Guide to Lighthouse Reef Atoll

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Coral at Lighthouse Reef Atoll

1. About Lighthouse Reef Atoll

The most distant of Belize’s three atolls, Lighthouse Reef Atoll is located about 50 miles (80 km) off the coast of Belize City, surrounded by the easternmost part of the Belize Barrier Reef.

Having an oblong shape, Lighthouse Reef Atoll includes six cayes and spans an area of approximately 22 miles (35 km) long from north to south, and about 5 miles (8 km) wide. The cayes include: Sandbore Caye, Northern Caye, Half Moon Caye, Saddle Caye, Long Caye, and Hat Caye.

2. Things to Do in Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Red-Footed Booby at Half Moon Caye
Red-footed booby

Lighthouse Reef Atoll is most notably known as a snorkelling and diving destination, often sought out by tourists on day trips from Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker. Three of Belize’s top dive sites are located there: the Great Blue Hole, the Half Moon Caye Wall, and the Long Caye Aquarium.

The atoll is also known for having beautiful wildlife—both underwater and above water. Birders, in particular, love visiting Half Moon Caye, which is a natural monument in Belize, to spot rare Red-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds.

Top things to Do in Lighthouse Reef Atoll

  1. Dive the world-famous Great Blue Hole
  2. Visit other top dive and snorkel sites such as the Half Moon Caye Wall and Long Caye Aquarium
  3. Experience what’s it like to stay overnight on a small secluded island by camping at Half Moon Caye
  4. See Frigatebirds and the rare Red-footed booby on a birdwatching tour of Half Moon Caye
  5. Explore Lighthouse Reef Atoll by foot and kayak

3. Where to Stay in Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Beach camping on Half Moon Caye, Lighthouse Reef Atoll
Island Expedition’s Marine Basecamp

Most people don’t stay at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, instead, they go on day trips to explore its dive sites and various cayes, including stopping for a beach picnic between dive tours. Those that want to stay overnight, however, either camp on the beach or stay at dive resorts.

On Half Moon Caye, accommodations include safari-style canvas tents by Island Expeditions and on Long Caye, there’s the Itza Resort and Huracan Diving Lodge. All places offer all-inclusive packages which include food, tours and transportation.

4. Getting to Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Half Moon Caye is a part of Lighthouse Reef Atoll

Lighthouse Reef Atoll doesn’t have an international airport, so you’ll have to fly into the Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) near Belize City. From there you’ll need to either take a private boat or chartered flight to your caye at Lighthouse Reef.

Getting to Lighthouse Reef Atoll via boat involves scheduling a pick-up by the resort or tour operator that is assisting you with your visit. Similarly, a private Helicopter transfer can be arranged by the resort or tour operator. Public transit doesn’t exist to Lighthouse Reef.

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