Belize Islands and Atolls

belize islands and atolls

Belize Outer Cayes and Atolls

The waters off the coast of Belize are dotted with more than 450 beautiful small islands, known locally as cayes (“keys”), as well as tiny atolls that rise up from the floor of the Caribbean Sea. Some of these tiny islands and atolls are uninhabited, but visitors are increasingly being drawn to the rich abundance of marine life and gorgeous coral reefs that can be seen in the waters offshore.

Some of the most popular atolls and outer cayes in Belize are:

Turneffe Islands Atoll

At 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, it is he country’s biggest atoll, home to innumerable lagoons and shallow crystal clear waters perfect for diving and swimming. The atoll is just a 100 yards from the Belize Barrier Reef, making it a prime spot for world-class snorkeling, diving, and fishing opportunities. Most famous for its “wall diving” spots, the atoll also features several shallow water sea gardens, with a wide variety of colorful marine life, perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling.

Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Located on the edge of the Great Blue Hole, the world-famous natural wonder, the atoll is the easternmost part of Belize, located approximately 50 miles southeast of Belize City.

The Great Blue Hole offers amazing vistas and underwater exploration opportunities as divers enter the portal to a gigantic cave, created during the last great Ice Age, making it one of the most popular dive sites in the world.

Glover’s Reef Atoll

Named for the infamous English pirate John Glover, who plied these waters in the 17th century, using the atoll as a base to attack Spanish merchant ships loaded with gold and silver. Today, visitors to Glover’s Reef are drawn to the beautiful unspoiled nature, making the atoll a prime spot for boaters, campers, kayakers, and biological research teams. The large lagoon harbor is home to more than 750 different colonies of gorgeous coral.

Just beyond the edge of the atoll are deep drop offs, measuring between 50 and 2,500 feet deep, filled with hundreds of shipwrecks, making the area popular with treasure hunters and adventurous divers.

Tobacco Caye

This small island measures just five acres in size, but is the site of a tropical island fantasy, surrounded by pure white beaches and dotted with lush palm trees. Besides basking in the sun and playing in the surf, the caye is also popular with divers who want to explore the colorful marine life offshore.

St. George’s Caye

Located just 20 minutes by passenger boat from Belize City, the caye is a popular vacation spot for international visitors and locals alike. With plenty of beaches, and beautiful sapphire waters, the caye is a great place to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or diving.

South Water Caye

From Dangriga in Stann Creek District, it is just a 30-minute boat ride to South Water Caye, a coral island measuring approximately 15 acres in size. Just offshore is the South Water Caye Reserve, a 185-square mile protected habitat for hundreds of species of unique marine life. Divers come to the island to explore the deep drop-offs located just a few hundred yards offshore.

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