The stunning island of Ambergris Caye has once again been named the best island in the world in TripAdvisors’ annual 2014 Travellers Choice Awards.
Nestled at the very edge of the Caribbean Sea and running parallel with the coastline of Belize, the northern tip of Ambergris Caye nudges Mexico’s eastern state of Quintana Roo.
This is the second year in a row that the tropical island paradise has been awarded the top honour. The island exudes a real laidback vibe although tourism development is creeping in, with modern hotel chains and newly built apartments lining the sandy roads which are teeming with golf carts.
As you’d expect, powder-soft beaches, oodles of watersports and natural sights are the order of the day at this 25 mile (40km) long strip of land, which measures just five miles (8km) across. The capital, San Pedro, lies in the south and although growing apace, traditional Caribbean houses can still be seen. The island also boasts mangrove swamps, a national park, marine reserve and crocodile sanctuary. The culture is distinctly Mexican, thanks to its close proximity.
The number one pastime on Ambergris Caye is undoubtedly scuba diving – travellers flock here to dive the pristine Belize Barrier Reef and to dive the legendary Blue Hole; the 400 feet deep cavern has long fascinated divers. Snorkellers, swimmers and kite surfers are also welcome. Spot brightly coloured angelfish and shrimp darting amongst the ancient stalactites. Get up close with rays and (thankfully harmless) nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley and witness the superlative marine life within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Culture abounds too; browse the local Belize art on display at the Gallery of San Pedro and explore the Indian history at the Marco Gonzalez Maya site, also in San Pedro.
And did you know that Ambergris Caye is rumoured to be Madonna’s ‘La Isla Bonita’, immortalised in the 1987 pop song!
Image credit; 2; Areed145 CC-ASA-3.0