For this year’s annual birthday trip we decided to take a more relaxing route and chose to spend five perfect days in Belize. We absolutely fell in love with Ambergris Caye and have already been recommending it to everyone.
As a disclaimer, we did go in early September, right before the slowest of the slow season, so we may not have gotten a taste for how crazy or busy the island can get at more popular times of the year, so keep that in mind!
On the first day, we arrive in Belize City on a flight from Atlanta. It sounds like most flights from the United States come from there or Houston. Their international airport is tiny, but has food options, a bar, rum tastings, and plenty of knick knack souvenirs to buy.
We were through customs and waiting for our puddle jumper flight to Ambergris Caye in no time. There are two airlines that fly to the cayes – Tropic Air and Maya Island. We found cheaper rates on Maya (around $60 one way) and took the easy 15-minute flight over. You also have the option of taking a taxi ($25 – 30-minute ride) to the ferry (about $15 one way – 90-minute ride) but since we had limited time we opted for the slightly more expensive flight – plus the views from the plane are amazing.
Where to Stay
We used Chase Sapphire Reserve points and chose Belizean Shores Resort. We opted for this resort as it was a little smaller than some that came up in our search, but was still beach front with a great pool. We had a one-bedroom seaview condo during our stay. I can’t say enough about how amazing the staff was before and during our stay. Jose was always quick to respond to any questions we had along the way and offered to be as helpful as possible.
The resort is located 3.5 miles north of town, so we ended up renting a golf cart for the length of our stay (the longer you rent a car the cheaper it gets!). They do have water and land taxis, but the water taxis are pretty infrequent and stop around 10 pm. To be able to go wherever you want, whenever you want, I’d highly recommend going the golf cart way.
That being said, we did drive to town every day and night, so while I absolutely loved Belizean Shores, I think we would potentially opt to stay closer to town on our next trip – of course, if you have no desire to be anywhere near town then again, I can’t recommend Belizean Shores enough!
What to Do
Snorkel Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley – there seems to be an endless amount of companies who run snorkel trips, but we settled on Chuck & Robbie’s and couldn’t have been happier with our experience. You can do this snorkel trip in a couple of hours so you have the option to choose the morning or afternoon trip. Their shop is located just north of town and if you’re staying outside of town they’ll also pick you up in their boat (for a fee). The snorkel spots are just a few minutes away from the dock and the marine life is absolutely amazing! Another spot (that we didn’t get to) is Mexico Rocks, a spot more recently turned into a marine reserve.
Scuba Dive – if you’re a diver, Belize is probably already on your list. The Blue Hole is probably on your bucket list. However, after some research and chatting with a few people, Toby decided to stick to diving the reefs right off shore than making the long (and expensive) trip to The Blue Hole. From what we heard there is almost no marine life, your a few hour boat ride away, and really, it’s just a bucket list dive.
We had been so happy with Chuck & Robbie’s that Toby went back to them for a two tank reef dive – the diving is SO close that you actually spend your surface interval going back to the dock to grab your next tank (plus snacks!).
If you don’t dive but are still interested in checking out The Blue Hole, there are snorkel trips, fly overs, and even skydiving. All of these activities come at a high price though – so just be prepared if it’s on your list!
Secret Beach – a long bumpy road, Secret Beach was worth a few hours in our opinion. While we used our golf cart, others have taken bicycles, but it’s quite a long journey on a bike in the heat! There’s no seagrass here and a couple of little restaurant bars have popped up so you only have to come prepared with your sunscreen and bathing suit. I’m sure the sunsets are pretty amazing here as well but the drive back would be quite dark!
Day Trip to Caye Caulker – when we were initially planning our trip we were thinking about splitting our stay between Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, or possibly just staying in Caye Caulker the entire time. Because Caye Caulker’s motto is “Go Slow” and we were already going to be in the throws of the slow season, we opted to just take a day trip and not spend the time switching hotels. I don’t regret the decision but I’d also love to spend a night or two on Caye Caulker next time.
Wander around the town, grab a delicious iced coffee (I cannot remember the name of this place but it was so good!), jump off the platform at the Split and grab a slushy drink at the Lazy Lizard, and get yourself over to Koko King. I could have lost a few days loving life at Koko King.
Relax! Here were some of our favorite spots to grab a day drink:
- Palapa Bar and Grill – grab a drink and hang out in an inner tube of the dock. Sometimes there is a live band (other times they just play all of my favorite country music songs) – just north of town (and just south of Chuck and Robbie’s!)
- Sandy Toes – just a little bit north of Palapa, this bar has Adirondack chairs that you can sit in the shallow ocean while sipping on a drink – and inner tubes as well!
- Amber Bar & Grill – if you’re looking for a little fun just south of town, Amber Bar & Grill is home to the El Diablo waterslide as well as some inflatable ocean toys – accompanied by delicious drinks on a bar over the water.
Catch the sunset – the sun sets on the lagoon side of the island and while many bars and restaurants sit oceanfront, there are a handful that have docks over the lagoon – the perfect way to wind down your not-so-stressful day. Or, when it’s slow season and places are starting to close down, grab a bottle of wine or a couple of beers and find an empty dock all to yourself!
Fish – while we didn’t end up doing any fishing, there are a variety of fishing tours available and plenty of fish to be caught!
Party – one thing we weren’t totally expecting was the late night party scene here. While Caye Caulker is known to be more of a happy hour place, Ambergris Caye is pretty empty until people finish up dinners around 10 pm (or later). Of course, being the slow season there wasn’t a whole lot of craziness going on but you can still catch Hermit Crab Races at Crazy Canucks, the Chicken Drop (still sad we weren’t there on a Thursday), and enjoy cocktails at a variety of spots in town.
All in all, we absolutely loved our time in Ambergris Caye and would definitely come back.
Check out our Restaurant Guide for Ambergris Caye for our foodie reviews of all of the delicious meals we had while we were there!