Does Belize Have Nice Beaches?
It’s a common question: does Belize have nice beaches? I’ve been to the beach in <insert your favorite destination>…how do the beaches compare?
Pristine white sandy beaches near ethereal blue, green waters … We’ve all seen those pictures from Fiji, the Maldives or maybe Caribbean island nations like St. Bart’s or St. Lucia.
Well, guess what? We have them in Belize too, and for many of the people who like to travel to Belize, all that paradise comes at a much better bargain!
You’ll find these treasures dotted outside the 239 miles of Belize’s coastline, and there are over 200 of them scattered throughout the Belizean waters that house the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Luckily for visitors to the Placencia Peninsula, which boasts the most beautiful mainland beach in the country (more on that later!), picture perfect, screensaver worthy islands are as close as 13 miles away. Here are some of our favorites that are Instagram-worthy destinations to easily fool your friends into thinking that you might’ve made your way across the planet to Oceania!
Laughingbird Caye National Park: The most visited island from Placencia, Laughingbird Caye is just 30 minutes away by boat on a good beach day with a local tour operator. As a protected island managed by Belize’s Southern Environmental Association and as a coral restoration site for the local non-profit Fragments of Hope, this island is home to thriving marine life that attracts many snorkelers and divers. You can easily walk a good bit of white coral sands here and take phenomenal photos. Lounge on a beach towel under the shade of a coconut tree or enjoy your tour guide’s beach barbecue under the thatch hut. As for the laughing gulls flying over head, don’t take it personally.
Silk Cayes: The two tiny islands that comprise the Silk Cayes located within The Silk Caye and Gladden Spit Marine Reserve are a marvel to see when approaching by boat. With just a handful of coconut trees jutting out from the white surrounded by blue, they’re like the oasis of the Caribbean and located 20 miles east of Placencia.
Moho Caye: Thanks to the Wild Orchid and Rey Caye group of owners, this magical privately-owned island is accessible to the public for a nominal entry fee and is quickly becoming an increasingly popular destination for Placencia tour operators who tend to market the spot as a place where visitors can make their own daytime itinerary. The island boasts the largest area of white sandy beach among Placencia’s most frequented island gems, and visitors can easily feel a sense of privacy here even with several boats docked at shore. Moho recently made a striking photo spread focusing on Placencia’s attractions in Conde Nast Traveler’s 2019 Gold List issue.
Ranguana Caye: Similar to Moho Caye, but a bit farther away from the Peninsula taking about one hour to reach by boat, Ranguana also boasts plenty of breathtaking beach, as well as a lush cluster of coconut trees among other tropical vegetation. There’s even a volleyball net perched on shore when you pull in. Comfy lounge chairs, hammocks, a fully-stocked bar and quaint cabanas makes this Madagascar-esque island a popular respite for sailors on their way to the Placencia harbor.
Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve: There are many in Belize who are quick to call the beaches of the Sapodillas the most beautiful of them all! It’s no wonder that the reserve has become a haven for neighboring Guatemalan millionaires cruising through the Caribbean on their fancy yachts. But even if you’re not that kind of a bank roller, the Sapodillas are open to everyone, but it does take some effort to get there. Of all the 14 islands in the Reserve, Hunting Caye in the Sapodillas is said to feature the most stunning beach. Lined with rows of healthy coconut trees, this beach stretches into the shape of a half moon and is probably the most photographed part of the entire reserve. This utopia is located east of Toledo, the southernmost district of Belize. If you can overnight in Punta Gorda Town and take the trip with a local tour operator, it’s worth a scratch on your world’s best beaches bucket list.
Glover’s Atoll Island: Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve is very popular among those looking for the best the Belize Barrier Reef has to offer. It’s also been a favored destination since the 70s for adventure travelers who seek the affordable cabanas at the Atoll’s privately owned Northeast Caye. The relatively untouched and highly vegetated island has earned a solid reputation for boasting one of the country’s most beautiful and natural white sandy beaches.
Half Moon Caye Natural Monument: Another Belize wonder is Half Moon Caye located 55 miles east of Belize City and located within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the furthest of Belize’s three atolls. It’s a popular destination for tour operators in San Pedro and Caye Caulker and often touted as an alternative to the famous Blue Hole, especially for those who want to integrate beach time into their snorkeling and diving adventure. The protected island managed by the Belize Audubon Society is huge, comprising 41.5 acres! Considered the only known breeding destination for the Red-footed Booby birds in the western Caribbean, bird-watching is also a choice activity at Half Moon Caye.
The Placencia Peninsula: You’ll find white sugar beaches at the islands listed above, but Belize also offers brown sugar too, and the best golden sandy shores lap onto the 18-mile stretch of paradise known as the Placencia Peninsula. As opposed to the coral formations of the islands, Placencia’s glittering sands are made of quartz that rising sea levels deposited from the nearby Maya Mountains starting 10,000 years ago. With the reef some miles away, there’s not as much coral to see near Placencia’s shores, but its unique geography makes for some of the best swimming around. For those who get squeamish around sea grass and other sea floor critters, you’ll find lots of clear spots along the spit, perfect for the little ones, and the sand is also soft on the bottom of the feet.
Placencia’s famous beach is also great for towel lounging, napping, walking, running, dog walking and even the occasional beach soccer or volleyball. Whether you want to meditate at sunrise in complete peace or party at a happening beach bar, the Peninsula can easily accommodate. Athletic beach goers can also enjoy the perfect setting for long distance swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding especially on calm days when the sea can be so still, it looks like glass. And as for those windy days, visiting windsurfers are seen taking full advantage.
With most boats docking along the lagoon side or at the Peninsula harbor at the southernmost tip of the Peninsula, most of the beach is unobstructed. It’s not unusual either to encounter manatees and frolicking dolphins here. As for those days when sargassum starts to pile up on shore, the islands are always an easy boat ride away.
Ready to experience the beauty of Belize’s beaches? We have plenty of warm, golden sand waiting for you at Sirenian Bay and we’d love to show you the majesty of the Peninsula.