This is part of the London to Belize and Guatemala trip December 2019. http://dickandsuegotravelling.com/2019/12/detroit-usa-to-belize-2019.html
The short crossing from Belize city to San Pedro on the Belize express takes a little under 2 hours. There are different types of boat, with different seating. It is luck of the drawer which boat you get. As I said earlier if you can sit at the top then this is a marvellous way to see the area.
I keep a GPS system of Sygic https://www.sygic.com/ and this can be viewed off line so it makes tracking the route we took to San Pedro a little more informative. Sygic also covers the whole globe and I once used the system to drive to the Gambia from London. http://dickandsuegotravelling.com/2019/01/london-to-gambia-by-car-2018.html
Arrival at San Pedro involves mooring along a jetty, and collecting your bags at the exit. Remember to keep your baggage receipt.
Hotel Del Rio
We were staying at the Hotel Del Rio, http://hoteldelriobelize.com/ situated about 1 km along the beach. Hotel Del Rio Belize P.O. Box 198 Boco Del Rio (Beachfront) San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize C.A. This is where the Sygic GPS system comes in handy, as it is off line and has a walking mode. Otherwise we may have been tempted to take one of their golf buggy taxis which I shall deal with later.
Hotel Del Rio is a safe, somewhat quirky, hotel, immediately on the beach front. We had a conventional brick built room with AC, our friends had a local Bamboo hut with netted windows and no AC. Both were of high standard. Breakfast is included which consists of continental style. There is a night security officer, although I didn’t feel this was required. A great hotel.
Across from the hotel is a jetty you can swim off or just sit and watch the sun come up.
About 100 metres from the Hotel Del Rio is a public beach of a high standard with platforms in the water. At the time we were there there was a lot of seaweed which was slightly off putting.
Travelling around San Pedro
Travelling around the island is generally by golf buggy. Everywhere you look there are buggies. They are easy to hire, no driving licence or anything else was asked of us. It worked out about $20 to $30 for half or a full day. These buggies run on petrol/gas and you need to make sure you have enough fuel as the fuel stations are limited. There are some ‘conventional’ taxis but buggies are more fun! You will find buggies everywhere, even along the wide parts of the beach.
Surprisingly the cocktails and the buggies mixed together do not cause too many problems!
Eating and drinking in San Pedro
Bars, fish and burgers are plentiful in San Pedro. There are some worthy of note for good and bad reasons. Let’s get the bad ones out of the way first.
Hurricane’s is situated in an marvellous place, it is built on stilts in the sea with water hammocks, and areas to swim off of. The food looks good and this should be a great place to eat. However I ordered a round of drinks, some beers and a couple of cocktails. I was not convinced that the lady understood what I was saying. The beers arrived after about 5 minutes, alas the cocktails never arrived. This was also the case with the food. As she was the only member of staff on duty we persevered, but gave up after about 20 minutes.
Second bar of mention was Paco’s Secret Beach. I shall deal with secret beach later. You drive there in the buggy and park in their buggy park. The offer is a free drink each, yep I can live with that, so off we go and are only offered Rum which I thought a bit careless as one of us needs to drive, and the staff just shrugged their shoulders. My friends had the nachos which were soggy and tasteless. We left soon after.
Ok, we had a couple of bad/minor hiccups as above but there are some great places.
New Years Eve
New Years eve we spent in Sandbar Restaurant and Hotel. https://sanpedrohostel.com/ which is situated on the front, close to the Belize Express jetty. Service is quick, food is cheap and the cocktails are plentiful. Be-aware that the freshly cooked pizzas at the Sandbar are huge. We ordered 4 and really 2 would have sufficed.
Eating and drinking in San Pedro
Pirate’s South Beach Cafe and Pub, San Pedro. https://www.facebook.com/pg/southbeachpirate/posts/
This bar is about a 15 minute Beach Buggy drive south of the main San Pedro town. Head south past the airstrip and just keep going along the single main route.
Pirate’s is nothing special in itself, just in a great location, and away from all the crowds. The nice thing is the beach is clean and sandy. If you are down that way, or stuck for somewhere to go then Pirate’s is the way forward. Remember to take the sun cream.
Caliente is a great bar and restaurant. Situated on the breach front close to the ferry terminal/ jetty, it is part of the Spindrift hotel. https://www.spindriftbelize.com/
This is a family run restaurant, the lady in charge will take a table booking in the afternoon for the evening. I had the shrimps, again the meals are huge and consider ordering between 2. Certainly don’t fall for the sad situation of ordering a starter. No desert will be required!
The Margarita cocktails appear to be served in a glass the size of a bucket. Again, not too many of these were needed due to the alcohol content.
Consider having a beer overlooking the clear blue sea in the afternoon at Caliente Restaurant, San Pedro. You cant go wrong.
Bar of mention
On the last evening we went for dinner in Iguana Juan’s Restaurant & Bar, Corner Angel Coral & Pelican Street,(Upstairs), San Pedro. Telephone 501-622-9200 https://iguanajuans2018.wixsite.com/iguanajuans?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral
This place is a gold nugget on the first floor down towards the airfield. Again the margaritas are very strong with more kick than a bucking bronco. Be aware the place closes around 9pm. The ‘live’ entertainment at Iguanas consisted of an organist, who, althoughhe appeared to be in his own world throughout the evening was playing great music. An absolute gem of a place.
If touring around then you can’t go wrong with a golf buggy. We had the buggy for about 5 hours and this was enough, due to the small area covered by roads on the Island of San Pedro. All the roads appear safe and to be honest there are only 2 ways to go, North or South.
When heading North, towards Secret Beach, San Pedro you have to go over a road bridge. There is a toll of $5 Belize (Northbound). Whilst on this point 99% of the shops take $ US at a rate of $1 US to $2 Belize dollars. There are limited ATMs in Belize so ensure you take enough $ US, or pay with a credit or debit card. Try not to travel back from Secret beach in the dark as the roads are very bumpy and the headlamps are not very powerful. There being limited street lighting.
Wildlife, particularly Iguanas are in an abundance.
I found San Pedro a lovely place, but, like eating ice cream, you don’t want too much of it and 3 days was just about right.
We took the Belize Express back to Belize City, next day for onward transport to Calico Jack,s up in the hills.