This winter, trade-in your snow boots for flip flops. Belize is a truly fascinating little piece of paradise with more than one thing on offer to suit any possible taste. You have lush jungles, gorgeous waterfalls within the mountains, and more than enough islands to ensure that you will have the perfect vacation within the tropics. While there are hundreds of activities and venues you can explore in Belize, this particular article is concerned with highlighting the seven best islands that anyone coming to Belize this winter should at least consider visiting. But first, a brief heads up regarding terminology; throughout this article, you will see the term “caye” being used; “caye” or “cay” is the way that the locals spell the word key. Pronounced like key, cayes are small sandy islands with a little elevation that is built atop a coral foundation.
This is Belize’s largest, busiest island and overflowing with posh hotels, gourmet restaurants, beach bars, and entertainment venues as an easy winter choice. You can easily get to it by ferry, like with San Pedro Belize Express, or local flight from Belize City with Maya Island Air and it resides just one mile away from the Belize Barrier Reef, the world’s second-largest barrier reef. You can also easily get to the Blue Hole and Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Lighthouse Reef. San Pedro, the main town on the island is found along the east coast and was used for a song by Madonna. If you love to party, you will never be left wanting here. All of these offerings make Ambergris Caye one of the most popular destinations in Belize, but there is certainly a slice of paradise for everyone.
Where to stay: Ambergris Hotels here
This is where you go to relax and unwind while still having plenty of options beyond the resort. The lack of vehicles means you get to enjoy your journeys on foot or golf cart; even the welcome sign advises to take things slowly. You can even check out The Split, a channel created after a hurricane that split the island and endures as a great swimming spot.
Where to stay: Jan’s Hotel
This is the best spot to go for easy diving. It’s just nine miles away from Dangriga and within walking distance of the reef. Just imagine waking up in the late morning, immediately slipping into your dive gear and swimming over to a dive site in under 15 minutes. It is not only a reality but South Water Caye is an access point to a 118,000-acre marine reserve.
Where to stay: Blue Marlin Beach Resort
Even though it enjoys a close distance to Placencia Village, this two-acre island of sugar-white sand remains relatively unknown. It has enough space for nine guests for an overnight stay and no more than 25 during the day. This restriction helps to keep tourism a stable pursuit while minimizing the damage to Ranguana Caye’s natural splendor.
Where to stay: Ranguana Caye, a Muy’Ono Resort
This tiny little jalapeño-shaped caye is a private island resort that prides itself on its diving, snorkeling, and fishing options. If you would rather just chill out, the resort has more than enough amenities to suit those desires as well. You can even rent the entire island and feel like royalty for a few days.
Where to stay: Ray Caye Island Resort
This tiny egg-shaped island gets its name from serving as an early tobacco farm. It also features a marine station to educate people about the local sea life and serve as a place to participate in night diving. It is serene, which makes it an ideal island to spend winter in Belize. Read all you need to know about Tobacco Caye here.
Where to stay: Tobacco Caye Paradise
This place has great historic value as it was the site of an eponymous battle between a group of privateers and loggers known as Baymen that prevented the Spanish from taking the area for their own. September 10, 1779, is known as the only public record of aggression between the British and Spanish, making it a national holiday. This winter, St. George’s Caye is another chill island to relax and bask in the natural wonder of Belize. If you would rather see what the island has to share, it has quite an impressive aquarium with some equally impressive grouper.
Where to stay: Casa Al Mar Belize
Belize is a country with over 400 islands to its name. Even if only a fraction of that number is inhabited, there are still more than enough of them for you to find your own personal flavor of tropical paradise. Yes, we only featured seven of Belize’s islands but that is because they are arguably the seven most prominent places that people will appreciate exploring this summer. Ambergris Caye is the quintessential tropical resort area with tons of things to do; St. Georges Caye offers a chance to learn of Central America’s colonial history; South Water Caye is one of the best environments for going beneath the waves; Caye Caulker offers a blend of chill vibes and resorts living; Ray Caye gives you a shot at feeling like a real big shot and Ranguana Caye gives you plenty of space from other people. The choice is yours!