Beachfront Cabanas near Popular Snorkeling and Diving Sites
A 25-mile island off the northern coast of Belize, Ambergris Caye is a paradise for adventurous travelers, a place rife with year-round fishing, snorkeling, and a nearby barrier reef that is the longest in the Western Hemisphere. Located a few miles north of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, Portofino Beach Resort sits on a private beachfront property, which you can explore using snorkeling gear—it's free to borrow from the front desk. The resort is also just a short boat ride from Mexico Rocks, one of the area’s most popular snorkeling spots. Its shallow, clear-blue waters are home to Caribbean spiny lobsters, nurse sharks, and plenty of tropical fish.
The resort also has its own dive shop, where you can rent gear or enroll in a PADI or SDI scuba-certification program. The dive shop can set up diving trips to the Belize Barrier Reef, where sea turtles, manatees, and hundreds of species of tropical fish live in the reef’s atolls, coastal lagoons, and high-rise apartment buildings.
From Portofino’s beach cabanas, you can gaze out onto white-sand beaches and the Caribbean Sea. Each cabana has a shared porch with a hammock and a thatched roof. Inside, you’ll find local artwork and furniture made from tropical hardwoods and bamboo. A few steps away, the Portofino Restaurant serves grouper and snapper bouillabaisse, grilled lobster, and other Euro-Caribbean specialties on a seaside balcony. Wines, beers, and smoothies from the beachside Green Parrot Beach Bar provide the capper to a beautiful day along the Caribbean coast.
Ambergris Caye, Belize: Small Island near World’s Second-Largest Barrier Reef
Recognized by Travel + Leisure magazine as one of the World’s Best Islands, Ambergris Caye sits just off the northeastern coast of mainland Belize. By law, none of the island's buildings can be taller than the highest coco palm, which helps create a serene, unspoiled vibe. The entire island is only about 25 miles long and 1 mile wide, but its varied ecosystems range from low sand ridges to lagoons and mangrove swamps.
Hop aboard a speedboat or glass-bottom boat to reach the Belize Barrier Reef, which lies about 10 minutes away. It's part of the second-longest barrier reef in the world and was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site for its biological diversity. The reef shelters a remarkable variety of sea life, including nearly 500 species of fish and rare, massive West Indian manatees that can reach the size of a compact car.
The town of San Pedro is situated on Ambergris’s southern end. Formerly a small fishing village, it’s now home to various boutiques, which stock artisan crafts ranging from ziricote woodcarvings to Guatemalan jewelry.
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