La Isla Bonita Round Two!

Sunset in San Pedro, Belize

The first time we visited San Pedro, Belize, was November 2019. Right before the pandemic started and global travel ground to a halt. We’ve been to a lot of places, but this place was special and we knew we had to come back. The weather is warm and humid, people are friendly, and the local food is amazing and inexpensive! It also doesn’t hurt that the currency is an easy 2:1, and the official language is English. Though you’ll increasingly hear Spanish as people immigrate from surrounding countries.

How to get here

San Pedro is on Ambergris Caye and requires a ferry or plane to get here. The small plane option (a puddle jumper) takes off right from the international airport in Belize City, and is only a 15 minute ride. The ferry option requires a 20 minute taxi to the terminal and then a 90 minute boat ride to the island. We were able to get a direct flight from Seattle to Belize City, which saved us a ton of time, which is an important consideration for us as sitting for any length of time is pretty painful for Mr. ItchyFeet. For similar reasons, we chose the plane option over the ferry, even though it was more expensive.

Then vs now

The first time we stayed here, we stayed right on the north side of San Pedro town, just south of “The Bridge”. The ocean water there was nice and warm, but only about two feet deep, so it wasn’t great for swimming. I had gotten a dog bite on my hand, right before we flew out of the states, leaving a lovely deep puncture wound so there wasn’t too much swimming for me anyway, as I needed to keep the wound clean and dry. In addition, the apartment was in town so it was noisy.

Sargassum Clogging the Beach

This time we decided on a bit south of town, hoping for quiet and better beaches (however, currently there is no swimming now due to sargassum…of course there isn’t!). Travel is by foot, bike, or golf-cart (like a Florida retirement community!) which is just fascinating to watch, and an adventure to navigate! We decided to save money and travel by foot. No dying!

Everything the body needs

Baby Gecko on Tile

The food here is amazing! The secret is to walk around and see where the locals are eating or standing in line. That’s how we found the morning street toco stands. OH, MY, GOODNESS, they are so good and they cost US$0.50 for three tacos! We go just about every morning, drop a couple bucks, and bring them back to the apartment for breakfast. So good!

There are loads of fresh fruits and veggies at the fruit stands. Ginger limes are the best! There are also salbutes from El Fogon and jerk chicken from Robin’s Kitchen. There’s no menu at Robin’s Kitchen, he makes what he makes and you either want a plate or you don’t (you do!). Noms!

Each store here has something different to offer so we walk from store to store grabbing things we need. Rice noodles from one store, tamarind concentrate from another, rum from the rum store, and veggies and eggs (room temp!) from the fruit stand.

The best route to get around town is by the beach. We walk down to the beach, head left or right, and try to find the closest beach access point to the store we’re going to. Sometimes we get lost, but that’s how we find new places!

Can You Spot the ‘Guana!?

The water situation is a bit unusual for us. We can shower in the tap water, and brush our teeth, but it is not drinkable. The island has a desalination plant, which technically produces potable water, but not every place is hooked up to it and those that are do not have food-grade pipes to keep it clean the entire route. Some expensive resorts will have an onsite water filter that provides potable water. Ask your manager or resort before you drink the tap water!

To get drinkable water, we walk to the water stand, buy a big 5 gallon jug, and pour that into vessels. It’s really hard to remember to use the vessel water for cooking rice, and not just grab some from the sink faucet! We are making it work though.

Who put the ‘P’ in pterodactyl?

Pterodactyl-looking Frigatebird

Critters are always a challenge in the tropics. I once forgot a cough-drop in my purse until I found a trail of ants heading that way. We put all of our food (most importantly chocolate!) in the fridge to combat this. We even put all our rinds, meat packaging, and eggshells in a bag in the freezer so that we reduce the risk of critters. We take it down to the dumpster when full. This keeps smells down as well.

Pelican Taking a Stroll

Fauna! Fauna! Fauna! I’m not even a bird person but I’m amazed at all the birds here. Especially the pterodactyl-looking frigatebirds that circle overhead! We spend a not insignificant amount of time trying to name that bird. From tiny hummingbirds flitting around the tree outside our place to the giant (and I mean giant!) pelicans splashing into the ocean along the beach.

Then there are the geckos (I have a Hawaiian day-gecko tattoo on my ankle, so you know I like geckos!), iguanas, and rose-bellied lizards. The iguanas are not stupid and keep to closed yards or trees to avoid being harassed by the street dogs (who are generally very friendly, unless you’re an iguana or street cat!). A challenge we set for ourselves each morning while we drink our coffee is to find the iguanas hidden in the trees. Did I mention that I love lizards/geckos!?!

I don’t know if we will come back to San Pedro, because of the cost of apartments and the 30 day visas with US$100 renewal, but I do really like it here. I’m hoping that we will have the ability to play in the ocean before we head out. Sargassum is seasonal and we just happened to come at the wrong time. It’s always An Adventure!

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  1. Kresta,
    Glad you and Mr. Itchyfeet are having fun. Love reading your vlogs or blogs. Keep the adventures coming. We do miss you!

  2. Fascinating Kresta! I loved reading this!

  3. […] are A LOT longer than a Seattle city block, and the streets are cobblestone with minimal sidewalks. Always An Adventure! People were so nice and kept stopping in their golf carts to ask us if we needed a lift. We did but […]

  4. The water situation in Belize gets me every time. It’s amazing how different it is depending on where you stay. Our first trip, we stayed in a B&B that had usable water. The last time we were there was a big eye opener for Brian. The first night, we couldn’t flush our toilet paper, and had to throw it away in the trash. He thought that was bad, and then came the bathroom on an island we camped on. That one had real toilets, but no water hooked up to them. You literally had to dunk a bucket in the ocean before going into the bathroom so you had water to flush with.

    1. Mr. ItchyFeet

      I’ve definitely had my fair share of interesting plumbing situations in my travels, including not flushing toilet paper (“If it didn’t go through you, it doesn’t go in the toilet.”) Everyplace is a bit different, and living on a boat for an extended period also adds to the adventure.

      I’ve never had to get my own flushing water from the ocean, however. That’s next level. Makes you wonder where it goes. Salt water wreaks havoc on most plumbing systems.

  5. Curious, and concerned divers often wonder where waste goes, especially since many resorts are right on the water, in countries known for abysmal water sanitation.
    With a bit of searching I finally located your current spot.

  6. […] restaurants at least once every single day of vacation, I realize now that I need to re-evaluate. I’m no longer on vacation. This is my life. I am no longer traveling for just a couple of weeks. I need to readjust to […]

  7. […] seem to be three different human to dog relationships in San Pedro. Some are like what we typically see in the United States with the dog wearing a collar and leash […]

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