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Ambergris Caye

At just over twenty-five miles long, Ambergris Caye is the largest of the 200+ islands off the coast of Belize.With beautiful weather year round, temperatures on Ambergris Caye range from 75 to 95 degrees and trade winds from the Caribbean, cool the island making your stay at White Sands Cove a comfortable experience.

The Mayan civilization thrived in Central America from around 2000 B.C.to 1000 A.D.In addition to building vast temples and creating amazing tools and pottery, the Mayan Indians were also accomplished astronomers using their knowledge to create an efficient calendar.They also developed their own writing system and many mathematical theories including the concept of zero.

Among the Mayans great achievements, was the development of an innovative trade route throughout Central America from Mexico.The Mayan Indians were the first people to inhabit Ambergris Caye, initially setting up fishing villages and later, as their communities developed, converted these settlements into major trading centers.

To better accommodate their trading, the Mayans dug a channel at the northern most tip of the island.Ambergris Caye is actually not an island at all but rather the end of the Yucatan Peninsula.The channel that separates Ambergris Caye from Mexico allowed the Mayans to cut their travel time considerably, since they no longer had to travel all the way around the island to get to northern mainland Belize and Chetumal Bay.Today the channel is called Bacalar Chico and is a marine reserve.

The Mayans continued to thrive on Ambergris Caye until around 1000 A.D.when their population declined.The Caye remained unoccupied until the 1600ís when British pirates, sailing the Caribbean, discovered it and began using it as a hiding place for their treasure.Ambergris Caye got its name from these British pirates and whalers who collected whale excrement, called ambergris, that washed up on the shore of the Caye and sent in back to Europe where it was of high value for its use in making perfumes.British pirates eventually turned to logwood cutting on mainland Belize and once again left the island unoccupied.

In the 18th century, refugees fleeing civil war in the Yucatan Peninsula, migrated to the island.At that time, the primary industries were fishing and coconut production.In the early 20th century, fishermen of Ambergris Caye established cooperatives and San Pedro became a prosperous fishing community.Tourist began visiting the island in the early 1960ís, and the tourism industry has continued to flourish ever since.Belize became independent in 1981, and San Pedro officially became a town in 1984.

Ambergris Caye, Belize
Central America

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