San Pedro History of Tourism book by Mito Paz explores Ambergris Caye’s early tourism days

Sunday, May 8th, 2022

History serves as an opportunity to travel back in time and explore past events about a settlement, a region, or a country. Belizean history is rich and diverse, highlighting different past events across the country. However, there are many questions about specific chapters of the Belizean society. Have you ever wondered how San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye transformed from a quaint fishing village to the prime tourism destination it is today? The answer to clear such curiosity is by visiting the recently opened San Pedro Tourism Information Center on Angel Coral Street across from the Saca Chispas field, where you can find the book ‘San Pedro History of Tourism.’ This unique and well-documented history of the island was penned by well-known islander Guillermo ‘Mito’ Paz, and it can be yours for just BZ$30.

The book covers topics about tourism in the early days, from the birth of modern tourism to the introduction of the aviation industry in San Pedro. According to Paz, it goes back as far as 1920 and reflects on the adventures, struggles, and experiences of the early pioneers behind the development of the island’s village and tourism industry. The book comes with extraordinary pictures providing a peek into the past. Paz, who, besides writing the book, also oversaw the design and layout, shared that he started working on the project around 2015. It was not an easy feat and required long hours of research and interviews. At times he felt the pressure was too heavy, but with the encouragement of friends and family, he pushed on until he finished the manuscripts. “I am proud of this book; although it was a lot of work, I enjoyed every minute invested in our island’s history documentation,” Paz said. This masterpiece was finally published in March 2020 by the National Institute of Culture and History (NICH) at BRC Printing Ltd in the Cayo District. An official launching ceremony was scheduled for March 29, 2020, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event never took place.

This fascinating history of the island captured in San Pedro History of Tourism delivers an exciting account of the different stages Ambergris Caye went through to where it is today. Today, the island is considered the country’s prime tourism destination and the fastest-growing municipality in Belize. It is one of the areas of the country with more employment opportunities and a magnet for thousands of tourists every year and people from within the country and other countries looking for a new place to live and work or retire.

Visit the San Pedro Tourism Information Center and grab a copy to indulge in this fascinating local history. The center opens Monday to Saturday, 10AM until 4PM. Purchasing a copy of the book helps these types of cultural and educational initiatives.

Guillermo ‘Mito’ Paz is a research scientist, naturalist, and historian specializing in environmental and cultural history. He has served as the cultural liaison officer at the San Pedro House of Culture for NICH.


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