I fell in love with San Pedro
Warm wind carried on the sea, he called to me
Te dijo te amo
I prayed that the days would last
They went so fast…
If you’ve ever heard Madonna’s song “La Isla Bonita”, you know that Belize’s San Pedro Island holds the power to bewitch those who visit it to the point where they never wish to leave.
Perhaps you’ve heard the familiar chorus many times, but you didn’t realize that Madonna’s “pretty island” is actually a really place. What’s more– it’s worth a visit! (or two…)
Read on to find out just what makes this lovely island so special and song-worthy:
It truly is “wild and free”
As Madonna’s lyrics suggest, San Pedro is a tropical paradise where visitors go to explore the wild untouched Caribbean reefs and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
It has the white sandy beaches you’ve often seen in magazines (or in your dreams), and that “island breeze” that makes the palm trees sway as lazy ocean waves roll ashore.
Tropical the island breeze
All of nature wild and free
This is where I long to be
La isla bonita…
There’s plenty to do there!
This dream island has no shortage of amazing activities to enjoy with your family and friends (or even by yourself!) Here’s a list of some of the top things to do in San Pedro, Belize:
1. Visit the Great Blue Hole
This should be on the top of your list of things to do in San Pedro, Belize. This well-known and incredibly gorgeous sinkhole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s.
You can snorkel in the coral reef around the Great Blue Hole’s rim, or take a deep dive in its navy-blue depths. However, this diving spot is best enjoyed by experienced divers, due to the underwater cave’s depth and complexity.
Taking a boat out to the Great Blue Hole isn’t the only way to catch a glimpse of its beauty, however. Flying overhead is arguably the best way to see it, since a bird’s-eye view will allow you to see its nearly perfect circular shape, and the contrast of its dark blue hue with the surrounding turquoise Caribbean Sea.
You can book a helicopter, plane, or even a hot-air balloon tour to see Belize’s Great Blue Hole from the air.
2. Snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, which is one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. In fact, it’s second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Check out Shark Ray Alley to catch a glimpse of huge sea turtles, nurse sharks and giant stingrays. This is one snorkeling experience you’ll never forget.
You’ll also see plenty of colorful coral, but remember– it’s for admiring, not touching! (That goes for all marine life as well). Few sites in the world are as replete with coral as Belize’s Barrier Reef, so it’s incredibly important to protect it.
The Caribbean is lucky to be host to some of the world’s most beautiful scuba diving and snorkeling sites. In fact, Bonaire, a little-known island, is famous for its beautiful snorkeling havens.
3. Bask on Secret Beach
Ok, the secret is out! You can find one of the best beaches in the Caribbean right here on San Pedro, Belize. In fact, Secret Beach looks like a vision from a dream: soft, white sand, crystal-clear blue water, and tranquil waters. It’s the perfect place for a calm swim.
Stretch out your beach towel and bask on this now not-so-secret beach in the morning, if you want to have it all to yourself.
4. Book a Catamaran and cruise through the reef
Charter your own private boat, or grab a spot with a group. Either way, this is one of the best ways to enjoy Belize’s Barrier Reef. Plenty of tours are available from San Pedro island.
As you sail away and feel the ocean breezes cool your cheeks under the blazing sun, you’ll realize that San Pedro, Belize is truly where you long to be!
5. Explore amazing Mayan ruins
The Yucatan Peninsula may have the monopoly on quantity of Mayan ruins, but San Pedro, Belize has one of the most fascinating sites. The Marco Gonzalez archaeological site offers some unspoiled, untouched, and still unexplored areas.
In fact, you may even catch a glimpse of archeologists unearthing new finds in their ongoing archeological digs, since the site is still being studied.
Although there aren’t any towering pyramids, there are certain things in Marco Gonzalez that you won’t find in most Mayan ruin sites: shards of ancient pottery, conch shells, and other artifacts. Since the site is around 2,000 years old, the fact that so many findings are so well-preserved is absolutely amazing.
6. Visit the Belizean Arts Gallery
The Belizean Arts Gallery on Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro, Belize is both a museum and art gallery featuring handicrafts, beaded items, and fine art by local artists. It’s the perfect place to find a souvenir to take home with you. They sell an eclectic assortment of purses, paintings, wooden masks, blankets, jewelry, and even carvings in black stone.
This is not your run-of-the-mill tourist trap stocked with plastic baubles from China. At the Belizean Arts Gallery, you’ll find gifts for loved ones (and yourself!) that you’ll truly cherish for years to come!
San Pedro, Belize: Make your dream a reality
Don’t limit your knowledge of San Pedro to a catchy song and a few informative articles. This island is more than worth a trip, and won’t be easily forgotten.
Make your dream a reality by visiting Belize and staying in a beachfront apartment or private villa. Skip the overbooked hotels and find a secret place where you can experience Belize the way it was meant to be: wild and free.