Welcome to the Belize Islands!
In this blog post, we’re going to list our top 11 Belize islands as it is home to some of the world’s most spectacular beaches, coral reefs, and wildlife.
The islands below are our TOP SUGGESTIONS for your upcoming trip, from isolated islands to well-known tourist destinations. We’ll cover all the TO-DOs for every island!
Disclaimer: we talk a lot about a ‘caye‘, which means a small, low-elevation island that is largely made up of sand and coral
Before we get started, let’s clarify the location of Belize.
Belize is surrounded by Mexico to the north, Guatemala to the south and west, and the Caribbean Sea to the east.
There are more than 400 islands in Belize, ranging in size from tiny uninhabited cayes to large islands with resorts so there really is an island for any type of person as they all have their own unique experiences!
Caye Caulker is a calm, car-free island that is the definition of the term “island paradise.” Because of the overall energy of the island, we think Caya Caulker is REALLY SPECIAL.
It is so peaceful out there, if you are looking for an escape, THIS IS IT!
And the best part.
This island is heaven for snorkelers, as it is famous for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, a protected area that is home to a diverse range of marine life.
On the way there (if you are brave), you can do a stop in Shark Ray Alley where you can swim with nurse sharks and stingrays.
It’s hardly surprising Caye Caulker is a popular destination among tourists, there are so many exciting experiences if you are a marine life lover.
This is largest one of Belize Islands.
It is another popular island among tourists!
Ambergris Caye is known for the great nightlife in San Pedro Town.
So if you’re in the mood for a party, you have a tonne of music genres to choose from so don’t worry about finding clubs that suit your vibe.
Now let’s go to one of the tiniest Belize Islands off the coast of Dangriga, Tobacco Caye.
This isn’t your typical island, it is very simplistic and the perfect destination if you are looking for a secluded experience.
The island is known for being quite rural so you won’t find your regular 5-star hotels or nightlife here!
The island is also where some of Belize’s MOST BEAUTIFUL SUNSETS.
When the sun sets over the Caribbean Sea, you can relax on a beach chair and observe the sky change from a deep blue to hues of pink, orange, and purple.
St. Georges Caye
What makes this island special, is it’s history!
St.George’s Caya was once the first capital of Belize in the 18th century and was also the site of the Battle of St. George’s Caye in 1798 where British settlers successfully defended against a Spanish invasion.
If you’re interested in history, this island is a must-visit! You can even see remnants of old fortifications and cannons on the island.
Another special feature of this island is the mangrove reserve, a protected area that is home to a variety of bird species and marine life.
Distinct from the rest of Belize islands, Placencia Peninsula offers a unique mainland beach destination.
It’s understandable why this location is frequently referred to as the “Barefoot Perfect” beach with its 16 miles of sandy beaches.
Tourists can participate in exciting water sports, visit the nearby Monkey River, or attend the annual Lobsterfest, a celebration of seafood cuisine.
If you are lucky to have an encounter, another experience you could add to your itinerary in watching whale sharks!
Half Moon Caye
This is the ONLY Red-footed Booby breeding colony in the western Caribbean, so if you are a passionate bird-watcher don’t miss out!
And if that wasn’t enough.
The island created the perfect observation platform for you to enjoy your experience of watching these birds in their natural habitat.
If you are into fishing, this island is FOR YOU!
Sapodilla Cayes is a world-class sport-fishing destination, the sport has a catch-and-release approach to fishing.
It is also well known for Grand Slam fishing, a challenge where you have to catch three different species of fish in one day.
South Water Caye
This is another one of Belize Islands we believe SHOULDN’T Be MISSED!
South Water Marine Reserve is quite special, it has an abundance of marine life and the reserve is less known by tourists.
So, if you are looking for an off-the-beaten-path diving experience, this is the place to be!
Lighthouse Reef Atoll
If you are a diver, this island is probably on YOUR BUCKET LIST already.
Have you ever heard of The Big Blue Hole?
Belize Islands is home to the world’s most known sinkhole. The depth of the sinkhole is 124 meters deep and is a bucket list diving experience.
The sinkhole is near the centre of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, so you really won’t miss this sight during your visit.
Picture this: you’re on a boat, gently floating on the surface of the Caribbean Sea. Ahead, the ocean’s colour shifts from turquoise to deep indigo, marking the edge of the iconic Big Blue Hole.
As your guide secures your diving gear, your heart pounds in anticipation of what lies beneath. You take the plunge, descending into the cool, tranquil depths.
The sunlight gradually fades, highlighting the underwater dark void of the hole. Marine life flutters around you, undisturbed by your presence.
This Belize island is probably the definition of sustainable luxury.
The owner of this island is actually Leonardo Di Caprio, so if you are a big fan of him this is as close as you will get to his work.
DiCaprio bought this island with a mission to restore the island after it had suffered from dramatic deforestation.
To restore it, DiCaprio worked with an architect to create an eco-resort of luxurious villas in one part of the island and kept 45% as a conservation area.
Coco Plum Island Resort
Are you looking for an island to get married or plan your honeymoon?
Of all Belize Islands we selected, this one is for you!
An adults-only private island paradise, Coco Plum Island Resort is perfect for honeymoons, weddings, and peaceful retreats.
It stands out due to the unique and exclusive experience it provides.
Only 18 private beachside cabanas are available, so each visitor is assured a calm and relaxing atmosphere.
A wide range of activities are available at the all-inclusive resort, including world-class snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, and fishing trips.
Visitors can also indulge in the best spa services, or simply unwind by the sea, indulging in Belizean cuisine.
We went on a cruise ship tour and ATV jungle tour in Belize with CaveTubing, a LOCAL travel organization. We can recommend their tours! Everything is included: transport, food, gear, taxes, etc. They also offer ZIPLINE tours in Belize, as well as CAVE tours! They are a trustworthy and incredibly friendly organization, so check them out!
You can book your CaveTubing activity here!
As you can see, the possibilities are ENDLESS!
Belize Islands are each unique with a variety of activities and great conservation efforts.
Let us know in the comments below which islands you will be adding to your itinerary.
Belize Islands FAQ
How many islands make up Belize?
Belize is home to over 200 islands, known as Cayes. However, only a few of them are inhabited and developed for tourism. There are approximately 450 cays within the Belize Barrier Reef system, with only about 60 being large enough to have names. This makes it an ideal destination for island-hopping and exploring different parts of the country’s beautiful marine ecosystem.
What is the largest island in Belize?
Of all Belize Islands, the largest is Ambergris Caye, located off the coast of mainland Belize. It spans over 25 miles long and is about 5 miles wide at its widest point. It is a popular tourist destination with many resorts, restaurants, and activities available for visitors to enjoy. However, despite its development, the island still maintains a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, making it a perfect escape for those seeking both adventure and relaxation.
What are the most popular activities to do on the Belize Islands?
The Belize Islands offer a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the most popular activities include snorkelling, diving, fishing, water sports, and eco-tourism adventures. The islands are also known for their stunning beaches where visitors can relax and soak up the sun. Other popular activities include visiting wildlife reserves, bird-watching, and participating in cultural events and festivals.
What are the best snorkelling and diving spots in Belize?
Some of the best snorkelling and diving spots in Belize Islands include Hol Chan Marine Reserve, which is home to a variety of marine life including manta rays, nurse sharks, and sea turtles. Another popular spot is Half Moon Caye Wall, known for its vibrant coral formations and abundance of tropical fish. The Great Blue Hole in Lighthouse Reef Atoll is also a must-visit for experienced divers, with its unique underwater topography and diverse marine life.
What are some of the wildlife species in Belize?
Belize is home to a diverse array of wildlife species, both on land and in the sea. Some of the most iconic species found in Belize Islands include jaguars, howler monkeys, toucans, and manatees. The country’s marine ecosystem is also teeming with life, including hundreds of species of fish, dolphins, whale sharks, and sea turtles.
What is the best time of year to visit the Belize Islands?
The best time to visit the Belize Islands is during the dry season, which runs from late November to April. This is when the weather is most pleasant and there is minimal chance of rain. However, it is also peak tourist season, so prices may be higher and popular spots may be more crowded. The shoulder seasons of May-June and September-October can also be good times to visit, with fewer crowds and lower prices. However, these months may have higher chances of rain. It is best to avoid visiting during hurricane season from June-November.
What is the most popular dish served on the Belize Islands?
The most popular dish served on the Belize Islands is probably the iconic rice and beans. This staple dish is typically made with red kidney beans, coconut milk, and spices, served alongside white rice and often accompanied by stewed chicken or beef. Other popular dishes include seafood such as lobster and conch, as well as traditional Maya cuisine like tamales and relleno.