Should I Rent a Golf Cart on Ambergris Caye, Belize?

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.

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View in front of Sunbreeze Suites, Town Center, San Pedro

Now…what’s next?

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.

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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.

Tranquility Bay Resort, 14 Miles North Ambergris Caye
Tranquility Bay Resort, 14 Miles North Ambergris Caye

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.

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Snorkeling Hol Chan Marine Reserve’s Shark Ray Alley – no cart needed

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.

Some of the activities offered by Pelican Reef Villas, 3 miles south, Ambergris Caye
Some of the activities offered by Pelican Reef Villas, 3 miles south, Ambergris Caye

Do you want to head out to Secret Beach?  You are going to need a golf cart.

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The calm, clear sandy bottomed waters of West Ambergris Caye

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.

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Golf Cart ride up north – about 12 miles north Ambergris Caye

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) – samirbelize@gmail.com.  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.

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Coastal Xpress water taxi pick up and ride to town at Xtan Ha Resort, 7 miles north

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.

 

 

 

 

 







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  • Heidi Strub Nelson

    We visited last June. We stayed in the middle of town (an AirBnB rental), so we walked most places. (I picked a place downtown for that reason.) We did rent a cart two different days so we could explore the North side, then the South side. That was perfect for us.

    • That sounds ideal…and i think that’s what many do. Try it out for a few days…see if you like it 🙂

  • rjhawkins

    Option No. 4: Bicycle! A great way to slow down and actually see something other than the glimpsed blur of coconut trees, beach sand and blue-green sea. Fresh air! Sunshine! Exercise! Decent roads! Bike racks! Less traffic! Given the choice, I take my bicycle out every time. Life is slower, more people smile at you and say hello, and it is easier to find a parking space.

    • Heidi Strub Nelson

      Yeah, we would have preferred bikes, but we couldn’t find any to rent. Definitely would have been preferable!

      • There is a rental shop right across from Tropic Air these days…they have really cute bikes.

  • jack g.

    Oh yeah!!, Bicycle every time there is more that meets the eye when on a bicycle, than riding around on a cart! Plus the added bonus is that you can work off that delicious breakfast from Estels!! Go for the gold and bike you will be glad you did!!

    P.S. plus you will save a few extra bucks to go out more!!

  • Latt Soileau

    We stayed this past June and we rented a cart for the week. We wanted to be able to go as we pleased. However, know that if you do go bar hopping (like mentioned in the article above) AC has a police force that does have mandatory traffic stops/checkpoints every now and again. We encountered one the very first day we drove north towards Captain Morgan’s Retreat. We had a couple drinks but were by no means drunk. I could see how this would have been a very uncomfortable situation had we been driving intoxicated. It would not have been a good start to our weeklong vacation.
    However, there is so much to see farther north of town and to experience the true tropical feel of AC we definitely recommend a trip north. You MUST have breakfast at Ak’bol yoga resort! We didn’t care too much to go farther north past Captain Morgan’s since the road is not paved and it gets rather rough. Same goes for the South side past Victoria House. If they would only pave the road South it is definitely as beautiful as the North.
    One tip, though, since all the carts seem to look alike. Bring along some sort of Item that can be tied to your cart so that you can easily recognize it. Once you park along front street while enjoying fritters and Belikin at Fido’s and come out you’ll know why! Its an endless sea of carts!

  • Linda Young

    We stay up north, and depend on the Water taxis to get us to town and back. Also, we have a nice taxi driver that we call if we want to really explore. Orlando is his name. Their are too many carts, no parking, and too much congestion. I love making friends with locals and the schoolkids on the Water taxi.

    • yes! i forgot about the kids on the water taxi! So super cute. I think it’s what I loved most on my first visit to San Pedro – socializing with the people that live here. I never went back to the all inclusive vacation after that 🙂

  • I was going to post that I couldn’t believe you overlooked the option of renting bikes — but I see some others have already done that for me! We much preferred biking around the island to taking a golf cart, except for carrying cases of Belikin, that is! 😉 Bikes are great if you’re staying within 2 miles north or south of town. Any further, and I can definitely see the advantage of a cart (or the water taxi). Is Joe’s Bike Shop still in business? He was great for bike rentals, assuming the hotel/resort doesn’t have them available or for rent. Bikes all the way! P.S. If staying north of the bridge, biking to the secret beach is definitely an option too. We used to head that way all the time, back before it was even a thing. 🙂