Belize Wildlife

A mini stop at the gorgeous Half Moon Caye

Half Moon Caye is a tiny island about 2 hours from mainland Belize, close to the famous Blue Hole dive site. I spent less than an hour on it so it might seem a little strange to write a post about my experience. Well it could have been longer because I did nearly miss my boat oops! More about that later. I want to tell you  about this island in case your visit is as short as mine was so you don’t miss out.

Half Moon Caye Natural Monument is part of the Belize’s Barrier Reef Reserve System, registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Am I tempting you a little more to explore this island?

Why was I on Half Moon Caye?

I booked a full day diving trip from Caye Caulker, including lunch. After our second dive we then pulled up at a little jetty, alongside 2 or 3 other boats. This pretty little island was out lunch stop. And I was lucky enough to see my first halo around the sun, a full circle caused by clouds that contain millions of tiny ice crystals. Sorry I can’t guarantee you will see this when you visit!!

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After enjoying a lovely lunch. Rice and beans (a Belizean favourite) with chicken and salad. Very tasty, although you’ll need to get used to this combo as it was served on pretty much ever trip I did the entire time I was in Belize! It was time to explore. A few of our boat who had snorkelled close to the island had already had chance to wander and told me of an osprey’s nest down one end of the island. You might already know if you follow me on Instagram that I am a bit of a bird geek so I thought I would wander down to explore.

a hurricane battered lighthouse
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It was only a little walk down the beach but as I got closer I noticed a lot of debris in the water. A brick structure that had collapsed and something rusty in the water. I had no idea what it was but it intrigued me. Later I found out it was the remains of the island’s historical lighthouse.

Hurricanes and tropical storms are common in this area, sadly in September 2010 ‘Storm Matthew’ caused this historic structure to topple over into the sea. Although, there was something beautiful about seeing the waves gently crashing over lighthouse on the shore line.

A new modern structure is now in place. This is where the new nest was. However after a full 360 degrees walking around I can safely safe the osprey did not want to say hello to me ha ha! It was still cool to see. Back to the picnic area I then hear about the ‘Bird Tower’. Well you guessed it, I had to go explore.

more birds – off exploring again

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I make my way down the winding path, it’s cool as the trees create shade from the sizzling sun. I’m enjoying the walk on the sandy ground, hearing the odd rustle in the bushes.

For a wildlife lover it’s great, I am the only one on the path so it’s nice and quiet.  As I turn a corner who do I see but an iguana sunbathing right in front of me. He’s a pretty big guy, initially not that bothered by me being there! I do some good stalking…. to photograph him, then decides he’s had enough of being a celebrity and disappears off into the jungle.

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It takes me nearly 10 minutes to reach the ‘Bird Tower’, including my little stops on route. Before I even climb the steps I can see birds nesting very close so I am pretty excited. Now at this point, I might mention I am still bare footed, perfect for a sand island. But NOT for steps that have heated up in the sun. Wow was I in for some serious pain climbing those steps. I sprinted to the top, a wooden platform so I ripped my top off and used that to stand on. Ha ha those birds were in for a real treat, me stood there in my bikini!

Visiting the bird tower

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My first treat was coming close to close with Red-Footed Booby, I’d seen the Blue-Footed Booby in the Galápagos Islands so it was great to see these beautiful birds. My trip to Belize was there in May, it just so happened that this was the perfect time to see the Red-Footed Booby chicks too. How cute is this guy :).

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The second bird nesting and swooping low over your head was the Magnificent Frigatebird. There were just a few nesting but plenty flying over head, it was a great site.

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After 10 minutes (or maybe more) taking photos I need to head back to the boat. I have no idea what time it is leaving and anyway I don’t have a watch. I start a quicker walk back to the jetty. But wait who else is on the path? It’s a hermit crab. So torn between the decision of the dive boat leaving or photographing the hermit crab. Yep you guessed it I chose the hermit crab, I watched him scurrying about and capture a few pics.

Hermit crab stop

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Ok now I am really late, I start running back down the path towards the lunch spot and then on to our boat. Oops it’s actually pulling away from the jetty. I think maybe they were just messing about but if I had done a leisurely stroll back I wouldn’t have been so lucky! Good job I opted to run back after exploring as the boat was literally just pulling out. Oops, well time does seem to run away from you when you are exploring!

If you’re booking a diving trip during your time in Belize make sure to check whether this island is on your itinerary  or if you’re interested in staying a little longer check out these options for staying on Half Moon Caye.

Becky’s Tips for Half Moon Caye

  • Even if you’re diving for the day, pack your camera with you to take on the island.
  • Start exploring as soon as you arrive on the island (especially if you are only there for a lunch stop).
  • Wear some sandals/flip flops (thongs/jandals – whatever you call them!) to save your feet burning on the sand and steps!
  • Keep as quiet as you can when walking the path to ‘Bird Tower’. You have a better chance to spot the iguanas.
  • Wear a watch and find out what time your boat leaves the island!
  • Enjoy the wildlife :).

Did you visit Half Moon Caye as part of a diving trip or another tour? What were your favourite things about the island? Tell me in the comments below: 

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A mini guide for exploring Half Moon Caye. I visited as part of my diving tour lunch stop and realised for a wildlife lover there's lots to explore. Belize | Caye Caulker | Island

Becky works full time in the UK; however her real passion is travel. She was a late starter, not going on her first solo trip until she was 32 flying off to Australia, which had been a dream since she was 9 years old. Becky has now totted up 40 countries across 6 continents. Becky has taken on several multi day hikes and summited Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012. She also has a love for wildlife, especially penguins. Follow her travels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest at Becky the Traveller.

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Comments (20)

  1. Your story is wonderfully described and with beautiful pictures as well you’re making me wish I was there. You have a similar writing style to mine as well, which is probably why I enjoy reading it.

  2. I loved seeing your wildlife pics. Oh and that beautiful blue water of Belize. I have only been to Nicaragua in Central America and Belize is definitely high up on my list of places I would like to get to soon.

  3. I don’t mind extending my diving surface interval time if I have the chance to explore this place. It looks like a beautiful untouched island.

    1. Yes it was truly lovely island. I think it’s just about knowing what there is to do there. On arrival it didn’t look like much but as you can see I found quite a bit in a short space of time!

  4. Oh, I’ve never seen a sun halo, much less photographed one – very cool! And so happy you made your boat back, that would have been such a different adventure otherwise!

    1. I know me neither, I thought it was a rainbow at first but then when I researched after found out what it was. Pretty cool to see although can’t guarantee it will be there on a visit to the island!

  5. Aww, well you got the pic of the hermit crab and the boat so no harm done! haha Wow, that halo around the sun is amazing, it must have been quite the sight! I was also thinking that the lighthouse debris looked kind of cool, but it is sad it was caused by a hurricane.

    1. Ha ha yeah only just, but hey that’s what counts I guess. Good job the hermit crab was behaving and not hiding from me ha ha. Yeah I know what you mean about the lighthouse. I didn’t realise how common they were around this part of the world and they sure do some damage when they attack.

  6. What a magical sounding little lunch stop! Missing my boat to check out/photograph some critters is definitely something I would do. Glad you weren’t marooned!