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On the northeastern coast of Central America, lies the breathtakingly beautiful Caribbean country of Belize. It’s known as ‘Mother nature’s best-kept secret’, and with good reason. It’s bordered by Guatemala to the south and Mexico to the north, while the white sandy beaches kiss the Caribbean Sea to the east.
The diverse society of Belize is composed of beautiful languages, rich traditions, food, and music which all intertwine to create the Belizean culture. It is also the only Central American country where English is an official language.
Known for its extensive barrier reef coral reefs, which is the longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, as well as punta music, it is the ideal location to paddleboard. The Belize barrier reef is host to rich marine life while hundreds of low-lying islands known as Cayes are scattered around the barrier reef.
It is a visual feast for the eyes with its turquoise-colored water, bright blue sky, tropical coconut trees, and white beaches as far as the eye can see.
And, with SUP as a recreational activity on the rise, this is a destination worth putting on the old bucket list. Here are five top destinations for paddleboarding in Belize:
Top 5 Locations To Paddle Board In Belize
1. Ambergris Caye
Located off the eastern shore, lies Belize’s largest island, known for its watersports such as scuba diving, snorkeling, and paddleboarding, and some of the most exciting expeditions available.
It is a popular tourist and expat haven and is often referred to as the ‘Isla Bonita’. Madonna famously wrote a song about this island. The island not only boasts an abundance of sea life but also the 124-meters deep Great Blue Hole, for diving aficionados and is home to coral, exotic and colorful sea creatures, as well as sponges.
In this area, which remains unspoiled, paddleboarders can experience the true island culture of Belize. This island offers something for everyone. It offers a variety of trendy restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, and nightclubs that cater to all tastes, a laid-back atmosphere, and aesthetically beautiful views. Some of my favorite restaurants here include Aji, The Dive Bar and The Truck Stop.
There’s little not to love about this place. The island’s only town, San Pedro, is the center for sailing as well as reef exploration and golf carts seem to be the preferred mode of transportation on this island. The island also boasts free music and festivals.
2. Caye Caulker
This small limestone coral island is divided by a narrow channel known as the split. Caye Caulker Village is the island’s only settlement and it is located on the south side of the island. A dense mangrove forest with diverse birdlife is located in the north of the island.
The island is located approximately 20 miles north-northeast of Belize City. It’s accessible by high-speed water taxis. The island is a popular destination for backpackers and other tourists. The island boasts over 50 hotels and several restaurants and shops. Everything here is within walking distance and there are no motor vehicles on the island. Inhabitants and tourists walk or take a golf cart to their chosen destination.
The waters are calm, shallow, and warm, making it the perfect destination for paddleboarders. You could start in the east of the island and paddleboard through The Split all the way to the back of the island. Other fun activities on the island include snorkeling in the barrier reef, feeding the tarpon, relaxing on the beach, and enjoying the nightlife.
3. Half Moon Caye
The island is located on the southeast corner of Lighthouse Reef Atol. The waters at Half Moon Caye are extremely crystal clear, regardless of its depth. The beaches are clean and stunningly gorgeous. The island also isn’t crowded with people, buildings, or cars.
It is mostly made up of sand, trees, and water, and music plays throughout the whole island. The area is also populated with abundant marine life that is beautifully colorful such as snappers, hogfish, stingrays, eels, and much more.
The island also boasts spectacular coral growth. The island is a historical national park and protected area. One of the many things that make this island so very unique is the fact that the Belize Atol Gecko is endemic to the island, meaning that it cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Apart from paddleboarding, there is an array of other activities which could interest tourists such as volleyball, a game of tug of war, and plenty of eateries to try out. Apart from all of this, it is visually breathtaking. A definite must-see.
4. Laughing Bird Caye
This island is located about 11 miles off the coast of Placencia, southern Belize. The island has adopted its name from a population of laughing gulls that had previously bred there. The island is ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, as well as paddleboarding. It is situated on an elongated ridge of the reef which makes it a spectacular choice destination for paddleboarding.
The natural beauty of the ATOL is astonishing. White sandy beaches are dressed by scattered coconut trees and mangroves. The abundance and variety of coral habitats and marine life are a result of its unique structure.
Some of the many fascinating sea creatures that can be seen on this picturesque island include moray eels, barracudas, stingrays, sea turtles, lobsters, grunts, crabs, and much more. The profusion of color and life that exists in the water of the Belize barrier reef will amaze and astonish divers, snorkelers, and paddleboarders alike.
It is therefore easy to understand why this Caye made it onto the top five list of destinations to be visited for paddleboarding in Belize.
5. Sapodillo Caye
This uninhabited atoll in the Gulf of Honduras forms part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Sapodillo Caye lies roughly 40 miles east of Punta Gorda town and forms the southernmost group of islands in Belize’s barrier reef system. It is a world heritage site and a protected marine reserve.
The island is known for snorkeling and fishing. With its crystal clear waters, the island supports a variety of marine life. One could view the all inspiring Whale Sharks when visiting at the right time as this is a migratory path for these sea creatures.
Other marine life to be viewed here include dolphins, sea turtles, and manta rays. Often regarded as one of the most beautiful of all the Cayes, it is without a doubt, a must-see for anyone searching for the perfect spot to paddleboard.
Calm, clear, warm waters make this destination perfect for beginners as well as experienced paddleboarders. It is sure to be an amazing and unique experience.
Pristine beaches and lush Belizean foliage merge to make the Caribbean country an ideal tourist destination for many people. In addition, the coastal towns and islands support different water sports such as paddle boarding, surfing, and scuba diving to ensure you can always address your preferences. Here, we look at the 5 best spots to paddleboard in Belize. These locations offer unique charms and opportunities to suit experienced and beginner travelers, facilitating an adventurous trip for all.
6. Big SUP Belize
Big SUP Belize on Boca del Rio Drive in the San Pedro neighborhood is among the well-known SUP locations in Belize. This location provides various recreational activities, including paddle boarding for experienced and first-time riders.
The company running Big SUP Belize ensures you can get the right board size to match your paddling skill, allowing you to glide on the waters safely and with ease, even if you are a beginner. The sunny days combine with crystal clear waters to offer a breathtaking and exciting view as you move to the reefs.
San Pedro provides different attractions that you can visit, such as the Great Blue Hole, where you can enjoy diving tours. A trip to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve near Ambergris Caye enables you to snorkel in style with nurse sharks, making it ideal for daring travelers. This reserve also features vibrant walls lined with corals and marine life inhabiting the clear waters, allowing you to see different fish species, southern rays, and turtles.
Besides water sports, you can find some relaxing activities around Big SUP Belize to add variation to your itinerary. For instance, you can go a short distance to the Iguana Eco Corner near Downtown San Pedro, enabling you to expand your family trip to include sightseeing and watching wildlife at this animal protection organization. Children can learn some local history and have an exciting cultural tour around the nearby House of Culture Museum and Belizean Arts Gallery
7. Glover’s Reef
You can enjoy some Belize paddleboard activities at Glover’s Reef Atoll in the North East Caye area. Glover’s Reef includes some professional instructors on various water activities such as paddle boarding, snorkeling, and kayaking, making it convenient for travelers newly partaking in the water sports. The clear views and coral reefs enable you to take in the marine beauty as you paddleboard on the Caribbean waters. Notably, you can find some quality tent cabanas at the Basecamp that add a unique and adventurous feel to your tour. The island’s proximity to Dangriga town allows you to visit the Bocawina Rainforest Lodge within about 7,000 acres of the National Park. You can appreciate the Maya Mountains during your stay as it offers a lovely rainforest backdrop at the lodge. If you have companions, you can hike to Antelope Falls while enjoying scenic green views stretching to the Caribbean Sea. A zipline running through the jungle canopy and a rappel down the waterfall ensure you can add some adrenaline to your trip. Moreover, you can tour the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife within the Stann Creek District to view protected fauna, forests, and watersheds. This basin is also one of the only sites preserving jaguars globally, ensuring that you can participate in a unique wildlife tour.
8. Thatch Caye Island Excursion
A visit to Thatch Caye Island Excursion offers a unique experience since it supports various activities, including water sports and access to different resort facilities. You can find the Thatch Caye Island and Resort off the coast near Hopkins. It includes island cabanas and some overwater bungalows to make it a picture-perfect destination with a peaceful atmosphere suitable for solo or family travels. Whether traveling alone or a group, you can find something for everyone on this private island, such as excursion programs to view the surrounding islands and waters in style. You can also utilize non-motorized water toys to enhance your sporting experience and fun in the water. The calm and turquoise water surrounding the Thatch Caye Resort enables you to paddleboard and explore the sea turtles, reef, and barracuda. Also, you can take a floating bar and ride around the neighboring Caye islands like the Twin Caye and Bird Caye while learning about the culture and history of the Belizean Cayes. Besides, the island offers a stargazer cruise during which you can enjoy an hour-long ride while taking in the beautiful constellation under the Belizean night sky. Artistic tourists can partake in some Maya basket weaving classes and use hand-selected materials to create a customized souvenir for dear ones at home.
9. Hopkins Stand Up Paddle Board
One of the most popular SUP locations in Belize is the Hopkins Stand Up Paddle Board on Sitee River Road in Hopkins. You can partake in snorkeling and paddle boarding tours to The Belize Barrier Reef. This location offers an exciting trip by supporting paddle boarding tours and rafting in the local lagoons and rivers, allowing you to access and sightsee different areas around the Hopkins beaches. Apart from water activities, you can visit other attractions in Hopkins to enhance fun and variety in your itinerary. For instance, you can take a short trip to the Mayflower Bocawina National Park in Stann Creek District, where you can go up some hiking trails or tour around some Mayan ruins. The different animal species in the park, such as white-lipped peccary, jaguars, monkeys, and various bat species, provide an exciting experience for tourists. A boat ride down the river in the rustic Monkey River Village allows you to view crocodiles, mangroves, and the Caribbean’s leeward side. Hopkins also offers Garifuna cultural experiences such as cooking, art, and music lessons to learn Garifuna drumming for an exotic experience
10. Kitexplorer Caye Caulker
Kitexplorer in the Caye Caulker region is another location offering Belize paddle board opportunities. You can find some gear rentals at this site, minimizing your luggage since you do not need to bring personal water sports equipment. Kitexplorer Caye Caulker includes water and outdoor activities such as surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing, and paddle boarding to address various visitors’ needs. The staffs have SUP and surfing lessons to create an inclusive and safe adventure for everyone, including beginners and expert paddle boarders. Additionally, you can choose to ride a boat and tour the surrounding area, making it perfect on days when you wish to relax and appreciate nature. The Playa Paradisiaca beach in the neighborhood makes this Belize paddle board site an ideal destination when traveling with friends or loved ones. Alternately, you can unwind after a busy and competitive paddle board session at Kitexplorer Caye Caulker by touring the Caye Caulker sign or the Three Seas Tours attractions, with both having convenient access to the ferries at the San Pedro Belize Express and Caye Caulker terminals. You can also include scuba diving in your plans and visit the diving locations within Caye Caulker. For example, you can go to the Black Durgon Dives, where you can take exciting and scenic dips into the deep to see barracudas, turtles, sharks, and schools of fish.
Belize offers the perfect combination of water and land activities to ensure you can create a distinctive itinerary to balance relaxation and excitement. The sites mentioned above enable you to enjoy active paddle boarding with amenities to accommodate the expert and first-time riders. Visiting these locations allows you to appreciate the clear Caribbean waters, sunny weather, and various marine life in their surroundings. Additionally, proximity to other attractions in different towns enables you to customize and expand your trip to feature educational, calming, cultural, and adventurous tours at neighboring parks, waterfalls, museums, and galleries.
Why Choose Belize For A Paddle Board Vacation
When looking for the perfect destination to paddleboard, look no further than Belize. With its tropical islands, exquisitely beautiful marine life, crystal clear waters, palm trees, and white sandy beaches, it is the ultimate destination to visit.
Apart from paddleboarding, each one of the Caye’s mentioned offers activities that the whole family can enjoy, making this a perfect getaway. From snorkeling to diving, and other outdoor activities, Belize does not fall short on fun! The Cayes offer breathtakingly beautiful views, memories that could last a lifetime, and an experience worth sharing with friends and family. Globally, it could easily rank in one of the top ten destinations to paddleboard.