Silk Cayes: The Ultimate “Castaway” Experience
Belize may be known for lively towns and villages where tourists and ex-pats revel in fun, but it’s the solitary cayes situated along the coast that satisfy the sensibilities of those whose idea of happiness is a small spot in the midst of an ocean. Happily, you don’t have to be hundreds of miles from land to enjoy this rare experience. Head for Belize’s Silk Cayes, two deserted islands offering visitors 360-degree panoramas of endless sea, so you and your party can see how it feels to be the only people on Earth.
For some reason, these islands were given two names: Silk Cayes and Queen Cayes. Call them either when you travel here and you’ll encounter sugar-white beaches, the occasional coconut palm and water lapping along the shoreline, beneath which, a lively community of aquatic life awaits wide-eyed visitors. Spot vividly-colored fish, benign sharks (yes, they do exist), eagle rays and stingrays from your perch on the beach where a picnic is the perfect accompaniment to a day-long adventure.
Why you have to visit Silk Caye
Silk Caye is a jumping off point for scuba divers and other aquatic sports enthusiasts, eager to explore Belize’s barrier reef. Don your choice of diving gear and you’re off to see tropical aquatic life unmatched in the Caribbean region. Rings of coral reef that pre-date humans offer divers a close look at the earth’s earliest natural aquatic formations–they include the Staghorn, Fire, Star and Elkhorn varieties. See more than fish off Silk Caye waters: spot Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles plus Great Hammerheads. Don’t be scared if you encounter Whale Sharks; they’re more scared of you than you are of them!
Where in Belize is it located?
Due east of Placencia Village on the Placencia Peninsula; approximately 20 nautical miles from shore. Don’t expect a dock! Visitors pilot their boats directly onto the sandy beach.
When is the best time to go?
Nobody in your party will care if it’s raining once you hit the water, so any time of year is good for a Silk Cayes trip. That stated, bring a tent if you’re planning to picnic here during the green season.
Best way to get to Silk Cayes
Take a 45-minute boat ride from Placencia Village. If you’re already a sailor, rent a boat and pilot it yourself, but for a truly carefree experience, daily tours that include guides, picnic lunches and gear can make your time spent as a Silk Cayes castaway a picture-perfect experience.
Best way to experience Silk Caye
Only you can decide to spend time on these small, deserted islands by yourself or with others, but the latter is likely a safer option. Travel in swimwear and tote your equipment if you haven’t booked a tour that includes tanks, fins and diving gear. Spend time lying on the beach as gentle breezes caress your body and pay special attention to the absence of sounds, other than water lapping at the beach edge. While you’re there, you may wish to thank the Belize government for declaring the Silk Cayes a protected zone more than a decade ago. Who knows what these pristine cayes would look like if not for their critical intervention?