The small islands and remote cayes scattered throughout the turquoise waters along Belize's barrier reef and the outer reef atolls offer the best access to snorkeling and diving and exceptional overnight destinations

Venturing away from the crowds to visit some of Belize's smaller cayes will reward you with an intimate island experience and unparalleled access to the underwater gardens located along the world's second largest barrier reef and remote coral atolls. These small islands provide a retreat from the ordinary and a taste of the extraordinary with unique resorts in a breathtaking Caribbean setting. Snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, fishing, and paddle boarding are all at your fingertips here. Wade into the sea in front of your room and snorkel right from the beach, grab a line and fish for lunch right from the dock, or head out on a sea kayak or paddle board to explore the turquoise seas for a bit of adventure on your own. Get PADI certified at a full-service dive shop, head out on a night snorkel, dive with a whale shark, or explore a nearby atoll. Whether you wish to take to the seas on your own or with a guide, these island destinations will provide you with everything you need to get up close and personal with Belize's Caribbean world.

Oceanfront Cabana at Hatchet Caye Resort

Hatchet Caye Resort, Hatchet Caye

Hatchet Caye is a stunning small island resort located on the edge of the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve in southern Belize about an hour’s boat ride from the mainland and the Placencia Peninsula. Belize’s barrier reef – the second largest in the world – is within site from Hatchet Caye, making it an ideal location for snorkelling, diving, and fishing trips and the perfect choice for those looking for a small Caribbean island experience. The marine life is abundant here and you could easily fill your days at Hatchet Caye simply exploring the area around the island and enjoying this unique environment on your own with complimentary sea kayaks, pedal boats, hobie cats, paddle boards, and snorkelling equipment. However, a variety of exciting snorkel, diving, and fishing trips all along the reef can also be arranged with the on-island Pirate Reef Dive Shop. The island is about 7 acres large with nearly a mile of private shoreline and only 12 rooms offering plenty of space for guests to relax and enjoy the intimate location and the many onsite activities. The “Main House” is a cheerful three story wooden home built in a plantation architectural style. It has a rooftop crow’s nest with 360 views of the island and sea and 5 Main House Rooms, each with a private deck providing views of the island. Six Oceanfront Duplex Cabanas and the Honeymoon Suite face the east and the reef and provide privacy and the luxury of being on a secluded Caribbean island out on the reef. All the rooms at Hatchet Caye are appointed with comfortable king beds or two queen beds and simple but elegantly designed furniture, spacious private bathrooms with hot/cold showers, ceiling fans, air coordinating, and large windows to let is the bright island light and provide ample vistas of the island and sea. All meals at the island are prepared at Lionfish Grill, which offers a unique and tasty menu cooked with local produce (some of which is grown in this island’s organic garden) and the freshest seafood - Lionfish included! Diners can enjoy their meals in the picturesque seaside restaurant pavilion, by the pool, or over the water at the end of their covered pier. The bar offers an array of juices, soft drinks, cocktails, beers and wines and is the best place to use the Wi-Fi.

Pelican Beach on Southwater Caye is right on the reef

Pelican Beach Resort On South Water Caye

Pelican Beach is a small resort located on 3 1/2 acres on the southern end of South Water Caye, a 15 acre private island that sits right out on the barrier reef a half an hour off the coast from Dangriga. This is one of the only resorts in the country where you can step into the sea just a a few feet from your room and snorkel amongst coral and brightly colored fish right from the beach. And once you have exhausted yourself exploring the nearby coral formations, take advantage of the location to go an an island hopping boat tour and visit coral gardens father afield, go fishing, take a sea kayak expedition to a nearby caye, sunbathe, swim, or do simply nothing at all! (There is no dive master onsight but scuba diving can be arranged with another nearby resort.) The coconut palm studded grounds of the resort and the charming Caribbean wood structures that house the rooms and restaurant provide an idyllic setting where it is easy to relax and enjoy the cool trade winds  in one of the many hammocks hung along on the beach or from the privacy of your own veranda. Five Belizean Styled wooden cottages (2 free standing singles and 3 duplexes) named after marine birds and scattered throughout the grounds offer unique views, brightly decorated bedrooms, private porches with lounge chairs and hammocks, and bathrooms with hot and cold showers. Meals are served on the outdoor deck in the sea breeze at the main building and offer hearty potions of delicious local fare and a small bar area offers cold drinks throughout the day. The atmosphere here is down-to-earth, relxed, and unpretentious but with all the amenities needed to be comfortable, kick-off your shoes, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. A stay at Pelican Beach is highly recommended for families, friends, and couples looking to get away from it all and relax in a lovely no-fuss island environment and do some easily accessible, soft adventures on the reef.

The Overwater Bungalows at Thatch Caye

Thatch Caye Resort on Thatch Caye

Thatch Caye is a private island resort located just 30 minutes from the central coast and 15 minutes from the barrier reef. It is a fairly large Caye (a walking trail extending for over ½ mile leads from one end the Caye to the other through the palms, Australian pines, and mangroves that hold the island together) so you will certainly not get island fever during your stay here. On the contrary, you will get a lovely dose of island life with many ways and locations to enjoy it. The extensive island facilities include: a restaurant with two separate dining spaces, the indoor Coco Lounge Bar, the fantastic over the water Starfish Bar, which provides superb sunset views and hosts local Garifuna Drumming several nights a week, a covered yoga house over the sea, a swimming beach on the placid western side of the island, and numerous docks and nooks where you can slip away and soak in the picturesque setting. Guests enjoy the exclusive use of kayaks, paddle boards, snorkel gear, fishing poles, and other non-motorized island toys at no extra charge and a variety of guided snorkelling, diving, sailing, fishing and kayaking excursions are available as well. Hatchet Caye offers over-the-water one bedroom Bungalows with bathroom and balcony with hammocks and ocean views from every direction, as well as one bedroom Island Cabanas cabana with bathroom and private roof-top patio with hammocks and lounge chairs offering ocean and island views (both with AC). One Family Villa consisting of three separate bungalows connected via a deck is also available for groups of up to 6 and even larger groups may choose to book the entire island with its 13 villas that will accommodate up to 26 guests. Thatch Caye is an ideal location for couples, families, and just about anyone looking for a taste of the “island life” on a Belizean Caye.

Isla Marisol on glover's reef

Isla Marisol Resort On Glover's Reef

Journey to the Glover's Reef Marine Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site 45 kilometers from Belize's mainland for the ultimate secluded island escape and access to one of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystems in the western Caribbean. This oval-shaped coral atoll is 32 km long and 12 km wide and rests along the most western reaches of Belize's barrier reef system. The entire atoll is a protected area as it provides critical breeding, nursery, and feeding grounds for a variety of threatened marine species. The remote location has protected Glover's Reef from the damages that might occur from a high number of visitors and visitors to Glover's Reef are privileged to enjoy what are considered to be the best snorkeling and diving experiences in Belize in one of it's most pristine marine environments. Isla Marisol Resort is small island lodge located on Southwest Caye, a 9 acre island on the southern portion of Glover's Reef that has been owned by a Belizean family since 1942. Isla Marisol itself is a family owned and operated business that prides itself on it's low-key eco-facilities that offer the visitor rustic but comfortable accommodations and privacy in a warm and welcoming atmosphere with access to the country's best snorkeling, diving, fly-fishing, and sea-side relaxation. Rooms are in basic wooden cabanas with few frills but are adequately outfitted and have private bathrooms and hot and cold showers. The friendly staff look after all your needs while the cooks serve up delicious local meals. Isla Marisol is not an up-scale resort - it is a remote island eco-lodge in a one-of-kind location. All of the resort's facilities and activities are tailored to allow you to immerse yourself fully in the pristine environment and make the most of your time at Glover's Reef, whether you wish to relax on-shore or take to the seas. A stay here is the perfect choice for travelers who wish to experience one of the most pristine reef ecosystems in the Caribbean and have an eco-adventure on a beautiful private island.