How bad the mosquitoes and other bugs in Ambergris Caye are depends on the time of day. There are two segments of biters here in Ambergris Caye. You have the mosquitoes and the no-see-ums. But one thing nice is that there is constant breeze on the island and with that constant breeze, those little bugs get blown away quite a bit.
The sand flies show up right around happy hour, which is between 4 PM and 6 PM. The mosquitoes tend to come out a little bit after sunset until the morning. If you are in the lagoon side of the island or in areas where the mangroves are thicker, the mosquitoes are thicker, too. If you are on the beach front, you will see sand flies but there are other areas of the world and in the country of Belize where the mosquitoes and insects are far worse than here on the island. Relative to bugs, if you’ve been to Florida, you’ve been to Belize. It’s about the same or probably a little bit less on the island than in Florida because of the breeze we have here.
There are lots of tricks to get rid of those bugs. Lots of people put coconut oil or soda water on their ankles, which are probably the two best tips to protect your ankles during happy hour. There are widespread debates over what is the best technique for keeping sand flies off your ankles. The locals tend to believe in coconut oil and soda water, which are the two more natural repellents.
I use soda water and I use coconut oil and I tend to go to the bar at 7 PM versus at 5 PM or 6 PM. You just have to be aware, because if your ankles are exposed around that period and there is no breeze then you are going to feel it. But the island is no different than the mainland. Anywhere there is sand or anywhere there is water, you are going to have sandflies, but when you use coconut oil, soda water, or Deet, it is not really a problem.
Those insects like to bite certain people. Some people aren’t affected by them at all and other people are like hors’d’oeuvres for the little guys.
(Siphon soda water dispenser, pictured.)