It is not uncommon for first-time travelers to ask, “how big is Ambergris Caye? ”
Lying between 18.87 and 18.19° north latitude and 87 to 88° west longitude, Ambergris Caye is approximately 25 miles or 40 kilometers long from north to south. It spans as little as 1 mile or 1.6 kilometers wide in some places and as wide as 5 miles at its widest point. Areas where limestone caye has not been altered by development, are mostly outlined with mangroves and white sandy beaches. Ambergris has an estimated 17,400 people (some say more) living in 17,600 acres of space in it’s only town of San Pedro. It takes up approximately 27.5 sq miles or 71.2 sq kilometer with an elevation above sea level at 2 meters or 7 feet.
The aerial photos below by L Kelly Jones give you a good example of how narrow the island can be at some points. In town, you can be standing at a crossroads and see both the Caribbean Sea to the east and lagoon to the west. Kelly also provided the featured image above.
About 20 miles north of town at end of the island is the Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve. This area of land is separated from Mexico by the very narrow El Rio de Bacalar Chico channel (or Mayan channel) between Ambergris Caye and Xcalak Mexico. It is believed the channel was created by the Maya to provide a trade route from Quintana Roo around 600 A.D.
The canal was mistakenly called a river and many believed that this river belonged to Mexico, thus the conception that the land of Bacalar Chico was Mexican territory. It was determined that Bacalar was in fact (British Honduras) land and the treaty was settled in 1893.
Belize Mexico map from Wikipedia and Mayan Canal picture is Courtesy of JohnBTV. To see more of the area click through to my North Ambergris Caye Adventure. I got to take a boat ride with the whale sharks around the north side of the island, what a fun tour. We stopped at little known about San Juan- visitor center, passed by Chaac Balam Maya site while navigating through the canal and our last stop was Rocky Point for a swim and some land exploration.
Another Kind of Big
Aside from its physical size, Ambergris Caye is big in another way. It’s residents have huge hearts and so do many travelers that vacation here. There are always individuals and organizations needing help. I have seen so many longtime and new travelers that are willing to contribute to one cause or another. Some use “Pack for a Purpose” and some “mule” on suitcases full of items from school wish lists or things needed in disadvantaged communities.
In this case, it was our local children’s shelter, Hope Haven, that is trying to get up and running.
I was beyond excited to hand over the Code For a Cause donation to assist Blue Water Grill’s monthly community effort. Although I was not able to be at the restaurant for the official exchange as I had a pre-scheduled boat trip that day, my editor Shirlee and I caught up with Michelle Estrella Nunez and Christen Jones yesterday afternoon to hand over a tacogirl.com donation.
Not only is there strength in numbers, but there are also far-reaching benefits. Helping providing comfortable bedding, toys, and food for children in need is a life-changing act. I would like to give a big shout out to everyone that booked their Tropic Air tickets using CFC for a December flight. Your thoughtful decision to fly with a purpose generated a donation of $1700.00.
Over a two month period, Blue Water Grill customers donated $2,088, and they matched it by 100%. Guests of The Phoenix Resort donated $1,905, which The Phoenix also matched, customers of Wine de Vine donated $124, which Wine de Vine matched. In total, the three contributed $8,234 plus Code For a Cause makes a grand total of $9,934 to help get Hope Haven Shelter closer to open.
February’s cause is the San Pedro High School, teachers, and principal. The goal is to raise $3500 to give each teacher and principal at SPHS a $100 cash bonus as a thank you for the important work that they do. You can donate in person while enjoying a delicious meal at Blue Water Restaurant or on the Blue Water Belize Community website. A portion of all flights flown in January will be donated towards this worthy effort.
When you book online with Tropic Air use the current code horizon and a portion of your flight purchase will be included as a donation to the charity/cause choice of the month. [*Please note as of 2020 there is no more tacogirl Tropic Air Flight discount and the one beneficiary of flight code for a cause is the Belize Cancer Center.]
First Hope Haven donation picture below, courtesy of BWG Facebook page.