From Ambergris and Caulker, and from smaller cayes with advance planning, you can do day trips to the mainland to see Mayan ruins, try cave tubing, visit the Belize Zoo, and do other activities. However, because you have to get from the islands to the mainland and then to your destination, the cost will be higher than if you did the tour from a closer point.
Tour operators on the Cayes run trips to Lamanai (usually a full-day trip by boat and road) and to Altun Ha (normally a half-day trip, although it may be longer if it includes lunch and a spa visit at Maruba Spa). You can also visit Tikal on an overnight trip by air to Flores, Guatemala, with a change of planes in Belize City. It's also possible to see the small, unexcavated ruins on Ambergris Caye—including Marco Gonzalez on the south end of the island, reachable by golf cart or taxi, and Chac Balam at Bacalar, reachable by boat.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
The largest concentration of dive-trip operators (and also snorkel-boat operators) is on Ambergris Caye. It's a short boat ride to the spur-and-groove formations along the Barrier Reef and to Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Several San Pedro operators with speedboats, including Amigos del Mar, Ecologic Divers, and Patojo's, can take you to the Blue Hole, the largest ocean sinkhole in the world. Lil' Alphonse Tours specializes only in snorkeling and does a terrific job at it. The cleverly named SEAduced and SEArious Adventures both do snorkel trips around Ambergris Caye and to Caye Caulker, along with offering mainland tours. Frenchie's and Belize Diving Services on Caye Caulker take divers to the same sites as the dive shops on Ambergris Caye, and operators such as Carlos Tours and Tsunami Adventures offer local trips.
About a dozen dive lodges and hotels are on or near Belize's atolls, including Turneffe Flats, Turneffe Island Lodge, Isla Marisol, Off the Wall Dive Center, and others.
Ecologic Divers (Beachfront, San Pedro. 226/4118; 800/244-7704 in U.S. and Canada. www.ecologicdivers.com.)
Frenchie's Diving Services 226/0234 www.frenchiesdivingbelize.com . Patojo's Scuba Center 226/2283 www.ambergriscaye.com/tides/dive.html . Lil' Alphonse Tours 226/3136 www.ambergriscaye.com/alfonso . Red Mangrove Eco Adventures 607/1440 www.mangrovebelize.com . SEAduced by Belize 226/2254 www.seaducedbybelize.com . SEArious Adventures 226/4202. Tsunami Adventures 226/0462 www.tsunamiadventures.com .
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