Family Travel to Belize: San Pedro Transportation, Accommodations, and Restaurants
Belize—Otherwise known as Ambergris Caye, or as Madonna sang out: "La Isla Bonita," San Pedro Belize, with its warm Caribbean air and aquamarine water, is the perfect vacation spot for family travel, especially in the middle of winter during their dry season.
Transportation to San Pedro
To get to San Pedro, you must fly to Belize City and either take the water taxi or a puddle jumper air plane. The water taxi was a short hour and 15-minute ride and half the cost, so we opted for that route.
Travel Tip: The water taxi makes one quick stop at Caye Caulker before arriving at Ambergris Caye. Remember to stay on the boat at this stop.
Ambergris Caye Accommodations
We found Trip Advisor to be the most helpful resource for locating a hotel on the island. Depending on what you are looking for, the island has accommodations that can meet every family's vacation needs. We stayed at Banyan Bay at the south end of the island.
Although it was a little ritzy for my taste, we loved our ocean view, that the hotel had a good restaurant on site with breakfast included, and that it was a one-stop shop, sporting golf cart and bike rentals, a full service spa, and a concierge who could arrange ocean adventures for you.
Travel Tip: If you want wi-fi, air conditioning, and TV in your hotel room, be sure to check ahead and ensure the hotel has those amenities as not all do. Also note that most swimming pools are not heated.
San Pedro Restaurants
San Pedro is known for its lobster. Lonely Planet books have never failed us in recommending the best restaurants when we travel. Located right on the sea, the Blue Water Grill lived up to the Lonely Planet's recommendation and the Sea Grill was a perfect selection.
Getting Around the Island
Getting around town is fun. The island is only 5 miles wide and 25 miles long, so you don't see too many cars.
Most people rent or own bicycles...
...or golf carts.
Travel Tip: I highly recommend renting a golf cart. It is a fun way to see the entire island and get around town. If you are staying for a week, I suggest the weekly rental. Otherwise, most places rent by the hour.
Eating out for every meal, especially in the peak travel season, can be pricey. Fortunately, Ambergris Caye sports a nice grocery store with lots of familiar US brands. I'm not sure what I'd use a cake mix for while on vacay, but it was nice knowing we could grab snacks and bug spray at a moment's notice if we needed to.
Travel Tip: Most places in Belize accept credit cards, US dollars, and Belizean dollars.
Scuba Diving and Other Activities and Attractions
Belize is all about sea activities. With the reef a half a mile off the coast of San Pedro, most visitors explore via scuba diving, SNUBA-ing, snorkeling, or in a glass bottom boat. Companies like Ramon's Village, organize trips to places like the Blue Hole and Sting Ray Ally for water enthusiasts.
Travel Tip: If you are looking for nice beaches and body surfing, head to Hawaii or other Caribbean beaches, like Magen's Bay on St. Thomas. While San Pedro is surrounded by beaches, they are grassy with smooth water (no waves), and not ideal for playing in, especially for kids. The real water adventures are near or at the reef and beyond, further out or deeper down.
The Most Important Part of the Trip
Planning and taking a family vacation requires lots of work and can be stressful. My main advice is to plan well in advance and then let the Caribbean breeze get to you and unplug and relax while you're on the island. Make time for moments with your kids and your spouse. Life at home can wait!
What are your favorite winter destination locations? Where do you most like to go on family vacation to unplug and unwind?