Kayaking and Snorkeling in Belize

South Water Caye Marine Reserve – fun kayaking and snorkeling in Belize

South Water Caye Marine Reserve is a paradise for kayaking and snorkeling in Belize. On Belize’s Southern Barrier Reef, the 117,875 acre reserve is dotted with beautiful little cayes and teeming with marine life. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is part of the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching approximately 1,000 km (621 mi) from the Yucatan to the Bay Islands in Honduras.

An image of four kayaks on the beach at Tobacco Caye Paradise Resort in Belize

Kayaks on the beach at Tobacco Caye Paradise Resort in Belize. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Paradise Islands – Lodge to Lodge Paddling

Kayaking and snorkeling is one of the best ways to explore this marine paradise and we did both on a guided kayak trip with Island Expeditions. You could rent the kayaks from the company and do this trip independently, but we liked the security of a guided trip for our first time exploring this area. Also, when we paddled from one island lodge to the next, they took some of our luggage in a motorboat, so we didn’t have to stow all of it in the kayak hatch. Here are some of my favorite memories from one of my favorite Belize adventure tours – kayaking and snorkeling in Belize.

Note: If you’re thinking about visiting Belize, you won’t want to miss Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary. Check out our post about Birding in Belize.

Kayaking in Belize

An image of two people kayaking in Belize in South Water Caye Marine Reserve

Kayaking is a great way to explore and travel through Belize’s South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

An image of three kayaks with sails sailing in Belize through the South Water Caye Marine Reserve

If the wind is right, you can put your paddles away and put a sail on your kayak. Kayak sailing in Belize is a fun adventure! Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

It’s amazing how fast you can move with a sail attached to your kayak!

Island Lodges – South Water Caye Marine Reserve

An image of five over water cabins of Tobacco Caye Paradise on the island of Tobacco Caye in Belize

Over water cabins of Tobacco Caye Paradise Resort on Tobacco Caye in Belize. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Some of the Belizean Cayes cayes in this area are uninhabited, but there are many little cayes with lodges on them. Tobacco Caye Paradise was our favorite accommodation on this trip. These little over-the-water bungalows are basic, but they had everything we needed. We loved falling asleep to the sound of the waves lapping underneath our bungalow and we loved sitting out on the deck and watching marine life swim by. The food was great too. It really is a paradise. It’s such a tiny caye, that it only takes about 10 minutes to walk around the whole island.

An image of a sandy sidewalk lined with conch shells and palm trees at Tobacco Caye in Belize

A sandy sidewalk lined with conch shells and palm trees at Tobacco Caye Paradise in Belize. Photo by GREG OLSEN

An image of conch shells forming a reef on a beach at Tobacco Caye in Belize

We thought this man-made conch shell reef was pretty on Tobacco Caye. It was even more fun to find live conch while snorkeling in Belize. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Four people relaxing in hammocks in Belize

After a day of paddling, it’s always nice to settle into a hammock next to a local and enjoy a lazy   afternoon nap. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Belize Marine Birds

An image of a pelican floating on the water in Belize

The clear water means fishing is good for the pelicans that nest on the cayes. Photo by GREG OLSEN

An image of a pelican in the process of eating an aquatic organism in Belize

If you are lucky, you might come upon a pelican in the midst of a feast. Photo by GREG OLSEN

An osprey sitting on a nest on Tobacco Caye in Belize

This nesting osprey on Tobacco Caye was in a great spot to easily provide food for her offspring. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Aquatic Life – Snorkeling in Belize
An image of a stingray seen snorkeling in Belize in South Water Caye Marine Reserve in Belize

The waters are so clear that it’s easy to spot marine life like this stingray that swam past our kayak. Photo by GREG OLSEN

An image of a dog looking at a stingray on Tobacco Caye in Belize

Delilah the fisher dog was constantly trying to catch stingrays that swam past the dock at Tobacco Caye. We were worried about what would happen if she caught one. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Image of an orange sea star seen while snorkeling in Belize in South Water Caye Marine Reserve in Belize

We thought these orange sea stars were pretty. They were easy to spot in the clear waters of the South Water Cay Marine Reserve in Belize. Photo by GREG OLSEN

Image of a snorkeler holding a conch shell he found while snorkeling in Belize in South Water Caye Marine Reserve

Our guide Omar found a giant conch shell while we were snorkeling in Belize. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Image of blue parrot fish swimming over coral in South Water Caye Marine Reserve seen while snorkeling in Belize

The many colorful fish, coral formations and the clear water make snorkeling in Belize a dream. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Image of coral with various colors and shapes in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve in BelizeBrightly colored coral gardens and brightly colored fish are both abundant in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Image of a man snorkeling over coral formations in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve in BelizeGreg Olsen snorkeling over some brightly colored coral formations in South Water Caye Marine Reserve in Belize. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

Image of a two paddlers in a double kayak with a sail in BelizeThe Paradise Islands kayaking and snorkeling tour with Island Expeditions really is paradise found. Photo by DEBBIE OLSEN

If you want to try something adventurous and unique, explore Belize by kayak. You’ll discover that kayaking and snorkeling in Belize is an experience of a lifetime – whether you’re a beginner or a hardcore kayaker.

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