South Water Caye Marine Reserve – Belize

Want to go diving? There are so many fantastic spots in the world. But let’s start with the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, the biggest protected marine park in Belize. It is considered to be an essential part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, which is hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Situated in the southern region of the island nation, about 19 miles off the coast Dangriga. The reserve covers about 17 miles of the Great Barrier Reef as well as the mangrove islands. It is rich with various coastal and marine habitats including mangroves, small islets, sand bores and a wide range of coral reef species. South Water Caye Marine Reserve can be reached by taking a boat ride from the town of Placencia, and the journey takes about an hour and a half.

South Water Caye

There are so many diving sites to choose from during your visit to this marine reserve. Most of the diving enthusiasts make more than one visit to the area to full enjoy and explore it. If you book a diving trip, you will most likely come across the popular diving site called Trick Ridge. This incredible ridge is part of the barrier reef within the reserve territory. It features a plunging wall and a deep sand channel. The area has become quite popular among divers because of its hard and soft coral formations and it attracts several marine creatures such as hawkbill, loggerhead turtles, sting rays, spotted eagle rays, schools of snapper, silversides and other fish types. If you get lucky, you may even spot hammerhead sharks; so always be ready to snap pictures while underwater.

If you don’t have a diving certification or do not feel like diving, you can always opt to snorkel inside and outside the fringe barrier reef. Aside from diving and snorkeling, other fun activities that you can enjoy while in the South Water Caye Marine Park area are island hopping and bird watching. The Man of War Caye is the nesting site for rare bird species like the frogate bird and the brown boobie (Sula leucogaster). If you head out to the Twin Cayes and Pelican Cayes, you can find luscious mangrove forests that houses a number of diverse marine organisms. The Pelican Cayes, in particular, are blessed with deep clear and stunning lagoons surrounded by coral ridges and mangroves.


While in the area, spend some time at the South Water Caye, one of the Belizeís precious paradise. Although, South Water Caye may be lesser known than other islands like Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye; coming to South Water gives you the advantage of experiencing a more tranquil and deserted island atmosphere. This picturesque caye stretches to 15 acres and offers amazing opportunities for reef diving and snorkeling as it just sits on top of the Great Barrier Reef. While on South Water Caye, you can enjoy amazing scenic views of the sea.

If you venture to the southernmost section of the island, you will find some of the most gorgeous powdery white sand beaches in Belize. There are also nice cabanas, hotels and luxurious resorts waiting to accommodate you and make your stay comfortable and memorable.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!