Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and debatably the most popular. San Pedro Town encompasses most of the island which is colloquially divided by North and South. Ambergris Caye has been the hub of the way Western Caribbean trade for centuries. Fishing, coconuts, and chicle along with some other unmentionables were historically the main income of the islanders, but the the last few decades have led to a large spike in tourism, thanks to both the dive and scuba trade as well as ecotourism.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Alley, fishing, kite surfing, incredible beaches and a wildly popular nightlife are some of things that draw so many visitors to this staple experience of Belize.
Ambergris Caye at a glance
Ambergris Caye (pronounced Am-BUR-gris or Am-BUR-grease Key) is the largest of some 200 cayes that dot the coastline of Belize. Ambergris is 25 miles long and a little over a mile wide, in some places, and it is located in the clear shallow waters of the Caribbean Sea just off the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
Her coastline is protected by the 190 miles long Barrier Reef, the second largest living coral reef in the world. In Mayan times, Ambergris Caye was a trading post. The Marco Gonzalez ruins at the southern tip of the caye and the Basil Jones site to the north, as well as the many recently excavated "home sites" in the heart of San Pedro Town give evidence to a former Maya population of 10,000. The narrow channel that separates Mexico and Belize was dug by the Maya to provide a trade route from the bay of Chetumal to the Caribbean.
The island's biggest tourist attraction is the Belize Barrier Reef that runs parallel along the entire coast of Belize. The reef is only a quarter mile from the beach of Ambergris Caye making diving easily accessible. The island's seaside is jammed with jetties and dive shops which offer trips to the different dive sites and to the Great Blue Hole. There are also certified scuba lessons in NAUI, PADI, and SSI. One of the most popular dive sites is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is only a ten-minute boat ride from town. The reef's beauty and richness has put Belize among the top ten dive destinations in the world