Much has been written about Belize’s Ambergris Caye, a 25-mile-long isle located along the country’s northern Caribbean coast. (Fun fact: Once a peninsula, Ambergris became an island when the ancient Maya dug a canal between it and Mexico centuries ago. Let me restate that: They dug an island. Without a backhoe.)
Much has been written for good reason: The island borders the world’s second-largest barrier reef (snorkelers unite!), it’s got San Pedro town (a colorful, slightly oddball home to a handy selection of eateries, bars, shops, and tour outfitters), and it offers a wide range of spots to sleep in, from $ to $$$$+. As its moniker, “la isla bonita” (the beautiful island), would imply, it isn’t bad on the eyes, either.
While on Ambergris and when not at El Secreto (the resort where Shon and I
morphed into air-conditioned bums stayed), we snorkeled at nearby Mexico Rocks (poor visibility lead to a nose-to-nose encounter with a sleeping nurse shark and a soiled bathing suit–Shon’s, I mean) and spent a handful of hours in San Pedro town, where we zipped around in a rented golf cart (the preferred mode of island transport), taste-tested the local ice cream (delicious, once we got past the kitty litter smell in the shop), and debated the purchase of a floppy hat (well, not so much “we,” as “I”).
But while all of that was perfectly pleasant, NONE of it held a candle to the sublime experience of diving into the giant lobster and shrimp burritos at Waruguma, a nondescript but much-lauded restaurant in town.
Per the tip of a local, we headed to Waruguma for a late lunch on our first afternoon in San Pedro. The restaurant itself was forgettable–an open-front, seat-yourself-kind-of-place with plastic tables and chairs and newspaper clippings on the walls–but the lobster burrito that we shared for lunch most certainly was not.
I wasn’t sure what to expect upon ordering. I’m a bit of a puritan when it comes to shellfish (douse it in butter and dig in!), but I most definitely wasn’t complaining when a fat lobster-, bean-, and rice-stuffed burrito was plopped before us, smothered in a succulent cabbage-and-green-pepper mix and swimming in a rich, buttery broth. A bright-red lobster tail crowned the messy masterpiece. The dish was infused with the flavors of the sea and filling enough for even two enthusiastic eaters–though I still experienced a pang of the empty-plate blues when the last bite was scooped up.
Now it may seem exaggerated to say that a lobster-stuffed burrito could top Ambergris’s long list of attractions, but Shon and I did return to Waruguma the very next day for another seafood burrito (this one stuffed with shrimp–our consensus: opt for lobster). Plenty of TripAdvisor critics have swooned over the restaurant’s prize dish, too. “Lobster burrito AMAZING” and “Two words: seafood burrito!” are typical of Waruguma’s hundreds of good reviews.
Much has been written about Ambergris Caye, but I’m narrowing down my tips for travelers to just one: Waruguma. Lobster-stuffed burrito. Enjoy.