Simply put, Belize has been blessed by a bounty of beautiful beaches. Belize enjoys more than 200 miles (380 kilometers) of beaches along its Caribbean coast, ensuring a more than ample supply of white sandy beaches for both locals and tourists to enjoy.
In addition, Belize has more than 200 offshore islands located on the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the second-largest coral reef system in the world. In Belize, islands are known as cayes (pronounced "keys"), and most are located within just a few miles of the mainland.
Belize's largest island is the popular tourist destination of Ambergris Caye. Measuring 25 miles (40 km) long by one mile (1.6 km) across, Ambergris Caye is home to some 15,000 people. Other popular tourist destinations include Caye Caulker, Tobacco Caye, and Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Many of Belize's islands lie inside protected marine environents and are uninhabited except for scientific monitoring stations.
The beaches of Belize both offshore and on the mainland are popular places to enjoy a wide number of activities, including swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, sea kayaking, windsurfing, and standup paddling. A combination of white sand and crystal clear waters make the beaches of Belize some of the country's greatest natural attractions.
Below are the top beaches to visit in Belize:
In a country with hundreds of islands and a long coastline, Placencia has a strong claim to having some of the finest beaches in Belize. Locally known as "barefoot perfect," the soft golden sands on the Caribbean side of the peninsula include Maya Beach, Seine Bight, and the Placencia Peninsula.
Best of all, these three beaches are open to the public and there's more than enough beautiful sand to ensure a quiet space to soak up some sun and the magnificent view. Be sure to visit Placencia Village for delicious food, coffee shops, juice bars, and boutique shops selling one-of-a-kind souvenirs.
Located on the southeastern coast about a 40-minute drive south of Dangriga, Hopkins has a spectacular stretch of beach. Measuring more than five miles long, the curved bay around Hopkins is a great place to enjoy a good meal. Hopkins is a Garifuna community, so be sure to try some traditional Garifuna delicacies like hudut, a fish stew made with plantains and coconut.
Other popular activities in Hopkins include watching performances of traditional Garifuna drumming, taking drumming lessons, and fishing.
Half Moon Caye
Both an island and a natural monument (a protected conservation area), Half Moon Caye lies about 50 miles off the coast of Belize City. Half Moon Caye is popular with divers heading to the adjacent Belize Blue Hole, but the island's wildlife is also a top attraction, including its rich panoply of bird species and sea turtle nesting sites.
The largest island in Belize, Ambergris Caye has lots to offer, including restaurants, bars, and frequent street festivals. The finest beaches are found in San Pedro, including the area across from Ramon's Village Resort. There are also some stunning beaches on the northern tip of the island which can only be reached by boat.
The island has abundant lodging options ranging from budget hotels to luxury resorts.
South Water Caye
The island is located approximately 11 miles (17 km) off the coast of Dangriga and is part of the much larger South Water Caye Marine Reserve. If you've ever pictured the ideal tropical island, South Water Caye is what you've imagined, an unspoiled paradise with incredibly soft, white, powdery sand beaches. In 2017, National Geographic declared Pelican Beach on South Water Caye to be one of the best beaches in the world.
Laughing Bird Caye and the Silk Cayes
Found near South Water Caye, Laughing Bird Caye (named for the laughing gulls that once used the island for a nesting site) is part of Laughing Bird Caye National Park, another protected marine environment. The Silk Cayes, meanwhile, are three nearby islands with an abundance of marine and avian wildlife.
These islands are uninhabited, making them a great place to play "castaway for a day" or enjoy some snorkeling and a beach barbeque.
Southwest Caye - Glover's Reef Atoll
Located on the outer reaches of the reef about an hour's boat ride from the mainland, Southwest Caye offers plenty of uncrowded beaches with soft, white sand. Its remote location and adjacent to top scuba diving and snorkeling sites make it a popular choice for honeymooners.
A few adventure camps and one luxury resort offer overnight lodging.
An uninhabited series of islands offshore from southern Belize, the Sapodilla Cayes are famous for their low elevation and beautiful sand. Technically, the Sapodilla Cayes are located on an atoll or a buildup of coral and organic material in the Gulf of Honduras.
The islands lie inside the greater Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve and are administered by the Belizean Fisheries Department due to the abundance of marine life in the area.