Last month, I went to San Pedro, Belize and met up with three of my best friends for an awesome girls’ vacation. We ate delicious food. We drank fruity, blended things. We flirted with beautiful men. All in all, it was exactly what a girls’ vacation should be. Plus hammocks!
San Pedro, an Introduction
You will fall in love with San Pedro. Everyone does.
The city is located on the island Ambergris Caye. This, along with Caye Caulker, are the two islands you hear about most frequently on travel blogs.
This advice pretty much sums up my experience as well:
If you’re new to the island, leave about two thirds of your clothing at home, bring swim suits, sun block, sandals, and a hat. I struggled hard to find a single evening I could wear long pants in an entire two week stay. This is one very relaxed place. Most people step off the plane, and struggle for about three days to slow down. It’s hot and fragrant and moist, the wind is cooling, and, well, things just don’t seem so urgent.
We flew into Belize City, took a cab to the Water Taxis, and the Water Taxi to the island. This is a pretty common way to get there, and we were following the advice of our AirBnB hosts. There is a small airport on the island, so you can fly in directly if you choose.
Things to Do
There’s a lot to do in a town like San Pedro, and you can’t get to all of it in a week. Here are seven of my favorite things we did while there:
Walking the Beach Path & Going for a Swim
The town is longer than it is wide because of the geography of the island. There’s a beautiful path that’s lined with the Caribbean on one side and hotels and businesses on the other. There’s the occasional bar, but not many. There are a few spots along here that are good for a swim. Even if you’re not planning on going into the water though, walking the path is a beautiful way to spend some time while you’re in town.
Tooling around on a Golf Cart
Not an activity per se (although they list it as one here), just a damn good mode of transportation. San Pedro is small and there aren’t tons of cars. Tourists and locals tend to hop around on golf carts. We rented one for 5 days for $200, which for us was $10 per person per day. You can walk San Pedro without one (though I wouldn’t too late at night) and there are a good amount of cabs, so it’s not a necessity. But it was awesome to have for convenience. More than that though, it was super fun!
I mean, isn’t it every little kid’s dream that their parents let them drive around in a golf cart? It was for me.
We rented ours from a local company called Avis (not THAT Avis), and got rates way lower than the published ones by asking. San Pedro isn’t super-haggley, but you can always ask for a better deal.
Hanging out at Secret Beach
Question: How NOT a secret is Secret Beach?
Answer: There’s a taco truck. DJed tunes. A restaurant. A palapa. A second pier. Bathrooms. Wifi. And multiple signs pointing to its location.
But it’s still awesome. So awesome, we went back a second time.
Getting there is kind of a chore, which is why it’s kept its name. So even though everyone around you knows all about it, it’s remoteness keeps it more chill. Especially on weekdays during the off-season. A cab out there is about $50 each way, which is another handy reason to have a golf cart around, at least for a day or so.
When you get there, you’ll have the aforementioned amenities, although you won’t see much civilization on the way.
You’ll also have crystal-clear blue water that’s standing depth for a long ways out with views of mangrove islands in the distance.
I wrote about my experience snorkeling with the Pro Dive Center for this piece on the Belize Barrier Reef System. This was an activity we added on the tail end of the last day, but in a lot of ways it made the trip.
There are tons of other water adventure activities available as well. If that’s your thing, Belize can make it happen.
Trying Delicious Things at the Belize Chocolate Company
Local chocolate. Turned into a milkshake. Drank while staring at the Caribbean.
There’s literally nothing about that situation that isn’t perfection.
Relaxing at the Beach Bars
Up and down the island, there are a number of chill beach bars that have good tunes, incredibly nice bartenders, and delicious (if a little pricey) fruity mixed drinks of the sort that a good vacation demands. Some also have food. We spent a lot of time at the Dive Bar because it was so close to us, and because the staff was so wonderful. We also went to Pirate’s Treasure and Wayo’s Beach Bar. None of them disappointed.
Enjoying the local Taco/Yoga/Massage Spot
The Ak’bol Yoga Retreat and Eco-Resort is a little north of town, but worth the drive! My friends went for the yoga, but stayed for the tacos. And then went back. And then we all went back two more times.
They also have massages. And cabins to rent. And a friendly dog. And a really hot waiter, to be honest.
The food here was by far our favorite we went to. I ate the fajitas for dinner with tons of guac. Then for breakfast, I had eggs and guac and salsa. They had pancakes. They had so many kinds of tacos. All four of us on the trip couldn’t stop talking about how good the food was. And less expensive than most of the other restaurants in town.
Because it’s San Pedro, you’re also eating these delicious things (or doing the endurance yoga) by a pier with palm trees everywhere. Like a freaking Gaiam workout video in real life. But with tacos.
- This is a good travel guide if you’re looking to pick one up before your trip or on your Kindle while you’re there:
- A good hourly/ninety-minute regimen of sunscreen and bug spray (with DEET!) will go a long way. Skip this even once, and you’ll be sorry. Try to bring some with you, as these are pricey.
- Go inside at dusk. That’s the worst time for the mosquitos.
- The off-season has the potential for hurricanes, but the town is a lot emptier with basically the same weather an amenities. Slightly better prices.
- I wasn’t trying to be too budget-conscious on this girls’ week extravaganza, but if you want to do the island on a budget, check out this great post from Eternal Arrival on how to do it as a budget destination.
- The Water Taxi is not exactly like a pleasant boat ride. I had a mixed experience. On the way over was terrible and we kept hitting the water so hard it felt like cement. The way back was just crowded and a little hot.
- Prices are not as low as on Caye Caulker. We cooked a lot of meals to balance the meals out.
- It’s an island, so everything is imported. If you want to save money on alcohol, bring a bottle from Duty-Free for your home supply.
- You may need a day or two to adjust to the humidity and heat. Take the first day easy if this is the case. The more you can be in the water, the cooler you’ll be.
Have you been to San Pedro? Got any tips or stories? If so, share below!