Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye, pronounced “am-BER-gris”, is the largest island of Belize located northeast of the country in the Caribbean Sea. Though administered as part of the Belize District, the closest point on the mainland is part of the Corozal District.

The Caye (pronounced as “key”, meaning an island, derived from the Spanish cayo) is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) long from north to south, and about 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) wide. It is the largest island of the Cayes of Belize. This caye is located in the north of Belize against Mexico, but seperated through a narrow channel of the Yucatan Peninsula. Ambergris Caye is approximately 36 miles long and located 35 miles north east of Belize City (a 1.5 boat ride of a 20 minutes flight). East of Ambergris Caye is part of the Belize Barrier Reef situated. The lagoon at the west side of the island is the San Pedro Lagoon, which is by a small river through the island connected to the Caribbean Sea. 
 
Ambergris Caye was named after large lumps of ambergris which washed ashore here. This Belizean island, where it has not been modified by man, is mostly a ring of white sand beaches surrounded by the Caribbean Sea around mangrove swamp in the centre. 
 
The beaches at Ambergris Caye are floated with sea grass. The sea grass is an important part of the ecosystem of the island and so the dredging or removal of the seagrass is forbidden according to the laws of Belize. It is not a problem to get into the sea through the sea grass, but maybe not so comfortable. Most hotels and resorts have a dock where there is a possibility to enter the sea.


History of Ambergris Caye

A Maya community lived on the island in Pre-Columbian times, and made distinctive polished red ceramics, most notably small well molded figurines of animals. 
 
For Ambergris Caye the fishing industry was the main industry and way to earn income. In the 1970's it became clear to the residents of the island that Ambergris Caye, the isla bonita, was attracting a steady flow of visitors, which were enjoying the sandy white beaches, the mangrove forests, the tropical savannahs, the lagoons, the breathtaking waters and the hospitality of the residents. Nowadays tourism is the main industry for Ambergris Caye.  

San Pedro, the main town on Ambergris Caye

On Ambergris Caye the main town is San Pedro Town with approximately 7,000 residents. Also there are some smaller settlements to the north and the south of the main town San Pedro Town. To the north these include the communities Basil Jones, Boca del Rio, Las Palmas, San Juan, San Pedrito and Tres Cocos and to the south these include the communities the Escalente Subdivision, Mar de Tumbo, San Pablo, San Miguel, San Telmo and Sunset Coves. 
 
The most of the islanders are living in San Pedro Town. This includes a lot of retirees and expats, while all cayes (islands) of Belize are popular by retirees and expats to live. The retirees and expats are also living in one of the other communities. Due to its location with picturesque beaches and unique features in combination with the tourists and other retirees and expats it is a nice location to live for retirees and expats in spite of the property prices which are higher than at other locations in Belize. 
 
Ambergris Caye, part of the Belize District, is a popular vacation location with a lot of different accommodations as hotels, resorts and so on and also a popular location to live for retirees and expats. Retirees and expats live in retirement communities, such as Belizean Shores Beach Resort, Emerald Shores, Escalante Subdivision, Sapphire Beach Resort or Las Terrazas, which are located at the island, but also in between the local population.