fun to do kids islands cayes belize   Travel for Kids

Islands - Cayes

ambergris caye
The Barrier Reef, second longest in the world, stretches the length of Belize. Most of the small islands, called cayes ("keys"), are surrounded by shallow water and protected by the coral reef. Kids will have a fabulous time with water activities and snorkeling in the toasty warm Caribbean.
There are plenty of places to stay on the many islands – our hotel was at the northern end of Ambergris Caye with a white sand beach, coconut palms and the reef right offshore. Before you book your hotel, find out about proximity to the reef. Ideally, kids can snorkel close to shore, go in and out as they wish; otherwise, you'll have to get in a boat and chug out to the reef, which could be a half mile away.
Tip: Masks, snorkels, fins are usually available for rent from your hotel or tour operator, but we brought along our own (sure of a comfy fit). If you don't wear fins, have water shoes. A waterproof camera is a lot of fun, especially with video.
belize coral reef video
  Snorkeling – We spent hours snorkeling in the clear warm waters, and saw lots of tropical fish, including foureye butterflyfish, french grunts, blue tang, tiny neon goby, long-spined sea urchins, bluehead, sting ray, queen conch, slippery dick, boulder brain coral, mustard hill coral, sea fans, sponges.
      Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley – Older kids will enjoy a snorkeling day trip to Hol Chan, 2 - 3 hours of snorkeling off a boat. In Shark Ray Alley, swim with nurse sharks and sting rays.
    On the water Kayaks are fun for everyone in the family, paddle around inside the reef, weather is warm and it's easy to get around. Pedal boats are available for rent in San Pedro, next to the water taxi dock. Take a catamaran sunset cruise along the reef, the perfect way to end the day.
    Fishing – Go out for 2 hour fishing trips to fish for grouper and snapper (hotels will usually cook what you catch).
    Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve – For a change of pace, go on a boat ride to explore lagoons, mangroves, and beach forests at very northern tip of Ambergris Caye. The Maya who lived here were traders and fisherman, and a channel at the northern end of the caye is thought to be dug by the Maya, as a shortcut to the coast. Bacalar Chico is an important nesting area for sea turtles, and is home to manatees, crocodiles and herons.
      How to visit – There are full day trips to Bacalar Chico with tour operators, including snorkeling at Rocky Point and lunch, as well as a ride through the lagoon. Or, if you are staying at the very northern end of Ambergris Caye, call the ranger, then walk up the beach – he will meet you for a guided walk through the forest and boat ride in the lagoon. Call 510.226.2833.
kids books belize barrier reef
Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef childrens books belize
Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef
Marianne Berkes, Jeanette Canyon

Gorgeous clay collages take you into the colorful world of the coral reef, "Over in the ocean, where the sea grasses grew, lived an mother parrotfish and her parrotfish two." Fun for little kids. (Picture book)


Kathy Feeney

Fun facts about the irresistible, "gentle giants" of the sea. Manatees eat plants only (favorite foods are sea lettuces and water hyacinths). Manatees greet each other by pressing their noses together, and sometimes they sleep upside down! (Illustrated chapter book)


belize barrier reef kids books Manatees
Sea Turtles barrier reef belize  
Sea Turtles
Gail Gibbons

Ambergris Caye is an important nesting area for loggerhead and green sea turtles. Find out how much the turtles weigh (about 400 pounds), why sea turtles are green (they eat only plants), and how the turtles lay their eggs. (Picture book)



In the Caribbean sea, a mangrove grows from a sprouting seed to a singular tree, a home to crabs in its roots, hummingbirds in its branches, fish in its waters, and shelter for all in a fierce hurricane. (Picture book)


The Sea, the Storm, and the Mangrove Tangle - childrens books belize barrier reef
kids books belize barrier reef  Coral Reefs  
Coral Reefs
Jason Chin

Discover "cities in the sea" - the Belize barrier reef (second longest in the world)! Glowing, gorgeous illustrations, from tiny corals to the whale shark, mysterious plants and animals that live, hunt and hide in the reef, capture the wonder of this amazing undersea world. (Picture book)


Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life
Paul Humann, Ned DeLoach

Not a kids' book per se, this is the perfect guide to identify marine life you'll see while snorkeling - full color photos of 250+ different fishes, corals, sponges and mollusks. (Guidebook)


Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life
More children's books on other Belize pages
travel for kids | belize | islands - cayes
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