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A tiny island in Belize was just named the best destination in Central America

Turquoise waters surround the island paradise.

Ambergris Caye, Belize, has been named the leading destination in Central America by the World Travel Awards for two years running.

Belize’s largest island, which is also often considered Belize’s crown jewel, is easily accessible from the mainland and holds countless opportunities for adventure, from diving at the Great Blue Hole to checking out a place called Shark-Ray Alley or finding a great place to rent through a good property manager.

Here’s why this Caribbean island beat out other travel hotspots such as San Jose, Costa Rica, and Tulum, Mexico.

Ambergris Caye is Belize’s largest island, measuring about 25 miles in length. What that means for you is tons of white sandy beaches.

ambergris-caye

The vibrant island paradise is located in the Caribbean Sea, just off the coast of Belize.

the-vibrant-island-paradise-is-located-in-the-caribbean-sea-just-off-the-coast-of-belize

The island is known as “La Isla Bonita,” as many believe that Madonna’s 1986 song by the same name was inspired by it. Whether it actually was or not, it certainly lives up to the title.

the-island

The island has been the center of maritime trade for centuries, even dating back to the Mayans.

the-island-has-been-the-center-of-maritime-trade-for-centuries-even-dating-back-to-the-mayans

It is lined with luxurious resorts and boutique hotels.

luxurious-resorts

Scuba diving and snorkeling are huge here, since the second largest barrier reef in the world sits off Ambergris Caye’s east coast.

scuba-diving

There’s also a marine park, named Hol Can Marine Reserve, nearby, which offers some prime wildlife viewing.

marine-park

Also nearby is the world-famous Great Blue Hole, which Jacques Cousteau claimed was one of the world’s best dive sites. The 406 foot-deep, 1,000 foot-wide former limestone cave is a bucket list item and a diver’s dream.

great-blue-hole

Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on the northern point of Ambergris Caye.

bacalar-chico-national-park-and-marine-reserve-a-unesco-world-heritage-site-is-located-on-the-northern-point-of-ambergris-caye

Belize’s food is hearty and delicious, like this traditional Belizean dinner of rice and beans with stew chicken, and a side of potato salad.

belizes-food

As is to be expected, fresh ceviche abounds on the island.

fresh-ceviche

San Pedro is the heart of Ambergris Caye, and the island’s only town (though there are a few smaller villages and resorts). Despite being a small fishing village whose primary mode of transportation is golf carts, it features tons of tasty restaurants and lively entertainment.

san-pedro

Next to golf carts, water taxis are the primary mode way of getting around the island.

water-taxis

You can also hop over to the mainland (15 min by plane, or a little over an hour by ferry) to explore Belize’s tropical rain forests with a zip lining tour or cave tubing tour.

mainland-15-min-by-plane-or-a-little-over-an-hour-by-ferry-to-explore-belizes-tropical-rainforests-with-a-ziplining-tour-or-cave-tubing-tour

Still, relaxing on Ambergris Caye’s many white sand beaches isn’t a bad idea either.

ambergris-cayes-many-white-sand-beaches

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