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White sand beaches and the barrier reef
The Cayes image

The Barrier Reef stretches from the southern tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the north (where the Maya cut a narrow channel to facilitate their trading routes) 185 miles to the south. Cayes (pronounced ‘keys’) are small islands at varying distances from the actual reef and include Ambergris, South Water, Tobacco, Caulker and Espanto.

Some (such as Ambergris) are inhabited and have lively villages, while others are much smaller. Three atolls (Lighthouse, Glovers and Turneffe) just outside the reef are the main attraction for divers, one of which includes the famous Blue Hole, a circular sinkhole formed in the last Ice Age. The crystal clear waters are a paradise for snorkelers and fishermen, and many parts of the reef are protected, such as the Hol Chan Marine Park where it is easy to see nurse sharks and manta rays.

Even if you are not staying on a caye, access from the mainland is easy by fast boat, with the closest points being Belize City, Dangriga and Placencia. It is also possible to charter a yacht to sail between cayes.

Our preferred accommodation

Dream Destination logo means that the hotel is one of our Dream Destinations.

  • Pelican's Pouch Hotel image

    Pelican's Pouch Hotel

    Dream Destination mini-logo
    Resort - South Water Caye
    The caye is reached by boat (40 minutes) from Dangriga and is the perfect place to relax! There are plenty of hammocks and a lovely beach from where you can snorkel.
  • Portofino image


    Beach hotel - Ambergris Caye
    A lovely hotel on the north end of the island, reached by a 15 minute boat ride from San Pedro. There is a large pool and spacious beach where you can lie in a hammock and enjoy the view.
  • Victoria House image

    Victoria House

    Dream Destination mini-logo
    Beach hotel - San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
    An exceptional hotel on a white sand beach with pool, bar and restaurant all set in lovely grounds. A quiet hideaway just 2 miles from San Pedro, which is easily accessible by buggy, bike or taxi.
  • Xanadu Island Resort image

    Xanadu Island Resort

    Beach hotel - San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
    Xanadu is not too far from the centre of San Pedro but still feels quiet and relaxed. The rooms and outdoor pool are surrounded by lots of trees which provide much needed shade.

All hotels in The Cayes →

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