By Lebawit Lily Girma
Sitting a mere half-mile off the Barrier Reef—in easy view of its beachfront—San Pedro remains Belize’s most visited destination. A fishing community at heart, this lively island town offers the widest variety of plush beachfront resorts, shopping, and restaurants. Diving, fishing, snorkeling, and exploring marine life are bona fide daytime activities, while nights are for bar hopping, live music, food tours, and dancing the night away to disco lights if you so choose.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a short boat ride away, is a first-time snorkeler’s favorite for its brilliant blue world teeming with turtles, stingrays, and six-feet long nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley. On land, an unusual hiking experience awaits at Marco Gonzalez Archaeological Reserve, the only island archaeological reserve in Belize revealing Maya presence dating back two thousand years. The San Pedro House of Culture offers additional insight with rotating exhibits on Belizean culture.
Fuel up for these San Pedrano adventures at the best restaurants in the country—feast on Mestizo and Mayan-inspired dishes, discover gourmet Caribbean-Belizean cuisine, and sample the freshest of seafood and late-night snacks from food trucks or beachfront stands.
As Belizeans will tell you, San Pedro is Belize’s primary beach party spot—take your pick of festivals, including San Pedro Carnaval, Lobster Fest, Costa Maya International, and a Fly Fishing Grand Slam. Past the vacation scene, opportunities abound to volunteer on archaeological projects, beach cleanups, or at the Saga Humane Society—because in San Pedro, giving back and having fun go hand in hand.