Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize, and the main destination for travellers to this western Caribbean nation. San Pedro Town is the only town on the island. Ambergris Caye has been the hub of the areas maritime trade for centuries. Fishing, coconuts, and chicle were historic means of islanders support, but the last thirty years have led to a large growth in both the dive and scuba trade, and ecotourism. The rich variety of things to do in San Pedro Town makes Ambergris Caye the gateway to travel in this beautiful country.
The history of the island goes back to the days of the Maya, European Pirates, and Mexican Refugees who fled during the Caste War. The descendants from Mexico make up most of the island's population today. The economy of the island was once dependent on the coconut industry, followed by the fishing industry, but it is now dependent on tourism.
Accommodations and restaurants are available for all budget levels. Ambergris Caye receives cooling trade winds most of the year, which keeps the temperature down. Ambergris Caye is twenty-five miles long; its width ranges from a few hundred feet to over four miles. Northern Ambergris Caye is separated from the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by a small channel.
Ambergris Caye’s biggest tourist draw is the fabulous Barrier Reef that runs parallel along the entire coast. The reef is a mere quarter mile from the beach at Ambergris Caye making snorkeling and diving easily accessible. The island’s seaside is a charming collection of piers and dive shops that offer tours to the different dive sites, the outer islands, and of course to the Great Blue Hole. Certified scuba lessons in NAUI, PADI, and SSI are widely available. One of the most popular dive sites is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve – a ten-minute boat ride from town. The reef’s beauty and richness has made Belize a world-class SCUBA and snorkeling destination.