Bachalar Chico Marine Reserve
Bacalar Chico Marine Reserve encompasses 15,530 acres and is a fantastic spot for snorkeling and diving. This protected area is also a critical habitat and breeding ground for many animals, including fish such as Horse Eye Jacks and Black Groupers, three species of turtles, and marine and coastal birds.
Duration: Full Day
Departure Time: 8:30 a.m.
Return Time: 4:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Snorkeling Gear: Fins, Mask, Snorkel
Included: Cold bottled water, fresh fruit at snorkeling intervals, transportation to & from site, licensed guide.
What to Bring: Camera, cell phone, personal medications (for the day), light jacket or windbreaker, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, beach towel, swimsuit, cash for park fees (if applicable), and tipping your guide.
Note: The tour & gear rental can be put on a credit card, park fees need to be paid in cash.
Bachalar Chico Marine Reserve
Description: Bacalar Chico is a marine reserve on the northern end Ambergris Caye, with a combined area including a 15,530 acre marine reserve and 12,000 acres of terrestrial reserve. This UNESCO World Heritage site is only accessible by boat. The park was established on August 23, 1996, as a result of community advocacy and lobbying, by the fisherman of the nearby village of Sareteneja.
This is the only point where the barrier reef touches mainland Belize. In the morning we make our way along the Barrier Reef side of the island, to the ranger station in the reserve. Here you will have a chance to see the flora on the northern part of this island. The east side of the island is covered with extensive mangrove lagoons, which is a breeding ground for reef fish, not to mention marine and coastal birds. The beaches (up north), serve as a major nesting ground for the Loggerhead and Green Turtles.
Upon arriving to the site, we head out to snorkel Baracuda Reef and Rocky Point before going to Robles, where our guides will prepare lunch for you on the beach. After lunch, explore the deserted beaches, relax in a hammock, and soak up some sun before heading back to San Pedro. This is a very relaxing tour, which allows you to enjoy a boat ride, do a little snorkeling, experience a beach BBQ, and do a little beach relaxation.
At least 187 species of bird, forty mammals (including all five of Belize’s cats), fifty-eight reptiles, and twenty-two amphibian species inhabit this area. To the Mayan, Bacalar Chico was an important trading port and is believed that some fifteen hundred years ago, they dug this narrow channel separating Ambergris Caye from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The Bacalar Chio channel functions as the park’s northern boundary and narrowly separates Belize from Mexico.
If you like adventure, this is it. Hop aboard one of the boats and head north to the Boca Del Rio, turn left, pass under the new bridge and continue into the San Pedro Lagoon. Turn north again and pass by Deer Island, Blackadore Caye and several other small islands on your way to Bacalar Chico Reserve. Just so you know, there’s only one way out of the north end of the lagoon and that’s through the Bacalar Chico Channel. This “channel,” sometimes referred to as a “cut,” was hand dug by the Mayans over 1,500 years ago. If you want to see a real primitive piece of history, go through Bacalar Chico Channel.
About halfway through the channel, you’ll see a small waterway. Ask your guide to take you a short distance down this waterway to one of the most unusual discoveries in modern times-the cenotes of Bacalar Chico. Eleven 15-foot diameter holes penetrate the limestone floor of this secluded body of water and you can see the reflective rays of sunlight penetrating its depths. If you like, you can snorkel above these cenotes for a few minutes to get a closer look before continuing your tour; however, diving into these cenotes is reserved for advanced and professional divers and special arrangements must be made to penetrate this spectacular find.
After your journey through Bacalar Chico Channel is complete, the refreshing ocean breeze once again welcomes you to the vastness of the Caribbean Sea. This area of ocean in front of you, is where you will picnic. Your skipper will anchor the boat and help you safely to the beach where you’ll help gather coconut husks, over which the “catch of the day” will be grilled by your tour guide. Potato salad, coleslaw, chips, salsa and fresh conch ceviche will be waiting for you when you get hungry.
After lunch, hike the “bird” trails and observe the unusual habitat of the numerous species of birds and wildlife that live pampered lives in this remote area of Ambergris Caye. If bird watching is not for you, then take a nap, journal or take a dip in these crystal clear waters. You will then take a boat leisurely ride back to San Pedro.
Bacalar Chico is a reserve on the northern part of Ambergris Caye that includes reef as well as land. In the morning we make our way along the leeward side of the island to the ranger station in the reserve, where you will have a chance to see the flora on the northern part of the island.
We then head out to snorkel Barracuda Reef and Rocky Point before we head to Robles, where our guides will prepare lunch for you. After lunch explore the deserted beaches, relax in a hammock or chill out in our tree house