Belize Barrier Reef is the most funky and beautiful underwater ecosystem as we have seen so far. Similar experience we had on Philippines Apo Island when we were swimming and snorkeling among tens of turtles and wonderful corals.
Belize Barrier Reef is part of second largest coral reef on the world (after Australian Great Barrier Reef) and its most beautiful part that is under Unesco protection.
Sadly (or luckily, you never know) this beauty isn´t cheap. The prices in Belize are much higher than in Mexico or Guatemala.
This ecosystem of numerous coral reefs is 300 meters width, 40 kilometers long, and comprises three atolls: Turneffe Atoll, Glover´s Reef Atoll and Lighthouse Reef Atoll. On the last one is Great Blue Hole that attracts divers from all over the world, but for snorkeling, it is not so appropriate.
Before we even started researching possibilities of exploring coral reefs and atolls, we expected to find favorable accommodation on one of the atolls. If we managed in Maldives, we will managed here, too. Yeah, right…
Accommodations on atolls are so insanely expensive, that we excluded that option immediately. But luckily you can explore beauty of underwater ecosystem from different starting points.
We were on north side of Belize and there are two starting points to explore coral reef. One is more cosmopolitan and touristic Ambergris caye and the other, Caye Caulker, ideal for backpackers. You don´t have to think twice to know which one we picked 🙂 .
Caye Caulker is small island just by Barrier Reef, which motto is “Go Slow”. An island without roads and cars, just one street made of white sand, simple colorful houses and easy going Caribbean mood – and still quite expensive. Sometimes beautiful things are for free but sometimes they are not cheap at all.
We were not sorry, not for a second that we decided to explore Belize and its coral reef – even if just for four days, as it was peak of our travel to Mexico and Belize.
We left our car on the airport in Belize City as it was the safest option and went to the harbor by taxi, and by boat to Caye Caulker. There are enough accommodations on the island. In January there weren´t many tourists, but locals told us that in February everything is booked. If you intend to go to Caye Caulker during New Year Holidays or in February, you might want to make reservations in advance, otherwise it is not necessary.
Even though Caye Caulker hasn´t got the best beaches, there is great atmosphere – ideal for chilling, slowing down and enjoying in the beauty of Belize Barrier Reef.
We were exploring underwater world with one of many agencies that offer underwater adventures, all in natural environment. Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley and Coral Gardens enthused us the most.
If Peter was very thrilled when swimming with sharks, not dangerous nurse sharks…
… Lan and I were enjoying the most in coral gardens. Gardens of corals – literally – underwater. I thought that I don´t see right, it was just too beautiful to describe.
In between playful dolphins and barracudas, wonderful sight of mangroves and palm trees and blue waters…
The most well-known part of an island Caye Caulker is Split and Lazy Lizzard, where our kids proofed that friendship doesn´t care of skin color, language differences or other limitations. This is life lesson that give us the most, even if our accomplishments are not written anywhere 🙂 .