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Belize's two most important cayes, Ambergris and Caulker, are both off the northern end of the country, easily reached from Belize City. In fact, Ambergris was once connected to Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Other, smaller cayes dot the Caribbean Sea off the coast all the way south to Punta Gorda. The Belize Barrier Reef, a part of the MesoAmerican Barrier Reef system that begins in Mexico and ends in Honduras, runs all along the coast of Belize. You're closest to the reef when you're on a beach on Ambergris Caye. As you go south, the reef is farther from shore, 20 mi (12 km) or more off the Southern Coast. The three atolls are outside the reef, as much as 45 mi (74 km) offshore.
The Cayes. Ranging from tiny stretches of sand, mangrove, and palms to large islands like Ambergris and Caulker, Belize's cayes have excellent swimming, diving, fishing, and snorkeling.
The Atolls. Ovals of coral, majestic and remote, Belize's three atolls offer some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Western Hemisphere. The catch? They're difficult and time-consuming to get to, typically requiring a two-hour boat ride on open seas.
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