Lovely Ambergris Caye, which measures 58 km (36 miles) long, is the largest of Belize’s hundreds of small islands. Most of the action on Ambergris Caye can be found in its biggest village, San Pedro. On this caye, which is home to approximately 7,000 people, visitors will find a large number of restaurants, bars and accommodations. Though most of the accommodations on Ambergris Caye tend to be relaxed and casual, a few luxury properties are starting to sprout up. Ambergris Caye is one of the best of Belize’s island for soaking in the sun during the day and partying at night. In addition, this lovely little caye was even named by Islands.com as the Best Island to Live On.
One of the best known Belize Islands, Caye Caulker’s casual atmosphere, cheap prices and abundance of bars and restaurants draw numbers of backpackers and tourists who are looking for a break from traveling around Central America. There are many dive shops on the island, and several dive tours are available to premier spots like Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Turneffe Atoll, Caye Caulker Marine Reserve and the famous Blue Hole. A narrow water canal, called “The Split,” offers a swimming hole and picnic area.
Half Moon Caye
Nature lovers will find much to like about Half Moon Caye, which is a national park and Belize’s first marine conservation area. This caye is home to over 90 different bird species — including frigates and red-footed boobies. It is also populated with interesting reptiles, including the Island Leaf-toed Gecko, which can only be found in Belize. In addition, the waters surrounding Half Moon Caye are home to a large variety of fish species. Snorkelers and divers can enjoy either swimming through the shallow waters in Half Moon Caye’s lagoon or head out to its amazing wall. Half Moon Caye is located at the southeast corner of Lighthouse Reef, which is also the site of Belize’s arguably most famous diving spot, the Great Blue Hole.
Located just 18 km (11 miles) off the coast from Placencia, Laughingbird Caye is a popular spot for visitors, snorkelers, scuba enthusiasts and anyone looking for a pleasant day trip. This mini atoll is a protected national park that stands on a faro, which is a ringed reef that surrounds a lagoon. A large variety of colorful fish and other marine life call the waters of this national park home.
This caye was named for the laughing gulls that once populated this island. Unfortunately, as the island became more popular with, the gulls relocated to quieter cayes. To encourage these and other birds to return to Laughingbird Caye, the island has been divided into three zones: Recreational, Buffer and Preservation. In addition, there are no overnight stays allowed on this tiny isle.
Only three acres in size, Tobacco Caye is a small island located at the northern end of the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, approximately 16 km (10 miles) from Dangriga. Travelers to this island can choose from 6 different small and modest lodges in which to enjoy some rest and relaxation. Because Tobacco Caye is located in a protected marine reserve, it is known for being an excellent spot for shore diving. Over the years, this cay has earned a devoted following among backpackers and snorkel and scuba enthusiasts.