A Brief History of Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Caye is one of the most popular and beloved of Belize’s beautiful, sunny destinations. Ambergris Caye is a haven for local Belizeans, sun-seeking tourists, and retirees looking to make a new home in their golden years. But how did Ambergris Caye become such a popular destination? And what are some of the hidden secrets inside Ambergris Caye’s history? The following is a brief look at the history of Ambergris Caye that will help you better understand this popular and much-loved destination.
Ambergris Caye: Belize’s Most Popular Destination
In its ancient past, Ambergris Caye operated as an essential trading post for the Mayan people. This continued well into at least the 17th century when the Europeans took over Ambergris Caye from the fleeing Mayans. Travelers, merchants and even pirates used Ambergris Caye as a destination for trading and supposedly according to legend ‘hiding treasure‘. Over time, the pirates and European merchants left, but that didn’t stop people from coming to Ambergris Caye.
In 1848, the town of San Pedro was founded; San Pedro remains Ambergris Caye’s largest populated settlement. Over the next hundred years, locals turned to various trades; including a bustling coconut business that was destroyed by hurricanes in the 1950s, fishing, lobster and the current industry that includes everything from lobster to real estate. San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye was a “sleeping fishing village” where people would enjoy the array of fishing the area has to offer. The bountiful Belize Barrier Reef has remained a popular destination for reef fishing and deep-sea fishing along the East coast of the island. The island’s popularity within the fishing community led to much of the development of the island taking place on the eastern shores of the island, leaving most of the West Coast undeveloped until recently.
In the past few decades, Ambergris Caye has become a bustling hub with something to do for everyone. There are shops for people who want to stock up on everything from handmade jewelry to high-end items and souvenir trinkets alike; there are restaurants filled with some of the most delicious food you’ll find in Belize; there are hotels, hiking spots, stunning beaches, businesses and everything you could possibly want to do all nestled in the beautiful sights and sounds of Ambergris Caye.
Naturally, with so much to do and see, it’s no wonder that Ambergris Caye has become such a popular and beloved destination. People from around the world flock here to get a taste of what Ambergris Caye has to offer.
Secret Beach: Ambergris Caye’s Secret History
One of the most well-known and popular destinations on Ambergris Caye is Secret Beach which has become a “not-so-secret” beach anymore; however, it remains a beloved and is situated in a typically secluded area. Secret Beach is along the West Coast of Ambergris Caye, due to its location the area has little to no seagrass, calm waters and picturesque sunsets. The Secret Beach is accessible via golf cart or water (try a boat or jet skis!) and is about 30 minutes away from San Pedro Town. The beach isn’t technically secret–you’ll see signs pointing you on your way–but it’s not well known to foreign travelers. You’ll find a few bars, restaurants and local shops there; so while you won’t be totally alone, you will still be able to take in a much more reserved, exclusive area of Ambergris Caye than most people get to see.
Just avoid Secret Beach on the weekends if you prefer a quieter experience—the area becomes bustling with tourists and locals looking to enjoy the beautiful waters and white sand beaches.