Snorkeling and Diving at Laughing Bird Caye
Laughing Bird Caye may have a strange name, but it’s one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. Named for an island (in Belize, islands are called “cayes,” which is pronounced “keys”) that was once used by laughing gulls (Latin name: Leucophaeus atricilla) as a nesting site, Laughing Bird Caye National Park measures some 10,000 acres (4,100 hectares) in size.
Inside this vast marine space is Laughing Bird Caye, which is just 1.8 acres (0.73 hectares) in size. Although the island may be small, the surrounding waters of Laughing Bird Caye National Park make this area one of the top Belize scuba diving destinations in the country. Many visitors come to the park to enjoy diving and snorkeling thanks to the crystal clarity of the water and the incredible diversity of marine life, including huge schools of colorful fish, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, rays, and manatees.
Laughing Bird Caye National Park is located approximately 11 miles off the coast of the Placencia Peninsula in southeastern Belize. The island is the southernmost point of dry land located along the central lagoon of the Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
What makes Laughing Bird Caye such a great dive site is that it sits on the tail end of a faro, a geological term that refers to a narrow ridge of coral reef. Faros are very narrow and enjoy steep drop-offs into the surrounding water, an ideal environment for experienced divers to explore different marine environments. The faro is surrounded by naturally occurring deep channels that are used by marine life to navigate from one part of the reef to the other. For these reasons, Laughing Bird Caye is also a popular destination for anglers.
Laughing Bird Caye was declared a national park on December 21, 1991, and is completely uninhabited. It is currently administered by Friends of Nature, a local NGO based on the Placencia Peninsula. Besides the diving, fishing, and snorkeling, the island is a popular destination for swimmers as there is an abundance of shallow water areas ideal for swimming. Beach barbecues featuring fresh-caught seafood are also popular activities.
If you’d like to visit Laughing Bird Caye, be sure to book your travels with Adventures in Belize (AIB). AIB specializes in creating bespoke Belize vacations and works with all of the top hotels, resorts, and tour operators to offer competitive prices on all-inclusive Belize vacation packages.