When you visit Belize on a scuba trip, you should visit Long Caye if you have the chance. For some reason not too many people know about this place, I am not sure why since you will find the best diving in Belize here. Hands down, no doubt!
Long Caye lies within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll
Long Caye lies in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which is one of 3 atolls in the Western Hemisphere and is part of the second biggest barrier reef in the world aka The Mesoamerican Reef System. The atoll is 27 miles long and 8 miles wide and offers epic scuba diving.
The atoll is probably best known because of the Blue Hole that lies in it. Divers from all over the world come to dive it. It is a shame though they often leave after 2 or 3 dives because there is so much more to see and do.
Where to stay at Long Caye?
At the time of writing, there are only two resorts on the Island. 1 of the resorts is the Itza resort and is owned and managed by Jim, who bought Long Caye with some friends a couple of years ago. And there is Bernard with Huracan Diving. Both Jim and Bernard are awesome people, and I could not wish for better company on a remote uninhabited Island in the middle of the Caribbean ocean.
The Itza Resort has 26 rooms and lies directly on the beach. Don't expect a big fancy resort, you are on long caye. This is the kind of place where you retreat, where you lay in your hammock for a midday nap before you go diving. The resort is well renovated, and you can be sure that the rooms are clean, and the food is well prepared.
When you are looking for 5* luxury, then this is not (yet) the place for you. If you are looking for a unique experience on a remote island and do not want to break the bank, then this is the place to be.
If you are looking for a smaller B&B style accommodation, then you should have a look at Huracan Diving. Bernard and his team offer 4 and seven days all-inclusive dive packages from USD$ 1360 per person. Expect to do two and three tank dives within the Lighthouse Atoll. Diving with Huracan Diving is the liveaboard style but with all the land based benefits.
You dive the best, and untouched reefs of Belize and the boat rides to these dive sites take no longer than 10 minutes! In between dives you head back to shore to have a quick snack or if you wish a hot shower. When you come back, your wetsuit is dried by the sun, and you go for your 2nd or 3rd dive. It does not get any better than this.
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How to get to Long Caye?
Long Caye lies in the southern part of the Light House Reef Atoll and lies only 5 miles from the famous Blue Hole. On long caye, there is no airstrip and there probably will never come one. There is only one way to get there if you don't count in the helicopter who could bring you and that is by boat.
The island lies 50 miles east of Belize City and the crew from Huracan Diving can pick you up on set days of the week. If you stay in the Itza resort, the same team will pick you up.
From Belize City, it will take up to 2 hours to get to Long Caye. After 45 minutes or so you will pass the Turneffe Islands before you hit the open water again. After an hour, you will see Long Caye on the horizon and then is when you realize that you embarked on a special trip.
What to do on Long Caye?
Except diving the Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye which both are on the Unesco world heritage list? Long Caye is also a great place to kitesurf, whether you are a pro or want to take lessons the shallow water lagoon is the perfect place for kite surfing. Are you more the Yoga type? or would you like to explore the remote lagoon with a canoe? Maybe you prefer to go fly fishing? All can be done on Long Cay.
Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.