Ambergris Caye

Of the hundreds of islands found off the Belize coast, only a small percentage are set up for tourism, offering hotels, activities, restaurants, and things the like. The largest and most populated Belize island is Ambergris Caye, and it is certainly one of the country's top vacation destinations. In fact, it just might be Belize's top travel spot, which is due largely in part to the overall Caribbean feel and the healthy list of things to do here. Among the top pursuits that make Ambergris Caye such a coveted place to hang out are scuba diving and fishing. Both are world-class, which is a term that applies basically to the Belize scuba diving and fishing found up and down the entire coast. Ambergris Caye also offers some of the best resorts in all of Belize, so you might book a stay at one if your budget allows it. Tour operators and guides are abundant on Ambergris Caye, so you'll have no problem arranging fun excursions of all kinds. During your down time, strolling the island's main town of San Pedro is a joy, and you'll find a variety of tasty restaurants and neat shops to choose from. Ambergris Caye is also known to have some of the best nightlife in all of Belize, so should you want to cap your days off with a little late night revelry, that's surely an option.

The history and creation of Ambergris Caye are quite interesting indeed. Originally a trading post for the Maya, Ambergris Caye was at one time part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Some 1,500 years ago, it is believed that the Maya actually dug out the channel that now separates the island from the Mexican mainland, which must have been a pretty intense task. This new channel would help to establish a trade route in the area, as much trading along the coast was understandably done by boat. When European visitors began to arrive in the 1600"s, many of the native Maya on Ambergris Caye retreated to the bush, leaving the island open for new discoverers. British whalers used the island, as did British pirates, who supposedly hid in the area coves to launch surprise attacks on the Spanish. The main and only town on Ambergris Caye, San Pedro, wasn't actually founded until 1848. Mestizo refugees from Mexico were the ones who founded San Pedro, though the British maintained control over Ambergris Caye. The Mestizo refugees worked the land, and their fishing and agricultural efforts largely benefitted the British overseers. Chicle, which was the original base for chewing gum, coconuts, and lobster have all been major industries on Ambergris Caye, but it's tourism that now reigns supreme. It wasn't until the 1970"s that tourism began to develop on Ambergris Caye Island, but it has grown quite considerably since then.

Surely the adventure and water-related Ambergris tours are what bring the bulk of visitors to Ambergris Caye Belize, but the overall relaxed feel of the place has a lot to do with it as well. Though cars are increasing in number here, the roads in San Pedro are still made of sand, and walking around barefoot is quite common. If you are not getting around town by foot, bicycles and golf carts are other popular ways to go. The locals here, who number somewhere around 10,500 and range in ethnicity and country of origin, are friendly and laid-back, no doubt proud of how chilled out Ambergris Caye actually is. The great thing about Ambergris Caye Island is the fact that when you're ready to trade in relaxation for adventure, you can do so rather easily. The Ambergris Caye tours are plentiful, and finding a reputable tour agency is not a hard task at all. The most popular Ambergris Cay tours generally involve scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. The Blue Hole, the Belize Barrier Reef, and the Turneffe Island Atoll are just a few of the top dive locations you'll find here, and for those who are not comfortable with a full dive, the snorkeling is excellent enough. It's recommended that if you are here to enjoy scuba diving first and foremost, you should look into multi-day dive trips with overnight stays aboard the boat. This is because some of the dive spots can take a bit of time to get to. It is also a good idea to bring your own well-fitting mask, and if you're snorkeling, bringing a snorkel makes sense unless you want to use one that's, well, been used.

The Ambergris Caye hotels and resorts can help you arrange your scuba diving Ambergris Caye tours, though there are plenty of dive operators in San Pedro if your Ambergris Caye lodging pick doesn't offer such services. Another great way to enjoy the water here is to book a sailing expedition. You can rent a yacht with or without a crew, choose to enjoy a day or dinner cruise, or take in the sunset with a cruise in the late afternoon. Perhaps heading out to sea on a glass-bottom boat sounds ideal for you or your group. If you want to enter the water for a better look, most of the glass-bottom boat companies here let you hop in to snorkel your way about for a bit. Anglers looking to enjoy some of the best permit, bonefish, and tarpon fishing on the planet will love Ambergris Caye Island, and the cayes and reefs here have yielded some world-record catches, so you can bet that it's the "reel" deal. Fisherman are encouraged to consider a stay at an Ambergris Caye fishing lodge such as the El Pescador. You can even enjoy a little Belize golf when vacationing on Ambergris Caye. Nearby Caye Chapel has a pretty nice course to offer up, and you can arrange a full day golfing experience there if you please. Ah, there's just so much to talk about when it comes to Ambergris Caye Belize. It's certainly one of the first destinations to consider when planning Belize vacations, and thankfully, it's easy to reach by plane or boat from Belize City, which is just 35 miles to the south. You might also consider visiting nearby Caye Caulker when in Belize, which is smaller, though every bit as relaxing and fun.

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