Locals and travelers alike swoon when they cross the bridge onto San Pedro sand or are greeted by the “Go Slow” diamond tile on Caye Caulker’s dock. While they have reason to walk a little lighter and smile a little brighter when visiting these world-famous islands, there’s more to Belize’s reefs than these paradisiacal cayes. In fact, here are six low-‘caye’ islands worth visiting on your next trip to Belize, almost completely devoid of tourists (bonus: many of these are considered marine reserves, so kudos to protecting the environment!)
- South Water Caye Marine Reserve. As our largest marine protected area, the South Water Caye Marine Reserve offers visitors the opportunity to discover fascinating wildlife, such as the brown booby and the magnificent frigatebird. Once in the water, you can see lush coral patch reefs that form around the many cayes and islets within the reserve. Not to mention the idyllic wallpaper-worthy scenery that greets you as you near the caye. Tobacco Caye, another ethereal islet, is also situated within this reserve.
- Goff’s Caye. Goff’s Caye is a 1-acre sand barrier island, situated north of the English Channel. Known to have an abundance of sleepy sea turtles wading in the clear water and a healthy reef system, this caye is close to Belize City. Snorkeling and diving opportunities here are unparalleled, and directly off the shore.
- Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve. Located approximately 36 miles east of Punta Gorda town, Toledo, this reserve encompasses the southern-most cayes in Belize. Mangrove and sand cayes account for the arresting scenery that very few visitors know about. Such cayes include Hunting Caye, Lime Caye, Ragged Caye, among others. It is said that these cayes have the highest biodiversity in Belize and the least footprint.
- Laughing Bird Caye. A National Park, Laughing Bird sits on the western side of the Victoria Channel, a mere 11 nautical miles off the coast of gorgeous Placencia. It stands on an elongated ridge of the reef known as a ‘faro.’ The deep channels and structures surrounding the isle make up its variety of coral and marine life.
- St. George’s Caye. Just a few miles from Belize City by water taxi, St. George’s Caye has a small number of resorts and some weekend residencies. It is ideal for a peaceful interlude away from the busier cayes. Its main claim to fame is that the Battle of St. George’s Caye was fought in its waters in 1798. The battle finally saw the end of Spanish claims to the land which is now Belize and is celebrated with a public holiday every September 10.
- Half Moon Caye. Situated in the southern part of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, this small caye has been designated as a Natural Monument. It is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage Site, and has a bird sanctuary where you will see breeding colonies of magnificent frigatebirds nesting alongside the more unusual red-footed boobies. Enjoy spectacular views from the elevated observation platform.
For more information on Belize’s cayes and what to do there, feel free to email us at [email protected] or call us toll-free at 1-800-624-0686.