By Angel Nuñez
If you take a boat ride along the coast of Ambergris Caye today, you will hear some interesting names of resorts like Reef Village, Captain Morgan’s, Grand Belize, Las Terrazas, Coco Beach, Portofino and Tranquility Bay to name a few. It would be interesting to know how the Sanpedranos of the past named these places along the coast.
Starting at the southernmost tip of the Island we started at Boca Chica or Small Mouth which was the area beginning with channel that connects the sea with the lagoon west of the island. Coming towards the village was Boca Ciega which was Blind Mouth. Then you reached La Punta or The Point because it was the most visible point of land jutting out towards the reef. La Punta is today’s Victoria House. Then there was La Ensenada which is today’s site of Banyan Bay and Rico’s Bar & Restaurant.
After you left the village and travelled up north the first place was La Boca Del Rio, a name which surprisingly still remains today. It means Mouth of the River, because people used to consider it a river as they made their way from the lagoon to the seaside and vice versa in their fishing activities. Then you arrived at Tres Cocos or Three Coconuts probably named because of three very tall coconut palms that distinguished the area. The next area of San Pedro was Buena Vista meaning Good Sight. Folks simply thought that area along the coast looked good. Punta Arenas was next. I think that could be translated as Sandy Point, and I imagine a lot of boats got stuck on this shallow sandy area. And listen to this parcel of land, El Tesoro meaning The Treasure. I am sure the owners were very delighted with the produce of this coconut plantation.
Let us move more up north And you were then at Mata Grande, Big Tree, and the Mata Chica, Small Tree. Playa Blanca (White Beach) was next and then Mexico. Then came the names of three saints and I imagine the owners were simply religious people and decided upon those names. They were Santa Rita, San Andres and San Roman. Punta Palmeros was next and probably named because there was a variety of palms like coconuts, thatch and maybe royal palms. Then came Habaneros which is the name of a kind of pepper and then Punta Azul meaning Blue Point, and though I can see how White Beach was named, I am pondered by the name Blue Point.
Now comes an interesting one, Basil Jones, the name of an agricultural site on Ambergris Caye where cotton was grown and some cattle was raised too around 1840. In time the local Sanpedranos mispronounced the word Jones to Yons and in time Basil Jones was changed to Basil Yon and then to Berce Yon, a name which remained for over 150 years.
Punta Piedra is still the same but also used in English as Rocky Point and we all know why the area was referred to as such. There were two coconut plantations beyond that point known as Nella Reid, the owner and Franco Cocal, the name of the owner also. Finally at the northernmost tip of the Island was Bacalar Chico, the name given to the channel that seperates us from Mexico. Pretty interesting, and I am only dealing with the land along the beach or east coast. It would be interesting to look at the names on the west coast or by the lagoon as they were used twenty five years ago. Surely it was not Ambergris Bay but some other local name.
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today -Lala’s Store -Chico’s Meat Shop -Pampered Paws -Ambergris Jade -San Pedro BTB Office -Aquarious Salon (Kim) -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush -Richies Stationery -San Pedrano’s Stationery
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