A memorable weekend on stunning and off-the-beaten-path Lime Caye—lodging, lounging, snorkeling and fishing at the southern tip of the Belize Barrier Reef.
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I’m David. Since 2010, my wife, Lori, and I have been sharing our travel stories with the world over at AwayGoWe.com. PlacesApart.com is the next evolution of that project. Enjoy the journey!
November 2017, Vientiane, Laos
After nearly five months of hearing about trips out to Lime Caye we finally made the trip ourselves.
Lime Caye lies approximately 35 nautical miles east of Punta Gorda in the Gulf of Honduras. The caye is one of the southernmost islands in the Sapodilla Caye island chain near the southern terminus of the Belize Barrier Reef. The island is just under the size of Tobacco Caye (about 200m long and 100m wide).
Lime Caye is privately owned by the Garbutts, a Belizean family based in Punta Gorda who runs a handful of cabanas and bunkhouse and a small restaurant on the island. They also run a lodge at their main Hopeville office (near PG) and offer a number of other water activities such as fishing and kayaking trips around Toledo District. The weekend was arranged as a package deal and all-inclusive (transport, lodging, meals and activities including reef fishing and snorkeling). They also have a secure compound at their Hopeville lodge to keep your car while out on the island. Everyone we encountered at Garbutt’s was incredibly friendly, very professional and safety oriented.To learn more, visit garbuttsfishinglodge.com or call them at (+501) 6043548 or (+501) 7220070.
As is common in Southern Belize, transport to the island was by 35’ skiff. The trip took 90 minutes there and just over an hour coming back. When we did the crossing on Friday, seas were a bit rough with white caps, but we cut up along the coast through the mangrove ranges, heading out to sea at East Snake Caye, which cut down the amount of time spent crossing in the open. Seas were much fairer on the return trip and we ended up doing the crossing more directly (see above). We crossed a pod of dolphins on the way back, which swam around and played with the boat for about ten minutes before continuing on.
Day 1 — Arrival
We left Garbutt’s in Hopeville (near PG) just after 3pm and arrived on the island just before sunset. While the crossing was a bit rough, the weather was perfect. As we were with a large group, we all stayed in their newly constructed bunkhouse right on the beach, which has four beds (two bunks) to a room. Toilets and showers are about 100m away near the center of the island.
The rooms do not offer much in the way of privacy or security, but if you’re with a big group then either really don’t matter much. All of us kept the doors and windows opened 24/7 for ease of access and to keep the temperature down at night. The first night did get quite stuffy and we had significant issues with mosquitos/gnats as there are no screens or bug nets, but a nice wind kicked up the second night and we had none of these problems then. I would suggest sleeping with a healthy dose of DEET applied right before bedtime to ensure a good night’s rest. I must say though that falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves right outside the door was incredibly soothing both nights.
Directly following our arrival and selection of rooms, we met Ms. Sandy at Sandy’s Cool Spot—the only snack shack on the island—to get a quick orientation of meals and other restaurant-related things. As we were getting ready for our talk with Ms. Sandy, we were able to catch one last quick glimpse of the sun before it darted over the horizon.
This evening’s sunset was kind of a big deal. Belize’s coastline runs north-south along the eastern edge of the Yucatan peninsula. As such, a sunset over the Caribbean is not something you catch from living on the mainland. Additionally, this being January, we really hadn’t seen many sunsets at all in Southern Belize—over land or sea—for a long time, thanks to the rains.Alright, enough about sunsets—looks like it’s Belikin Time.
I was up shortly after sunrise, but one of the last to awake since most of the group had gone off reef fishing on the boat. I couldn’t remember the last time I had the luxury of sleeping in a bit, so passed on the 5:45 wake-up.
After a refreshing outdoor shower across the way, I headed to Sandy’s to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy having the beach all to myself.
Ms. Sandy fries up some amazing Belizean Fry Jacks, among other island specialties based on stock, season, and whatever the catch of the day is.The rest of the day was spent hanging out at the beach and going on two separate snorkel trips along the nearby reef. The morning trip was to a century-old shipwreck in about 10-15ft. of water, and the afternoon trip was in an area between Hunting and Nicolas Cayes, which offered tall coral pinnacles and a nurse shark or two. Visibility was excellent, especially in the morning. We saw Sergeant Majors, Queen and Grey Angelfish, Squirrelfish, Groupers, and a colorful Stoplight Parrotfish. Some of the others in our group spotted a Green Moray eel and small Southern Stingray, but we did not.
Yet, some of the exotic life of the area could be seen without putting on a snorkel and fins. A large orange iguana decided to catch some rays on the beach around midday, playing in the surf for over twenty minutes.Around sunset—and after the day’s catch had been cleaned and prepared for dinner—the Garbutt’s crew whipped us up some strong and tasty coco locos (young coconut with rum).
Day 3 — Departure
After a morning of alternating between hammock time, swimming, and beach lounging, it was time to pack up and head back to the mainland. But not before a raging thunderstorm whipped it’s way over the island, forcing everyone to seek shelter for thirty minutes.
Apparently, the island was not through with us yet.
About midway along our 90-minute boat ride back to Punta Gorda, a pod of dolphins intercepted us, frolicking around the skiff for a short while before swimming off into the distance. Seas were favorable with clear blue skies all the way back to port.Weekends rarely get better than that, folks.
High/Low Temperature (Average, Fahrenheit); Sea Surface Temperature (Average, Fahrenheit); Relative Humidity (Average, Percent)
Rainfall (Average, Inches); Wind Speed (Average, Miles Per Hour)
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