BELIZE: Mexico Rocks and Bacalar Chico Tour
My boyfriend nailed my 48th birthday. It’s entirely likely that this year’s gift—a Bacalar Chico tour and snorkeling in Mexico Rocks—may never be beat.
Two local guides who knew where the BBQ was, a tiny boat, fishing poles, our hats, strong sunscreen, one Transderm Scop patch, and a plan to catch our lunch in the sea were all we needed for this perfect excursion. Once the fish were procured, my boyfriend and I didn’t have to do a thing. The locals BBQ’d it Belizean-style on the beach.
How I’ve managed to come to Belize so many times without doing this is baffling.
About the Bacalar Chico Tour
Bacalar Chico Marine and Wildlife Reserve is a 41 square mile UNESCO World Heritage site at the northern tip of Ambergris Caye. The designation is a result of the sea-to-shore Rocky Point Reef, diverse marine vegetation, and its importance to the propagation of the loggerhead and green sea turtles, Queen conch, and grouper fish.
On land, there are lagoons, mangrove forests, savannahs and forest, eight Mayan sites (six un- and two partially excavated), and abundant wildlife (including pumas and jaguars).
You can only get here on a pre-arranged Bacalar Chico tour through a local guide.
Mexico Rocks is an AMAZING 12 foot deep reef that is part of the reserve—about midway between the reef and shore. The water is amazingly clear and you’ll see a variety of coral—some nearly touching the water’s surface—as well as lobsters, eels, anemones, sea fans, sponges, and a rainbow of fish.
Our Private Bacalar Chico Tour
We booked our very own private Bacalar Chico tour through Captain Morgan’s Resort in Ambergris Caye. (I’ve found there isn’t any big benefit to privately booking your tours, so take advantage of the ease of booking through your resort, if possible.)
Two smiling local fishermen picked us up at the dock. (It’s no wonder they were smiling with a job like this!) Our captain explained that we would first stop to catch our bait, then head to Bacalar Chico. Two shore skims later, we had a net full of tiny fish and began our journey to the north.
The first real fishing stop was out past the reef in deeper waters. Pretty much the stuff of nightmares for the seasick prone, like me. Before I cast my hook into the water, I asked the Sea Gods to boost the power of my Transderm patch. They gave me about an hour—and two respectable fish. After reeling in the second one, I “suggested” we head for calmer waters.
Lucky for me, we found an even fishier spot in the reef where we could actually dangle our bait in front of the fish we could see swimming beneath us. After we caught several fish (that seemed far too beautiful to eat), we jumped in for some of the best snorkeling I’ve experienced to date in Belize. Imagine being inside that screensaver.
As soon as we hit shore, the captain personally prepped our fish in the boat while I explored and my boyfriend did some fly fishing. I followed the fish to the grill, drooling as I watched him cook the foil-wrapped fish and veggies over the fire. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, someone plopped a freshly cracked coconut and a straw in front of me.
Our private Bacalar Chico tour, with snorkeling in Mexico Rocks, was hands down the BEST experience in Belize AND my BEST ever birthday experience!