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Under the Open Sky

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Offshore Cayes

Gallow's Point | Half-Moon Caye Natural Monument
Tobacco Caye

Known for its marine environment, Belize is well publicized for possessing the second longest barrier reef in the world, as well as three major offshore atolls. In addition to the aforementioned, Belize possesses numerous mangrove systems both offshore and along the coast, thus creating a tremendous wetlands environment in which birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles can propagate. With such a significant marine ecosystem, scuba divers, marine biologists, and sport fishermen have long recognized the importance of Belize, and it has become a favorite destination for them.

Gallow's Point

Gallows Point Private Caye, is just east of Belize City and a few yards from the world's second largest barrier reef. Travel back in time and consider it a great adventures odyssey to walk on this unique Caye which history tells was once the home of pirates in the early 1600's.

The island sits on approximately 300 acres, consisting mainly of mangroves, which provides food and shelter to the abundant diversity of marine life. You can have a close up view of crabs and iguanas that can be seen moving about, while also being entertained by colorful butterflies and melodious sound of birds. An abundance of tropical flowers and fruit trees add an extra touch to this enchanting caye. Needless to mention are the many coconut trees that offer a cool shelter during those hot sunny days.

Half-Moon Caye Natural Monument

Half Moon Caye, located at the southeast corner of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, was the first reserve to be established by the Natural Parks System Act of 1981. One of the main reasons that the natural monument was created was to protect the Red-footed Booby bird and its rookery. The Magnificent Frigatebird shares the rookery with the Red-footed Booby, and both species coexist in apparent harmony. Some ninety-eight species of birds have been recorded on the Caye, of which some seventy-seven are migrants. Regular winter migrants include Ospreys, Mangrove Warblers, and White-crowned Pigeons.

The Iguana, the Wish Willy, and the Lizard are permanent residents on the island, while the Loggerhead Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle come ashore annually to lay their eggs.

The waters surrounding Half Moon Caye are abundant with life, and snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities are excellent.

Tobacco Caye

Taking its name from the main crop cultivated by the puritans that once settled the island, the first thing you'll notice about this caye is that it's tiny. Five acres of sand and stately coconut palms sitting right in the middle of the reef, and occupied entirely by an assortment of lodges and small wooden houses.

The reef doesn't play hard to get on Tobacco Caye, barely giving you a chance to wade into the water before presenting her treasure. Snorkeling is almost too easy with such ready access to the reef. You can spend hours swimming in the festival of coral splendor and marine life, including the eagle ray and an occasional manatee, without even going a hundred feet from the island.

The caye is also a haven for scuba divers with excellent wall diving just 300 feet from shore. Technicolor mountains of coral and countless varieties of marine flora and fauna will leave you blissfully exhilarated. Two tanks recommended.

On land you can expect to get a true taste of island life without the frills of the fancier cayes. The people that live here are very friendly and take their relaxing as seriously as they take their work. A thatch roof bar just a few feet from the waves is an ideal spot for sipping on cool Caribbean rum concoctions and chatting with the residents. Less than an hour from Dangriga, Tobacco Caye is a delight that proves good things do indeed come in small packages.

Click here to find Toucan Trail accommodations on the offshore islands.

Destination Guide:  Corozal District | Orange Walk District | Belize District | Offshore Cayes | Ambergris Caye | Caye Caulker | Cayo District | Stann Creek District | Placencia | Toledo District

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