The picture of relaxation, the unspoiled Laughing Bird Caye National Park, is where many Belizeans go to unplug and enjoy the wonders of the Belize Barrier Reef. This small national park got its name from the Laughing Gull, which used to breed on the caye. Though you won’t see actual laughing birds, you might encounter the Brown Pelican, Green Heron, and the Melodious Blackbird.
The island itself sits on an ancient faro reef shelf formation, contributing to both the abundance and variety of marine life and diverse coral habitats. Due to its rich environment, protected status, and no-take zones, which have allowed resident fish populations to flourish, Laughing Bird Caye is a snorkeling and diving paradise. Conch, Spiny Lobster, snapper, and other animals are also plentiful.
“Great snorkeling at this spot. The park rangers live out here, which is incredible because it’s so isolated. They also have coral nurseries, and part of the island is a bird sanctuary. The rangers were super nice, inviting and provided some great education about the reefs. You can bring out drinks and food to grill and hang out as long as you want,” visitor Eric Love writes about Laughing Bird Caye in a Google review.
While built infrastructure doesn’t exist on the caye, the undeveloped nature adds to the experience and the beauty for those seeking a truly immersive experience. No overnight stays are allowed, but a day trip is just enough to relish in the peaceful beauty of the isle. After a refreshing day in the water, spread out under the coconut palms for a picnic. And best of all, you can return the following day for more of the same.
Laughing Bird Caye is 11 miles (18 kilometers) off the coast of Placencia. Take a day trip from Placencia with a licensed tour guide. The boat ride will take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather. Find more information on the park’s website. See our responsible visitation guidelines before visiting so you can do your part to protect the Belize Barrier Reef for future generations to enjoy.