The West Side of Ambergris Caye, Cayo Rosario & The Sandbar On A HOT Day

MAN!  The past few days have been HOT!   The temperature is stuck in the low 90s – which to many does not seem THAT hot…but it’s the sun!  And the torpid air…the intensity and…well?  It’s just hot.

Since I’ve been off-the-grid for the last few days (NO AIR CONDITIONING), yesterday morning we set out to find some relief.  A short boat ride away from Cayo Frances Farm & Fly is Cayo Rosario.

A few acre mangrove caye directly west of Secret Beach, the tiny caye is well known by flyfishermen and locals.  But more recently it has been getting attention because of the proposed development plan – for 90 over the water cabanas and a maximum capacity of 600 employees and guests.

Absolutely totally ridiculous.  You own an island that is a few acres of sand, mangrove, birds and mangrove swamp in the middle of Hol Chan Marine Reserve.  We may not like that.  We may not like how you got the island but you own it.

But do you have the right to build preposterous structures all around it – over the marine reserve – in water that is owned by all and actively used by many?  A mockery to conservation in Belize.  That’s what is being decided right now in an official Environmental Impact Assessment.

Let me just show you what it looks like out there on an extremely warm day in Belize.  Sitting in the water is the ONLY place to be.

The water and the sky seem to blend together – in the distance, Blackadore Caye seems like a mirage…quivering in the heat.

Blackadore Caye – often called Leo’s Caye (after one of the owners Leonardo DiCaprio) – is the long thin strip in the distance.  It’s a GORGEOUS place that I visited just about a year ago.

The sea grass flats that are protected as part of the Hol Chan Reserve – the home to tiny shrimp, crabs and more excitingly the big three catch & release game fish that make Belize such a popular place for fly fishing.  Tarpon, permit and bonefish.

The water was flat and clear as glass yesterday.

The only sounds were the birds from the little caye.   Imagine giant outriggers with cabanas stretching across these flats?

The dredging and destruction makes my heart hurt.  But back to my photos…

Tons of needlefish and small fish enjoying the sun.  The water exploding in the distance once in while with a barracuda feeding.

A few snails…

And then this menace…one I haven’t seen (or felt) in years.  Known around here as “sea lice”.  As you are soaking, they attach to your skin and…bite.  Not painfully but not exactly pleasant.

I just googled them and the term “sea lice” seems to mean different things in different places – like baby jellyfish in Florida.  These are definitely not that…

Almost tiny tiny crabs…I THINK they are fish parasites and…let’s just stop with that.  Advice:  Don’t google fish parasites.

Seriously.  Just know that these are not the norm on Ambergris Caye.  Still waters that see almost zero humans…

Let’s move away from parasites.

And away from Cayo Rosario.  We headed back north to the area that is usually referred to as “the sandbar” – one small caye that is famous for her pretty white sandbar.  And pink when it sticks above the water.

The water was almost knee high yesterday but WARM and not moving.  Jeff went off fishing – seeing a permit but catching nothing – and I wandered along the bar to see what was left in the distance.

Make way for a snail.

Hmmmm…cinder blocks.  Why would someone leave that out here?  Dislike.

You can see Cayo Rosario behind it.

I had a seat and started shelling.

I’ve been asked if Belize is a good place to collect seashells and my answer would be…not really.  Here we have conch shells, corals washed up on the shore but very few other large shells.

What we DO have is tiny tiny shells…and I think they are just beautiful.

What makes one place great for seashells (here are Travel Channel’s Best Places for Hunting Seashells) and some not so great?

I have no idea but after seeing the horrifying sea parasites just a few minutes ago…I’m done googlin’ for the day.

Check out some more about the spots mentioned above in my posts below AND for some gorgeous photos of weddings at “the sandbar”, check out these links from my friends.

Conch Creative – Gorgeous photos on the West Side, LOVE the ring and the fish hook!

Leonardo Melendez – Belize Sandbar Weddings






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  • Linda Young

    I, too love the tiny shells, and collect them every time I’m there. I glue them on picture frames.

    • Nice! I was trying to think what I could do with them…that’s a great idea.