Belize is fast becoming well known for the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere (second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), for our gorgeous snorkeling, diving, wind surfer…all types of water sports. The closer you get to the reef, the whiter the sand, the bluer and clearer the water and there is an explosion of fish, turtles, dolphins and sea life.
And Ambergris Caye runs right along the reef and no matter where you are along the beach, the view is spectacular. So what could there possibly be not to like?
Nothing I say, the water is absolutely gorgeous and swimming off a dock and laying on it after is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
The dock of Ak’Bol Resort.
The dock at Mata Chica Resort.
But the reef being right off shore means a few things (it actually touches the land way up north) – the water within is more calm than the open sea, it is relatively shallow and in many areas, turtle grass flourishes. Often this make it a bit trickier to wade into the water.
Swimming off the docks (and boats) is awesome, please trust me!
BUT if you want to also find a beach where you can wade in to cool off, here are some of my picks. And pics.
And remember, all beach in Belize is public. So while you may not be allowed to use a resort’s chairs and pool, you are definitely able to roll out a towel ANYWHERE – and that includes all docks.
Ramon’s Village – Just south of town is one of the original and most famous resorts on the island, Ramon’s Village. They have a beautiful strip of beach (and a popular swimming dock for the kids in town) that is great for wading in.
Central Park – Just recently, there has been a revival of Central Park in downtown San Pedro. An old palapa was torn down and the street vendors have been more to a designated area on the Back Street. It’s left Central Park’s beach looking beautiful. And, while shallow, it’s a lovely and convenient spot to sit in da wata.
Boca Del Rio – This beach is also a road – and may be the prettiest street in the world. All along this stretch is gorgeous but when it comes to swimming, the northern area near the actual Boca Del Rio or “Mouth of the River” is the prettiest spot. And is filled with golf carts and locals wading and swimming on the weekend.
A windy day.
And less so…
X’tan Ha Resort – Now we are heading farther north…7 miles north of the bridge over “the river” – or cut in the island. The road now extends all the way up to the resort (not all paved but most in very good shape) and they have not only a great beach but a funky little over the water bar. It’s a fun place to stop.
My friend Adam auditioning for the Belikin calendar.
Tranquility Bay – This remote gem of a resort is even farther north…in fact, it’s the northernmost resort on Ambergris Caye. So when you are staying up there, you often have the beach and the gorgeous snorkeling areas basically to yourself…or you are sharing with a handful of guests. The reef is so close that you can easily kayak out but if lounging on the beach is your thing? It’s just gorgeous.
You can also charter a boat to take you and your friends and family to take you to the restaurant up there if you want to enjoy the beautiful northern caye.
Secret Beach – The name is pretty much tongue in cheek these days – the secret is TOTALLY out. About 4 miles up the road north, you will see this sign. Hook the left.
For this one, you need to charter a boat but…man…it is worth it.
The Sand Bar
The leeward side of the island is scattered with small cayes and south of some of them, sandbars form. Beautiful pinkish sand sandbars just barely peaking out of the water. Bring along some beach chairs and some well iced drinks AND LOTS OF SUNBLOCK and you are in business.
So there you have it…some of my favorite beaches. But I’m still TOTALLY a dock fan. Something about coming out of the water and laying on a warm dock…free of sand…that makes me very happy.
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