South Water Caye, Belize
Inns, Lodges, Resorts
Article and photos by Polly Dean.
Though the Blue Marlin Beach Resort is known more as a destination for divers, the resort’s position on South Water Caye, atop the Belize Barrier Reef, is also the ideal location for fly fishers. The flats adjacent to the resort hold a number of fish species, such as tarpon, permit or bonefish. This is a location that is hard to beat for a variety of angling opportunity. In fact, the resort’s name stems from a blue marlin caught in waters very close-by, just as the resort was coming to fruition.
The description of the lodge’s location provided prior to our visit was enough to fill me with an even greater anticipation than what I was already experiencing. Carlene Sanchez, handling our reservation, described South Water Caye as a small 15-acre private island, situated 14 miles east-south-east off the mainland coast of Dangriga, in southern Belize. The island is within the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, the second largest such protected area in that nation, leaving it relatively untouched by tourist traffic.
Our flight in Dangriga was met by Stacy Weber, our “concierge,” who accompanied us to Blue Marlin aboard the resort’s shuttle boat. She answered any questions and provided a wealth of information, whether it was the history of the island, its people or wildlife in the air, in the water, or on the ground. Stacy also took us for a walking tour of the small island, offering historical perspectives about pirates using the natural wells on the isle, the discovery of Mayan artifacts and even tastes of the native plants. Her bubbly personality was always full of fun, whether she was tempting the guests to participate in a game or to take advantage of her position as divemaster for the resort’s full-service PADI dive center in leading snorkeling or scuba trips.
The resort itself occupies 4.5 acres of the tropical island and is as picturesque as one would envision it to be. The island is part of the coral reef and surrounded by flats covered by azure water. The island is less than a mile in length and only 160 yards in width.
Belize is a world-renowned destination for anglers seeking permit, tarpon and bonefish. But, South Water Caye is a hidden jewel within that region. Crossing paths with more than one or two guide boats in a day is unusual. Resort visitors can book on-site guides that are available for fishing trips or guests can wade the flats on their own. Non-fishing guests can take advantage of snorkeling and diving or head out on the water in one of the resort’s kayaks or paddle boards.
Blue Marlin Beach Resort has an assortment of air-conditioned guest villas dispersed throughout the sandy, coconut palm-dotted property. The cool air keeps flowing constantly, thanks to a solar-powered electric system that is backed up by an emergency diesel generator. A hammock for relaxing under the shade of the palms is always within reach. A view of the water is offered from virtually any location on the property. The restaurant where meals are served indoors, or outdoors on the deck overlooking the water, is a short walk from the villas. Chef Joe and the staff create fresh delicious meals to entice any taste in cooking. Breakfasts are hearty and lunch can be enjoyed in the restaurant or prepared to-go for the fishermen.
The common building also houses a pub where refreshing tropical beverages and a game of billiards can be enjoyed. Often, traveling boats large and small, slide into Blue Marlin’s docks to spend a night or two or even to just enjoy the cuisine offered by Chef Joe. Blue Marlin Beach Resort is a well-oiled machine managed by business-savvy proprietress Roselia Zabenah and her staff.
Blue Marlin Beach Resort is not difficult to get to. Direct flights to Belize City are available from various U.S. airports, and a short 20-minutes aboard Maya Island Air flights puts you in the town of Dangriga. There the resort’s shuttle boat, the Black Orchid, picks up guests, fishing gear and luggage for the 14-mile ride to Blue Marlin Beach Resort dock.
With a prime location directly atop the Belize Barrier Reef, Blue Marlin is the ideal destination for fishermen, nature enthusiasts and just lovers of the outdoors. For more information visit the Blue Marline Beach Resort website.