From Reef to Jerk Chicken: Best Things to Do in San Pedro Belize
World-class snorkeling. Authentic local food. Island time. English-speaking. Decent flight from the United States + fun baby flight to an island. Driving around in a golf cart. Welcome to Ambergris Caye! I judge a destination on whether or not it will be a “repeater.” And this place, my friends, is definitely a repeater. Find out my cherry-picked list of all of our top things to do in San Pedro Belize.
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01- Chow Down on the Best Jerk Chicken Ever!
Owner Robin grilling jerk chicken at Robin’s Kitchen in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Robin’s Kitchen is one of the many reasons we decided to stay on the south side of San Pedro, Belize. We stayed in what is now called the Alaia Belize Autograph Collection, which was only minutes away from this incredible gem of a place.
Located right next to a fruit stand, this small, unassuming roadside restaurant will blow your taste buds away.
The owner John Harvey (aka Robin) and his wife are so friendly and welcoming. As you walk up to this modest establishment, Robin can be seen cooking up his specialty on the pimento wood-fired barrel grill.
Fruit stand next to Robin’s Kitchen
If you bring Robin your catch of the day while out fishing, he will also cook up your fish. Wow, that’s service.
Order the chicken, which usually comes with rice, red beans, and cole slaw, and sit at one of the picnic tables.
Incredible flavor marrying Jamaican and Belizean influences. Wash this delicious meal down with a cold local Belikin beer, which can be purchased next door.
Eating jerk chicken, rice, red beans, and cole slaw at Robin’s Kitchen
Robin cooks the chicken in batches as he anticipates the demand from his customers, so your meal is being served fresh and hot off the grill.
This is not fast food.
Best jerk chicken cooked in pimento wood-fired grill
Be patient, and you will be rewarded with one exceptional authentic meal from the kindest family who clearly takes pride in their culinary craft.
I think Anthony Bourdain would approve.
PRO TIP: Arrive early. When the food runs out, Robin closes up shop. If you still have room after, stop by Las Paletas By Regina for a refreshing paleta (aka a flavored popsicle).
Enjoy flavored popsicles at Las Paletas by Regina
02- Snorkel with Nurse Sharks at Hol Chan
Snorkeling with nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley in Belize
My husband and I are avid snorkelers and purposely seek out destinations with top-notch snorkeling. Some of our favorite places have been Maldives, Bora Bora, St. John USVI, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Belize is also on that list!
Home to the world’s second-largest coral reef system, the protected Hol Chan Marine Reserve consists of seagrass beds, coral reefs, and mangrove forests.
Within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is Shark Ray Alley.
It is not as scary as it sounds.
This incredible spot is where you can snorkel among schools of nurse sharks. Nurse sharks are known as the puppy dogs of the sea.
Don’t get me wrong. You still need to respect them, but they are not the scary “girthy toothy” sharks like a tiger shark or great white shark.
We did great white shark cage diving in South Africa, which had our adrenaline pumping. This adventure was much tamer in comparison.
In addition to nurse sharks, we saw gorgeous coral, many tropical fish, and stingrays.
Curious stingray at Hol Chan Marine Reserve
THIS EXPERIENCE IS NOT TO BE MISSED.
Make sure this snorkeling adventure is at the top of your list of things to do in San Pedro Belize. Check out my personal snorkeling trip report below.
03- Dine & Listen to Music at The Truck Stop
Communal picnic tables at The Truck Stop
No, this is not like the truck rest stops you encounter driving down the interstate in the U.S.
Think Austin, Texas meets the Caribbean.
Food trucks. Picnic tables. Laid-back vibe. Live music. Gourmet high-quality food. Refreshing cocktails. Cornhole tournaments. Trivia games. Outdoor movie nights. Swimming pool. All in an island setting.
Walking along the pier at The Truck Stop
Located in the north part of Ambergris Caye, this unique food park is the brainchild of expat comedian filmmakers Ben and Joanna Popik. Along with restauranteurs Adam and Jackie Feldman, they have created this little food and entertainment oasis.
The food park is made up of repurposed shipping containers.
Expect some incredible food all sourced from local ingredients. Pick from Malaysian and Southeast Asian options like chicken satay and Malaysian curry. Or choose from Latin American favorites like mole chicken and parilla steak with Chimichurri sauce.
Don’t forget dessert, and finish out the meal with a mango-coconut sorbet from the Ice Cream Shoppe.
We enjoyed a wood-fired pizza and a mango island cocktail all while watching the sunset and listening to live music.
It doesn’t get much better than that. Definitely put The Truck Stop on your top things to do in San Pedro Belize!
Enjoying a topical cocktail poolside at The Truck Stop
Belizean sunset as seen from the pier at The Truck Stop
PRO TIP: Walk down the pier behind the food trucks towards the back deck to soak in the incredible colors of the Belizean sunset displayed across the lagoon.
04- Eat a Freshly Baked Cinnamon Bun
Delicious cinnamon bun from The Baker
I judge a dessert based on the question … is this worth the calories?
And the freshly baked, absolutely delicious cinnamon buns at The Baker are worth every calorie. My photo above does not do this amazing pastry justice.
Having daily easy access to this incredible little bakery is yet another reason to stay in the southern part of Ambergris Caye. It is the perfect location for some of the best local foodie stops.
Although the cinnamon buns are the star of the show, The Baker also offers other scrumptious gourmet goods including flaky croissants and freshly baked breads. You can also pick up more savory items like a sausage and cheese biscuit or a chicken pesto sandwich.
Great breakfast and lunch spot.
The creators of this gem are the incredibly welcoming Irish couple, Ken and Emily.
Skip breakfast at your hotel and come here instead. You’ll thank me later.
PRO TIP: Go early because they often sell out of their popular pastries.
05- Spend a Lazy Day at Secret Beach
Secret Beach Belize
Ok, so Secret Beach is not-so-secret anymore but is still totally worth a day trip.
It is located on the northwestern part of Ambergris Caye and does require a little effort to get to … aka a bumpy fun golf cart ride!
What is there to do at Secret Beach?
Eating. Drinking. Swimming. Relaxing. Repeat.
Your biggest choice is which bar to set up shop at. There are several choices to pick from along the beach. All have different vibes from South Beach flair to laid-back, reggae crowds.
Blue Bayou Bar at Secret Beach Belize
06- Float in an Inner Tube at Palapa Bar
Floating in an inner tube at Palapa Bar and Grill in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Make sure this Ambergris Caye institution is on your list of things to do in San Pedro Belize!
Palapa Bar and Grill has been around for decades. The open-air bar has a unique location, directly situated on the water right in downtown San Pedro.
Palapa Bar and Grill in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Scott (retired firefighter) and Jodie (emergency trauma nurse) are the beautiful, friendly faces behind this well-loved bar.
Grab a seat in the palapa or opt to plop down in an inner tube. The staff will even have a bucket of ice cold local Belikin beers dropped down to you in the water via zipline.
The bartenders at Palapa Bar and Grill whip up some fun tropical drinks like the Panty Ripper. This popular Belizean cocktail is made with pineapple juice and coconut rum.
As tempting as that sounded, we went with Scotty’s Palapa Punch. A delicious tropical cocktail made of three rums, Tripple Sec, mango, pineapple, and fresh lime.
Scotty’s Palapa Punch at Palapa Bar and Grill
There’s something about that fruity boozy concoction that instantly makes you feel you are on vacation!
You can also order food, which is your standard bar fare like chicken wings, hamburgers, and tacos. We didn’t try their food, but their drinks hit the spot.
07- Visit the Sister Island, Caye Caulker
Walking around Caye Caulker
Caye Caulker is the less visited sister island to Ambergris Caye. This former fishing community has a low-key, hippie vibe that makes you slow down and relax.
There are a lot of fun things to do around the island. Snorkel, sail, sip on a Lazy Lizard Juice, or try a stuffed fry jack. All these details can be found in my article below.
08- Rent a Golf Cart & Drive Around the Island
Our trusty golf cart in Ambergris Caye, Belize
Whipping around in a golf cart with the sea breeze blasting away your hair is definitely one of the top things to do in San Pedro, Belize.
Ambergris Caye is only 25 miles long. San Pedro is the main town. The best way to get around and discover fun places like Secret Beach and The Truck Stop is by golf cart.
We rented our golf cart directly through our hotel for convenience. But you can shop around to find the best price.
MK Golf Cart Rental is a popular local company that offers a daily rate of $70 USD.
09- Enjoy an Authentic Meal at El Fogon
Delicious ceviche at El Fogon in Ambergris Caye, Belize
El Fogon is a local family restaurant that has been around for decades. The name translates to “fire hearth.”
The family keeps with the old tradition of preparing meals by using an open fire to cook all of their meats, stews, and soups.
We enjoyed some delicious margaritas and fresh, flavorful ceviche. Although we did not try it, the thing to order is chicken salbutes (small crispy tortillas piled with shredded chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, and pepper).
Strongly recommend this local establishment!
10- Go Off-the-Beaten Path and Try Pupusas
Made to order pupusas at La Divina Providencia Store & Restaurant in Belize
No, you are not in El Salvador, but you might as well be.
Go right outside the town of San Pedro to taste these delicious stuffed corn cakes at La Divina Providencia Store & Restaurant.
Pupusas are their specialty and are made fresh to order by hand right on the griddle in front of you.
They can be stuffed with loroco (edible flowers from a flowering vine in Central America), meat (chicharron (pork), chicken, shrimp, lobster), veggies (squash, cauliflower), beans, or cheese.
Lady making fresh made to order pupusas at La Divina Providencia Store & Restaurant in Belize
IMPORTANT. Do not forget to top your pupusa with curtido (pickled cabbage slaw) and pureed tomato salsa for the ultimate authentic experience. Wash it all down with a freshly made juice (watermelon was great!).
Ambergris Caye is not for everyone.
If you love super pristine beaches, turquoise water, fine dining, and all-inclusive experiences, this is not for you.
But if you love adventure, DIY travel, world-class snorkeling, and discovering authentic local food, then these top things to do in San Pedro will be right up your alley. I loved it and can’t wait to come back!
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