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If you plan to stay in Belize as a tourist or as a permanent resident, then you should know about Ambergris Caye in the Atlantic coast. It is one of the biggest islands or “cayes” (as it is known as in Belize) with San Pedro as its major city connected to the mainland by air along with water ways. The island is only 26 miles long and is only half a mile wide! Expats have been moving here since the late 1970s; today their children think Belize as their home rather than their parent's country. As example of such a new Belizean is Kelly Kanabar, owner and operator of Blue Water Grill and other two restaurants in the island. Her parents came here to open a resort and so loved the place that they stayed here to raise their child.
There are various reasons for that. First of all Ambergris Caye along with Belize has English as the main language that is spoken and understood. That has been possible because Belize was a British crown colony even as late as 1981! Other two languages that are prominent in Ambergris Caye are Spanish and Creole. According to Kelly, people here can speak and understand these three languages with equal ease! Another reason why Americans and Canadians are opting to move here with their children is because the education system of Belize along with its medical facilities is at par with any developed nation.
Now let's come to the main reason why Ambergris Caye is so popular with tourist and retirement community. The sheer beauty of the place will take your breath away once you come here. Imagine living just 100 yards away from the second largest barrier reef in the world! For adventure seekers and anglers, this place is a paradise. You can scuba dive to your content; there is a crater here called “Blue Hole” which is a must place to explore. Jacques Cousteau, the renowned explorer so loved the place that he named it “wonder of the world”.
As for people who love fishing, they will get plenty of chance to catch big game fishes here. You can go for both reef fishing and deep sea fishing. The best part is; it will be just a minute or two from the coast! Fishes that are found in plenty here include; snapper and grouper (in the reef) and billfish, marlin, tuna and tarpon in the deep sea. If you love a challenge while fishing try catching hog snapper, a fish very hard to catch with a traditional hook as it has a wide mouth. You have to spear it in the water!
If you can't catch anything, don't despair. Fishermen here catch enough for feeding the locals and the tourists. They are served fresh and often restaurants like those run by Kelly offers the choice of “catch of the day”. The food here is also another reason why people love to settle here. You get not only the freshest sea food but all kinds of traditional American foods are widely available in the island. As for local food, try a dish of rice and red kidney beans served with stewed chicken and mashed potatoes. This is the staple lunch for most Belizeans and comes within $10!
Ambergris Caye and other parts of Belize are not saturated with tourists and expats like other Caribbean islands. The country has maintained its tranquil beauty to a large extant though resorts are being built in the coast and southern part of Ambergris Caye. Still San Pedro offers a laid back and leisure full lifestyle with golf carts being the most driven car! Today everything is available in the island thanks to the regular barges that deliver supplies. The airport is a busy one with planes flying in every hour! You can get Wi-Fi connection along with cable networks which were not available even 20 years back! As Ms Kelly remembers, CNN and WGN along with another Spanish language television were available when she was growing up. But today, San Pedro is like any other cosmopolitan city but with a beauty that is unspoiled by modern lifestyle.