Looking for paradise? Lime Caye might be Belize’s best-kept island secret!
This stunning little island is located 35 nautical miles off the coast of Punta Gorda, making it one of the southernmost islands on the Belize Barrier Reef.
You won’t find a lot here, and that’s a big part of the magic of Lime Caye.
If you’re looking for luxury amenities and 5-star service, we recommend skipping Lime Caye and checking out Cayo Espanto or Thatch Caye, instead.
However, if you’re looking for an authentic Belizean experience, then this one-of-a-kind, off-the-grid, all-inclusive, back-to-basics stay might just be your favorite experience in Belize!
Lori and I absolutely loved our time on Lime Caye, and that trip remains one of our favorite memories from 12 months living in Belize.
Here’s everything you need to know about getting to, and enjoying, this undiscovered Southern Belize gem, including how to arrange your trip, best time of year to visit, and helpful tips from our own experience.
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Don’t Have Enough Time For Lime Caye?
Check out amazing Tobacco Caye, just off the coast of Dangriga (Stann Creek), offering rustic overwater bungalows and some of the best shore snorkeling in Belize!
LIME CAYE QUICK FACTS
|LOCATION:||Sapodilla Cayes, Belize|
|ISLAND SIZE:||200 meters x 100 meters|
|ON-SITE LODGING?:||Yes (see below)|
|ON-SITE DINING?:||Yes (see below)|
|KID FRIENDLY?:||Yes — But the boat ride may be scary for some children|
What Makes AwayGoWe Guides Different
Why trust our Belize recommendations? Lori and I lived full-time in Belize for over a year and learned so much as residents here that simply can't be learned from a one-off backpacking trip.
We extensively explored the width and breadth of this amazing country, returning to many destinations multiple times.
We're passionate about Belize, independent travel, and making the best darn travel guides humanly possible for you and your own journey!
Complete Guide to Visiting Lime Caye Belize
Punta Gorda | Nearest Town & Jump-Off Point
We’ve long heard rumors of transport to Lime Caye being arranged from Puerto Cortes, Honduras, but to date can’t confirm this (if you’ve done this, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!).
Rather, the vast majority of visitors to Lime Caye arrange their trip out of Punta Gorda, Belize, which is what we did, and what everyone we’ve ever met who’s done this trip has done.
Even if Puerto Cortes was a real option, we’d still recommend beginning your journey in Punta Gorda. You won’t have to mess with immigration, and the 1-2 hour journey by boat is bound to be more enjoyable, as these waters benefit from the protection of the Belize Barrier Reef.
If you’re looking for an authentic Belizean experience, PG is the real deal, and makes for a great place to base yourself out of for a few days.
In addition to being one of the most diverse and culturally rich corners of the country, surrounding Toledo District offers jungle adventures, Mayan ruins, and plenty of experiences for chocolate lovers.
And, Punta Gorda is the main departure point for those continuing on to Guatemala.
Where to Stay in Punta Gorda
At first glance, there might not seem like a lot of lodging options in Punta Gorda. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find some real gems.
However, if you don’t know the lay of the land, choosing the right place can seem like an impossible task.
Here are our top picks for places to stay in and around Punta Gorda (these are the places we recommend to our own friends and family after living in PG for a year).
Keep in mind that Belize is not an ultra-budget destination, so you won’t find prices along the lines of Guatemala. But you still can find good value for the money.
TOP BUDGET PICK ▸ Coral House is where a good many of our friends and colleagues choose to stay when visiting PG. Upmarket amenities and a swimming pool await, all a short walking distance to the town center. Check it out on Booking.com or TripAdvisor.
SPLURGE ▸ Copal Tree Lodge by Muy’Ono Resorts is THE place in Southern Belize for an unforgettable stay to mark a special occasion (or if you simply want a bit of first-class pampering). See it on Booking.com / TripAdvisor.
How to Get to Lime Caye
Lime Caye is privately owned by the Garbutts, a Belizean family based in Southern Belize who run cabanas and a bunkhouse, along with a small restaurant on the island.
Stays on the island are booked as an all-inclusive package through Garbutts Fishing Lodge in Hopeville (PG) (see contact info below), which includes transport, lodging, meals, and island activities such as reef fishing and snorkeling trips from the island.
If you have your own car, Garbutts offers secure parking at the lodge in Hopeville, where you can park and leave your car while out on the island.
Everyone we encountered at Garbutts was incredibly friendly, very professional, and safety-oriented.
Keep reading for recommendations on best time of year to visit and our full trip report, which will give you an idea of what to expect.
GETTING THERE SUMMARY
|NEAREST CITY:||Punta Gorda, Toledo District, Belize|
|DEPARTURE POINT:||Garbutts Fishing Lodge, Hopeville, Punta Gorda|
|PHONE:||(+501) 604-3548 or (+501) 722-0070|
|TRANSPORT:||Large private open-top skiff|
|DISTANCE:||About 50 nm from Punta Gorda|
|TRAVEL TIME:||60-90 minutes, depending on conditions|
|TRAVEL TIPS:||Reserve in advance. Meds recommended if you are prone to seasickness.|
When to Visit Lime Caye
The climate in this part of Belize is tropical rainforest, comparable to what you might find in the Amazon.
Average temperatures are warm all year round, with April through October being the hottest months. Southern Belize’s rainy season typical peaks between October and December, with a “mini rainy season” in July.
Southern Belize typically receives significantly more rain than the north of the country. Outside of rainy season, however, rain storms are typically brief, localized, and often occur overnight or in the late afternoon.
Severe weather can significantly impact travel plans, particularly sea travel, any time of year, but especially during rainy season (Oct-Dec). If you plan to visit Lime Caye during this time, make sure you factor in plenty of flexibility and time on both sides of your trip.
If your dates are flexible, December through April is the best time to visit, with January, February, and March being the best months, purely from a weather standpoint.
If permit fishing is your main aim, contact the lodge directly for best times of year to visit.
LIME CAYE CLIMATE – AVERAGE TEMPERATURES & HUMIDITY
LIME CAYE CLIMATE – AVERAGE RAINFALL & WIND SPEED
Lime Caye Trip Report | What to Expect
Day One | Boat Journey + Arrival
We left Garbutt’s in Hopeville (near PG) just after 3pm and arrived on the island just before sunset. While the crossing was a bit rough, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.
As is common in Southern Belize, transport to the island was by skiff (ours was 35-ft.). The trip took 90 minutes.
Crossing the channel from PG to Lime Caye, the seas were a bit rough with white caps. We were happy that the boat driver chose to hug the mangrove range up to East Snake Caye before crossing, as this significantly cut down our time in “da chop.”
Since we were traveling as a large group, we opted to stay in the bunkhouse right on the beach, which has four beds (two bunks) to a room (a handful of private bungalows are also available on the island as well). Toilets and showers are about 100m away near the center of the island.
The rooms do not offer much in the way of privacy or security, but if you’re with a big group of people you know, then neither really matter much on the island.
All of us kept the doors and windows wide open 24/7 for ease of access and to keep the temperature down at night. On our first night, there was no wind. As a result, it got pretty stuffy in the bunkhouses and we had some issues with mosquitos/gnats since we had the doors and windows open and there weren’t screens or bug nets.
Thankfully, a nice wind kicked up the second night and we all slept blissfully.
I would suggest sleeping with a healthy dose of DEET applied right before bedtime to ensure a good night’s rest.
I must say though that falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves right outside the door more than makes up for any issues we had.
Directly following our arrival and selection of rooms, we met Ms. Sandy at Sandy’s Cool Spot—the only snack shack on the island—to get a quick orientation of meals and other restaurant-related things.
As we were getting ready for our talk with Ms. Sandy, we were able to catch one last quick glimpse of the sun before it darted over the horizon.
This evening’s sunset was kind of a big deal for us.
Belize’s coastline runs north-south along the eastern edge of the Yucatan peninsula. As such, a sunset over the Caribbean is not something we see living on the mainland.
Additionally, this being January, we really hadn’t seen many sunsets at all in Southern Belize—over land or sea—for a long time, thanks to the rains. Alright, enough about sunsets—looks like it’s Belikin Time.
Day Two | Fun in Paradise
I was up shortly after sunrise, but one of the last to awake since most of the group had gone off reef fishing on the boat. I couldn’t remember the last time I had the luxury of sleeping in a bit, so passed on the 5:45 wake-up.
After a refreshing outdoor shower across the way, I headed to Sandy’s to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy having the beach all to myself.
Ms. Sandy fries up a mean Belizean Fry Jack, among other island specialties based on stock, season, and whatever the catch of the day is.
We spent the rest of the day hanging out at the beach and doing two awesome snorkel trips along the nearby reef.
The morning trip was to a century-old shipwreck in about 10-15ft. of water, and the afternoon trip was in an area between Hunting and Nicolas Cayes, which offered tall coral pinnacles and a nurse shark or two.
We also saw Sergeant Majors, Queen and Grey Angelfish, Squirrelfish, Groupers, and a colorful Stoplight Parrotfish. Some of the others in our group spotted a Green Moray eel and small Southern Stingray, but Lori and I did not.
Visibility was excellent, especially on the morning trip.
Of course, some of the island’s exotic wildlife didn’t require donning a mask and snorkel. One such highlight was seeing a large orange iguana who decided to catch some rays on the beach around midday playing in the surf for over twenty minutes.
Around sunset—and after the day’s catch had been cleaned and prepared for dinner—the Garbutt’s crew whipped us up some strong and tasty coco locos (young coconut with rum).
Day Three | Return to Punta Gorda
After a morning of alternating between hammock time, swimming, and beach lounging, it was time to pack up and head back to the mainland.
But not before a raging thunderstorm whipped it’s way over the island, forcing everyone to seek shelter for thirty minutes.
Apparently, the island was not through with us yet.
Seas were much smoother on the return trip, enabling us to take a direct route back to PG, arriving just over an hour later.
About midway along our route, we encountered a pod of dolphins frolicking around the skiff for about ten minutes before swimming off into the distance.
Seas were favorable with blue skies all the way back to port.
Weekends rarely get much better than that, folks.
LIME CAYE LODGING & SERVICES SUMMARY
|TYPE:||Rustic bungalow, All-Inclusive|
|RATES:||Call for current rates — cheaper with a group.|
|FACILITIES:||Shared toilet & “cold” shower; Common area/ dining hall|
|FOOD:||Meals included; Snack shack and bar available|
|ACTIVITIES:||Nearby snorkeling, fishing, swimming, relaxing|
|ELECTRICITY:||Limited. Phone charging possible. Sea-breeze-cooled rooms.|
Belize Health & Safety
The vast majority of travelers in Belize don't encounter serious issues with health and safety. With that said, stuff happens — severe weather, road accidents, broken bones, tropical diseases, etc.
Don't risk it. Get good international travel insurance so you can sleep easy and enjoy your trip to Belize! We use and recommend World Nomads.
Have You Visited Lime Caye in Southern Belize?
We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!