The Cayes, the offshore atolls and the barrier reef are some of the main attractions of Belize. The barrier reef, which is 185 miles long, is the longest in the Western Hemisphere. The cayes (pronounced keys) are islands that are located between the mainland and the barrier reef.
Although the mangrove cayes are normally uninhabitable by humans, they do provide a superior habitat for birds and marine life. Many birds, fish, shellfish, and marine organisms begin their lives within the protection of the mangrove.
On the other hand, the island cayes, which are distinguishable by their palm trees, have provided the foundation for the development of many fine resorts to serve the water sports enthusiasts and the marine naturalists.
The cayes and atolls provide superior opportunity for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, boating, sailing and sea kayaking, as well as being a habitat for both nesting birds and turtles.
Ambergris Caye is a warm and sunny island close to the mainland of Belize offering blue water, first class hotels and many water related activities such as diving, snorkeling and much more. Ambergris is the largest island getting most visitors that travel to Belize.
Caye Caulker is a laid back destination offering all sorts of accommodations, typically budget to mid-range. The Island also offers all sorts of water sports including diving and snorkeling. Caulker is between the mainland and Ambergris and reachable with a 45-minute boat ride from Belize City.
Once the base of Pirate John Glover, this island now is a paradise with pearly white sand beaches. Glovers Reef is the southernmost of Belize’s triad of atolls and the least frequently dived. It is 70 miles away from Belize City and boasts 700 coral patches surrounded by sheer drop-offs from 40 to 2,600 feet.
Tobacco Caye is located on Belize’s barrier reef, the largest barrier reef in the Northern Hemisphere. Tobacco Caye offers the best shore diving in Belize, and is only ten minutes from more than 20 of the best dive sites in Belize.
South Water Caye
Imagine an island less than a half mile long, covered with white coral sand, tropical flowers, and coconut trees, surrounded by warm, crystal clear water enveloped in coral reefs that wrap more than half way around the island. That is South Water Caye, which also lays on the Barrier Reef.
Lighthouse Reef Atoll
Lighthouse Reef is a 40-mile preserve and one of the most exotic dive spots in Belize. It is perfect for the seasoned scuba diver or snorkeler. One of Belize’s signature dive site is the Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef. Other spectacular sites include the Half Moon Caye Wall, at the southern end of the atoll.
These are just a few of the more famous cayes within the hundreds of islands in Belize. They all provide first class scuba diving, snorkeling and many other activities. Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Light House Reef all have an airstrip, which makes access to these exotic islands an easy venture.
Belize offers many different islands to meet your specific needs, some only 20 minutes away from the mainland and others more exclusive though less accessible. All will make your vacation in Belize unforgettable!