How to get to Secret Beach, San Pedro

How to get to Secret Beach, San Pedro

How to get to Secret Beach, San Pedro

Last Updated November 12th, 2019

Detailed directions to Secret Beach San Pedro, Belize with pictures on how to get there

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If you’re looking for a hidden paradise then look no further than Belize’s Secret Beach on San Pedro island. An oasis tucked inland of the island, accessible by small boat or driving through barren unmarked paths via rented golf cart.

Secret Beach is one of the San Pedro locals favorite beaches and still somewhat a local secret. So, while I’m tempted to keep this haven true to its name- as a secret! -I want to help you skip over the confusion and waste less time getting lost.

This way you can enjoy even more time lapping up the stunning clear waters, fresh coconuts and sea breeze at the beautiful Secret Beach.

If you’re staying in San Pedro, find out how to travel to the island stress free

What is Secret Beach?

(and what makes it so special?)

San Pedro island Belize is known for its eatern shoreline of coral reefs, fishing, marine life and nightlife. Only 10 years ago did a developer lay down a road that stretched to the western side of the island. This made the western side accessible for the first time and it exposed a breath-taking set of beaches and waters.

How long does it take to get to from San Pedro to Secret Beach?

The drive from Secret Beach to San Pedro can take up to two hours driving one way. It depends on if you spend any time getting lost while driving there, and how fast your golf cart can go… as well as your ability to withstand the bumping up and down a golf cart on an unpaved, dirt road for over an hour.

Why should you visit Secret Beach in San Pedro?

Many of the coastline areas of San Pedro are covered in quite a bit of seaweed. So while the sunrises are spectacular from town, the beaches are not the best for wadding into for a good swim. However, further into the Caribbean Sea are some wonderful snorkeling waters off the coast of Belize. Making Secret Beach a haven place on the island.

  • Once you arrive you’ll notice the pristine waters that are effortlessly calm, and beach goers can wade almost 200 feet out!
  • While you may need some bug spray [here is a sustainable and healthy bug spray that I would recommend], there is no seagrass or seaweed, as compared to the coastal side of San Pedro, that I mentioned above
  • During the busy season, there are multiple bars and restaurants open along the beach, plus there will be options to rent stand up paddleboards and kayaks – perfect for those novice water sport athletes since the water is so calm
  • It still feels undeveloped and like a hidden gem of a destination. Since it takes quite a drive to get to this Belizean beach, not many want to make the trek out here, so there won’t be an overcrowded site.

How to get to Secret Beach from San Pedro, Belize

  • The most convenient way to get to Secret Beach is by golf cart.

  • You will need to first rent a golf cart in San Pedro town. There are quite a few options to choose from, but fear not because if you’re staying at a hotel they will easily be able to connect you to their preferred golf cart vendor. Within 20 minutes of asking, you should have someone ready to have you set up with a golf cart

Looking for a hotel in San Pedro? Compare prices HERE

  • Now, that you have your golf cart and it’s tank is full (important! As it can take up to two hours to get there) you are ready to head out to one of the best beaches in Belize

*Note- you can physically ride a bike to Secret Beach, but I would NOT recommend doing so. The dirt path is very bumpy. Trust me, your bum will thank me later.

Secret Beach Belize Directions

  • There is only one road that can lead you to Secret Beach, with quite a few outlets leading in other directions

  • From town, if you’re facing the Caribbean Sea/ocean side of the island then turn LEFT and head towards the NORTH side of San Pedro island

  • As you begin to leave the main town area of San Pedro you will come to a small bridge. There is a $5 fee you must pay in order to cross. Once paid, you’ll be given a pink slip for your return crossing. Do NOT lose this pink slip, otherwise you will have to pay again to cross back.

  • Cross the bridge and stay on this road for as long as it goes

  • Eventually you will come to the end of the paved road and a dirt path will curve to the left. Go down that path
  • Once you’re at this curve you’ll notice that the land quickly transforms from lush, tropical greens to flat, almost desolate beige mangrove swamp like surroundings. This part of the dirt road will be fairly easy to navigate through based on the visibility of the path and the few half built homes that are spread out in this area.

    *Please note- we were told that there are alligators living in the swamps, so do not wander aimlessly through them

  • After a bit of driving down the desolate path you may start to feel concerned that you’ve gone too far, but don’t worry! You will soon see a small sign that steers to the LEFT

  • From there, there will be small signs close to the ground directing you towards the bars & restaurants at Secret Beach. You have to look down in order to see these signs (see the images on this post), otherwise you may miss them and drive the wrong direction. If you follow these signs they will lead you to Secret Beach

*What helped us was continuing to remind ourselves that Secret Beach was essentially the opposite side of the island from town. If someone you are going there with has a good sense of direction let them utilize their natural compass.

Don't Forget to Pack:

click image to find out more!

Arriving at Secret Beach, Belize

You’ll know when you’ve arrived (or at least are very close) to the best beach in Belize as there will be other golf carts parked to the left and right of the beach entrance, and you will see the dock straight ahead.

Once you park your golf cart, walk over to enjoy the calm and gorgeously clear and teal water. You can rent chairs on the beach if you spend money at one of the bars. We were told that we needed to spend $100 for access to the chairs. Sounds fairly pricey, yet could be managed if you go in a group.

It was just two of us visiting, and we were comfortable placing our stuff at the end of the dock as we floated nearby there as we could see it from the water.

Typically there is at least one person slinging the sale of fresh coconuts for coconut water, and they offer adding rum to them as well (hello dolly, this is a perfect tropical beverage combination!).

HOWEVER, they will put a plastic straw in it. Be sure to tell them ahead of time NO to the plastic straw. I almost always bring my own reusable straw with me nowadays (I didn’t have one for this trip, womp womp) You can purchase a reusable straw here.

It is highly suggested that you leave Secret Beach around one to two hours before the sun sets. This is so that you can safely drive back to San Pedro while the sun is still out.

The dirt paths are not lit up at night, and driving them in the dark would be dangerous, even with the headlights on the golf carts – let’s be honest, golf cart headlights are not the brightest, plus you’ll have been driving in dirt paths so they’ll be covered in dust.

What to do at Secret Beach

In years past, visitors to Secret Beach had to bring their own water and food, but now there are multiple bars on the beach you can visit and enjoy a chilled cocktail or beer.

Blue Bayou Bar : a tropical looking bar with beautiful views

Maruba Beach Klub : more upscale bar with lots of cushioned chairs and music

Paco’s Secret Beach : one of the newer bars at Secret Beach

Pirates Not-So-Secret Beach Bar & Grill : they have ables in the water so you can enjoy the calm waters with your food & drinks

Secret Paradise Beach Bar : this bar has the largest beach area with a large bar and volleyball nets

There are are also plenty of people renting paddle boards and electric surfboards. But in my opinion, your time will be best spent drinking from a coconut while you float in the calm, clear waters.

Staying at Secret Beach:

There is only one place to stay the night at Secret Beach called Secret Beach Cabanas. They have quaint apartments cabins that allow visitors to stay to witness the stunning Belizean sunsets.

Planning a trip to San Pedro?

Check out the TOP Things to do on the island

What to pack when going to Secret Beach, Belize

  • Any of your beach essentials
    • sunscreen, hat/s, sunglasses, towels, etc

Here are three reef-safe sunscreens I would recommend using:

All Good Sport Sunscreen

Sun Bum Moisturizing Sunscreen

Amavara Mineral Sunscreen

  • Extra phone batteries and charging ports

  • Cash for the bar

  • Your own snacks if you’re vegetarian or vegan. There didn’t seem to be many vegetarian or vegan options

Fun Fact about Secret Beach in Belize

From the water of Secret Beach you can see an island owned by Leonardo DiCaprio called Blackadore Caye. He is intending to build a complete eco-friendly resort on the island. You can read more about it here and here.

If you’re planning on visiting Secret Beach in Belize you will not be disappointed. The long and bumpy drive will be well worth it once you dip your toes into the warm and clear waters of San Pedro’s best beach (at least it’s the best in my opinion).

If you do go, pretty please let me know! I would love to hear about how much you love it… and see if these directions helped ease the confusing process of getting there.

Happy sustainable travels!

xo Laura

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Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Including Shark Ray Alley!

Some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving destinations are located within Belizean waters. I personally have only snorkeled a handful of times prior to arriving at San Pedro, Belize. And I’m convinced that the Hol Chan Marine Reserve will be one of my favorite and best places to snorkel. Ever. If you are visiting San Pedro or Caye Caulker snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley is a must.

Read More: If you’re staying in San Pedro, check out the TOP Things to do on the island

Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

off the coast of San Pedro Island in Belize

What it is, what to expect and how to best be prepared

When you arrive at San Pedro you’ll want to book your snorkeling tour for Hol Chan Marine Reserve. You can do this by going to the docks where the diving companies are located. There are docks all along the eastern coastline of the island and are quite easy to spot.

We chose to book a company called Amigos Del Mar – both Marcus & I vibed well with the people there and they provided great insight into the experience prior to us booking anything. The cost was only $50 per person for a three-hour excursion! It also includes the cost to enter the marine reserve.

Hol Chan means ‘little channel’ in Mayan and the name is fitting as the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a Quebrada off the coast (Quebrada is a cut through a reef). It’s located about four miles southeast from San Pedro town, relatively close to the Ambergis Caye island. You can only access the reserve with an excursion tour group. But don’t fret, many are small groups. Our groups only had eight people in attendance.

There are four sections to the reserve and most tours go through three of them- the reef and seagrass beds, and then Shark Ray alley. Not sure if the time of year affected this but there weren’t many other boats out snorkeling or scuba diving when we went (March), so you can enjoy at your own pace without feeling overcrowded.

Your second stop will be at Shark Ray Alley. Here is where you will snorkel with massive stingrays and nurse sharks. Don’t be alarmed, neither will hurt you if you keep your distance and respect their home. You will notice that as soon as you enter this area nurse sharks and rays will surround your boat in anticipation of being fed. This is due to tour groups bringing food to coax them in for snorkeling.

Amigos Del Mar leads the way with an eco-conscious mindset as their guides will NOT provide food for the nurse sharks. The benefits of not feeding the nurse sharks ensures that they still rely on their hunting instincts, as opposed to relying on humans to feed them in exchange for interactions.

*This is sort of a catch 22 situation- you want to snorkel with these beauties but there is a need for them to maintain their independence, as this is NOT an aquarium.

Sealife critters we saw in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve:

  • Manta Rays
  • Leopard Manta
  • Loggerhead Turtles
  • Nurse Sharks
  • Black & yellow Angel Fish
  • Barracudas
  • Green Moray eel (it was huge!)
  • Schools of fish
  • Neon & black tiny fishies (clearly I don’t know their proper name)
  • Conch shells
  • Grouper Fish (or what our guide called Belize piranhas!)
  • Christmas tree worms: they are pink/purple and white and shrivel up when you snap your fingers near them. They reminded me of the plants in the movie Avatar.

Our guide from Amigos Del Mar was kind enough to provide us with one more stopping point along our ride back to San Pedro. A place he called the ‘Conch Farm’. Conch is a sought after delicacy along these Belizean shores and the fishermen who catch conch leaves the shell behind in what I would consider a conch graveyard. Albeit it was slightly sad to see a mini shell graveyard, what was great to see were loggerhead turtles swimming about as they feed off of the tossed bits of conch the fishermen throw out.

Whether you are an ocean fiend or a timid swimmer, snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Research and Shark Ray Alley is an easy, relaxing and beautiful adventure to be had. It’s also a wonderful way to support the conservation of the ocean waters surrounding Belize. The people of Belize fought to conserve this area and only in 1987 did it become an official reserve. What was once a depleted, overfished area is now teeming with a flourishing sea life population that visitors can happily enjoy.

Don’t forget to pack these for your snorkelling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve:

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Top TIPS for snorkeling at San Pedro, Belize:

  • Go during a morning tour session; more sea creatures are likely to be out in the morning than the afternoon
  • If you’re prone to sunburn (like me) lather sunscreen each time you get out of the water, or wear a rash guard. Your constant state of being in the water AND exposed to direct sunlight will guarantee you a sun burnt back

Interested in visiting Belize? Check out my other blog posts that include TONS of tips and the best places to visit

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