Caye Caulker is a small island that is full of life and personality, with friendly locals and a variety of beachside bars. It’s a hotspot for tourists and locals alike because they all enjoy the comfortable accommodations and relaxing vibe of the entire island. Caye Caulker is also a port from which guests can take snorkeling tours to the Belize Barrier Reef; there are reserves, atolls, sandbars, and smaller cayes scattered along the reef. Most of the tours offered go to three very popular areas: Coral Gardens, Shark Ray Alley, and Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
The first stop of your tour will normally be at Coral Gardens; the reason for the name is due to the vibrant and intricate coral formations that add a beautiful burst of colour to the reef. Here you can see schools of fish passing in front of you, many species of fish hiding within the corals, and if you’re lucky you might even find manatees. Manatees mostly show up in coral gardens between the months of June and September.
Shark Ray Alley
This is said to be one of the best “animal dives” in the Caribbean. For many years local fishermen would clean their fish in this area, and eventually noticed it began attracting nurse sharks and stingrays; hence the name “Shark Ray Alley”. As scary as the name sounds, the Nurse Sharks and Southern Stingrays are quite friendly and attracted to divers.
These marine animals are harmless and you get a once in a lifetime experience to hang out with them – this experience will definitely be brag-worthy because many people see these animals or the activity itself as “dangerous”.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Hol Chan is a Mayan word meaning ‘Little Channel’; this area was designated the first marine park in Belize in 1987. Here you can snorkel or dive (must be certified) if you choose; when underwater your eyes will be treated to a marine world like you’ve never seen. With countless amounts of corals, exotic fish species, sea turtles, nurse sharks, there hardly any words to describe it – you must see it for yourself!
Clear your entire schedule…
All three tours can be done at once, a full day, but well worth the experience and the gorgeous sunset you can see on your sail back home.
Written by Reyann Garcia