Ambergris Caye – the term “caye” describes a sandy island resting on top of a coral reef structure – is a world-class diving destination covered in mangrove forests and surrounded by balmy waters. Expect diving expeditions to Belize’s famous Great Blue Hole and the Belize Barrier Reef, both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
The Belize Barrier Reef is part of the second-largest coral reef structure in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, and features a great abundance of coral species packed tightly together. Other than the barrier reef structure it features three atolls, circular coral reef structures, and over 400 cayes or islands.
One of the nearby protected areas of the reef that you can visit while staying on Ambergris Caye is Hol Chan Marine Park. Here, you’ll be able to see dramatic sea fans, staghorn and elkhorn corals as well as intricate giant brain corals. The area is also home to a rainbow of parrotfish species as well as little seahorses and a variety of other underwater Caribbean species including critically endangered sea turtles. Speaking of sea turtles, other areas of the park feature sea grasses where some turtle species graze along with manatees. Eagle rays, manta rays and a number of other species can also be spotted in the park’s famed Shark Ray Alley.
Of course, no trip to Belize is complete without snorkelling or diving in the Great Blue Hole, an ancient cenote, or sinkhole, now covered by the ocean. The trip is often part of the Lighthouse atoll reef tour and during which you’re also likely to stop off at the island of Half Moon Caye. Another top diving site is the “Elbow” on Turneffe atoll, for which you’ll need to take a short trip to the island of Caye Caulker.
If you’re looking for a break from diving, you rent your own golf cart, the fastest means of transport on the island, and tour the many beaches. You can also stop off at the island’s only town of San Pedro for a day of restaurant eating and shopping. It’s also possible to book yourself a spa day at one of the many resorts.
Enjoy a Belizean fish BBQ on the beach
Get immersed in Garifuna music and culture
Practise sunrise yoga on a beach pier
Dive Belize's iconic Blue Hole
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef of Belize
Visit a wildlife rescue sanctuary
Spend the day at Secret Beach
Learn to make Belizean chocolate