Your first impression of Ambergris Caye is likely to be from the air, because most visitors to the island fly into the Philip Goldson International Airport at Ladyville just north of Belize City and then change to a local commuter (the international airport has a new domestic section) for the 20-minute hop to San Pedro. Flights to San Pedro are day-time only.
On a clear day, you get a great introduction to Belize's Caribbean Coast. As your plane goes low over the transparent water, you'll see mangrove- or sand-edged islands, coral heads, the sand and sea grass bottom, fishing boats and sometimes the blur of large fish.
A typical round trip flight from Belize International to San Pedro runs about $179 BZ or $90 USD.
High Speed Water Taxi
There are several boats which make daily trips to and from Ambergris Caye. Boats usually leave from the historic Swing Bridge in Belize City or from the pier in front of the Bliss Auditorium. The trip takes between 1 - 1 1/2 hours depending on the boat and usually cost about $35 USD roundtrip.
Getting Around Ambergris Caye Belize
article courtesy of tacogirl.com; the best travel resource for all things Belize
Ambergris Caye is a relatively small island, 26 miles long in total and a little over a mile wide. Getting around depends on where you are staying and what you want to do. Walking, bikes, golf carts cabs and water taxi are the main forms of transportation used. The island is a mix of cobblestone, concrete paved and dirt roads.
I’ll start off by giving you the basic fundamentals. “In town” is considered to be anywhere north of Tropic Air, up to Belize Bank. The streets in town that run parallel to the ocean (north and south) are: Listed from east to west; Barrier Reef Drive, or Front St.; Pescador Dr., or Middle St.; (which is the only street that takes you to the bridge to go north) Angel Coral St., or Back St. and Nurse Shark St. which is not used as much as the other 3. Both north and south of town mile marker measurements begin at Central Park on Barrier Reef Drive.
San Pedro itself is a small town with lots to see and a variety of restaurants, hotels, and shopping. Due to its size, walking is the easiest way to get around town. That way you can take your time to stop and browse or chat with friendly people you meet along your travels.
If you feeling relatively fit, are on a budget and want to cover a bit more ground then a bike rental is a great option. Check with your hotel first. Some give complimentary bikes for guests and some charge a small fee. There are also a few places around town like Calvio Bike Rentals (663-1738/661-7143) in Boca del Rio, and El Guapo in town. A one week bike rental from a shop will be in the $80 BZD range.
Some people also opt to buy a bike depending on how long their vacation is, then give it away to someone in need, a school or a charity organization to raffle off, when they leave. You can find bikes in the $295 range (without basket and lock) at pretty much any hardware store in town. I prefer to buy my bikes at Harmouch Hardware. I have bought two there so far since 2006. If you want to know what makes their bikes so special to me, read my Buying a bike in Belize post.
The best way to get around Ambergris Caye is to rent a golf cart and explore north and south. This is a great way to get a full feel for the island and what the different areas have to offer. Even though you might not know your way around, Ambergris Caye is easy to navigate so even if you do make a wrong turn, it will not be long before you get yourself back to a main road. Just be sure to pay attention to road signs as many streets in town are one way. I am in process of updating my printable Ambergris Caye and San Pedro map and it will be available again soon.
Unless your resort or hotel provides airport pick up you will likely want to take a taxi. They are readily available outside Tropic Air baggage claim area. You can also save 10% on on your local or international Tropic Air flight on my Flights to Belize page. If you are not staying too far from town a taxi will cost you in the $7 BZD range. Further south past Victoria House Resort will cost you in the $15 BZD range. If you have to take one north then expect to pay $35 BZD or more to get to Legends Burger House area. Many taxi drivers have a printed rate sheet for the southern and the northern destinations so feel free to ask to see it.
Always make sure to set a price with your cab driver before you get in no matter how short the ride. Here is a good traveler example of why setting your price first is so important, from a Taxi ride post on the TripAdvisor San Pedro Message Board.
If you are staying further north than the range golf cart rental companies allow their rentals to go then Coastal Xpress water taxi is a good transportation option for you. Pricing varies depending on where you are boarding and where you get off, the range is $5-$14 US one way or $10-$28 US round trip. They do offer resident and student discounts provided you show ID as proof.
Weekly passes are available and price depends where you are staying. They allow for unlimited travel from your resort to town. If you plan on exploring the island by boat and making lots of stops then the Golden pass would be your best choice. It costs $125 usd and is good for 7 days. In addition to travel between your Resort and town, this pass allows you to unlimited boat travel anywhere on their scheduled route. To find out more on weekly pass options and pricing Call: 501-226-2007 or Email: coastalxpress@yahoo[dot]com
Please note: The schedule is from Coastal website as of May 2017 – always double check the water taxi schedule onsite for current high or low times.
2017 water taxi map courtesy of Coastal Xpress