Kayaking and Snorkeling Belize

Destination: Paradise Islands, Belize

| Activities: Kayaking and Snorkeling

The Paradise Islands of Belize, located in the less developed southern region of Belize's Barrier Reef, remain close to a pristine marine ecosystem. We'll kayak through the shallow reef-strewn waters, snorkel to our hearts content, go to sleep lulled by the sound of ocean waves breaking on the shore, and fill each day with lots of exercise, delicious food, and the kind of relaxation that stems from immersion in a very different world and way of life. Maximum group size: 12


  • Kayak in warm Caribbean waters over reefs full of diverse marine life
  • Snorkel among reefs teeming with brightly colored fish
  • Try your hand at kayak sailing or stand up paddleboarding
  • Learn about the flora and fauna that inhabit this unspoiled marine environment
  • Stay in small, hospitable, locally run lodges
  • Feast on freshly prepared Belizean cuisine


  • A local Belizean guide (male) for 8, 2 local guides and an AGC guide for more than 8
  • Six nights double occupancy lodging
  • Meals from dinner on Saturday through breakfast the following Friday
  • All kayaking and snorkeling equipment and instruction, primarily using double kayaks
  • Airport pick-up if you arrive on the first day of the trip, or pickup-up from the Belize Biltmore Plaza if arriving earlier
  • All taxes and park fees

Not included: Travel to and from Belize City, or from Dangriga to Belize City at the end of the trip (about $110 by plane that we will coordinate, or $5 by local bus), alcoholic beverages, snacks, guide gratuities, and travel insurance. Optional Extensions are not included.

Trip Intro

This trip is designed for women in good condition who want an active vacation in a warm winter environment. Our days are full, although there is time to relax built into each one and also the option to opt out of activities if you want more downtime. The kayaking and snorkeling on this trip are truly intertwined, as we will do most of our snorkeling from our kayaks. The most kayaking we do in one day is 6 miles, with 3-4 miles being more typical. You should have some prior kayaking experience and be comfortable on the water as you may be paddling in rough or windy conditions at times. Rating: 1 [2]3 4 5.

We'll kayak, snorkel, and swim in the warm waters of the Caribbean. The coral reefs of Belize are known for providing both an excellent snorkeling environment and (usually) tranquil water. Some kayak experience is required; your guides will teach you safety skills and basic boat handling and paddling strokes. The kayaks are primarily double kayaks, but you can talk with the guides while you are on the trip if you would like the opportunity to try single kayak.

We'll spend the first night at the Tropical Education Center in Belize City, adjacent to the Belize Zoo, and five nights at small Belizean owned lodges.

Tropical Education Center: Rustic forest cabanas, each on a raised platform, fully screened and equipped with two twin size beds complete with linens. One full size bed is another accommodation option upon request. This is ideal for travelers seeking that "jungly" experience. There is a shared shower and restroom facility for the cabanas.

Tobacco Caye: Tobacco Caye Paradise is a small Belizean-style vacation property with six private "over the water" beach cabanas. All cabanas face north to the Belize Barrier Reef and have wonderful decks perched over turquoise tropical waters. Each deck has a hammock and an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea. The accommodations are clean, comfortable and charmingly rustic. There are five 1 bedroom/1 bathroom cabanas, and one 2 bedroom/1 bathroom cabana. Each bedroom has either one or two beds. Each cabana has a private bathroom and cool, rainwater-fed showers.

Southwater Caye: Seaside cabanas are nestled in the mangroves on the eastern shoreline of the island to take advantage of the cooling trade winds. They are so close to the water's edge that you will awaken to a view of the barrier reef and the sound of waves gently lapping the shore beneath you. The cabanas have private bathrooms with hot water showers.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Arrive at the Belize International Airport by 2:00 p.m. today; you'll be met and transferred to the Belize Biltmore Plaza where the group gathers at 3:00 p.m. From there we go to the Tropical Education Center, adjacent to the Belize Zoo and our lodging for the first night. We will be staying in Forest Cabanas, situated in the midst of idyllic tropical pine forest with a network of interpretative trails and wildlife viewing platforms at our doorstep. You can start getting ready for the adventure at the Interpretive Centre, which details the diverse ecology of Belize and is an ideal introduction. About 6 pm we'll gather for introductions and share a "Welcome to Belize Dinner." If you're not too tired, we highly recommend joining us for an optional nocturnal tour of the Belize Zoo. Jaguars, ocelots, tapirs and other native species provide our first introduction to Belize's amazing wildlife. Overnight at the Tropical Education Center. (D)
Our first day in the Tropics. We start the morning with a drive over the Maya Mountains to our Operations Base in Dangriga. Here we'll transfer all our items into dry sacks (provided) and hop onto a charter boat that takes us to our first of the aptly named Paradise Islands on the Southern Barrier Reef. We'll meet our Belizean guide team who will give us an overview of tropical marine safety. We'll then begin with kayaking instruction: safety, group and self-rescues, and touring techniques with an emphasis on how to use our muscles most efficiently and how to get in and out of kayaks safely. If you've never received formal instruction, you'll be surprised how much a few basic tips can improve your kayaking. After a break for a swim, some time to explore the island shoreline, and a tasty Belizean lunch, we'll practice our new strokes and become familiar with the local waters. We'll return to our lodging, enjoy drinks and dinner, and be lulled to sleep by the sound of ocean waves. Overnight on Tobacco Caye. (B, L, D)
For those who love the early morning, watching the sun rise is the perfect way to start your day. After breakfast we'll have our first snorkeling demo and instruction, learning both beginning and advanced skills as appropriate, at the Tobacco Caye cut and outer reef walls. In the afternoon we'll paddle to nearby reefs to snorkel and explore healthy and vibrant coral and brightly colored fish. Staying right on the Barrier Reef in the heart of the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve, we are ideally situated to explore all the surrounding reefs and cayes. For experienced divers, we can also look into arranging an optional scuba dive. This requires advanced notice and and is subject to availability. We'll return that night to our lodge on Tobacco Caye and another delicious dinner. (B, L, D)
This morning we'll pack all our personal gear into our kayaks and paddle south along the Barrier Reef crest to Southwater Caye and our lodge for the next 3 nights. We'll start with an introduction to kayak sailing - nothing like letting the wind do some of the work for you! We'll paddle and sail our kayaks along one of the most beautiful sections of the entire reef system. The clear, shallow waters reveal an abundance of marine life: southern stingrays, eagle rays, nurse sharks (they're safe, don't worry), grouper, and more. Landing on the beach near our lodge, we'll be glad for a cold drink, a chance to relax, and a swim to cool off. In the afternoon we take a short paddle to a nearby island that is home to the Smithsonian Institute, here we are treated to a tour of the research lab. As the sun sets it's time to enjoy a well-earned dinner that will recharge us after our full day. We'll spend tonight and the next two nights at Southwater Caye. (B, L, D)
We're staying at the same lodge tonight, so we have lots of flexibility today and lots of time to kayak, snorkel, fish, enjoy the marine life of Belize and - dare we say it - even relax if we choose. We'll explore both the inner and outer walls of the reef, follow wandering paths through mangrove ranges, and dip into protected lagoons. We gain insight into the lives of the fishermen who make this area their home and their living from the sea. Ho Hum, just another day in Paradise. Overnight Southwater Caye. (B, L, D)
Today we spend our last full day kayaking to Billy Hawk Caye, formerly a Garifuna Fishing Camp, located in the Blue Ground Range. Arriving in time for lunch, we'll have time to relax in the most idyllic hammock setting and recharge for an afternoon of snorkeling. Sadly, we leave our kayaks on this island and enjoy a fun boat ride back to South Caye. This evening we'll celebrate our final evening together with a feast and a chance to enjoy island festivities. Overnight on Southwater Caye. (B, L, D)
After an early breakfast our water taxi carries us back to the mainland and the town of Dangriga, where the trip finishes. We'll collect and repack any clothing/suitcases we left at the Operations Base and arrange taxis for those who have the short connecting flight to the Belize International Airport or local bus station. It is safe for women to take the local buses by themselves so if this is your preferred mode of transportation, don't hesitate to try it. If you are making an international connection that day, be sure to book your flight after 12:30 p.m. if you fly from Dangriga. If you take the bus, you will arrive in Belize City around 2:00 p.m. (B)

EXTENSIONS: If you think its way too soon to head home, don't. Instead, join us on one of two Optional Extensions.

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.


(17 reviews)
3.9 Food
4.1 Lodging
3.9 Safety
Sort By:
Most Recent

3 years ago

3 years ago

O wow to many to mention.

Janet L.
3 years ago

It was great. I expected more kayaking, but the guides adapted to the conditions and there was more snorkeling than I had expected, which was fun. I hadn't expected kayak sailing but I was disappointed that the weather turned and prevented us from trying it. I liked stand-up paddling.

Sandra E.
3 years ago

I did not realize that there would be so much snorkeling and I do not do that activity.

Jude B.
3 years ago

I loved it all!

Ty H.
3 years ago

Night snorkeling was amazing but all the snorkeling and kayaking were great! I also liked having a single kayak for 2 of the days.

Andrea Z.
3 years ago

night snorkeling was a new experience

Heidi F.
3 years ago

The women in the group were game for most anything and fun to be with. We would have liked to do more kayaking every day. The cabanas were wonderful, loved being over or next to the water. The happy hour at Paradise Tobacco was great to get together and talk, and the cooks prepared interesting appetizers and drinks. Our interactions with the Belize people and our guides were great and we enjoyed their stories.Staying at the TEC and going to the Belize zoo were interesting and we appreciated your suggestion to read THE LAST FLIGHT OF THE SCARLET MACAW--

Karen P.
3 years ago

Highlights: 1) Dynamic, talented, knowledgeable local guides who knew the terrain and helped with the kayaks. 2) Beautiful natural settings, ie locations, for our two stays 3) Accommodating gluten free at every meal! 4) Very thoughtful, knowledgeable AGC guide. 5) Excellent bed in the second location. Problems: 1) our kayak had problems with the foot controls, so did another we saw, frustrating. 2) My snorkel mask didn't work - ever 3) Place was fantastic but beds weren't great in the first place (wouldn't change anything else). 3) Packing list was problematic - see below. 5) Getting to know group: Would have liked to switch up partners in kayak and would have liked the evenings planned with something as a group so people who wanted to could have participated.

Charlotte L.
3 years ago

Loved the kayaking in a storm.

Susan M.
4 years ago

Overall, the trip was fantastic: Karen was a fabulous leader, the ladies were wonderful, the Belizean guides helpful, and the activities just what I had planned on. The colors of the water were spectacular. I fell in love with the overwater bungalows on Tobacco Caye and would go back there in a heartbeat. I would do the trip over too; that's how fabulous I thought it was. There were only three things I I found disappointing. First, I felt like there was never enough food at meals. Admittedly, I'm a big eater, but halfway through the meal line, pickings were far too slim and we ran out of some items before the last person was served. Not nearly enough fruits and veggies. I was not alone in my opinion of that. Just because we're women, doesn't mean we don't eat; especially in light of being active all day long. Yes, we could ask for more, but it would have been nice to have had more than one slice of fruit.

Jana O.
4 years ago

I loved the group I travelled with our group leader Karen was delightful and trip was well organized and planned. We got the real fell of people and country not just the pretend of a resort

Annmarie E.
4 years ago

Love traveling with and meeting new friends. The guides were amazing and shared their love of Belize with us all.

Cynthia D.
4 years ago

I would have liked more opportunity to snorkel. Weather just wasn't with us.

Rosalie M.
4 years ago

Organization,variety, improving new skills

Joellen P.
4 years ago

The locations were fabulous and I felt catered to (not expected) by zealous staff and people. Bocawins extension far exceeded any expectations i ever dreamed of having

Misako M.
4 years ago

  1. I have never kayaked before, is this the right trip for me?

    We suggest that you at least try kayaking before you register for the trip to make sure you enjoy it and feel comfortable in a boat. You should also feel comfortable with swimming and being in the water. Some of the snorkeling is out in the open water so being able to get in and out of your kayaks is important.
  2. Where do we eat?

    You will be eating all your meals at the family-run lodges where you're staying.
  3. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.