belize
Islands - Cayes

The Barrier Reef, second longest in the world, stretches the length of Belize. Most of the small islands, called cayes ("keys"), are surrounded by shallow water and protected by the coral reef. Kids will have a fabulous time with water activities and snorkeling in the warm Caribbean

Tip: Before you book your hotel, find out about proximity to the reef. Ideally, kids can snorkel close to shore, go in and out as they wish; otherwise, you'll have to get in a boat and chug out to the reef, which could be a half mile away.

Snorkeling - We spent hours snorkeling in the clear warm waters, and saw lots of tropical fish, including foureye butterflyfish, french grunts, blue tang, tiny neon goby, long-spined sea urchins, bluehead, sting ray, queen conch, slippery dick, boulder brain coral, mustard hill coral, sea fans, sponges.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley - Older kids will enjoy a snorkeling day trip to Hol Chan, 2 - 3 hours of snorkeling off a boat. In Shark Ray Alley, swim with nurse sharks and sting rays.
On the water Kayaks are fun for everyone in the family, paddle around inside the reef, weather is warm and it's easy to get around. Pedal boats are available for rent in San Pedro, next to the water taxi dock. Take a catamaran sunset cruise along the reef, the perfect way to end the day.
Fishing - Go out for 2 hour fishing trips to fish for grouper and snapper (hotels will usually cook what you catch).
Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve - For a change of pace, go on a boat ride to explore lagoons, mangroves, and beach forests at very northern tip of Ambergris Caye. The Maya who lived here were traders and fisherman, and a channel at the northern end of the caye is thought to be dug by the Maya, as a shortcut to the coast. Bacalar Chico is an important nesting area for sea turtles, and is home to manatees, crocodiles and herons.
How to visit - There are full day trips to Bacalar Chico with tour operators, including snorkeling at Rocky Point and lunch, as well as a ride through the lagoon. Or, if you are staying at the very northern end of Ambergris Caye, call the ranger, then walk up the beach - he will meet you for a guided walk through the forest and boat ride in the lagoon. Call 510.226.2833.

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