Belize is one of those magical places where it feels like there are pockets of undiscovered beauty hidden around every corner. A short plane ride from the mainland, Ambergris Caye, Belize’s largest island, sits among turquoise waters teeming with aquatic life ripe for exploration. While many head to the town of San Pedro and quickly make their way offshore for snorkeling and scuba adventures, I wanted to learn about the stories the island has to tell.
Locals kept mentioning “Secret Beach” as a destination for those in search of some pristine sand in a quiet corner of the island. I was told that with golf carts being the general mode of transportation on Ambergris Caye, it was a 45-minute bumpy journey on mostly dirt roads. Sign me up, I thought, always ready to get off the beaten path.
Renting a golf cart was easy with several golf cart agencies common in San Pedro, and with a full tank of gas, my friend and I were off. As you leave San Pedro, the streets are full of life—people making their way among the shops and fruit stands. Soon we reach a bridge, and we paid a round-trip toll of 10 Belizean dollars ($5 USD) to cross it. On the other side, developed areas become fewer and farther as the road narrows, bringing you deep into mangroves and unspoiled land.
The directions to “Secret Beach” were no more than “follow this road and you’ll find it” and only a couple of signs mark the route. I am not sure we would have made it except for some lucky guesses where we picked the right route. After we left the paved portion of the route, we shared the road with only a couple of other golf carts that we passed, and we felt a sense of discovery and adventure with every bump.
When the road ended at the edge of a beach, the “secret” is out. We found some other adventurous travelers and locals hanging out at a stand sipping fresh coconut juice. There is a pier that extends out into the clear water and people laying out and wading in the sea. Determined to continue our search for adventure, we followed a small path that veers left off of the main beach. It led to a few bungalows on the water’s edge with a little shack where we ordered some cold Belikin, the national beer.
Picking out the perfect lounge chair or hammock is easy as there is no one else in sight at this idyllic hideaway. The water, a welcome escape from the heat, cools me off as a stingray broke the surface in the distance. This was the secret I was in search of, the luxury of an afternoon far from crowds and rich in natural beauty.
As the sun makes its way across the sky over the course of the afternoon, I am reminded of several lines from a Robert Frost poem. He may have been writing about an afternoon in New England, but he expressed a sentiment that was just as true for me that day in sunny Belize:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Choosing to travel the road to Secret Beach made all the difference on my visit to Ambergris Caye.
Authored by Marianna Jamadi