How to get to Secret Beach, San Pedro

How to get to Secret Beach, San Pedro

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.

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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Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize

Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize

Don’t miss this incredible island!

        Beautifully clear blue waters, colorful small town and low key living …with a slight party habit, San Pedro, Belize is an ideal destination for anyone looking for an island getaway.  San Pedro is perfect for travelers of all types. Below is a list of things to do on the island, both adventurous and low-key.

With so much to explore, here are the

Top 8 things you need to see & do in San Pedro, Belize

Snorkel Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley

One of my favorite days out of the entire trip, snorkeling off of San Pedro is a MUST do activity.  Hol Chan Marine Reserve had the most incredible sea creatures. Check out my blog post that details what we saw and how the company we chose had an environmental focus.

Sunset Cruise

Being on an island means lots of access to beautiful sunrises and sunsets.  TripAdvisor has plenty of options for cruising groups at sunsets. Some including drinks, dinner, etc.  Based off of a locals recommendation we chose to walk along the beach to find a boat for sunset (thinking it would be cheaper, which it was).  My suggestion would be to book a sunset cruise PRIOR to arriving to San Pedro. Boats don’t go out every evening so booking in advance will guarantee you a stress free experience.  Luckily, we found a unique sail boat last minute, who provided us rum punch and light snacks. Find which options fits your travel style best.

Explore San Pedro town

Many lodging options are resorts that offer a more Westernized experience, however San Pedro town is colorful, with welcoming locals.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to see how people live on the island.

 

Belize Chocolate Company

This adorably decorated business right on the shoreline provided amazingly delicious baked goods and homemade chocolates.  They support recycling and sustainability for the island so is a great business to support.

Enjoy local nightlife

There are a lot of options for bars in San Pedro’s town.  As any other place you travel to, not all bars are created equal in providing a comfortable experience.  So, go where you feel you can have the most fun with no concerns. Monday night is the islands most mellow night.

Here are a list of bars that were suggested to us:

  • Wet Willys
  • Big Daddys
  • Barefoot Iguana
  • Jaguar Temple

On the weekends at the central square, there are various tented areas where you can purchase grilled street food (I did not find any vegetarian options).

Blue Hole National Park

Another MUST do experience, however since we weren’t able to scuba dive we chose to not visit (at least for this trip).  Here is the information I was able to gather while we considered going:

  • It is a two and a half hour boat ride to get there, so it is an all day excursion
  • There are three tour groups that take you there, for scuba divers and snorkelers

Amigos Del Mar

Ambergis Dive

Ramons

  • When you first arrive to San Pedro book this excursion if you want to do it.  The tours do not go out daily so if you aren’t on the island for too long you may not get the chance to go
  • For snorkelers, you will snorkel around the Blue Hole (1.15 miles), then Half Moon Caye, have lunch and do a short hike, then snorkel at The Aquarium

*see the TIPS section of this post for more about the Blue Hole National Park Experience

Spend a day at Secret Beach

I had heard whisperings of Secret Beach on San Pedro and what’s to be found there, an off the beaten path, slice of heaven.  Visiting here will leave you more than surprised that a paradise like this still exists. If you want to find specifics on how to get there (as there is no cell service, nor map leading you there) and how to pack for it check out this blog post.

Water Activities

Your hotel will have plenty of options for companies offering jet skiing, windsurfing, parasailing, kayaking, catamarans… pretty much any water activity you want to do.  There aren’t major waves off of San Pedro so if you’re hesitant don’t let your fear of a strong current deter you. It’s a very approachable water area.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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Top TIPS for visiting San Pedro, Belize:

  • San Pedro has small beaches, and depending on the weather (storms) there may be seaweed washed up on the shore.  If you’re staying near the main town understand that while convenient, it is not meant to be a lay on the beach and wade into the water type of place.  Those perfect beaches are there but further on a less trodden path (see my post about getting to Secret Beach).
  • Humidity is real in Central America and can be intense.  Stay hydrated.
  • Unless you are scuba diving or an avid snorkeler, I would not suggest snorkeling the Blue Hole National Park.  According to local advice, you will see much more wildlife at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and the excitement behind the Blue Hole is that scuba divers has a rare opportunity to dive so deep in unobscured waters.
  • Rent a golf cart to get around; most hotels will be able to connect you with a company.  Prices are all very similar so going through your lodging is great because they will bring it right to you.

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Getting to San Pedro, Belize

Getting to San Pedro, Belize

Directions to make your travel day pass with ease

        Often while planning for a trip it’s important to also research how to get from point A to point B.  And with so few tools out there to help with traveling around Belize I wanted to share how we were able to get to San Pedro Island in Belize.  *If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

        Landing into Belize City is a breeze as the airport is small with only one baggage claim area and its 90’s decorated simplicity.  Grab your items and head outside where you will be able to order a taxi or hire a car and ask them to take you to the Marine Terminal (or water taxis).

*The fare should be a fixed rate (I believe around $25 USD) TOTAL.

        Driving from the airport to downtown Belize City’s marine terminal has a similar look to driving through Cancun; the marsh and less built up areas in between the airport and the resorts (although no large resorts in Belize).  You’ll see simple structures, palm trees, flowers budding on trees, and dirt roads with avid bike riders.

[Related: Top Things to do in San Pedro, Belize]

       Arriving at the dock you will find a covered courtyard with various shops offering (overpriced) knick-knacks and snacks, with the ticketing office towards the back right.

*My suggestion would be to purchase round trip tickets as they are cheaper than two one-way tickets and can be used at any time during a three-month time period.

        Luggage is boarded separately at no extra cost.  Be sure to tell them which island you are going to.

*Make sure you have don’t lose your luggage tags they hand you

        Choose your seat wisely when boarding as they pack in people like sardines and the ride is over an hour and a half long.  Prepare for a numb bum and for a visual transition of murky brown water to the sparkling teal blue you’ve dreamt of from pictures.  En route you will pass by other islands, one of which is the other well known island, Caye Caulker (pronounced ‘key’ Caulker). Don’t worry they shout which island they are stopping at so that you depart at the correct one.

                When you arrive at San Pedro, the boat will dock at the center of the island where town is and only a breezy two-minute walk to the closest hotel, the Mayan Princess.  If your hotel is further away there are taxis waiting to swift travelers off their feet to their end destination.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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 TIPS for getting to San Pedro, Belize

  • The taxi fare from the Belize City airport to the Marine Termianl should be a fixed rate (I believe around $25 USD) TOTAL.
  • Purchase round trip tickets as they are cheaper than two one-way tickets and can be used at any time during a three-month time period.
  • Don’t lose your luggage tags they hand you
  • the boat ride from Belize City is almost two hours, so be prepared and try to find a comfortable seat

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Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Snorkeling the Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Including Shark Ray Alley!

  I had only snorkeled a handful of times prior to arriving at San Pedro, Belize.  I’m convinced this 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.

[ If you’re staying in San Pedro, check out the TOP Things to do on the island ]

        When you arrive to San Pedro go to the docks where the diving companies are and schedule your snorkel ‘tour’. We chose a company called Amigos Del Mar – we vibed well with the people there and they provided great insight into the experience.  Only $50 per person, which includes the cost to enter the marine reserve.

       Hol Chan means ‘little channel’ in Mayan and it is a quebrada off the coast (quebrada is a cut through a reef).  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, 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 place 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.  This way they need to continue hunting on their own and don’t become reliant on human interaction.

*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.

Sea critters we saw:

  • Manta Rays
  • Leopard Manta
  • 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!)
  • Underwater Christmas Trees (another proper scientific name): they are pink/purple and white, and shrivel up when you snap your fingers near them.  Reminded me of Avatar

        Our guide 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 as a delicacy along these shores and the fisherman who catch conch leave the shell behind in what I would consider a conch graveyard.  What was great to see were loggerhead turtles swimming about as they feed off of the tossed bits of conch the fisherman 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, over fished area is now teeming with a flourishing sea life population.

Laura of Blue Eyed Compass, a Sustainable Travel Blog

Hi!  I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger & photographer, sharing real and honest information about travelling & how to do so sustainably

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Set up your blog today by using my discount code for Bluehost – Click the image to get started.

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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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