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Ambergris Caye

The undisputed superstar of Belize's tourism industry, 'La Isla Bonita' strikes an impressive and perhaps even magical balance of large-scale tourism development with a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Sure it gets busy – especially in high season when an endless procession of golf carts clogs the narrow streets of the main town, San Pedro – but it's still the kind of place where it's acceptable to hold up traffic while you greet an old acquaintance.

Complaints about over-development aside, Ambergris Caye remains an archetypal tropical paradise where sun-drenched days are filled with fruity drinks and water sports. There are plenty of simple pleasures to be had, from riding a bike along a windswept beach path to wading in crystal-clear waters. And the island's most valuable asset, the flourishing barrier reef a half-mile offshore, is the epicenter of the country's snorkeling and diving industries and the source of its most imaginative culinary scene.