Hello Sirenian Bay friends!
The Belizean equivalent of the Florida Keys – and pronounced the same way – the Belize Cayes are a must-visit destination for those who can’t get enough of turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and incredible underwater explorations.
Belize is home to some 400 Cayes, which range from tiny islets studded with mangroves to larger white-sand destinations that offer secluded cabanas and endless relaxation.
It’s no easy task to shortlist the best from an impressive array of contenders, but below are our pick for the best of the Belize Cayes.
The largest of Belize’s islands, Ambergris Caye runs the length of the Belize Barrier Reef down to the Yucatan Peninsula. Home to the bustling San Pedro Town, it’s a thriving tourist destination with an array of restaurants, bars, hotels and resorts. Water sports, scuba diving and snorkeling are popular pastimes here, with visitors able to explore the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the famous Great Blue Hole. Head to the far north or south beaches to enjoy the Caye’s beauty away from the other tourists.
Not far from Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is a far more laid-back alternative. Divided in two like a miniature New Zealand, it features a tiny village settlement to the south and untouched mangroves to the north. Strong Creole and Rastafarian traditions give this Caye a relaxed vibe that’s underscored by its tranquil beaches and car-free environment. Birdwatchers will want to kayak through the northern mangroves, while snorkelers and divers will find it in perfect proximity to the reef. Alternatively, you can kick back in a hammock and take the island motto of “go slow” to heart.
St George’s Caye
To the east of Belize City, St George’s Caye has played a prominent role in Belize history – namely the defeat of the Spanish in 1978. Once home to the largest settlement in Belize, today it features a luxury resort and a handful of private residences. World-class snorkeling and diving are just moments away, and the Caye is close enough to Belize City to make mainland day trips a breeze.
Just 18 miles east of Placencia, this stunning mile-long island is a balmy base for exploring the reef or relaxing by the water. Home to pelicans, herons and exquisite views, it’s a development-free zone where getting away from it all is as easy as can be. Just ten minutes away is Turtle Spot, home to loggerhead turtles, rays and nurse sharks.
If golfing is your idea of a relaxing time, then Caye Chapel will find a place in your heart. 16 miles in length, this remote island features an airstrip along with an 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa – along with a luxury club house where you an indulge in a spa treatment or enjoy a tropical cocktail.
Lighthouse, Glovers and Turneffe Atolls
Three of the Caribbean’s four atolls, these oval coral masses feature central lagoons perfect for swimming, snorkeling and fishing, as well as steep ocean walls that lend themselves to spectacular wall diving and reef explorations. Together the atolls are home to numerous world-famous dive sites, including the Blue Hole, the Half Moon Wall and the Aquarium.
Belize’s stunning Cayes are just a short boat trip from Placencia. Book a stay at Sirenian Bay, and position yourself for a trip to these stunning island destinations.
This is Hugh Manatee signing off for now – stay tuna-ed for the next installment from Sirenian Bay!