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Our Favorite Things to Do & See in San Pedro

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San Pedro is one of the most popular destinations in Belize’s Cayes, and once you visit, it’s easy to understand why. The candy-colored wooden houses demand to be photographed as you whizz past on a golf cart. One of the region’s natural marvels, the Belize Barrier Reef, runs only a mile offshore and the amazing Blue Hole of Belize is close by, making San Pedro a dream destination for divers. And if you’re looking for lazy days on the beach, followed by vibrant nights of live music and beach bars, San Pedro is ideal. To put it simply - there are plenty of amazing things to do in San Pedro, Belize!

Legend had it that Madonna’s classic hit ‘La Isla Bonita’ was written about San Pedro. The pop superstar dispelled that myth in later interviews, but one thing’s for sure - the publicity didn’t do the thriving tourist destination any harm.

Read on to discover the best things to see and do in this beautiful Belizean playground.

San Pedro: What Makes It So Special

 Where to start? San Pedro has so much to offer - some visitors are attracted by the world-renowned diving opportunities, while others flock to the nightlife scene, which is one of the best in the Cayes. Zipping around the bustling town center, taking in the endless beach bars and restaurants, makes for a perfect afternoon, but there are also plenty of spots where you can hole up and relax.

Some of the most well-known diving and snorkeling sites are right off the coast of San Pedro. For example, you can take a tour of Shark Ray Alley, one of Belize’s most popular attractions, where you can not only swim with sharks and rays, but you can also feed them.

San Pedro is a gateway to some incredible ancient ruins, including Altun Ha, which was inhabited by the Mayans from 900 BC to 1000 AD, and Xunantunich, where you’ll find Belize’s second-tallest Mayan structure. Take a step back in time and explore these atmospheric cities on a Mayan ruins tour.

San Pedro draws a varied crowd, enticed by its anything-goes attitude. As you’d expect in the Caribbean, the warmth of the locals is second to none, and as most San Pedranos speak English as well as Spanish, communication will be a breeze. This is particularly useful if you’re visiting San Pedro as a solo traveler, when making yourself understood is paramount. If you are planning to visit San Pedro by yourself, we recommend checking out these handy tips for visiting Belize solo.

Where is San Pedro?

 San Pedro is the capital of Ambergris Caye, which is the largest and most northerly of the 450 cayes that lay off the coast of Belize. Ambergris Caye is super close to Mexico - in fact, there is only a narrow canal separating the tip of the Caye from Mexico to the north.

San Pedro is located at the narrow southern end of Ambergris Caye, with its port on the eastern coast. Regular ferries and flights link up San Pedro with the mainland of Belize, which is around fifteen miles away.

The History of San Pedro

 It’s often said that the culture of Ambergris Caye and San Pedro Town is more like Mexico than Belize - let me share why that could be.

Starting in 1847, large numbers of Mexicans began migrating into northern Belize to escape the Caste War of the Yucatan, a fierce and bloody battle between the native Mayan population and the Hispanic invaders who had held power over the region for so long.

San Pedro was first founded as a town in 1848 by four families of these Mexican refugees, who were likely former Yucatecan fishermen and farmers. The British ruling authorities permitted them to stay in Belize, hoping they would develop a stable agricultural settlement. And that’s exactly what happened - the skills they brought with them helped the new Belizean residents to create thriving communities with sustainable food crops.

Over the years, San Pedro has gradually expanded, and its many attractions have helped develop the tourist trade, which is now the most important economy on Ambergris Caye and in San Pedro.

Visiting San Pedro Today

 If you visit San Pedro today, you’ll be able to enjoy a vacation destination with all the essential ingredients - great hotels, a lively restaurant and bar scene. And the number of unique things to do in San Pedro is practically endless!

The beaches on Ambergris Caye have the beloved Caribbean white sand and the water is incredibly still and shallow thanks to protection from the coral reef. It’s worth noting that all beaches in Belize are public, so if you see a prime spot of sand in front of a resort, you are allowed to use it - just don’t use the sun loungers or umbrellas. You might also come across swimming docks dotted around the island - these are fantastic for jumping off straight into those gorgeous, turquoise waters.

The most popular beach near San Pedro is called Secret Beach, but the secret has certainly got out. You can find this attractive beach, lined with beach clubs and bars, on the western coastline of Ambergris Caye. Back on the east coast, if you’re looking for food and drink while you catch those rays, we recommend you try Palapa Bar or Sandy Toes for a fun beach bar experience.

San Pedro is unmistakably popular with tourists - you can’t miss the abundance of tour huts and entertainment venues aimed at a vacationing clientele. But the lively town has succeeded in keeping things in balance, maintaining a feeling of authenticity that’s down-to-earth, inviting - and hard to leave.

When to Visit San Pedro

The best time to visit San Pedro depends on your priorities, whether you want the best weather, to dodge the crowds, or are planning a bargain break. Here are the best months to visit for each purpose.


The best weather in San Pedro is from December until April, when it’s likely to be dry (at least most of the time), wonderfully warm, and humidity levels will be at their lowest. This is the ideal time for a beach break, as you’re pretty much guaranteed perfect conditions. It’s also the best time to experience diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize, a vast sinkhole that’s perfectly round.

Fewer Crowds

November and May are the best months to visit San Pedro if you want to avoid the crowds. November is the quiet before the storm of peak season begins, and May sees the beginning of the rainy season, which puts many visitors off. But, on balance, the weather during these months is still excellent and the chance of having Belize’s stunning natural sights to yourself can be hard to pass up.

Cheap Vacation to San Pedro

If you’re looking for a budget break to San Pedro, the months of the rainy season will usually bring the cheapest prices. June to October are the least popular months to visit Belize because there’s frequent rainfall, it can be uncomfortably humid, and some tours and attractions are closed. Hurricane season is most active during September and October - but, if you’re willing to take the risk, visiting at this time of year can bring the biggest financial rewards.

What You'll See When You Arrive at San Pedro

 On arrival in San Pedro, you’ll immediately find yourself in the heart of Caribbean living. Your eyes will be drawn to the traditional wooden structures painted all the colors of the rainbow. You’ll likely hear reggae music pumping from the town’s atmospheric beach bars, filtered through the gentle breeze that ruffles the palm trees along the shore.

Overall, San Pedro Town is a lively place that still manages to feel chilled out, it’s busy but somehow doesn’t feel crowded. It’ll be a great fit for you if you’re keen to dip in and out of activities but also want to find time to do nothing much at all.

Staying Safe & Fitting In While Visiting San Pedro

San Pedro is a friendly place that has managed to maintain a low rate of serious crime, particularly in comparison to other major tourist destinations.

The law-breaking San Pedro sees most often is petty theft, so this is one area you should remain vigilant when you visit. Don’t flash expensive belongings around and keep an eye on your bag and phone when you’re on the beach or in the town’s bars and restaurants.

When it comes to personal safety, exercise the same caution you would anywhere. Try not to walk alone at night, but if you must, make sure you use busy and well-lit streets.

When it comes to choosing what you wear, you’ll find Ambergris Caye and San Pedro are pretty easygoing. You’re fine wearing beachwear around town, and although locals may dress a little more formally at night, you won’t be frowned on for dressing casually.

San Pedro Weather & Climate

 San Pedro, and the Cayes as a whole, enjoy the best of Belize’s weather. You’ll be pleased to hear that when it’s cloudy and raining on the mainland, it can often be dry and sunny on the islands.

That doesn’t mean it’s wall-to-wall sunshine though, as great as that would be. But if you plan your visit for the dry season - from December to April - you’re most likely to see the blue skies and daily sun that draws so many visitors.

The rainy season runs from June to November, but don’t expect to see torrential rain every day. Short, sharp rain showers are common - and while they soak you when they happen, once they stop, you’ll be dry again in minutes.

Like the rainy season, hurricane season in San Pedro also lasts from June to November, but the majority of storm and hurricane activity takes place in September and October. If the thought of hurricanes makes you nervous, you’re probably best avoiding Belize during the months of peak activity. But, it’s also important to note that hurricane season doesn’t automatically mean hurricanes - this time of year can still see the clear blue skies you expect from Belize’s more settled winter months.

Temperatures are pretty stable throughout the year in San Pedro, with dry season high temperatures ranging from 79 F in January to 85 F in April and rainy season high temperatures falling somewhere in the 86 F to 88 F range.

To find out more about the climate in Belize, check out this all-you-need-to-know guide to understanding Belize’s weather.

Getting To & Around San Pedro

Here are the main ways to get to San Pedro from either the Belizean mainland or southern Mexico.


If you’re traveling from mainland Belize, your best option is to take one of the regular water taxis from Belize City - they take around an hour and a half each way. Two companies run a service - San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi, and Ocean Ferry.

Direct travel from Mexico to San Pedro is also possible, with an international water taxi making the two-and-a-half hour trip from Chetumal in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state once per day.


Impressively, San Pedro has its own airport - John Greif II Airport (airport code: SPR). Tropic Air and Maya Island Air both make regular hops the short distance between Philip SW Goldson International Airport (airport code: BZE) in Belize City over to Ambergris Caye.

Direct flights to San Pedro are also possible from Caye Caulker (airport code: CUK), Corozal (airport code: CZH), and, less regularly, from Belize City’s other airport, Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport (airport code: TZA).

Getting around San Pedro

Once you arrive in San Pedro, you’ll notice there are fewer cars and trucks than on the mainland, and that the most popular (and fun!) way to get around is by rented golf cart. It won’t be hard to locate a rental shop - there are scores of them around town - and you can expect to pay around 35 USD per day.

Our Favorite Things to Do Near San Pedro

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel & Sailboat Tour

Discover the beauty of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve on our snorkel and sailboat tour from San Pedro. Glide over turquoise waters on a peaceful sail, then dive into an underwater paradise, snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs, colorful fish, and friendly sea turtles. This tour offers the perfect blend of adventure and serenity, showcasing the best of Belize's marine biodiversity. Experience the thrill of exploration and the bliss of sailing in one unforgettable journey.

Shark Ray Alley Snorkeling Excursion

Dive into the heart of the Caribbean's marine life with our Shark Ray Alley Belize Snorkeling Excursion. Departing from Belize City, this tour invites you to swim alongside the gentle giants of the sea - nurse sharks and graceful stingrays, in their natural habitat. The clear waters of Shark Ray Alley provide a safe and exhilarating environment for an up-close encounter with these fascinating creatures. Beyond the thrill of these encounters, the surrounding coral formations are a spectacle of biodiversity, making this excursion a must-do for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.

Xunantunich Mayan Ruins Tour

This tour offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the majestic ruins of Xunantunich, one of Belize's most iconic archaeological sites. As you wander through this historic site, you'll see the El Castillo pyramid, marvel at the intricate carvings, and soak in panoramic views of the surrounding jungle from atop the ruins. Alongside an expert guide, delve into the mysteries of Mayan civilization, learning about their culture, astronomy, and architectural ingenuity. This tour is a must for history buffs and adventurers alike, offering a glimpse into the heritage of the Maya in the heart of Belize.

Cave Kayaking or Tubing and Altun Ha

Starting from Belize City, this tour takes you into the heart of the Belizean jungle, where you'll navigate the serene waters of ancient caves by kayak or tube, illuminated by the natural light filtering through the crevices above. Witness the awe-inspiring rock formations and hidden waterfalls that make this journey unforgettable. The adventure continues with a visit to the majestic Altun Ha, an iconic Mayan archaeological site, where you'll explore ancient temples and plazas that whisper tales of a civilization long past.

Parasailing Above the Caribbean Sea

This thrilling experience offers you a bird's eye view of Belize's breathtaking coastline, gliding peacefully above the sea as you're towed behind a boat. Feel the rush of adrenaline mixed with a sense of serenity as you ascend into the sky, capturing unparalleled vistas of the coral reefs, turquoise waters, and the expansive horizon. Suitable for adventurers of all ages, our parasailing tour promises an unforgettable journey, combining the thrill of flight with the beauty of the Caribbean's natural landscapes.

FAQ: Visiting San Pedro, Belize

Can I see the Great Blue Hole on a day trip from San Pedro?

Absolutely! The Great Blue Hole, one of Belize's most famous underwater sinkholes, is accessible via day trips from San Pedro. These excursions often include a scenic flight over the Blue Hole or diving and snorkeling trips for those looking to explore its underwater marvels.

What are some must-try foods or local dishes in San Pedro?

San Pedro's culinary scene is a delightful fusion of Caribbean, Mexican, and Maya flavors. Be sure to try the Belizean staples like rice and beans, stewed chicken, and seafood dishes such as conch ceviche and lobster (in season). For a local treat, indulge in fry jacks for breakfast and cool off with a refreshing Belizean rum punch.

Is San Pedro family-friendly? What can families do together?

San Pedro is wonderfully family-friendly, offering activities that appeal to all ages. Families can enjoy snorkeling in the shallow waters of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, visiting the Belize Chocolate Company for a sweet tour, or spending a day at Secret Beach where calm waters make for perfect swimming conditions for kids.

What are some tips for sustainable travel in San Pedro?

San Pedro is committed to preserving its natural beauty and encourages sustainable travel practices. Visitors are advised to use reef-safe sunscreen, participate in eco-friendly tours, support local businesses, and avoid single-use plastics. Engaging in activities like beach clean-ups can also enhance your travel experience while contributing positively to the environment.

In a nutshell…

We hope this has given you a taste of what you can look forward to when you visit San Pedro. Whether your focus will be diving, exploring ancient Mayan cities, sampling the varied gastronomy, or partying until the small hours, San Pedro is sure to satisfy your need for fun in the sun.

If you’re hungry for more information, check out this local’s guide to San Pedro. Or, if you’re ready to explore the fantastic activities Belize has to offer, check out our curated list of tours and excursions and get planning!

Written by: Carly

Carly Rolfe is a Travel Journalist & Writer from the UK who has travelled extensively in Mexico and the Caribbean. Her writing for outlets such as Hotels.com, The Cancun Sun, and Virgin Experiences has helped thousands of travelers discover new experiences. 

All of our content at Tourbase is written by experienced travel writers who have visited all of the locations we recommend. And our review board of local tourism experts ensure that all the information we provide is accurate, current and helpful

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