Sapodilla Cayes in Belize – What You Need To Know Before You Visit
The Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve is the southernmost group of atolls in the country and consists of 14 uninhabited islands and a section of the reef measuring about 39,000 acres (125 square kilometers) in size.
Along with the 14 islands, the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve also contains several crystal clear lagoons and a shallow reef, making it an ideal place to enjoy activities like snorkeling and scuba diving. Some of the islands are composed primarily of sand while others are dense mangrove forests. The labyrinth of the mangrove trees’ roots offer shelter and nesting sites for fish, one of the many reasons why the marine ecosystem is so vibrant in this area.
Why You Have to Visit
The Reserve is managed by the Belize Fisheries Department for good reason. The clear waters in this area, especially around the lagoon, are simply brimming with schools of fish, including angelfish, snapper, parrotfish, spadefish, and jacks. In the reef area, you can also spot creatures like manta rays, sea turtles, dolphins, and even the occasional whale shark. The Reserve is also a good place to see unusual kinds of coral, including the delicate fronds of “lettuce” coral.
The shallowness of the reef, often less than 15 feet (4.5 meters) during low tide, makes it really easy to explore. The edges of the reef are gentle slopes, making it a great place for beginning and intermediate scuba divers.
Where in Belize is it located?
The Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve is located approximately 40 miles (64 km) offshore of Punta Gorda in Toledo District.
The Best Time to Visit
The Reserve is open 365 days a year. Because Belize enjoys year-round balmy weather, you can spot an abundance of marine life no matter when you visit.
How to Get Here
The only way to get to the Reserve is by boat departing from the town of Punta Gorda. It takes approximately two and a half hours to arrive there, which can deter some visitors, but its remoteness and unspoiled beauty ensure an unforgettable experience.
Best Way to Experience it
Bring along your camera because you’re guaranteed to see some really amazing sights. It’s also essential to bring sun protection and plenty of drinking water, but don’t worry about diving/snorkeling gear as that’s usually provided by the tour company. There are some accommodations available at the nearby islands of Frank’s Caye and Nicholas Caye if you want to stay longer.