Tropical paradise in Belize

By Sara Kras
This item appears on page 32 of the April 2014 issue.

My husband and I visited Belize in August 2013. We decided to stay on South Water Caye at the Pelican Beach Resort (P.O. Box 2, Dangriga, Belize; phone 501 522-2044, fax 522 2570). To reach the caye, a boat is arranged through the resort for the 45-minute ride from Dangriga. 

We were delighted to find a clean, white-sand island with cute cottages for accommodations. This ecolodge’s main building used to be a convent in the 1940s. Nuns would come to this pretty caye, which borders the Belize Barrier Reef, for rest and relaxation.

Our cottage, Heron’s Hideaway, was a complete treasure. The inside was painted robin’s-egg blue and trimmed with dark wood. A porch extended over the water and overlooked the huge reef. Hammocks and chairs made this the perfect place to relax and enjoy the view.

I had booked the “Island Escape” package for $750 per person in low season, which included three nights’ stay, three meals a day, boat transfers and a half-day snorkeling excursion.

After looking over the list of different excursions in the main lodge, we chose to visit the Carrie Bow Cay Field Station, which carries out research for the Smithsonian’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program. While there, we talked to three different scientists about their research. After this enlightening visit, we snorkeled in the reef before returning to our lodge.

Tuesday seems to be the best day to visit Carrie Bow Caye, as it’s the least busy. In order to be approved to visit the research station, your guide must call the night before to ensure they will have time for you. If they do not, you will be unable to visit.

Overall, the food, staff, grounds and swimming beach were just perfect at Pelican Beach Resort. 

After staying at South Water Caye, we flew to Caye Caulker. This little island came highly recommended on various travel websites, so I booked a 5-night stay. What a wrong decision! There was garbage, indigent people, backpackers, drugs, bad food and just an overall sense of insecurity.

The snorkeling sites were very crowded, including Hol Chan Marine Reserve. On one visit there, we had to share it with over a hundred other snorkelers, and this was low season! I would avoid Caye Caulker completely. 

Also, we went on a day trip to Ambergris Caye and it didn’t look much better. 

We should have stayed longer at the Pelican Beach Resort on South Water Caye. It truly was a little slice of paradise.


 Glendale, CA