While you were planning (or ARE planning) your first trip to Ambergris Caye, you probably spent hours booking flights, researching transportation from the international airport (on the mainland) to the caye and figuring out the right resort for your needs.
You got yourself to Belize, you unpacked your bags in your room and you took a walk out to the beach.
You’ve got a ton of options. Ambergris Caye is the most popular vacation area in Belize for a reason. There is a ton of stuff to do. (Here are my 11 Things to Do On Your First Visit to help kick things off.)
But do you need to rent transportation to do it? The answer is…it depends. It depends on how active you want to be, how much you want to explore the island – to eat and drink at different spots, where exactly are you staying and how much time you just want to lounge around relaxing.
So there are no hard, steadfast rules. But I can always make suggestions.
Before you book, pay attention to WHERE you are booking. Ambergris Caye is a long island. Lodging and amenities are generally more frequent as you get closer to San Pedro town. Hotels and resorts spread out from 14 Miles North to 5 Miles South of town.
If you KNOW you want to try all the top restaurants and you want to go out dancing at night, staying 12 miles north might be tough for you.
If you KNOW you want lots of sun, sand and sunrises and you aren’t a night person, that location may be PERFECT for you.
You will see your location in the resort address. Example: Rebecca’s 8-Star Imaginary Resort and Spa, 5.5 Miles North. Book this and you are going to be 5.5 miles north of San Pedro town Center.
Does that mean you are going to be totally cut off? Is EVERYTHING that you want to see and do in town? Are you marooned in a spot where you have no access to food and water? No. No and definitely no.
Here’s my suggestion for your first trip. Arrive in San Pedro (either by Tropic Air or water taxi) and, with the help of your lodging, get to your hotel. Some spots pick you up, some suggest that you take a taxi, some are within walking distance of the landing strip…
Check in. Unpack. Get the lay of the land…and the pool…and the beach…and the road. Check out the restaurant and bar at your resort, if there is one. Have a rum punch, chat with the guests who have been there a day or two.
Ask the front desk what other hotels, bars, restaurants are within walking distance. Ask what the easiest way to get around is. Maybe you hotel has free bikes you can use. Relax, take a nap…have dinner.
Now. What do you want to do over the next few days or few weeks? Snorkel? For sure. Talk to your front desk.
A trip to the mainland? Awesome. Maya temples! Cave tubing! Talk to your front desk. Diving? Again, talk to your front desk. They can hook you up with the operators they use and trust.
Do you want to head out to Secret Beach? You are going to need a golf cart.
Do you want to go bar hopping? You’ll want a golf cart. Do you want to head down to the Truck Stop for a Wednesday movie night? A cart would be great. Just want to tootle around for the day? Super fun in a golf cart.
Here’s the thing…there are TONS of rental carts on the island right now. There is really no need to book way in advance unless it is Christmas/New Years Week or Easter.
Golf carts cost from $45 to $75US a day depending on how long you are going to rent them for. Longer is a cheaper daily rate.
Try one out for a day or two. Figure out if you want to keep one for the whole week…
You can ask at your hotel for a recommendation – or you can email my friend Mahmoud at Isla Bonita Rentals (feel free to mention me and ask for his best price) – firstname.lastname@example.org. Carts can generally be delivered and picked up.
Maybe you find that you don’t really need it…or that you LOVE it – you were BORN to drive a golf cart…or that you prefer taking the Coastal Xpress water taxi from your resort to town.
Maybe you just want to sit at your hotel pool, get picked up at the dock to go diving every other day and then read all week.
What I’m saying is there is no pressure. There is no right or wrong answer. And that if you decide a golf cart is a must – it’s easy to get one.
Here’s what would probably be the most help – chime in! For those who have been to the island, let me know how you got around or didn’t get around. Let me know your suggestions about renting golf carts on Ambergris Caye.