Get Friendly with Caye Caulker’s Stingrays and Nurse Sharks

by Tanya McNab
sting rays nurse sharks

Belize’s Barrier Reef is teeming with vibrant marine life, and the most important thing you should know is just how easy it is to see the beauty of Belize’s underwater world. There are few coastal communities where going to a dive or snorkel spot is just a short boat ride away. For one of Belize’s most popular tourism vacation spots, Caye Caulker, the boat ride is a mere 15 minutes to its friendly locals: stingrays and nurse sharks.

Known for world-class diving, Belize offers many opportunities to safely interact with marine wildlife and some of them don’t even require you get in the water, which makes it fun even if you aren’t an avid swimmer. One such destination is at the Stingray Spot east of Caulker Caulker, one of Belize’s northernmost islands. Home to stingrays, nurse sharks and a variety of tropical fish lies a spot where fishermen have long cleaned their fish after the days catch, and have attracted other marine animals to come and feed off the trimming thrown overboard. Get your camera ready. This is going to be a photo op you’ll definitely want to take.

Stingrays Ocean

Rays of Belize

There are two main species of rays you can commonly see when snorkeling, diving, and even if you just decided to view from the boat. They are the Southern Stingray (very popular to swim with at the Caye Caulker Stingray Spot and Shark Ray Alley in San Pedro) and the White-Spotted Eagle Ray (keep your eye out on your boat ride). Additionally, you can also see a Yellow Round Ray or an Atlantic Chupare! And if you’re really lucky, you may even encounter a threatened species like a Manta Ray or Ticon Cownose Ray.

The Nurse Shark is also a very docile and passive species. It is a sluggish bottom feeder, and using its pavement-like teeth to crush shellfish. It grows to an average length of 8 feet, are quite peaceful, and harmless to people. Without a doubt, swimming with Belize’s nurse shark is a travel bucket list item!

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