A snorkeler’s rapture. A kayaker’s bliss. A snorkeling kayaker’s paradise. Within a marine reserve, an Audubon sanctuary. A small island teeming with life on an atoll fifty-five miles at sea. Turquoise, jade and deep blue waters, comfortably warm. Walking from coral sands into a sea of curious eyes, the myriad variety of tropical fish greets us immediately upon entering their realm. From the shallows of patch reefs and a barrier reef surrounding the atoll, to the edge of the coral wall’s unfathomable depths, stingrays and spotted eagle rays, black-tipped reef sharks and nurse sharks, loggerheads and hawksbill turtles, moray eels and brilliant fish almost beyond naming. Paddling the vibrant waters to moorings above the deeper reefs, we slip off the kayak into a heaven of coral heads, waving fans, tube and barrel sponges, graceful movement and bright color. And above the water soar magnificent frigate birds and red-footed boobies from their nests on the island sanctuary.
Free diving to the bottom and holding on for as long as a relaxed breath allows, the fish come to see me. Unblinking curious eyes gaze into mine. Colors impossible to describe move in and out with fluid grace. On occasion, schools of yellowtail snapper, Bermuda chub, blue tang or silvery sardines circle me in perfect synchrony. The variety of fish is astounding.
Island Expeditions outfits their tandem kayaks with a sail. Moving with the wind across the turquoise water, white puffs of clouds on a blue horizon, is a whole other level of peace. The island guides are full of smiles and laughter, exaggerated greetings, enthusiasm and sincere appreciation of the natural beauty they help us encounter. They educate us about marine life with humorous stories, encourage us to pursue whatever will make us happy, nudge our skills to the next level and feed us until we are fully sated, over and over again. They are very conscious of our safety, but never hold us back from any reasonable experience. One can join group activities two or three times a day or choose entirely independent adventures. Thank goodness for the Belize Audubon Society, for the careful hosting of Island Expeditions and for this island sanctuary.
Fantastic Vacation! My wife and I had a wonderful time on the 8-day Lighthouse Reef trip. Our favorite parts were the amazing snorkeling in beautiful clear blue water, with the colorful fish and corals, our expert guides, the delicious food, and the bird watching. We walked over to the Belize Audobon Society's Bird Tower to watch the red-footed booby birds in their nests, tending to their chicks. It was a stunning trip, also enjoyed stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, and sail-kayaking. The guides were very knowledgeable and helpful, and we could be as adventurous as we wished, or just take a break and "hammock surf" -- many opportunities to be active, but no pressure. Highly recommend the 8-day trip if you have time. And the first night at Birds Eye View Lodge in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was a bonus. Loved everything about this trip, and excellent support and organization with Island Expeditions.
This was the adventure we were looking for: great snorkeling, remote, peace-filled setting, knowledgeable, thoughtful, friendly guides - it was terrific! We had a wide variety of activity options daily (including the option to do nothing, dubbed “hammock surfing!”) and enjoyed the different snorkeling sites, the kayak sailing and, of course, the doing nothing part! We visited the Red Footed Boobie nesting site several times to gawk at the interactions between parent & chick, as well as to observe the relationship between the frigate’s and the boobies. We are deeply grateful to Israel, Rodney, Roo, Bryan & Jack for the excellent guiding and their enthusiastic leadership. We appreciated Bol & Ann’s passion and enthusiasm for their meal prep and service - the food was great. We very much enjoyed our time at the Reef and are grateful to have had the experience!
This was our third trip to Half-moon Caye. It's one of our favourite places: the booby-frigate nesting site is amazing: the birds nest within 5 or 10 feet of the observation platform, and aren't frightened by people at all. The snorkelling is amazing, either right off shore (4 great sites!), or a boat ride away. We kayak-sailed over to Long Caye to snorkel the "Aquarium"; that's one of my favourite snorkels anywhere, with lots of fish at the drop off of the atoll into the deep Caribbean. Some of us paddled back from Long Caye, against the wind. A good fitness test! Most guests took the skiff back.
Every time we've been to Half-moon Caye, the IE staff have been fabulous. This year we were with a big group, so we had 5 guides: Jack, Bryan, Roo, Israel and Rodney. They are all knowledgeable, friendly, great to be around. The cooks (Bol and Miss Anne) and maintenance guys (Desi and Loverboy) were also really friendly and helpful.
We had morning yoga instruction from Jill this year. It's really relaxing to get up in the morning and do stretches and balance exercises. (I am not a regular yogi, I only do it on these trips!) Jill was great too.
Our first night stay in Crooked Tree was comfortable, and a chance to meet the other guests and see a Belizean village. We didn't spend long there, but enjoyed it.
This was an amazing adventure! There was something new every day, from the wildlife viewing at Crooked Tree WIldlife Sanctuary, to the snorkeling, kayaking and wildlife viewing on Lighthouse Reef.
challenging: how to write a review that is totally credible yet truly expresses what a wonderful wonderful experience this was? see answers below.
Half Moon Caye is truly a paradise. I spent 9 days enjoying the island with its warm breeze, beautiful sunrise with frigates flying overhead. I had a wonderful time snorkeling off the island, kayaking and kayak sailing. I like the morning walk to the bird tower to see the Red Footed Bobbie and Frigate birds nesting. The home cooked meals and dessert are excellent. Beautiful island, warm blue water, palm trees, sand and friendly Belizean staff make a perfect vacation.
The beauty of the setting, the people, the camping folks from around the world, the sea, the sun, the breeze, the birds, the food, the drums and celebrating, the beach, the fish . . . what more can I say? A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
This was a wonderful trip. The guides were very attentive, knowledgable, and aware of us at all times. We really enjoyed the snorkelling and found the accommodations suited us perfectly.
This was our first trip to Belize and we went with 8 other friends in their 70s. It was wonderful. It is funny that it comes up as a "resort" as in fact it is 10 high wall tents on a wooden base and good beds inside. One walks to the composting toilet ( clean and efficient) dodging the hermit crabs on the pathway. The food is superb..Even after 8 days we were still getting wonderful papaya and pineapple and fresh salads. It is totally off grid and 2 hours away from the mainland by a big boat. Once there, you are away from it. Early morning with a yoga lesson on the beach at sunrise, then on to the activities of the day. Everything is weather dependent and we were very lucky: enjoying fabulous snorkelling. The Blue Hole is the best snorkelling I have ever done, including the Galapagos, the Great Reef,Hawaii and Malaysia. We kayaked, tried paddle boards and one day rigged sails on our kayaks and sailed to the next reef. They are very safety conscious. We always had two guides with us in the water and one nearby watching from a boat. Yes we pushed ourselves a bit and were challenged--but enjoyed every minute.
Others who we met that had been on Ambergris Caye and Glovers Reef were complaining of mosquitoes and sandflies. We didn't have that problem. Audubon was on the reef as it is where the red footed boobies nest and the frigate birds nest. The birds were there in February so it was also a treat. The company is Island Expeditions that runs the trips; a Canadian company.
Room Tip: this is an adventure camp--not a resort. All rooms are oceanfront!!!
I spent 5 days on Half Moon Caye and had the best time of my life. This trip exceeded my expectation of adventure, natural beauty and relaxation. Excellent food was prepared by Oliver and Anna. The Blue Hole trip had world class snorkeling and views of the coral. My pictures were like the ones on National Geographic TV . I recommend future guests to rent an underwater camera for some excellent underwater pictures.
Plenty of activities. Great staff. Tasty Food. Lots of opportunities to learn. Equipment in good shape.
SSSnorkeling Blue Hole
Great time snorkeling and spending time with friends! Water was beautiful and also enjoyed stand up paddle boarding and kayaking! Helpful and informative guides. Would definitely go again!
This was an amazing vacation. The island was beautiful. The colors of the water was breathtaking and the activities were exciting and fun. The staff were very friendly and professional. They made the activities fun and made sure you were safe. I loved the kayaking and snorkeling expeditions. This was a trip and vacation I will never forget.
Oh my GOD. After an overnight visit to Crooked Tree Lodge we found ourselves at the docks just outside of Belize City. We loaded up on an expertly captained 40 sea cruiser. Getting there was quite the ride - 55 miles east - 2.5 hours - we crossed "the blue" - about an hour of 3000 ft deep seas - in 25 MPH winds outta the NW. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE RISK this is not for you. This was the craziest part of the journey. We arrived in what I would simply call paradise. PARADISE! It is a small caye surrounded by the reef protected warm and crystal clear shallow waters of the Caribbean Sea. We were greeted by an amazing staff - Pablo, Daton, Jill, Andi, Ann the cook, Dane the cook, Rodney, Bryan...all made the 21 of us feel at home. We were shown our accommodations and oriented in a calm and methodical manner to whatever was going on during the week. The snorkeling was incredible....world class...all guided expertly by the team. Kayaking was minimal due to high NW winds. Paddle boarding was minimal too. Visiting the Red Footed Booby nesting grounds was a daily event. Frigate birds nest there too. This was the Jurassic Park neck of the caye....complete with scorpions, iguanas, hermit crabs, rats (yes, rats) and some incredible little geckos. The trip to snorkel the Great Blue Hole was 20 minutes...but worth the visit. THE FOOD WAS TERRIFIC...no complaints...fresh and tasty. That is all I want to share because you must experience this jewel and make it yours. You must
My second trip to Lighthouse Reef was even better than my first awesome trip. Kayak sailing is always the highlight of my trip. It was amazing. There were great snorkel trips with a variety of sea life. This was my first time night snorkeling and visiting the blue hole. The chef (Bol) and his team made fantastic meals from scratch and took time to address all of my food allergies. Love you Bol!
Each time I come, I wish that I could stay longer. Some people stayed over for a second week. I think that they had the right idea. Maybe next time…
This trip was an excellent antidote to the sterile, packaged getaways at resorts. It was active and engaging, the guides were excellent, and the meals were superb!
This trip met my expectations so perfectly, that the day before my planned departure, I asked if i could stay on Half Moon Caye, I felt as if i had joined a family. Every staff member was beyond friendly and knowledgeable; this is primitive camping at its most luxurious. i will do this trip again, and again. thank you!