The Best Way to Visit and Explore Glovers Reef Atoll
(Photo by Islands Expeditions)
It’s okay to channel your inner child when compiling your Belize itinerary, but pirate hats and swords won’t be necessary—nor must you put a parrot on your shoulder—to fully experience Glover’s Reef Atoll, a coral wonderland frequented by marauding pirates back in the 1750s. John Glover (and his conspiratorial brother Roger) regularly put in at this coral reef and the folklore surrounding these two swashbucklers will add some romance and delight to your visit. What treasures will you find if you spend time here? A world of aquatic splendor that has been declared a World Heritage Site and protected marine reserve, but you can also enjoy the privacy and solitude you so richly deserve as you collect 21st Century booty in the form of rest and relaxation.
Glovers Reef Atoll
Originally settled by Mayans who sailed here from mainland Belize, Glover’s Atoll is a fragile marine reserve that’s been lovingly preserved for posterity. At just 80 square miles in circumference, you’ll be bowled over by the stunning coral that shapes a snug wall around what travel magazine writers love to call a “rainbow colored lagoon” that features more than 700 shallow coral patches. Since the atoll is only 18 miles long and 6 miles at its widest point, you can see every inch, and if you are interested in the deepest ocean drop in the world, don’t skip the Caiman Trench which plunges 15,000 feet to the bottom of the ocean.
Why you have to visit Glovers Reef Atoll
Glovers Reef wraps around an 80-square mile lagoon that’s as idyllic as any South Seas movie you’ve viewed. As the southernmost of three Belize atolls, the reef atoll serves several purposes: host to a lodge situated amid coconut palm trees and sandy beaches that promises refuge from the world, a research site and a place you can indulge in every aquatic sport that suits your fancy—diving, snorkeling, swimming or sailing. Multiple dive sites bearing enticing names like Octopus Alley, Turtle Tavern and Dolphin Dance give you access to spotted stingrays, barracuda, French angelfish, butterfly fish and sharks. Love to paddleboard? This is your destination!
Where in Belize is it located?
About an hour and a half from Dangriga by boat.
When is the best time to go?
Depends upon whether you plan to sleep in tents and immerse yourself in a back-to-nature lifestyle or you’ll lodge at a full-service resort with cabanas and houses offering shelter during the rainy season.
Best way to get here
There is only one way to get here: by boat, unless you plan to parachute in!
Best way to experience Glover’s Reef Atoll
If you’re coming for a sporting holiday, you may prefer tent camping, but you can also duck into a resort and opt for a package that includes diving, lodging and meals. By booking a tour, you don’t have to become a mountain goat, dragging gear, worrying about boat rentals or facing your own navigational shortcomings. Of prime importance is having your fill of nature’s bounty; seeing wonders on display that are heavily protected by laws passed beginning 1993 under the Fisheries Act. Stay long enough to explore a good chunk of the 86,653 acres of coral serving as protectors of the lagoon where lobster, conch and fin fish feed and spawn. Another reason to hire a guide? There are so many stringent conservation restrictions in the area, you won’t want to inadvertently incur a fine and ruin what is likely to be the vacation of your life!
Contact us if you have questions or need more information on Glover’s Reef Atoll.