A beautiful morning in the tropics. It is February 11, 2018. After the nice exploration of South East Guatemala, National Geographic Quest dropped anchor back in Belize and some guests stretched with our wellness specialist Alexis up on the sundeck, while others enjoyed the early risers breakfast.

This morning we went out to explore this beautiful caye, where a rainbow of tones in the water announced the beauty that we were about to discover. Dark blue, green, light blue, turquoise and light green were some of the colors of the sea in South Water Caye Marine Reserve.

This protected area, established in 1996, is the second largest marine reserve in Belize, covering 117,875 acres (approximately 47,700 hectares), Its extraordinary integrity of the marine ecosystems, such as soft and hard corals, oceanic mangroves and seagrass meadows provide habitats for commercial and non-commercial species – including queen conch (strombus gigas) and lobster (panulirus argus), and this explains its rich biodiversity and why it is considered to the highest diversity of fishes in the region.

From the moment we took the Zodiac rides to shore we could taste the Caribbean flavor on its coconut palm-covered beachside. And there were our local friends who we met two days earlier in Laughing Bird Caye, waiting for us to continue sharing with professionalism, knowledge and pride for the treasure that they have to show.

Some people stayed ashore to relax at the white sand beach or go for a swim in the crystal color waters, and others went with our experts offshore for an enhanced snorkeling experience and they saw a logger head turtle, sea horses, lobsters and nurse sharks as well as a high variety of corals and fishes in what people described as an unforgettable exploration.

After lunch onboard, we enjoyed the visit of the local Garifuna musicians, a touch of the local culture and traditions to keep our best social responsibility practices supporting the communities that we visit.

In the afternoon, we went back to continue exploring and relaxing in this magnificent place followed by our cocktail hour and recap time as well as our social time at dinner.

South Water Caye Marine Reserve is part of the Mesoamerican reef, stretching approximately 600 miles from the Yucatan to the Bay Islands in Honduras. The majority of the Mesoamerican Reef lies within Belize, and Lindblad – National Geographic Expeditions took us there to witness its amazing wonders in person. Another beautiful day in paradise.