Tourists found illegally snorkeling in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve.

On September 29, 2012 in News

Tourist Police removing tourists from CCMR

Yesterday, Thursday, three tourists were found illegally snorkeling in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve.  How can tourists ‘illegally snorkel’ you may well ask?  Well, to ensure the protection of the reef and its inhabitants, Tour Guides are assigned to lead snorkeling experiences within all the reserves in Belize and there is nothing different about the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve.

At lunchtime yesterday 3 un-named tourists thought that it would be a clever idea, to get out of paying for a licensed snorkeling trip, to take one of the free kayaks that are available at their hostel (Bellas) and paddle themselves to the reef!!  It looks as though they were so cheap that they only had one snorkel and mask between them and therefore, when they got to Shark and Ray Alley they took it in turns to see what hid beneath the surface of the ocean, whilst the other two got sunburnt on the boat!

Officials (who keep an ever protective eye on our reef) saw the kayakers and set out in a motor boat to evacuate them from the reef and take them home!!  The tourists one by one were pulled into the motor boat and their kayak was towed home, back to Caye Caulker and most likely to face small charges of breaking the law of the Marine Reserve!!

Due to the location of the CCMR being a mile away from land, it is important that these rules are adhered to for the safety and protection of both the reef and the tourists themselves – the reef can be a dangerous place if weather changes and much harm could be done to those who are without a knowledgable and experienced Guide!


  1. peacock Said,

    What a rip-off. I can’t believe that you can’t just snorkel. We take our own snorkels to Hawaii. We were planning to do the same there. You basically have to pay to get the water?? This sight calls them cheap. Maybe they should realize not everyone that travels has lots of money, that doesn’t mean they have to stay home. For a moment I thought I might use the this sight to book a couple of days on the river

  2. Caye Caulker Chronicles » Blog Archive » Tourists found snorkeling illegally at Caye Caulker Marine Reserve Said,

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  3. charlie Said,

    Firstly, Raggamuffin does not undertake river tours so you will not be able to book a tour on the river here!!

    Cutting corners by on the reef is exceedingly dangerous – only a year ago our Guides found three stranded tourists who’s kayak (from the same hostel) had sunk in the heavy waves and they were on their way to drowning!! Weather can change in an instance around here and those who are not experienced on the sea can put themselves in enormous danger!! The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve is further away from land than most of the reserves in Belize – all Reserves charge for snorkelers in Belize, just this reserve requires the presence of a Tour Guide for safety of both the reef and the tourist – this is mandatory. The monies obtained from the Reserve goes towards the wardens that police the reserve to protect it from illegal fishing not only from Belizean fisherman but Guatemalan and Honduran – this is a big problem!
    Hawaii’s reef is NOTHING compared to the quality of the Belize reef – perhaps the Government should take a look at the management of Belize’s reef to prevent the decline that has been happening there over the last few years! Belize’s reef is celebrated – just look at this months edition of National Geographic and the fantastic photos of the Mesoamerican Reef – we take pride in what we have and will continue to protect our reef and our tourists within it!!

  4. Sulin Said,

    Not every country is the same when it comes to it’s natural resources especially when it’s about Belize’s Barrier Reef, all measures are taken in order for this natural beauty to remain what it is today and all measures are taken in order to protect it from ships and other human made destruction. Belize’s Barrier Reef is part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia: “Because of its exceptional natural beauty, significant on-going ecological and biological processes, and the fact that it contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity (criteria VII, IX, and X), the Reserve System has been designated as a World Heritage Site since 1996. Despite these protective measures, the reef is under threat from oceanic pollution as well as uncontrolled tourism, shipping, and fishing.” Belizeans take pride to protect the reef because they don’t want it to become just like Australia’s Barrier Reef. This is one of the reasons why there is a law. If you go out on your own to the reef and you get stuck there, what will you do and who will you blame?? If you take a licensed tour, what will the difference be?? You rather risking your life for not paying for a licensed tour to see the beauty of what the country has to offer?? There have been many incidents at the reef because of narrow minded people who think that going on their own. So instead of claiming what is a rip off or not how about doing some research before bombarding an issue where you have no clue on what goes on when it comes to the Barrier Reef.

  5. Steve Said,

    Amazing! Actually, this “pay-to-see” idea is NO DIFFERENT than here in the United States with our National Parks (and many, if not most State Parks). You may not be required to have/follow a “Tour Guide” (some places you have that requirement) in every case, but you DO have to pay to see/enter the Park. I find this same requirement (paying-to-see/snorkel) for the Reef to be no different. And, being with someone who knows the area just makes good common sense. (Maybe the real problem with these who claim they can’t “afford” the Guides is they don’t “pay attention” to common sense!)
    I think this law is very valid…it’s a safety issue as much for the person as it is for the Reef!

  6. Djax Said,

    NOT A RIP OFF AT ALL! Peacock, you must snorkel with your eyes closed. The reef in Hawaii has been absolutely trampled. Yes, there are some tropical fish, but coral, sponges, as such- completely gone! The bottom looks like a nuclear blast hit it. Belize is called the best for diving and snorkeling for reason. Don’t believe it? Then you must take a trip and open your eyes man. Not too forget the laid back way of life, culture, the people, a good experience to be had. GO NOW!

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