Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary: Manatee Watching Tour
Approximately 32 miles From San Pedro Town lies the pristine Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary, an area known for having the highest concentration of the endangered West Indian Manatees. And a trip to view these gentle giants was exhilarating and too good to pass up. Onboard our SEArious Adventure vessel we drove off to our first part of our triple combo tour; manatee watching. Our guide Aron was great at imparting his knowledge of manatees and of the Sanctuary. On-site, a few minutes after turning the boat engines off, our trained guides spotted a single manatee clearly feeding off the turtle seagrass beds that abounded below surface. Its stubby nose poking out above the water to breathe then shyly submerges. It is said that manatees consume about 150 pounds of seagrass daily that is equivalent to 15% of their body weight. As our guide maneuvered the boat by pushing a wooden pole, we came up on a mother and her calf swimming along each other. Getting a glimpse of these precious animals in their most natural habitat was indeed a treat for those onboard and definitely one for the books.
Goff’s Caye – Snorkel and Beach Picnic
After that ‘heart –warming’ Manatee experience, we ventured off to our second stop; Goff’s Caye. This area is surrounded by white sandy beach and coral formations, making it ideal for snorkeling. While our group explored the area snorkeling with the skipper James, the captain was preparing a delicious BBQ for a picnic we would enjoy after the swim. An extra hour was given after lunch to take in the sights and relax under the swaying coconut palms on the pristine white beaches. We also had onboard unlimited beers, power rum punches, sodas, water and plenty of fruit. Our next stop was Caye Caulker.
Caye Caulker – Tarpon Feeding & Seahorse Spotting
Our group was dropped off at the main water taxi terminal dock where we planned to meet at The Split after an hour of exploring the quaint village. The main street of the village features artisans, food stalls, tour agents, plenty picture-worthy nooks and a nice mix of visiting tourists.
Back on the boat, our guides took us for an “unexpected” treat; tarpon feeding and seahorse spotting on the lagoon side of the island. This was an epic adventure for thrill seekers. Some of us got a chance to feed these 3-4 feet beasts of a fish. Weighing nearly 50-80 pounds, these guys are kept fed by the many boat tours that visit the area. Lucky fish!
Did we mention seahorses? Much to our delight, we were taken to a legit seahorse ranch reserve on the lagoon side of the island. It’s an enclosed area with net-like blanket that the seahorses grab a hold of. We counted (from what was visible to our eyes) 4 varying colored seahorses about 2 to 3 inches long. It was such a spectacle and a definite highlight of our trip. ***NOTE: For those planning a trip down to San Pedro, we can help to arrange this combination tour with seamless precision. This tour includes all drinks and beach picnic. The only fee to be paid by tourists is the Park Entrance at Goffs Caye.