About Erin D
Lives in San Pedro, Belize
Since Sep 2008
35-49 year old female
Full time traveler and digital nomad - visited over 60 countries on 5 continents to date. Three-time expat -- Taiwan, Netherlands, and Belize. I'm a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and I'm an annual passholder to all Disney Parks worldwide, visiting each of the international resorts 2-3 times per year. I work as a travel and food writer and blogger. I write for publications like Viator and Roam Right Travel Insurance. I am AFAR Magazine's Belize expert and authored the Official AFAR Guide to Belize. In 2013, I authored the majority of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize, and had the honor to work as the English language editor for a renowned international chef's second published cookbook.
Scuba & Snorkeling
Nature & Wildlife Areas, Reefs
Points of Interest & Landmarks, Reefs
Bars & Clubs, Karaoke Bars
Bars & Clubs
Factory Outlets, Coffee & Tea Tours, Other Food & Drink
Gift & Speciality Shops
Gift & Speciality Shops
Gift & Speciality Shops
Boat Tours, Scuba & Snorkeling, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Private Tours, Day Trips
Bars & Clubs
Meat pies are a Belizean breakfast specialty you won't want to miss. Boogie's Belly is the best place to get them in San Pedro now. Be warned -- they are popular, so get there bright and early or you might find them completely sold out.
If you're a certified diver, or looking to complete your certification while in San Pedro, head to Chuck and Robbie's on the beach just north of town. Chuck and Robbie's is the primary dive shop I use, and I'm certainly not alone. Many repeat travelers, expats, and locals all dive with Robbie and the staff. I did my certification with them years ago, and Robbie's instructor was professional and great at calming people who might feel anxious during the check-out dives.
Sandbar Beachfront Hostel & Restaurant is right near Chuck and Robbie's dive shop, making it the ideal place to stop for lunch after your dives. The once popular beach bar and restaurant was closed for a while undergoing renovations to add the hostel, but Sandbar is back open and serving the same great pizza as before.
If you're not SCUBA certified, or if you want more physical activity after your dives, BIGSUP Belize has a paddle boarding rental facility housed in the same building as Chuck and Robbie's dive center. Rent a paddle board and venture off on the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea. You can take one of their scheduled yoga sessions or book a private workout/circuit training session.
One of the more iconic ways to spend a few hours of your first afternoon in San Pedro is to lounge in the tubes at Palapa Bar. Recently Palapa Bar relocated from north of the bridge to the Wet Willy’s Dock in Boca Del Rio, right on the beach near Blue Tang Inn, Sandbar Hostel, and Melt Café. Palapa Bar is one of the more popular hangouts for tourists, expats, and locals alike. Palapa Bar has a varied menu of bar food appetizers and entrees to choose from, loungers on the deck, and tubes in the water. Bartenders like Marcial, Chee, and Abner will take good care in ensuring you have an expertly mixed cocktail in hand!
Elvi's is one of San Pedro's most iconic restaurants. Chef Jennie has done a great job of bringing traditional Belizean dishes to life, with a concentration on traditional Mayan flavors, much of which has been lost in culture today. I've sampled a large portion of her menu so far, and am hard-pressed to find something I don't enjoy.
By day, Fido's is a beachfront restaurant and bar; however, nighttime is when the place comes alive. Fido's is popular with travelers who want to come have a few drinks, listen to live music, and hit the dance floor. Locals and expats come to hang out and meet friends or mingle with the tourists. Friday and Saturday nights are the most popular, as people tend to all meet there after dinner.
Breakfast at Estel's on the beach is a must at least one of your vacation days in San Pedro. And, if you're a later riser, breakfast is served all day so you're still in luck. The fry jacks and homemade tortillas are two of my favorite things to get with any breakfast item. If you're a carb lover and can't choose, eat them both! On Sunday, Charles has his BBQ grill ready to go so come in for some amazing ribs, pork chops, chicken, and sausage.
Even if you're a diver, book a snorkel trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan is the oldest marine reserve in Belize and a popular spot for snorkeling tours and check-out dives. The once depleted fishing area has begun thriving again thanks to its protected status, and there are over 160 species of fish and over 40 types of coral in the area now.
Shark Ray Alley is part of Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the second stop on most snorkel tours from Ambergris Caye. Shark Ray Alley is the spot where nurse sharks and southern sting rays like to hang out. Years ago, local fishermen used to clean their catch and the sharks and rays began congregating every day.
After you've worked up an appetite snorkeling, head over to Wild Mango's for lunch. Chef Amy Knox has developed a very interesting menu with Latin and Caribbean flavors. Some of my favorite menu items include the Chipotle Shrimp Tostadas and Tacos "San Pedro Style." Her Bocaditos, or small bites, menu is the best. Order a number of dishes and share. Don't miss her ceviche -- she typically has six different kinds on the menu!
After lunch, relax over the water and enjoy a cocktail or two at Hurricanes. The bartenders are always working on new drink creations if you want to be surprised. If you are still hungry after lunch, order ceviche. The Mymula (or Maimula) is my favorite and not as easy to find on the island.
Depending on where you're staying on Ambergris Caye, another option for happy hour or pre-dinner drinks is the Squirrel's Nest south of town. Located at Mata Rocks Resort, the small beach bar is a great spot to relax and enjoy cocktails.
Dinner at Casa Picasso is definitely something to include during your visit to San Pedro. Owners Jackie and Adam have done a fantastic job developing a globally-inspired menu that also showcases local ingredients. Choose from various tapas or entrees -- or order both! Ask about special events and the Thursday chef's tasting menu.
After dinner at Casa Picasso, there are a few bars in the area that both travelers and locals like to hit. One of the popular options is Roadkill Bar. Roadkill Bar has karaoke and live music some nights of the week, so there may be a crowd on these nights.
Crazy Canucks is on the beach, across the street from Roadkill Bar. The owners are a lot of fun and the bar is home to a great mix of locals, expats, and tourists. Check for weekly events like karaoke, live music, daytime painting classes, and Sunday-Funday activities.
While Pedro's is a backpacker-style hostel and hotel, the bar is very popular with many locals and expats. If you love Jagermeister, and even if you don't, it wouldn't be a trip to San Pedro without stopping in for at least one drink at Pedro's Inn. Pedro's has an impressive wall of photo-worthy empty Jager bottles, and if you're brave enough, ring the bell and buy the entire bar a round of Jager shots.
If you liked meat pies and want to try another local Belizean breakfast specialty, stop by Neri's Tacos for some rolled tacos. The simple concoction of meat, onions, and chili rolled in tortillas is a beloved breakfast staple here. If you don't like spicy food, order them without chili and add your own hot sauce as desired.
Head to Blue Water Grill in town to enjoy breakfast overlooking the Caribbean Sea. It's located just across from the Tropic Air Terminal, inside the Sunbreeze Hotel. Blue Water Grill has a great breakfast menu and you can't beat the views.
Start your day off by visiting some of Belizean's local artisans, and checking out the variety of products available on Ambergris Caye. Caye Coffee Roasting Co. is located south of town, and Paul and Marci are always eager to show guests around and talk about their roasting process. If you're a coffee lover, it's a great opportunity to meet with an artisan roasting company. Caye Coffee makes three varieties, Front Street (more mild, breakfast blend), Back Street (more bold), and Middle Street (the best of both). Be sure to bring some coffee back home with you. If you run out before you leave and Caye Coffee isn't open, you can purchase the coffee in most grocery stores and at the Belize International Airport now.
Head back to town and stop by 12 Belize, located in the Vilma Linda Plaza near the start of Front Street. The store is stocked with everything and anything you could want that is locally produced in Belize, and if interested, you can learn the story behind every project and artisan carried in the store. For a variety of souvenirs and gifts you aren't likely to find elsewhere on the island, 12 Belize won't disappoint.
If you're looking for general gifts, t-shirts, souvenirs and more, Front Street has a variety of stores, including Toucan Gift Stores. Here you'll find lots of t-shirts, sundresses, some Belizean products, tropical jewelry, and more.
Head to the end of Front Street near Belize Bank to Belizean Breezes Soap Co., where you'll find a dizzying array of hand poured soaps. Products use 100% natural ingredients and no animal by-products. They make over 170 flavors of soaps, along with scrubs, shower steamers, lotions, and more. There is also hand crafted jewelry available as well.
If you're looking for art, or to take an art class, head over to Belizean Melody Art Galley. Here, you can find pieces from local artists and by the owner herself. You may even find pieces from some of Belize's younger up-and-coming talent. Ask about custom pieces and classes -- Classes are taught in the gallery along with other locations on the island.
Apart from snorkeling and/or diving along Belize's Barrier Reef system, you should take a sunset cruise at least once during your stay. If you're looking for a group tour option, consider Island Dream Tours. One of the newest charters on the island, the YOLO Catamaran is already proving to be a very popular option in San Pedro. The party-style catamaran has a bar and is perfectly outfitted to take in one of Ambergris Caye's signature sunsets.
While not Belizean in origin, pupusas from El Salvador are quite popular on Ambergris Caye. If you head down Middle Street in the evening, you'll pass Pupuseria Salvadoreno, selling some of the best Salvadoreno pupusas. Choose from a variety of options like mixed, bean, pumpkin, beans, shrimp, spinach, and lobster (when in season). Try a variety and/or order off their expansive menu. Burritos and tostadas are some of my favorites, while the whole fried fish and seafood soup are popular with friends.
Finish off your evening in San Pedro by visiting one of the island's best beach bars. Wayo is originally from the Cayo District in Belize, but has been living on the island of Ambergris Caye for years. He is affectionately known as "Wayo from Cayo," and has a loyal following from locals and expats to repeat travelers who come down once or twice a year to catch up. It's a great neighborhood bar for those looking for a less touristy experience and an opportunity to mingle with a variety of people.
Carlo & Ernie's Runway Bar is a popular bar with locals and expats alike. Conveniently located just past the Tropic Air Terminal, it's a great place to spend an evening, or enjoy a last drink before heading out on your flight. If there's a sporting event you're hoping to catch while in San Pedro, Carlo & Ernie's is likely to have it on the big screen.