Belize has 240 miles of coastline on the Caribbean Sea and is home to around 450 islands or ‘Cayes’. We look at the best beaches on the mainland and further afield where some of the real gems can be found, on the atolls that stretch along the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. This continuous reef structure runs the length of Belize, parallel to the coast and is one of the most pristine reef ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere. It was referred to ‘as the most remarkable reef in the West Indies’ by Charles Darwin. A visit to the world’s second largest barrier reef is a must do on the bucket list and you will be treated to some spectacular beaches.
Here are 5 of our favorite beaches to visit in Belize:
1. Placencia Peninsula
Placencia is located about 160 miles south of Belize City and 33 miles south of Dangriga. It’s located on a 16-mile long peninsula that boasts miles of idyllic white sand beaches. Placencia Village is located at the southern tip of the peninsula and serves as the main hub with several bars, restaurants and shops. If you are searching for the best beaches on Belize’s mainland, head to Placencia and find out why this is a great place to visit any time of the year.
Placencia beach. Photo courtesy of Renée Johnson
Hopkins is located in the Stann Creek District of Belize on the central coast, about 20 miles south of Dangriga. This small, friendly fishing village boasts a nearly five-mile stretch of beautiful sand beach and is regarded as the cultural center of the Garifuna population in Belize. Hopkins is a wonderful place to stay, relax on the beach and discover the culture of this vibrant community.
The beach at Hopkins, Belize
3. Half Moon Caye, Lighthouse Reef Atoll
Half Moon Caye is located on the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The caye has been rated one of the '10 Best Dive Sites in North America” and offers easy access to the world famous Great Blue Hole. As well as a divers paradise, Half Moon Caye has crystal clear waters and pristine beaches. It’s also home to our Lighthouse Reef Basecamp. Guests staying on this stunning and secluded tropical paradise will enjoy one of best snorkeling and paddling locations in Belize. This crescent shaped caye also supports the only viable breeding ground for the red-footed booby colony in the western Caribbean and a littoral forest which is unique to the cayes of Belize.
Beach and Basecamp at Half Moon Caye, Lighthouse Reef
4. Southwest Caye, Glover’s Reef Atoll
Basecamp and beach on Southwest Caye, Glover’s Reef
Glover's Reef Atoll is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a protected marine reserve. The atoll is most notable for its crystal-clear water, abundance of marine life and there are some amazing beaches to discover. We are fortunate to have our Glover’s Reef Basecamp located on beautiful Southwest Caye on Glover’s Reef Atoll. This caye has a beautiful white sand beach, which is a wonderful place to relax and also the perfect place for sea kayaking, snorkeling, SUP and scuba diving. The snorkeling is world class and easily accessible with some really good walk in snorkeling by the lagoon.
5. Manta Caye, Glover’s Reef Atoll
Miami Beach on Manta Caye, Glover’s Reef, Belize
Just a paddle away from the Glover's Reef Basecamp on Southwest Caye is Manta Caye. The caye is a former coconut plantation with beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters. Manta Caye is located at the southern tip of Glover's Reef Atoll and looks over the most spectacular untouched reef system in the Caribbean.