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San Pedro: The Perfect Place to Hide Away   1 | 2 | 3 | 4 

3 Nov 2001

SAN PEDRO, BELIZE — More than half of all visitors to Belize come to visit San Pedro, a sleepy little town on the Ambergris Caye. Most of them probably don't have the pleasure of staying as long as we did, but then they probably don't come here to get laid out with E. Coli. Technically, I think they're coming here to visit the tremendous barrier reef that lies just offshore of this caye, but it's almost impossible not to visit the town at the same time, given it's basically the only town on the entire island.

Although it incorporates land for miles both to the north and south, 98% of its 2000, 3000, or 4000 inhabitants are in the small downtown area and its surroundings. (I've seen all three figures quoted in three separate publications less than a year old — maybe some of them are counting the stray dogs.) "Downtown" consists of three north-south streets, most of them covered in advertising for businesses on the next street over. There are only three streets-south, because from any one point in town, you could pretty much throw a rock either east or west, and hit either the ocean or the lagoon. This is a small town.

Click to enlarge
Erin on Palm Tree

There are virtually no cars in San Pedro, which is a good thing, because there is virtually no pavement, either. What few cars you will see are doubtless either taxis or the bottle trucks, which replace used bottles from restaurants and businesses with new sodas, beers, and waters rebottled at the local plant. Few residents own automobiles, and you can't rent them. To get around, you use a golf cart, or a bicycle.

Oh, and the phone numbers in San Pedro are just four digits. Did I mention this is a small town?

Most of the visitors to this island are also from North America. So, as you can expect, Americans are crawling all over the place. But not only American tourists; it seems there are quite a few expatriates here, as well. We met a number of people from Canada, the US, and even Texas, just to name a few of the countries people have been coming from. I'm honestly not even sure if I ever met a native Belizian the entire week and a half I was there. Although it's a former British colony, it's always been in the heart of Central America, and thus has a very strong Latino population. And, being in the Yucatan area, it also carries a large Mayan population. To make matters even more confusing, much of the ancestry in various regions is Creole. We heard a lot of Spanish accents, a lot of thick Creole accents, and a few things that we couldn't actually make out. So, to this day, I don't think I have a clue of what a native Belizian is. The one thing I do know, judging from the tea, is that they aren't British.

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Last updated: 08 Jan 2002 06:50:59