ft.


This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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