Best of Caribbean IslandsThe Caribbean islands are the epicenter of Belize's tourism industry and without a doubt, it is the country's greatest attraction. The region is home to the Belize Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that runs throughout the country and is the second largest Barrier Reef reserve system in the world. With seven distinct protected areas and dozens of atolls, Belize's Caribbean islands are a park for sea lovers who want to get up close and personal with the reefs and marine life.
Ambergris Caye, the largest and most populated island is located in the waters off northern Belize and is a stop on most itineraries. A variety of accommodations from hostels, simple lodgings to exclusive luxury resorts surround the east coast of the island, offering something for every budget. Tourists looking to be in the middle of the action stay in the main island town of San Pedro, which is also home to most of the island's 17,000 residents who are derived from Mayan, Creole, Garifuna and Mexican heritage. In San Pedro, golf carts, beach bikes and taxis roam the cobblestone streets. The town's waterfront streets are filled with tour operators, shops offering handmade products such as locally produced chocolates and art, and dozens of restaurants serving local and international cuisine. San Pedro is also the center of Belize's nightlife and live music, with a variety of bars that stay open late into the night. In order to find the best beaches on the island, visitors should venture to one of the resorts north or south of San Pedro.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
Thirty minutes by boat south of Ambergris Caye is Caulker Caye. This small mangrove island has 1,300 residents. Unlike Ambergris Caye, Caulker Caye has few private resorts. Instead, modest guest houses and small hotels along the main street in front of the sea constitute the majority of accommodation offers. There are only ballast roads and due to the size of the island, it is very easy to cycle or walk around. There are no vehicles in this area, but we can find the golf carts that are available. The main attraction of the island is the Split, a big reggae bar, outdoors and with a wooden pier that attracts swimmers and those who want to sunbathe. Neither Ambergris Caye nor Caulker Caye provide much in the way of snorkeling. For that, visitors should make a quick 20-30 minute boat trip to the Belizean coral reef. There they will find fantastic opportunities to swim along with sharks, sea turtles and many other species in a protected reserve.
Caye Caulker, Belize
To the south, the island destinations in Belize become much more remote. Most of the islands are uninhabited and the Caribbean landscape consists of beautiful atolls, mangrove islands, turquoise waters and thriving marine life. On the islands where there is accommodation there are no other services than the hotel, except on Tobacco Cay, which has a small local population. Popular destinations include the South Water Marine Reserve for its proximity to Dangriga, Glovers Reef Atoll for its campsite and the Turneffe Islands for its first-class beach bungalows. All islands offer immediate access to a variety of ocean-based recreational activities. Most visitors to these islands have a strong interest in scuba diving as well as fishing, kayaking and snorkeling.
Snorkeling in Belize
No visit to Belize is complete without visiting at least one of the Caribbean islands. With convenient domestic flights, express ferries and local fishermen ready to transport guests. Visiting the islands throughout the Caribbean offers tourists access to beachside relaxation, world-class marine life and local island culture.