Featuring one of the most stunning patches of sea in the world, Belize is home to world-class scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing. Sea Kayaking in Belize has become a popular way to combine these other activities, while getting the best and most serene views possible in the process.
The main attractions
The centerpiece off the coast is the 180-mile barrier reef that is the second largest in the world, smaller than only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The reef hugs the Belize coast toward the north of the country and veers further off the mainland toward the south. Along the coast are over 200 islands, which are called cayes (pronounced “keys”) in Belize.
Many of the cayes are populated and home to towns full of guesthouses and hotels, but most are pristine and free of development. Sea kayakers are able to combine these incredibly beautiful features into custom trips that include other water activities, or none at all. The translucent Caribbean Sea filled with coral reefs and unusual marine life make for an unforgettable experience for those with sea kayaking experience, as well as for beginners.
Where to find sea kayaking
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There are sea kayak outfits in many parts of Belize, but the main center for the activity is definitely the Placencia Peninsula. Dozens of operators rent boats and gear to visitors wanting to explore for themselves, and even more operate fully planned tours with knowledgeable guides. Only a little training is required to get started so just about anyone can be paddling him or herself around in no time.
Types of trips available
The set and guided tours are extremely popular because they can offer a string of the best attractions and activities for sea kayakers with a balance and understanding that can only be achieved by an experienced guide. These trips range from a full day up to a week or more. The longer trips combine stops on many of the cayes with some nights spent camping and others in lodges on the populated cayes.
Many of the guided trips average around five days, with all meals and equipment included. One stop might feature snorkeling in a remote and tranquil setting, and the next stop might include a look at a pelican breeding area. A support boat always accompanies the kayak groups, so in addition to the operators having all the food and equipment handy, people tired of paddling can just climb aboard the boat for as much or as little time as they’d like. During some sections the support boat will take everyone and their kayaks aboard for long-distance sections to more remote parts of the area. This means you can cover a lot more ground in a short time without turning your arm muscles into jelly.
For those interested in river canoeing as well, several operators combine both activities into one tour. They’ll typically start inland and spend the first two days getting to the sea, and then a few more out on the open waters, so contrasting experiences can make for an even more exotic trip.
One of the outfitters who has been in business since the 1980s in Belize is Slickrock Adventures, who even have their own island and offer much more than just sea-kayaking.
photos courtesy of Slickrock Adventures