Spending A Half-day at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve: Tarpon Feeding and Seahorses 

by Dion Vansen

The small island of Caye Caulker, affectionately known as La Isla Carinosa, is not only popular because of its laid-back atmosphere. The island also has its own water attractions capped off with its own marine reserve where snorkeling is the most popular outing. This activity is also one of the most popular tours from the island and can be done either in the morning or afternoon. It is an experience accompanied by the bonus of feeding tarpons and seahorses on the lagoon side of the island.

South Channel

The three-hour custom adventure is offered by every tour operator on the island and includes three stops. Not to mention, it is a throw stone away from the small and popular Caye Caulker community. The guided tour takes you to the reserve’s South Channel, the deepest part of the marine reserve. Before getting in the water, the tour guide will provide a safety briefing and make life vests available for anyone needing them. There are tall walls of coral reefs and an abundance of large fish species like yellowtail snappers, grunts, moray eels, and many more. Conch shells can also be observed on the seafloor.  

Coral Gardens 

This area showcases an abundance of colorful coral reefs and is also teeming with marine life. There are sergeant fish, Angel fish, parrot fish, and many more species which makes this spot look like a natural aquarium. 

Shark Ray Alley 

Image via Alaia Belize.

Just like in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve off Ambergris Caye, the sister island, there is a shallow area where the main stars here are the stingrays and nurse sharks. Until Hol Chan, sea turtles were rare in this marine reserve. However, what you may spot sometimes if you are lucky, are manatees.  

Tarpon feeding and Seahorses

The boat ride to the lagoon side where tarpon feeding takes place will take you through Caye Caulker’s famous split. For sure after this last part of the tour, you will be back at the Split for a drink or some food and meet new friends. When the boat reaches the area where the tarpons are, the technique is the following. The guide will show you and instruct you to dangle a sardine near the water. Without warning a huge tarpon would jump out of the water and snatch the sardine. Be ready to pull your hand. Not too far from there is a Seahorse Sanctuary. It is a little pond with nets and algae. You need to have a good eye to spot these tiny creatures as they camouflage with their surroundings. But don’t worry, if you are having difficulty finding them, your guide will help you. 

Header photo by Quilz Tamay Photography

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