Recommended Activities, Restaurants, and Excursions in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye - Plus how to get here, packing recommendations, and more!
Recommended Activities - General
---Rent a bike or golf cart - Bike rentals are available from several places a short walk from any hotel in San Pedro - we recommend Joe’s Bike Rental on Pescador. Golf carts - if you only want a golf cart for a day, we recommend walking to the "K Mart" (not at all like the US version) - you can order a golf cart from the cashier - usually about $45-50US per day (from our condos, you exit the back and turn right - it is about a 30 second walk). Other places will quote up to $75 per day, and those places are generally looking for longer term rentals. We recommend Coconut Carts Belize for a weekly rental, around $299USD. You can email Terry at email@example.com for more info.
---Explore the island - A fun day on the golf cart/bike is to take it north of the bridge - turn north at Back Street and you will eventually get to a bridge - you must stop before you enter the bridge and pay $10BZE to cross. The newly paved road just goes and goes….we recommend Secret Beach for a day (follow the signs a few minutes past Las Terrazas - the road gets VERY bumpy here and there but it is worth it!) Other great places to stop north of the bridge - Truck Stop, Coco Loco’s Beach Bar, Rain Restaurant, Stella’s Wine Bar, Rojo Beach Bar (far north), Paco’s Tiki Bar, or anywhere you see a crowd gathering. The resorts will all let you stop and walk around - there are some really nice ones and it is worth it to park your cart or bike, and take a walk on the beach and check them out. Alternatively, head south and follow around the airport, and then you’ll be on the one paved road heading south. The south has its own share of super fun places. We recommend Crazy Canucks, Road Kill Bar, and Average Joe’s (AJ's).***More info on the events at the bar/restaurants below
---A day in town - the hotels in the heart of town are located in what is known as “Boca Del Rio”. The fun is all in walking distance. Walking out for coffee to a pier out front in the morning, relaxing on a veranda, a day at the pool or beach…..very relaxing. We recommend Sand Bar, Wayo’s, Palapa Bar (you can float in tubes on the Sea), Fido’s (great bands Fri/Sat nights), drinks on the shore chairs at Sandy Toes, breakfast at Estelle’s, or just a walk as far south as Ramon’s, or as far north as La Choza Bar and Grill makes you feel like you are really doing something. You will always see something fun...the high school band frequently does parades through town, or you can watch as fisherman fight with pelicans and stingrays as they clean their fish.
---Spa/Yoga - we recommend Yoga on Tuesday and Thursdays at Sol Spa in the Phoenix - you can walk right up the second floor gym desk and double check the times, as they change, but it is usually at 8:45 on Tuesday and Thursday. It is about $15 per class. You can also check out Akbol Yoga north of the bridge for daily yoga at 9am, or Zen Yoga south of the airport. These are all easy to find on Facebook or online, and we recommend you check times as they frequently change. Spa - Sol Spa next door has an amazing reputation. You can stop in for a list of services at the gym front desk. It is open to the public. Crossfit is also really popular here, with a gym by La Choza just south of the bridge, or right by Zen Yoga.
---Water taxi for a day at Caye Caulker - the water taxi is located right in town, easy to find, and this is a memorable, fun day. Visit www.belizewatertaxi.com for more info. Caye Caulker is a funky, fun island that people tend to fall in love with; it is about a 30 minute water taxi ride. Visit the Split while you are there!
---Excursions - there is no shortage of excursions in San Pedro. Check our section on this for recommendations.
*****Tips to save you a few bucks*****
---Almost everything outside of grocery stores and the larger restaurants is negotiable. 10% is about the typical discount you can get - ask for “best price.”
---Coffee at a restaurant is sometimes not “free-refills.” This North American convention didn't make it in Belize. So be careful asking for one more cup of coffee, as you may be a bit surprised at your bill.
---Assume that everything is in Belize Dollars - but USD is accepted everywhere. Nearly everything – outside of real estate, tours, and lodging – is in BZD. Many menus will mention that “all prices in Belize dollars” and will also note if it is in USD.
---Tipping is appreciated and is about the same as the US.
Weekly Fun Events at the Local Bars and Restaurants
Here are our favorites!
This is arguably the biggest party day on the island. You’ll see people out drinking and swimming starting in late morning. Most people end up at Crazy Canucks in the afternoons for live music, followed by Average Joe’s for kareoke. The early afternoons are very popular at Sandy Toes and Palapa Bar.
Palapa Bar is busy early evening, and there is trivia at Sand Bar.
MUST DO…..go to Crazy Canucks for Crab Races! Dinner - sushi at Blue Water Grill - amazing.
Outdoor movies at Truck Stop or kareoke at Road Kill Bar.
MUST DO…...Chicken Drop at Wahoo’s! Or, trivia at Truck Stop. This is another big party night here.
Triveoke at Crazy Canuck’s (trivia followed by kareoke). Fido’s usually has live bands after 9pm.
Nook - located on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, live music, great fish.
Rain Restaurant - north of the bridge, this is pricey but very romantic - get there before sunset! (The sun sets early here - around 6)
Sand Bar - middle/north end of Boca Del Rio - great casual food and take out.
Fido’s - one of our favorite meals is the Tour Guide’s dinner - awesome locally caught fish.
Caliente - southern end of beach strip - great beach dining.
Blue Water Grill - my all time favorite here - sushi Tuesdays is amazing, but so is everything else! Southern side of beach strip.
Wild Mango’s - great food and atmosphere - southern side of beach strip, on the beach.
Melt - middle/north end of Boca Del Rio, on the beach - great comfort food.
Estelle’s - great atmosphere for breakfast, southern part of beach strip, on the beach.
Casual/street food - Pollo Feliz on back street by Warugama - everyday from about 10-1, he sells rotisserie chicken with salsa and corn tortillas - it is awesome. You make your own tacos out of this. There is a great smoothie stand, Izzy’s, just a short walk from the beach, on Pescador. Late night - go to Central Park - visit the blue tarp (or any of them!) Amazing shrimp and chicken burritos. If you want breakfast burritos in the morning, visit the stand right across from Warugama - it is hard to see, but well worth it when you want comfort food in the morning.
You will find numerous dive shops right on the beach a short walk from anywhere in the heart of town - these ALL have great reputations and they advertise clearly what they do. You can parasail, snorkel, fish, boat, dive….you can’t miss them and we would send guests to ANY of the places on the beach that you can find.
--Blue Heaven Dives - Steve is located a bit further south, and has an amazing dive shop.
--Arguably, the most popular excursion is snorkeling at Hol Chan - this is a fast, easy, and relatively inexpensive couple hours excursion, and a must do!
--Blue Hole/Turneffe Islands - this is a longer day - but it is one of the main attractions in Belize. You can easily find this tour with most dive shops.
--Another popular trip is a sunset cruise -- Island Dream or Catamaran Belize are two fun ones!
How to get here from Belize City...
Transportation from Belize International Airport (BZE) to San Pedro, Ambergris Caye - you can do a water taxi or puddle jumper. The water taxi is a little cheaper, but you have to get a taxi from the Belize International Airport to the water taxi stand (about $25US) then your water taxi is about $17US per way. ($35US or so round trip). The water taxi takes about 90 minutes to reach Ambergris Caye, with a stop at Caye Caulker. Here are the websites for two recommended water taxis with schedule:
The quickest/easiest method to get from the Belize International Airport (BZE) to San Pedro is to take one of Belize's regional planes ("puddle jumpers"). You can pre-book this flight by going to www.tropicair.com, or www.mayaislandair.com. The flights are scheduled throughout the day. We recommend leaving at least 75-90 minutes between your incoming flight and your puddle jumper flight. Please note that the airlines still recommend 2-3 hours in between. While there is always a chance of delays, please schedule what makes you comfortable - if you breeze through customs and immigration, they will put you on an earlier flight if possible. The flight is only 15 minutes long and once you're away from the mainland the water turns beautiful shades of blue and turquoise. Ask the pilot if you can sit in the co-pilot seat - they will let you if you ask. You'll love the spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea - get your camera out!
* Please note - Laurie, “Taco Girl”-a great blogger from San Pedro, provides (for free!) the most up to date code for 10% off your Tropic Air flight! You can enter your email HERE, you'll get the code immediately - and no spam email.
** Another note here before you leave the baggage claim area (the baggage claim duty free store is the only place you can buy duty free at arrival in BZE, to take with you for your vacation - the others are in the main waiting area and for taking back out of the country when you are leaving). After you are in the baggage claim area look around and you'll see a store called "Arrival Duty Free". This is not your typical duty free store where you buy wine or perfume, etc, when you leave; this store is for buying when you arrive in Belize and they have the very best prices. If want to enjoy any of the name brand liquors like Bombay Gin, Johnny Walker Scotch, Stoli Vodka or any of the others make sure you buy those liquors here at this store. Because of the high import tax these same liquors will cost twice as much in Belize (local rum, beer, vodka are relatively inexpensive.)
How do I get through Customs/Immigration as quickly as possible?
If you are taking Tropic or Maya Air, coming from the US or Canada.....you'll fly into our one and only international airport (the airport code is BZE). Note - planes deplane from front AND back at BZE - you really want to try to be one of the first off, as this will get you in the front of the line for immigration - this makes a big difference! We recommend you book in the last few rows or as close to the front as you can, but avoid the middle of the plane. When you get off the plane you'll go through immigration and customs, and then after collecting your bags, will proceed to the Tropic Air/Maya Island Air counter to check in for your flight to San Pedro. If you breeze through immigration and customs, you may be bumped up to an earlier Tropic or Maya Air flight. No worries, this happens often, ask the desk to call us and let us know you got on an earlier flight, so we can be there to pick you up! If there are last minute changes, ask the airline desk to call our manager, Ms. Nellie, at the following:
226-2087 - Office
610-5699 - Office cell
610-1951 - Ms. Nellie's personal cell
What do I do when I get to San Pedro to get to Paradise Villas?
We will be in touch before check in to get your arrival time, and answer any questions. We provide complimentary transportation from the San Pedro Airport - we will have a driver waiting when you land to take you to your suite, where staff will be waiting to check you in. If for any reason you can't find the driver, call us at the above numbers.
What should I pack?