Half Moon Caye: A bird sanctuary in Belize

Welcome to the oldest national park of Belize! Nestled 50 miles off the Belize mainland, the Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is the top pick for the divers, snorkelers, and bird watchers. I was actually shocked to know that this first protected zone in Belize is among the less visited attractions. There is no real reason as to why it is so; because this is a real hidden paradise to explore for the nature enthusiasts.

The Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is composed of two unique ecosystems: the west full of wealthy foliage as well as thousands of birds along with the populated Red-footed Booby and the east known as the ‘paradise island’ holding palm trees, less foliage, and white beaches where turtles nest. The Red Footed Booby birds are one of the two Caribbean colonies, which stay here from mid-December. In addition, the boobies here differ as compared to those that are seen elsewhere in the Caribbean – thanks to their white coloring. Throughout this atoll, you will also encounter a picnic spot, Visitor’s Center, and natural walk trails. Among the birds, you can very easily spot the extraordinary Red-footed Booby colony, the Magnificent Frigate Bird, Cinnamon Hummingbird, the Great-Tailed Grakel, warblers, ospreys, and the White Crowned Pigeon. By ‘easily’, I mean that they all are viewed from an observation deck.

Being a part of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, the preserved zone holds a spectacular reef as well as lagoon along with the submerged Wall known as tall vertical abyss, which attracts divers as well as snorkelers from all around the world. This wall refers to a network of reefs holding a plethora of ocean life. With more attractions such as the Blue Hole, shipwreck spots in the vicinity, as well as the Lighthouse Reef, this is surely the haven for water sport enthusiasts. Snorkelers here get a chance to explore the pristine coral patches at the western beach here. There are also great beaches not only to relax and sunbathe, but also to spot the rare loggerhead and hawksbill turtles that nest and lay their eggs in the south. Now are you convinced that this is the UNESCO World Heritage site?

Although the Half Moon Caye is known for its marine conservation, it also holds importance for reptile conservation due to which you can see a small amount of the common Belize Atoll Gecko. And yes, while roaming on the waters around, look for the healthiest grouper aggregation of the Nassau whose population has increased due to restricted fishing. Among the other attractions at the Half Moon Caye, one of my favorites is good hiking – all thanks to the natural setting. And yes, do not miss a visit to the lighthouse, but do not make an attempt to climb.

So, overall the main activities here are sailing, boating, scuba diving, snorkeling, and bird watching. Although the caye is not the most visited site of Belize, but it is the most visited one in the Reef Atoll.

Time to avoid

Avoid coming between August and November as this time is not perfect for spotting the red boobies.


At the Half Moon Caye, there are no accommodations. However, camping can be done in some areas.

Reaching here

You need to book for a boat trip in the Belize City, Caye Caulker, or San Pedro. These are the nearby places from where boat operators organize regular trips including overnight tours too.

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  1. RumShopRyan says:

    Wow! I’ve heard of Half Moon before but never really read anything about it. The photo at the top of this post is what grabbed me. I mean, just look at that water with all the coral. I snorkelers paradise. You’ve peaked my interest!


  2. Joshua says:

    Its been a pleasure visiting the Half Moon Caye, and while i can say that it surely is one of the very few divers paradise on the Earth. I would also like to tell the wild life fanatics, that this place also is a small, tropical designated as a bird sanctuary and National Park. Reading this article made me nostalgic.

  3. Ashley says:

    I am a huge diving fanatic, and now that you have given me a completely new place to visit, i think i’ve got something to do this summer. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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