Snorkel the Southern Barrier Reef of Belize

Snorkel the Southern Barrier Reef of Belize

 The Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of indescribable beauty, gorgeous atolls and islands, and some of the best snorkeling in the world.

One of the best places to snorkel in Belize is the Silk Cayes, a collection of three islands on the outer part of the southern reef. Sometimes referred to as the Queen Cayes, the Silk Cayes are home to an astonishing variety of marine wildlife, including sea turtles, birds, rays, and sharks. And in 2009, Caribbean Travel and Life Magazine chose the Silk Cayes for having the “ultimate” Caribbean beaches.

The Silk Cayes are part of the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, a protected wildlife area measuring more than 26,000 acres (104 square kilometers) located approximately 22 miles (36 km) off the coast of Placencia in southeastern Belize. Thanks to strong conservation efforts by the government of Belize and good water quality, the reef near the Silk Cayes is some of the healthiest in the region, home to substantial schools of fish that attract migrating whale sharks that visit the area every spring.

Located approximately 11 miles (18 km) from Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye is a small island that is in the middle of the Laughing Bird Caye National Park. Named for the laughing gull birds that once used the island for breeding, the national park measures just 1.8 acres in size. The island is the above-water portion of an unusually narrow and long reef called a faro or an angular atoll. The steep dropoff and central lagoon are home to several amazing dive sites.

A perfect day trip from Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye is just a short boat ride from the mainland. The coconut trees, cool trade winds, and beautiful sandy beaches make for excellent locations to enter the water and marvel at the kaleidoscope of marine life found in the area.

Both Laughing Bird Caye and the Silk Cayes are a protected natural area, making them perfect spots to enjoy snorkeling. The combination of clear water, bright sandy seafloor, and abundant marine life found in these areas is often described as like stepping into a gigantic aquarium.

If you are looking to visit the Silk Cayes and/or Laughing Bird Caye, Barefoot Rentals and Services offers snorkeling tours to these and other choice sites. Based in Placencia, Barefoot Rentals and Services specializes in accommodations at the finest resorts in the Placencia region, and organized tours to all of the top attractions in Belize.

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