The center of the world-renowned Ambergris Caye island just off the coast of Belize is a large mangrove swamp. Although many people have distinctly unpleasant misconceptions about what swamps are like, the fact of the matter is that these vital wetlands are some of the world's richest natural areas. When they remain unpolluted by human habitations, mangrove biomes like those on Ambergris Caye are extremely clean areas that support the development of many species.
Visit the Central Old Growth Forests
Mangroves have been studied for years, but people still haven't discovered everything there is to know about the many varieties that grow all over the world and in Belize. Ambergris Caye travel enthusiasts who take calm boat rides into the depths of these clear swamps may be traveling under the canopies of trees that have only been around for a few seasons or for more than a century.
Because mangrove swamps are populated by trees that grow in wet areas like those found in the center of the island, they're also home to many aquatic animals. You may see crocodiles, colorful crabs or exotic fish flitting about in between the aerial roots as you glide between the trees. You're also likely to catch at least a few glimpses of birds you won't find in too many other locales, like the stunning red-headed, yellow-bodied Mangrove warbler; the yellow throated warbler and Wilson's snipe.
Check out the Northern Part of the Island
Another cool place to visit while you're on Ambergris Caye is Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, or BCNPMR. This UNESCO World Heritage site sits on the northern tip of the island, and it got its start in the 1990s when environmental concerns about wildlife depletion led to its creation. The reserve covers about 24 square miles of ocean and lagoons as well as another 20 square miles of shoreline and land.
BCNPMR is a great place to go if you want to take in a range of wildlife because it's home to all six species of big cats native to Belize, as well as manatees, crocodiles, various species of sea turtles, endangered White-lipped Peccary populations and extensive coral reefs. There are also many popular SCUBA sites, including the ancient cenotes, or sinkholes, that look like passageways to another world. The huge abundance of biodiversity in BCNPMR makes it a top spot for Exotic Caye Beach Resort visitors who are just getting to know Belize.