Getting there is just part of the adventure
Off the coast of Belize sits an island that’s home to crystal clear waters, the second largest coral reef in the world, and Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye. This recently opened resort exemplifies the laid-back style associated with the Margaritaville brand. Remotely located, the resort takes some time to get to, but it’s worth the effort for adventurous families looking for a relaxing, off-the-beaten-path vacation.
Getting to Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye
Located on the northern end of Ambergris Caye (pronounced “key”), Margaritaville Beach Resort is miles away from hectic life and was built to be a getaway from guests. As such, it takes effort to get there, but it is well worth it.
Guests can fly into Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport in Belize City. The airport, while small, does offer places to grab a bite to eat or a drink, or to purchase souvenirs. Once in Belize City, guests need to make their way to San Pedro, which is approximately 36 miles north on Ambergris Caye. The quickest way to get there? Take a small puddle jumper plane!
While this might sound daunting, an airline in Belize called Tropic Air makes this flight multiple times per day. Their planes range from 4-seaters to larger planes that seat around 15 passengers. The flight is 15 minutes from take-off to landing and takes you directly over the coral reef, providing amazing views.
Once in San Pedro, you’ll head to the resort’s guest lounge center. Here, guests can cool down, enjoy a water or bottle of Landshark beer, and provide their credit card for incidentals while waiting for the water taxi that takes guests to Margaritaville.
Accommodations in Paradise
At the end of the 30-minute boat ride to the resort, employees greet visitors at the dock with margaritas for adults and cold washcloths. After a quick check-in at the open-air front desk and a view of the large flip-flop and a pop-top, you’ll proceed to your suite.
The resort’s layout is unique because the suites are not all in one building. Spread across the grounds are ten buildings with multiple units in each one.
With only 55 units in the entire resort, it always feels open and quiet. There are also four different suite options, all with outdoor seating and a pull-out couch. Some units also have full kitchen options, making it a relaxing choice for families. The options:
- One-Bedroom Suite – up to 570 square feet inside; up to 208 square feet outside
- Master Bedroom Suite (also available with an oceanfront view) – approximately 900 square feet; 200 square feet outside
- Two-Bedroom Suite (also available with an oceanfront view) – approximately 1,141 square feet; 280 square feet outside
- Three-Bedroom Oceanfront Penthouse Suite – approximately 1,795 square feet; 1,850 exterior with wrap-around patio
Every room in the suites is large, airy, and bright. The decor is beachy, with plenty of references to limes, sea life, and relaxation. Bathrooms offer a large walk-in shower and the large vanities have two sinks, which is helpful when families are getting ready. There are also safes and mini-refrigerators in every room.
Dining and Margaritas
Of course, when at Margaritaville, it always feels like it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. With two bars, including one located at the main pool, guests can always get their favorite cocktail, mocktail, or soda. The resort also has a 24-hour retail store where guests can purchase bottled drinks, snacks, and branded merchandise.
When it’s time to eat, there is only one restaurant, Riddles in the Sand, at the resort. Don’t let that give you pause. Featuring locally sourced dishes that are inspired by Belize, the menu has something for everyone. There are kid-friendly options available as well.
Another fun option is the resort’s Sunbaked BBQ area. Barbequing is part of the Belizean culture, so what better way to enjoy some time outside enjoying the Caribbean air? With four BBQ areas, each equipped with a Big Green Egg ceramic grill, table, and chairs, there’s plenty of room to gather with family and any new friends you’ve made at the resort. In the mood to sit back and let someone else do the cooking? One of the resort’s private chefs can operate the grill and help get everyone fed.
Another option if you’re staying in a suite that has a full kitchen: ask the concierge to do some shopping before your arrival. They’ll have your refrigerator stocked so that when you arrive, you’ll have everything you need if you choose to eat in your suite a few times over your stay.
Relaxation and Wellness
There are plenty of places to put your feet up to relax at Margaritaville Beach Resort Amerbris Caye. Located in Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, the resort offers a beach and views of crystal clear water. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the national park and marine reserve offers guests the opportunity to snorkel right outside their suite.
If you’re not into the open water, the resort has two pools. The pool next to the open-air lobby area offers cabana-style loungers, a hot tub, and a swim-up bar with seating. For those looking for a quieter location, there is a second pool towards the back of the resort that’s perfect for families.
When looking for some space just sit and put your feet up, there’s plenty of seating in the lobby to sit and take a breather and hammocks next to the front pool. Or head to the resort’s dock where you’ll find lounge chairs along the way and chairs under the tiki-style cover at the end. It’s also a great place to enjoy the sunset every night.
For those who like to get some exercise in while on vacation, the resort has a small gym and pickleball courts that are open to all guests.
But what’s a relaxing vacation without a spa? The St. Somewhere Spa can help adults decompress with nail or body services. And with five separate bungalows for massages, including one for couples, it’s easy to escape reality for a few hours.
Excursions from the Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye
While spending time at Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye is relaxing, it’s a fact that it is in a secluded location. And for some families, that might cause them to reconsider visiting. However, visitors to the resort can have their downtime, and when they’re ready to explore, the concierge at Margaritaville is prepared to help.
Being located next to the coral reef means there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy water sports. Hire a local boat to take the family out snorkeling or fishing. The resort offers a sea-to-table program where the chef will cook whatever you catch that day. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!
Ask about being taken out to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. With approximately 4,5000 acres of coral reefs, snorkelers will see various fish, rays, nurse sharks, and other wildlife.
They can also take you to Shark Ray Alley, where you can feed and swim with large nurse sharks.
Afterward, your captain can take you over to Caye Caulker to get a bite to eat and some souvenirs. With a motto of “Go Slow,” residents and visitors use golf carts to get around the island if they’re not walking.
Guests at Margaritaville Beach Resort can also rent a golf cart and spend a little time exploring the area. It’s about an hour to get back to San Pedro, but there are plenty of small towns and other resorts to explore in between.
If your family is up for an adventure, loves the outdoors, and wants to relax under the sun, then Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye is for you. With activities on-site and the ability to take a wide variety of excursions, you’ll never need to worry about being bored.
Things to Note
- There is a $45 USD resort fee charged per night. The fee covers boat transportation to and from San Pedro, WiFi, snorkeling gear, and the ability to borrow bikes or kayaks for the day.
- The resort also offers day passes if you’re staying in the area. The pass costs $15 per person, is capacity-controlled and monitored. Guests can use the pool, bar areas, restaurant, and beach.
- This particular Margaritaville resort is not all-inclusive. But for those who don’t want to think about anything on their vacation, an optional upgrade includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for $125 USD per person per day.
- No cribs, kids club, or nanny services are available as the resort caters to families with children who want to explore together.
- The resort and its employees are into conservation and helping to preserve the environment. Backed against a nature preserve, many trees and animals are behind and within the resort. Visitors are also encouraged to bring their reusable bottles (if you forget, you can buy one in the retail store). There’s a water filling station next to the front desk to fill bottles before heading out for the day.
- Since the resort is located next to the nature reserve, there are mosquitos, especially in the rainy season, which is from June to November. Bring lots of bug spray.
- Also be sure to bring reef-safe sunscreen, applying it often, and a hat. And drink a lot of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. The sun in Belize is intense and can make you ill quickly.
Images by the author. This trip was paid for by Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye but all opinions belong to the writer.