San Pedro Town
|San Pedro Town|
|Town of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye|
San Pedro Collage.
|Nickname(s): La Isla Bonita|
|Constituency||Belize Rural South|
|• Mayor||Daniel Guerrero (UDP)|
|• Total||71 km2 (27.5 sq mi)|
|Elevation||2 m (7 ft)|
|• Estimate (2015)||16,444|
|• Density||170/km2 (430/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Central (UTC-6)|
San Pedro is a town on the southern part of the island of Ambergris Caye in the Belize District of the nation of Belize, in Central America. According to 2015 mid-year estimates, the town has a population of about 16,444. It is the second largest town in the Belize District and largest in the Belize Rural South constituency. The once sleepy fishing village was granted the status of a town in 1984 and was sometimes said to be the inspiration for the song "La Isla Bonita" (which begins with the line "last night I dreamt of San Pedro"), written by Madonna, Patrick Leonard and Bruce Gaitsch.
San Pedro's inhabitants are known as San Pedranos. Most speak both Spanish and English fluently. Due to the influence of Kriol, most San Pedranos can speak it, as well as an intermediate form that is known as "Kitchen Spanish". It is said your not a true San Pedrano if you don't know how to fissh.
The refugees from the "Guerra de Castas" fled mainly south to the sanctuary of northern Belize where the British authorities gave them protection and encouraged them to settle. This was done in the hope that the refugees would eventually establish an agricultural settlement in Corozal, and provide the lumber camps with an alternative source of foodstuffs now that the supplies through Bacalar were no longer available.
This migration was the principal factor in the settling of northern Belize. The population grew from less than 200 in 1846, to 4,500 inhabitants by 1857, to 8,000 in 1858, in the Corozal District alone. According to the official census in 1861, the population of the northern section of the country was almost twice that of Belize City and the surrounding areas.
The first permanent settlers of San Pedro arrived between 1848 and 1849. These probably consisted of the relatives of fishermen who had previously built fishing camps on the cayes and moved their families over to the safety of the island when the Santa Cruz Maya revolted. There were at first only four families, which were shortly joined by others from the area of Bacalar. The settlement soon grew to a village of about 30 houses and over 50 inhabitants. The settling of Ambergris Caye was typical of this general pattern. The refugees who came to live here had been farmers and fishermen in Yucatán, and continued these activities in San Pedro.
On November 27, 1984, San Pedro was officially granted township status. The declaration ceremony was attended by Governor-General Elmira Minita Gordon, Area Representative Louis Sylvestre, and most of the residents of San Pedro. Gilberto Chico Gomez was the town's first mayor.
Over the centuries San Pedro has become one of the most popular tourist destinations with various protected areas such as Hol Chan Marine Reserve,Shark Rey Alley, Bacalarchico and many more. One of San Pedro's most priced possession is the Barrier Reef. The San Pedro Barrier Reef is the 'second largest' in the world, the first being the Great Barrier Reef. And is a home to a diverse amount of species. One of the primary industries in the town is tourism, most notably scuba diving. So many visitors are divers that there is even a hyperbaric decompression chamber on the island, despite its small population. Ambergris Museum is located in the town. The new north road is over 10 miles long and has greatly expanded resort and beach house development with better access than only water craft.
Today San Pedro is known for various different festivals such one of the most famous being El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro goes back to the 1870’s a tradition that is centered around “ Juan Carnaval”. A legend that states “Juan was an island goddess,that had sex with over a thousand women from eight different countries and had several children. It is said that he was stabbed to death by his hurt and jealous wife leaving behind nothing but a will that is traditionally read on Ash Wednesday. A stuffed doll like idol of Juan Carnaval is burnt every year as symbol of cleansing the community's sins. This tradition started out with use of power and has now expanded into water paint and the breaking of eggs. However there are rules to this festival they include: first day restricted for only children between the time of 6pm-7pm from Ruby’s Hotel beachfront to the cemetery area and also the Barrier Reef Drive, they are not allowed to paint individuals that are not participating as well as public signs, buildings and the Comparsa participants and lastly they are not allowed to use rotten eggs,, spray paint or oil paints.
- "Ambergris Caye, Belize History". Retrieved 2013-02-23.
- "Northern Belize Caste War History; Location". Retrieved 21 February 2013.
- "Belize Population and Housing Census 2010" (PDF). Statistical Institute of Belize. 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- "Mid-Year Population Estimates by Area and Sex 2008 - 2015". Statistical Institute of Belize. Retrieved 14 May 2016.
- Rooksby, Rikky (2004). The Complete Guide to the Music of Madonna. Omnibus Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-7119-9883-3.
- Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits. Billboard Books. p. 659. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
- Ayuso, Mateo (May 1987), "The Role of the Maya-Mestizo in the Development of Belize", Belize Ethnicity and Development, papers presented at the First Annual Studies on Belize Conference, Society for the Promotion of Education and Research, retrieved 2013-02-23
- "Overview of Belizean history". Retrieved 2013-02-23.
- "Signing of San Pedro Township Declaration". Ambergris Today. 27 November 2014. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
- AmbergrisCaye.com - San Pedro is the only town on Ambergris Caye. Travel tips, large photo galleries, very active message board
- San Pedro Sun newspaper site
- Map of San Pedro Town
- San Pedro Business Association - Working together to build a prosperous Ambergris Caye
- More about San Pedro - Belize tourist site
- San Pedro Travel Information - San Pedro Information on Belize Travel Magazine