Discover the heart of fishing adventure in Belize, a Central American gem nestled in the southeast corner of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once known as British Honduras till 1973, Belize is about the size of Massachusetts and home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef, trailing only Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Here’s a sneak peek into what makes Belize a fishing haven and other unique offerings awaiting your exploration:
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Unrivaled Fishing Spots
With its 174-mile coastline adorned with sandy flats and tufts of turtle grass, Belize serves as a haven for avid anglers. The region is revered for its abundant bonefish and permit, which thrive in these serene waters, offering year-round fishing pursuits. Tarpon, another prized catch, complements the trio, making Belize a global hotspot for achieving a shallow-water slam—catching permit, bonefish, and tarpon—all in a single day.
Extend your fishing checklist by targeting snook lurking in the rivers and mangrove-fringed bays, joining the revered ranks of super-slammers. Fly fishing enthusiasts, in particular, find the Belizean waters immensely rewarding.
Protecting Nature’s Bounty
Remarkably, over 40% of Belize’s mainland and coast enjoy protected status, preserving its natural splendors. The celebrated barrier reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, stretches over 180 miles, at times approaching as close as 1,000 feet to the shore, while extending up to 25 miles out in certain areas.
Hotspots Worth Your Bait
- Turneffe Atoll: Nestled about 20 miles off the coast near Belize City, this marine reserve is the country’s largest atoll, teeming with bonefish and permit.
- Ambergris Caye: The largest island of Belize, known for its white-sand beaches, turquoise shallows, and rewarding inshore fishing, especially sight-casting for tarpon.
- Placencia Peninsula, Hopkins and Glover’s Reefs: These southern treasures offer angling aficionados exceptional spots to cast their lines.
Planning Your Fishing Expedition
Belize promises fruitful fishing excursions all year round. However, seasons do affect the presence of certain fish; for instance, larger tarpons are more abundant during late spring and summer due to their migratory patterns. Your trip timing may thus hinge more on weather preferences. Spring, being windier, and the drier spell from late February to May, offer different fishing experiences compared to the wet season from June through fall.
Getting to Belize and Around
Major US cities have regular flights to Belize City’s international airport. Upon arrival, Ambergris Caye is accessible via frequent flights and ferry service, while remote resorts mostly offer chartered flights.
Staying in Belize: Grand Caribe Belize Resort
Stationed 2 miles north of San Pedro town on Ambergris Caye, Grand Caribe Belize offers condo-style lodgings ideal for anglers and families. The barrier reef is merely a half-mile offshore, offering immediate fishing adventures. They recently hosted their 7th annual Deep Sea Classic fishing tournament in July.
Unique Belizean Experiences
Apart from its fishing allure, Belize’s jungle-clad interior houses breathtaking Mayan ruins, echoes of an ancient Maya empire. The ease of communication is a bonus with English being the predominant language. While Belize City hosts a plethora of hotels, most resorts, aware of the angler’s needs, offer tackle. Seasoned fishermen often prefer to bring their gear, especially for fly fishing in the shallow waters.
As you bid farewell to Belize, ensure to have cash for the departure tax, unless it’s covered in your airline’s fare. This vibrant fishing paradise, with its rich history and natural beauty, certainly beckons for more than one visit.