The Belize Barrier Reef
Ambergris Caye & Caye Caulker, Belize
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize and home to some of its most beautiful beaches and lies along the Belize Barrier Reef. The reef extends for 190 miles and is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (590 miles long) which is the the second largest coral reef system after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
San Pedro Town is the only town on Ambergris Caye and lies on the southern end of the island. From Belize City you can either take a ferry or a quick flight (very samll ~10 person plane) to the island. San Pedro has become the tourist hub for the area but it originally started out as a small fishing village.
Most non-commercial travel is done via golf cart on the island due to small roads and everything is fairly close to the town center. Many of the resorts and houses are within a few miles north of town along the beach.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve
The marine reserve lies just to the south between Ambrgris Caye and Caye Caulker and is shallow enough that most of it can be snorkeled. Shark Ray Alley is one section of the reserve that is a very popular dive site. Historically it was an area where fisherman would clean their fish just inside the reef. Now, local guides will chum the water for divers and snorkelers to attact the rays and nurse sharks.
Occasionally you get the amazing opportunity to see a family of Manatees swimming near the reef.
The little brother to Ambergris Caye, Caulker is a smaller, less developed beach paradise. For those looking to get off the beaten path, this island is a must.