Of the hundreds of islands in the Caribbean Sea, a handful are inhabited by local fishing communities, guests houses, hotels, and restaurants. The most developed is Ambergris Caye, which touches the Yucatan peninsular of Mexico and lies a quarter of a mile from the second largest barrier reef in the world. It’s one of the best locations in the world for scuba diving, snorkeling and sports fishing.
Ambergris Caye has the broadest range of tourist amenities in all of Belize, ranging from locally-run guest houses to five star award winning boutique resorts, offering some of the finest dining in all of Belize. Accommodation options also include some spectacular private beachfront homes, steps from the water’s edge.
Caye Caulker is often referred to as Ambergris Caye’s sleepy sister. Life is typically laid back so it is a great place to go and unwind, eat a fresh fish dinner in one of a handful of waterfront dining establishments and check out the local arts and crafts. Next to Caye Caulker is Caye Chapel, an island turned into a golf course, where you can spend the day playing golf, cruising in your golf buggy, crocodile spotting, enjoying a spa treatment or snorkeling the reef.
Twenty minutes by boat from Belize City is St. Georges Caye, steeped in history as it was the first capital of the British settlement. The island is principally home to private families, however it is possible to use this as a base for some great dives.
Further South are three atolls (out of only four in the whole Caribbean) – Lighthouse, Glovers and Turneffe. The atolls formed millions of years ago on giant tectonic faults, where limestone provided perfect conditions for coral growth. The oval shaped masses of coral have central lagoons with water 10 to 30 feet deep and the ocean falls sharply to 1,000 feet or more outside the walls, making for spectacular dive territory. There are just a handful of small diving and fishing resorts on the atolls. The breathtaking Blue Hole, one of the most famous dive sites in the world is a collapsed atoll where divers can witness the largest underground stalactites in the world.