San Pedro Town is the major settlement on the island. San Pedro's populace has grown to 4,000 plus year round inhabitants, with constant pressure from the mainland to immigrate to San Pedro due to a perception by mainlanders that it is the major or most lucrative source of income for the entire country.
The residents are mostly of Mexican descent and speak both Spanish and English. The island has the largest concentration of visitor accommodations in Belize and its hotels, fishing and diving facilities are some of the best in the country. The town is a picture postcard setting - small colorfully painted houses set alongside sand streets nestled beside the clear turquoise sea. Coconut palms sway and rustle in the gentle cooling trade winds. Low rise hotels, guest houses and bungalow style resorts, from modest to magnificent, are nestled along the coast and throughout the town.
If you want a comfortable, shorts-and-sandals seaside vacation, at a moderate price, just a bit off the beaten path but not too far, where the seafood is fresh and beer is cold, where the water won't make you sick, an island with most of the modern convienences without the plastic tackiness, with great diving, excellent snorkeling, beautiful water and beautiful white sand beaches, where local folks are mostly friendly and hablan English (though they may speak Spanish at home), with dependably beautiful weather most of the time, then I guarantee you'll enjoy Ambergris Caye.
Yes, tourism is the number one industry in what was once a fishing village. Now, fishing is still most excellent, but tourism has far surpassed it as a contributor to the local economy. This is not, however, the edgy tourism of Cancun, with millions of package tourists hitting the beach. No building is higher than a tall coco palm, or three stories. Golf carts and bicycles are the principal mode of transportation. The streets are home to local and visiting barefoot strollers, casually making their way through the shops and restaurants or just relaxing and chatting with the locals who are friendly and tolerant.