Belize is a somewhat eclectic and unsaturated country in Central America, situated between Mexico and Guatemala. Just off the coast of the mainland is Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island that is accessible by a short 15-minute flight or 90-minute boat ride. The island is only 24.85 miles long, which makes getting around a breeze and t. The locals create a vibrant, unique, ‘breath of fresh air vibe’ on the island that is undeniably contagious. Upon arrival, you just feel this wave of serenity, wonder, and contentment wash over you.
Over the past decade, Ambergris Caye, Belize has become a travel hotspot for various types of travelers due to it’s beautiful, charming, and diverse appeal. This stunning island lures visitors from around the world. It boasts white sand beaches, bright turquoise waters, lush tropical rainforests, one of the best barrier reefs in the world, small-scale luxury properties, and diverse culture that is warm and welcoming to tourists. Although ecotourism is increasing in Ambergris Caye, it hasn’t become too touristy yet, which makes it the perfect destination for a relaxing getaway. Welcome to an under-the-radar paradise.
Relax at Secret Beach
Secret Beach isn’t exactly what its name implies, it’s not a secret anymore to the locals, but for some tourists, this place is a hidden, yet very relaxing, gem. Secret Beach caters to those who love serene beaches yet enjoys having access to basic conveniences like food, drinks, restrooms, palapas, shaded lounge chairs, and private messages on the beach. Rent a golf cart if you plan on adventuring out to this secret chill spot because it’s literally off the beaten path.
Ambergris Caye is great because the island is warm year round with an average yearly temperature of 84°F. There will be some days where you may experience tropical showers, but they typically only last 15-30 minutes and it always remains warm.
Snorkel at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Blue Hole
The plethora of bright coral and sponges, diverse fish, and occasional stingrays makes Hol Chan Marine Reserve one of the most picturesque under the sea landscapes. It’s an unforgettable experience and relaxing at that. As you just float with your tour guide through the bright turquoise water, you can relax as the current takes you through the best snorkel tour of your life, while they point out all of the unique marine life you pass.
The Blue Hole is next level snorkeling and really more enjoyable for scuba divers since it is much deeper than Hol Chan, which is rather shallow. The Blue Hole is the world’s largest hole measuring 1000 ft. across and 412 ft. deep. This is a wondrous paradise for divers who love unique marine life, crystal clear waters, and not too many tourists.
Unwind at the Victoria House Resort & Spa.
Ambergris Caye is home to a handful of luxurious resorts and spas that offer top-notch treatments and amenities. Victoria House Resort & Spa is the most well-known spa on the island (and my personal favorite). The resort has two infinity pools, which overlook the ocean and the grounds are lush with tropical landscaping. At 3500 sq. ft., their spa facility is the largest on Ambergris Caye. Situated amongst coconut palms and flamboyant bougainvillea, the spa creates the ultimate place for relaxation, inspiration, and indulgence.
Marriott is in the works of building a beautiful property with a next level spa as well; so definitely stay tuned for development on that.
Swim With Sharks and Stingrays at Shark Ray Alley
At first, you may think that swimming with sharks is an antonym of serene. However, nurse sharks are not a threatening species to humans — they are actually very similar to playful puppies. This encounter is one of the most humbling, yet serene experiences because as you marvel at their majestic demeanor while flowing through one of the most beautiful oceans. You have zero distractions, zero emails, it’s just you enjoying nature with a clear mind. How many people do you know who have swum with sharks? Exactly.
Additionally, this tourist attraction helps protect shark populations and preserve the environment because the tourism cash-flow is an incentive for areas with thriving shark tourism to focus on good conservation laws and efforts to protect and preserve local shark populations.
Explore Surrounding Islands by Boat
There are over 200 islands (or cayes) in Belize worth discovering. Some of the most popular are Caye Caulker, St. George’s Caye, and Tobacco Caye. Leonardo DiCaprio is actually developing a wellness-focused eco-resort on Blackadore Caye visible from Secret Beach.
Feast on Unique Belizean Food
Not only is every meal fresh, but the island has many vegan-friendly options. One of my favorite spots is Iguana Juan’s – definitely try the fresh hummus and plantain chips. A great highlight of Belizean food is the variety. Belizean culture is a mix of Creole and Spanish which both offer delicious, unique dishes. Some of the most popular dishes are conch ceviche, cochinita pibil, tamales, and chicken escabeche.
Photography by: Amy Marietta