Copyright 2010 Tony Rath of Tony Rath Photography

Belize: South Water Caye

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Great Value Unlike the busy beach scene on Ambergris, South Water Caye is still an unknown escape. The island—just 14 miles east of the town of Dangriga—is the ideal place to explore the Western Hemisphere’s longest living barrier reefs. Swim right off the south end’s beach and snorkel or dive amid spotted eagle rays, rainbow parrot fish, moray eels, and dolphins. The Blue Marlin Lodge (from $223 per person, all-inclusive, three-night minimum) has its own dive shop, while Pelican Pouch (doubles from $295), with eight cottages, is set on the prettiest stretch of sand on the island. Entertainment here is of your own making—bring a book and settle back with a cold Belikin beer.

T+L Tip: Avoid July and August, when sand flies are fierce.

Best Secret Islands on Earth 2010

Belize: South Water Caye

Great Value Unlike the busy beach scene on Ambergris, South Water Caye is still an unknown escape. The island—just 14 miles east of the town of Dangriga—is the ideal place to explore the Western Hemisphere’s longest living barrier reefs. Swim right off the south end’s beach and snorkel or dive amid spotted eagle rays, rainbow parrot fish, moray eels, and dolphins. The Blue Marlin Lodge (from $223 per person, all-inclusive, three-night minimum) has its own dive shop, while Pelican Pouch (doubles from $295), with eight cottages, is set on the prettiest stretch of sand on the island. Entertainment here is of your own making—bring a book and settle back with a cold Belikin beer.

T+L Tip: Avoid July and August, when sand flies are fierce.

Copyright 2010 Tony Rath of Tony Rath Photography

Best Secret Islands on Earth 2010

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