Ambergris Caye started life as a Mayan trading post and part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Mayans dug the narrow channel at Bacalar Chico around 1500 years ago, separating Ambergris from Mexico and opening up a better trade route to mainland Belize. As with the Maya on the mainland, the inhabitants here gradually relocated to the bush as contact with the Europeans, became more frequent. The Baymen likely gave the island its seafaring name in the 17th century. It is the largest of Belize’s cayes, it is about 25 miles long and its northern side almost adjoins Mexican Territory.
Most of the island’s population lives in the town of San Pedro, near the southern tip, and , in fact, the entire island is often referred to as San Pedro. The barrier reef is only half a mile offshore here. More than half the toursits who visit Belize fly straight to San Pedro and use it as a base for excursions elsewhere.
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