Ambergris Caye | Belize

In January 2022, my husband and I escaped the cold Wisconsin winter and traveled to Belize. We stayed on the island of Ambergris Caye. It was a rustic, tropical paradise! Ambergris Caye is an island off the coast of Belize. You can either take a small plane or ferry from Belize City to get there. There are very few cars allowed on the island. The best way for tourists to get around is by renting golf carts. There is one major road on the island that hugs the east coast of the island and gives panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. Once you’re outside of the city of San Pedro it turns into a beautiful, sandy trail you can drive your golf cart down. Driving the cart and looking at the ocean was my husbands favorite part of the vacation. There are so many places to stop along the way with picturesque views.

Favorite Places to Explore:

San Pedro
We had a great time exploring the city of San Pedro. By exploring I mean eating and shopping our way through it. It’s worth spending a day or two just wandering around the shops, restaurants and sights. It’s vibrant and lively without feeling crowded. A really delicious and interesting way to explore the city is by food tour. We booked through Belize Food Tours and chose the Savor Belize Dinner Tour. I would highly recommend it. We learned a lot about San Pedro and explored restaurants we probably wouldn’t have found on our own.

My favorite thing to do on vacation is to park my butt on the beach with a good book. (While slowly killing my husband from boredom.) There are quite a few beach spots on the island, but our favorite was at our wonderful hotel Mangata Villas . It was a beautiful set-up and just steps from our room. Moon Bar was right on the beach as well, and kept the tropical drinks coming my way 🙂 Secret Beach is another popular beach. We stopped by very early on a windy morning so there wasn’t much going on at the time. The beach set-up was pretty expansive and there were many bars and restaurants steps from the beach. Seemed like a fun place to party, if that’s your thing.

We took a day trip back to the mainland to visit Mayan ruins of Altun Ha. Visiting old/ancient places always feels surreal to me. It’s crazy to think how many people have stood there before you. I caught myself touching the stone of the buildings to feel the history. The site was discovered in the 1960’s and was occupied from about 900 B.C. to A.D. 1000. It was really interesting to learn about the Mayan culture. I knew zero and I’m excited to continue to learn more now. Our second stop on the mainland was to go cave tubing at Nohoch Che’en Caves Branch Archaeological Reserve. I was fairly chicken, but I am so glad my husband convinced me to go. We took a short hike through the rainforest, which alone was beautiful. Then we tubed down the river through awesome cave formations. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen!

Favorite Eats:

Marie Sharps Hot Sauce
This hot sauce was on the table of every restaurant we ate at. I normally don’t love hot sauce, but this one is different. It’s carrot based vs. the regular tomato based hot sauces. After finally trying some, I knew we would have to bring some home. After returning I learned some more interesting things. Marie starting making hot sauce from habaneros and carrots grown on her farm in Belize. It quickly became popular and was the first nationally distributed pepper sauce in the U.S. I was excited to learn that once we run out of the bottle we bought in Belize we’ll be able to order ourselves some more!

Pupuseria Salvadoreno
We enjoyed this pupuseria as a part of the food tour. Pupusas are an El Salvadorian stuffed tortilla. They come in many different varieties (we tried chicken, pork and pumpkin). They were warm, puffy, comforting and gooey. They made them on the street right in front of the restaurant, which was exciting to watch. You are served curtido at your table to top them. Curtido is a pickled coleslaw, similar to sourkraut (but better in my opinion). It’s made with fermented cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic & oregano. It gave the pupusas a lovely tang. I need more of these in my life! If anyone knows somewhere in the Milwaukee area to find them, let me know!

Ceviche might be perfect meal on a hot beach day. It’s cool, refreshing and not too filling. Plus it’s pretty healthy, in my opinion. The dish is typically made from fresh raw fish and/or shellfish marinated in citrus juices, such as lemon or lime, and spiced chili peppers, chopped onions, salt and cilantro. I love ceviche, but don’t eat it that often. I’d rather eat it in locations where access to fresh seafood is readily available. My husband was leery, but ended up really enjoying it as well. We ate it at 2 different places. Lily’s Treasure Chest as a part of our food tour and at the Chat & Chill.

Fresh Tortillas
Almost everywhere we ate made fresh corn tortillas and they were amazing! Some of them were flavored with annatto paste which gave them an orange hue. We were able to grab some to take home from Mayan Tortilleria. They have no website but were located at 2101 Almond St, San Pedro, Belize. You could just walk up to the counter and order freshly made tortillas. You also could watch them being made. We made tacos with the fresh tortillas almost immediately upon coming home. We used this recipe.

Belizean Treats
We stumbled on a few charming places that served special Belizean treats. The first was Belize Chocolate Company. They make craft chocolate made from cacao beans from small family farmers in Southern Belize. They had chocolates, cookies, brownies and chocolate drinks. We even took some brownie mix home with us. The shop was darling and the chocolate was delicious! As a part of our food tour we stopped at Saul’s Cigar & Coffee House to sample Rum Creams. Rum Creams are a blend of aged rum, cream and spices. It reminded me of Rumchata but better! I really regret not bringing any home! Lastly, we grabbed some really great coffee at Rum + Bean. The shop was decorated with rich wood and served coffee drinks, rum cocktails and snacks. It was part of Mahogany Bay Resort, which seemed to be a really up-and-coming area. I would recommend checking it out!

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