A Day Trip to Mexico: Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve on Ambergris Caye

Yesterday I took a day tour to one of the more remote areas of our island, the national park & reserve and part of the world heritage site, Bacalar Chico.

From my "walking tour" of Bacalar Chico last year - see below for the post!
From my “walking tour” of Bacalar Chico last year – see below for the post!

Here is the map.  Small and fuzzy in the first place but then, to ATTEMPT to clarify things, I’ve spray painted orange blobs on the points of interest.

Belize_big.93175812The first blob (or “southern blob”) is San Pedro town…I live about 1.5 miles south of town and that’s where I started.  I jumped aboard the 8:30am Coastal Express water taxi to meet up with a friend at Xtan Ha Resort (a gorgeous place I visited a few months ago too.)  The resort is 7 miles north of town (spray paint point #2) and with all the drop offs, it took about half an hour.

A few heavy morning clouds were moving out and it was shaping up to be a perfect day.


I met my guides Kevin and Mario, admired their new pink shirts and set off for the day.

IMG_6092No Worries Tours is located up at Xtan Ha Resort…out on the dock.

We headed northward as the barrier reef gets closer and closer to land.  At the last resort Tranquility Bay, we moved outside the reef.  It was a relatively calm day but once outside, the waves go from tiny to huge.  For about 20 minutes, you are riding some good sized swells.  I think it’s super fun but if you have a tendency towards seasickness, here is your time to focus on the horizon.

Once the reef separates from the land again, we headed back in to calm, beautiful blue water.

It’s really perfect and dotted with the prettiest coral heads.  This area is the best snorkeling I know.  The coral is gorgeous.


A beautiful early December view.IMG_6088It was just us and the guys from the Belize Fisheries Department.  We were outside the reserve area so it was time to get lunch.  Apparently, if we did not catch fish, lobster and/or conch, we would not be eating.

Sardines were chopped, lines were baited and casted…

IMG_6103 IMG_6094And soon, everyone had a fish…


Amanda from Minnesota.IMG_6102

IMG_6104 IMG_6107Next?  Snorkelling in the same spot.  We were really sent out to lobster and conch hunt but the water up here is so amazing, I spent my time just looking around.  (And I STINK at lobster hunting.  They are fast as roaches and scooch under coral as soon as you make eye contact.)

The water is anywhere from about 5 to 10 feet deep and as clear as glass.


I saw schools of jacks, huge cabrera snapper hiding in the coral and tons of other stuff. Beautiful snorkelling.

Lucky for me, some were more focused on our mission.

IMG_6112 IMG_6111 IMG_6110 IMG_6113We are going to eat well for lunch…


Northward to the tip of the island.  And ran into a pair of dolphins who circled the boat for a few minutes.  Awesome.



And then they headed off to do their own fishing…


We headed a bit my north to go through the Mayan dug channel between Ambergris Caye, Belize and Mexico and to HOPEFULLY see a manatee.

Hayley, who was on our trip, had been on this tour the previous year and saw THIS in the channel…

photo 1


photo 2 (1)


We kept very quiet and moved slowly…


Not a manatee in sight.  But it is peaceful and beautiful back here and to your left, Belize.  To your right, MEXICO!  In some of the more narrow spots, you could probably touch both mangroves at once.  Not QUITE as cool as straddling the equator but hey…it’s something.

We exited the channel into a large lagoon area and a small island with a tiny museum.


A manatee skeleton is kinda cool…



There is a bit of construction going on and a few people there…including this kid and his brother.  This picture was taken about 3 minutes before this massive hermit crab crunched his finger.


Lunch started with conch ceviche and then tons of OUR fish, lobster and potatoes.  The lobster was absolutely amazing.


Time to retrace our path and head back to X’Tan Ha.

As we left, we ran into a rain storm…only about 10 minutes long and then it cleared right up.

The water is so flat, I was attempting to get artsy…


Apparently the manatees were off for the day.IMG_6160The sunset on the ride home was beautiful…




We stopped to watch it dip below the horizon.  As Mario our guide said, “see you tomorrow”.


Back for happy hour.


Fun times and BEAUTIFUL weather.  This trip to Bacalar Chico is gorgeous and allows you to see the much more untouched parts of Ambergris Caye.  Definitely try it. But my suggestion?  Make sure you have good weather.  It’s a long day and lots of boat time…so if it’s raining?  You are going to get cranky quickly.

IMG_6114For more information on No Worries Tours, located up at X’Tan Ha Resort, check out their website.

bacalar chicoIMG_6079








  • Ryan22

    I took one of these tours with my wife. We loved it! The guys at No Worries Tours are really funny and showed us a lot of cool stuff we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We are definitely going back next year.

    • Belize Blog

      Nice! I liked when they pointed to a hill near the museum and it was a Mayan Ruin. Just buried…

  • John East

    Looks like a really nice trip. How much per person?

  • Guest

    I’ve done this a couple of times, but traversing up from the lagoon side. Might have to try yoru journey.

    • Belize Blog

      I did it that way last time I went (YEARS ago)…I think I like this way better. But I had a great time each time.