Belize Islands: 6 that you can’t afford to miss!
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of scaling ancient Maya temples, exploring ancient cave systems, trekking into the Maya mountains, swimming in various waterfalls and rivers, and taking in the local culture when planning a trip to Belize. While all this sounds like loads of fun (oh and trust me it is!) Belize also boasts over 130 islands along its 322 km coastline and let’s face it; who doesn’t like a day at the beach? So here are six Belize islands you simply must visit if you happen to vacation in our little jewel.
1. The Island of Ambergris Caye
Starting off the list is Ambergris Caye, the largest island and probably the busiest. Perched on the eastern coast of the island is San Pedro town, you might know it from that one Madonna song, this place really is your one stop shop for anything island or aquatic. The Belize Barrier Reef (the second largest in the world might I add) sits just a few minutes off the white beaches and can very often be seen from the shore, snorkeling, fishing, diving, wind sailing, jet skiing… you want it, they got it. Of course all this splashing around sounds nice but San Pedro’s other claim to fame is their reputation for knowing how to throw a party, actually what I’m not sure of is if they know how to stop. You’ll always stumble upon a “bash”, barbeque, beach party or blowout that’s sure to entertain and enthrall you. As can be said for anywhere in Belize, the locals are all love, and where there’s love… there’s food and you can get a taste of everything Belize has to offer out there. So whether its night life, action and adventure, culinary curiosities or any combination of those you should definitely check this place out.
2. The Island of Caye caulker
Taking a break from the hustle and chaos of the “big city” that is San Pedro, Caye Caulker offers a lot more of that Caribbean chill that this region is so known for. This small fishing and sailing village still builds sail boats as and been the tradition since the early 1900’s and remains one of the larger sources of lobster for the country. If you’re into history, boats and fishing then it’s definitely worth checking out the Shipwright exhibit at the Belize Marine Terminal and Museum where they display the history of the island and old shipwrights’ tools. That’s not to say that all Caye Caulker has is a sleepy fishing village, there’s a lot of fun to be had at night too! Enter: “The Lazy Lizard” and their famous (infamous?) Lizard juice, ask any local, even any Belizean about Lizard Juice and while they may not have any memories after it they’ll assure you it was quite the night! Other than the green concoction, The Split (its namesake being that the island has a land split created by hurricane Hattie in the ’60’s ) is a popular swimming spot and an awesome place to meet some interesting locals so if you pass on the lizard juice you’ll have interesting conversations regardless.
3. South water Caye
If you’re looking for something off-the-beaten-path…or reef, then South Water Caye might be just up your alley. This 15 acre little island is home to the gorgeous Pelican Beach and Blue Marlin Beach Resorts, as well as the Zoological Expeditions’ student dorm. This is really the perfect place if you want to really kick back and relax on the beach, it’s compact and intimate, great for a private getaway.
4. St Georges
Here’s another one for you history enthusiasts! St. Georges Caye, the site of the Belize Famous Battle of St. Georges Caye in which the Baymen (who at the time were privateers and logwood cutters) fought off some Spanish ships seeking toclaim the territory. That battle which culminated on September 10th 1779 is the only recorded aggressive confrontation between the Brits and Spaniards and as that, it’s celebrated as a public and bank holiday! St Georges is another relaxed island perfect for sleepy days and starry nights (Star gazing out there was one of my favorite things) and if for some reason you get bored of long walks on the beach or get tired of looking up there’s also an aquarium a short walk north. Speaking of the aquarium I should caution you… their grouper is quite a sight and will scare you out of your wits if he finds a snack and you’re too close, it really is one of the more underrated things to see out there which I highly recommend you check out.
5. Goff’s Caye
Goff’s Caye is a little patch of sand out in the water about 45 minutes off shore from Belize City. It reminds me of the island that Jack Sparrow got marooned on in the first Pirates movie, with a little more going for it of course. The little island can be considered a wonderful example of a healthy reef system as the waters just north are an active foraging area for sea turtles. Goff’s is perfect if you fancy a day swimming and tanning on the beach, you could try to pitch a tent and stay the night but I’m not sure how much of a good idea that is. It’s a quaint little island that is sure to satisfy your desire for some beach bumming.
6. Sapodilla Cayes
Taking a nose dive south, but not too south, we can find the Sapodilla (pronounced Sah-poe-dih-la)Cayes, a collection of 14 sand and mangrove islands that dot the southernmost tip of Belize’s waters. A photo of this place should be in the dictionary next to the word “Pristine” because I think this is as close as you can naturally get to that “undiscovered Island” look you see in the movies. Its position as number six on the list reflects nothing of the vistas or beaches, but hey, save the best for last right? White sandy beaches, Shallow tepid waters, it really is everything you hear about in those vacation package descriptions, but I bet you none of them have ever been here. If you’re truly looking for an experience to call your own, well, you know what to do.