Belizing Adventures

Snorkeling Adventure with Go Belize Mario Adventure

By Angela Wu 8/30/2018 3 minutes


Belize is such a small country that you can literally wake up to have breakfast in the jungle, take a day trip to the islands, and be back for dinner. That is exactly what we did recently, taking a trip from our home base in San Ignacio, in Western Belize, to go on a half day adventure in Caye Caulker with Go Mario Belize Adventure Tours. We got up bright and early, excited to go snorkeling in Caye Caulker with Mr. Mario and his crew. On this trip, I was joined by Derrick and Luis two of my wonderful Belizing.com teammates. We took the first bus at 5:30am from San Ignacio, all the way to Belize City. After our quick two hour bus ride, we exited the bus terminal and took a local taxi to the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi terminal.

Getting to the Islands from the Mainland
As mentioned in our Transportation in Belize blog, San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi is a reliable water taxi service option in Belize that offers transfers to and from Belize City, Caye Caulker, San Pedro, as well as the city of Chetumal in Mexico. They have the most flexible and convenient schedules that will fit into any traveler’s itinerary. They also have a huge parking lot, complete with 24 hour security, where you can park your car while you take a trip out to the islands from the mainland. We waited in line to get our tickets, soon enough we were boarding the boat. The entire staff at San Pedro Belize express was friendly and helpful.

Our boat ride took us less than an hour to get to Caye Caulker. By 9am we were already in Caye Caulker. That’s one of the conveniences of traveling in Belize...everything and everywhere is close by – I mean, it only takes about six hours to go from the extreme ends of Corozal Town in the north of Belize, to Punta Gorda Town in the south of Belize.

On our boat ride to Caye Caulker, I saw one of those cargo boats that transport sugar and other produce to the islands. I pointed it out to derrick and he starts to laugh hysterically at me. I looked at him puzzled; and, I asked, “What’s so funny?”

“Ang, that’s not a boat, that’s a small island with a house!”. I couldn’t believe that my eyes played tricks on me! It was in fact a small island! I guess I need to upgrade my glasses prescription. Maybe I was still sleepy from the early morning trip.

Touring with Go Mario Belize Adventures
So we arrived at Caye Caulker and met with Mr. Ranjel. He walked us to Mario Tours 1’s office where we changed and geared up for our tour. Go Mario Belize Adventures has two offices on the island....known quite cleverly as Mario 1 and Mario 2. For the tour, we would be accompanied by Mr. Ranjel, Mr. Mario and Mr. Leroy. Mr. Mario is such a jokester! You'll enjoy your time with him and he will become your friend after you have such an amazing time on tour with him. When he introduced Leroy to us, he made it clear that it’s “Lee-roy,” not “Big Roy” (“Lee” meaning “little” in Belizean Creole). Mr. Mario was hiarious! He had tons of jokes, stories and puns to tell us that made us really comfortable going on this tour with him and his guides.

Our first stop was at Coral Gardens. Before getting into the water, Mr. Mario gave us a safety briefing, and ensured that everyone was confident about using the equipment. He also provided optional life vests for those who can't swim. While telling us about the life vests, he smacks his belly and says he always has his life vest on. I'm telling you, Mr. Mario will have you cracking up all day that will have your stomach hurting and your cheekbones popping out of your face.

We all put on our masks, snorkels and fins, one by one rolling off the boat and into the water. This was my second time snorkeling and I’m glad that I got to go Belizing with such wonderful guides from Go Belize Mario Adventures. They made me feel safe at all times, and always ensured that I was comfortable in the water.

Here, I saw all sorts of fishes of all shapes, sizes and colors! There were yellowtail snappers, grunts, sergeant majors, moray eels, and many other species of fishes. Mr. Mario and Mr. Leroy were also able to spot live conch shells on the sea floor! I was so fascinated with this live conch! Its bulgy eyes stared back at me before retrieving further back inside its shell. I let it go and it slowly sank to the bottom.


Let’s not forget the amount of corals that I saw! Many corals of different species, shapes and colors met my eyes. There were purple sea fans, large and small yellow brain corals, flimsy green plate corals and many others that I can’t remember the names of. It was truly amazing to see the amount of beautiful marine life in our Belizean Barrier Reef.


After snorkeling at Coral Gardens, we hopped back into our boat and sped off to Shark Ray Alley. This next snorkeling/diving site was just ten minutes away from where we were.

As we arrived at Shark Ray Alley, I immediately saw a school of nurse sharks swimming near our boat. Again, we put on our mask, snorkel and fins to got into the water. This time I was a bit more confident and jumped in without hesitation.

Truthfully, I was a bit scared to be snorkeling so close to sting rays and nurse sharks. I know that you’re probably thinking it’s the same as snorkeling with fishes; but it was my first time seeing these marine animals in their natural habitat. I enjoyed every minute of it – following sting rays swimming by and looking out for nurse sharks.

Luis also enjoyed snorkeling and seeing the reef in a healthy state. He is somewhat of an environmentalist at heart, and has a keen eye for things in nature that most of us would not notice. He says, “As an experienced snorkeler, I was relieved to see that the reef was in a recovery state. I had been snorkeling around this area previously, including other areas in Belize, and noticed that the reef's ecosystem was in state of decline. However, on this trip, I saw a much healthier reef. I was also amazed how Mr. Mario and his guides were environmentally cautious and made every effort to emphasize the importance of reef to us and the world, and even scolded another guide who was standing and disrupting sentiments with his fins near a brain coral. I had a great time and would recommend this tour to anyone who wants to have amazing and fun snorkel experience.”

Soon enough, we got back to our boat and ventured through the famous Caye Caulker Split. This is a split in the island where Hurricane Hattie in 1962 literally split the island of Caye Caulker into two land masses. Today this location is a popular tourist attraction where you get to enjoy the warm Caribbean Sea or relax on the beach with a cold beverage. You can also get homemade gelato and tasty foods and snacks from the Lazy Lizard.  If you're ever in Caye Caulker, The Split is a must see location.


Seahorses and Tarpons

When Mr. Ranjel told me that we were going on a seahorse adventure, I was ecstatic! I had no idea that I could see seahorses right in the little island of Caye Caulker! We were driven to a location at the back of the island where there was the Seahorse Reserve. Here, it was like a little pond of marshland with nets and algae. I peeled my eyes opened, ready to spot a seahorse. But, it was so difficult to spot any! Only those with 20/20 vision could have spotted these cute little creatures! The seahorses camouflaged themselves really well in the green water and algae. It wasn’t until Mr. Leroy spotted one and pointed it out to me.


I was intrigued at how small and dainty this seahorse looked. I had to lay down on the deck to get a closer look. This made my legs and elbows dirty with sand that I had to rinse off before getting back into the boat. After our searching for seahorses, we were taken to the Tarpon Sanctuary, where we got a bag of sardines to feed the Tarpons. These fish were massive! An entire school of them were swimming around our boat. One by one, we took turns trying to feed them.


Mr. Leroy showed us how to hold the sardines – you pinch the tail of the sardine in between your index and middle finger – to avoid the Tarpons snatching one of your fingers. Derrick and I took a turn at feeding the fish. Luis was scared that his fingers would get bitten off, so he declined. He said that he’s a guitar player, so he needs all his fingers. We all enjoyed feeding and observing the Tarpons. And, of course, Mr. Mario couldn’t help himself from making another joke or pun.

Mr. Mario asked, “How do you call a group of Tarpon fish?” He waited for our answers before saying, “A school of Tarpons! And, they came here because they read the sign that marks ‘No Fishing’. This is a school of fish…so they can read!”


After visiting the Tarpon Sanctuary, Mr. Mario drove the boat to Mario Tours 2 office, where Mr. Ranjel picked up some yummy snacks and drinks for us. We had some tasty tostadas – fried whole corn tortillas topped with refried beans, shredded stewed chicken, cabbage and Dutch cheese – and Crystal juice. Gosh, they were so appetizing after a morning of snorkeling and adventuring! 


[Disclaimer: Their Half Day Tours Do Not Include Lunch]

The tour that we went on was their Half Day Tour at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. The sites that we visited on this tour were Coral Gardens, Shark Ray Alley, the South Channel, The Split, the Seahorse Reserve and the Tarpon Sanctuary. By 1:30 p.m., we were already docked at the pier and ready to head back to Mario Tours 1’s office.

After we rinsed the salt water off our bodies with a hose, compliments of Mario Tours 1, we decided to get some homemade ice cream around the block. Caye Caulker is a very small island where we can get eats and treats at every corner or end of the island. One of my favorite places to go to in Caye Caulker is Ice N’ Beans Coffee Shop. They have the best coffee and donut balls on the island!

We relaxed a bit before boarding for our 3:30 p.m. water taxi boat back to Belize City. It was a rather quick ride. I was able to take short nap to restore some energy. Around 4:30 p.m., we arrived at the San Pedro Belize Express Water Taxi terminal. We thanked the employees that helped us get off the board and headed to the exit, where there were several taxi cab drivers available at our service. We took the first taxi cab we encountered back to the bus terminal.


At the bus terminal, we didn’t wait long before an express Westline bus to Benque Viejo del Carmen arrived. This was a fancy bus with nice, soft seats and air conditioning – it only costed a $11 BZD bus fare from Belize City to San Ignacio Town. Immediately, Derrick, Luis and I fell asleep; after all, it was a two-hour ride.

It was a really fun day for all of us. We enjoyed the guided tour that Mr. Mario, Mr. Ranjel and Mr. Leroy from Go Belize Mario Adventures gave us. For anyone who is interested in going to snorkel in Caye Caulker, you should definitely book your tour with Go Belize Mario Adventures. You will be guaranteed a great time!

Remember, if you need to take a water taxi to Caye Caulker or any other island in Belize, San Pedro Belize Express is a great option! They have an amazing staff that is friendly and helpful, along with a flexible boat schedule with affordable ticket prices!

We want to thank San Pedro Belize Express for providing our transportation to Caye Caulker, and Go Mario Belize Adventure for taking us on an amazing half day tour. You can book this tour, or other tours from Go Mario Belize Adventure by clicking the links below. We highly recommend it. Let’s go Belizing in Caye Caulker with Go Belize Mario Adventures and San Pedro Belize Express!
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