The Split is one of the rare spots accessible directly from the shore in Belize. This channel, « splitting » Caye Caulker, is a popular bathing area prized by both tourist and local people. The channel, (relatively deep, and where you could spot a stingray) and the surrounding mangroves makes The Split an excellent opportunity for snorkeling.
It is easy to reach Caye Caulker from Belize City: several watertaxi companies run 10 to 20 trips a day in each direction (about 1:15). If you stay in Ambergris Caye, you can also reach Caye Caulker by boat and do the round trip the same day. Once you are ashore at Caye Caulker, you will need to walk approximately 10 minutes to arrive at the northern tip of the island (where is settled the “Lazy Lizard” restaurant), along the main road towards the north (to the right when you reach the road).
Several ladder have been settled to enter the water in the area. The wooden pier of Lazy Lizard is the best option. The area to explore covers the channel and the surrounding mangroves, but watch out for boats when you reach the pass, as many boats are crossing in the area.
This spot is made up of a relatively deep pass (↕6-8m), carved out in a mangrove with a lower water level (↕2-4ft/0.5-1m). We recommend exploring the edge of the mangrove, on each side of the channel.
If you get into the water from the restaurant pier, you can begin by exploring the area to the left of the restaurant, when facing the channel. Swim towards the mangrove. The sand is replaced little by little by seagrass and small corals, lightly colonized by small sponges and sea anemone.
Near the mangrove, the area is very shallow (↕2ft/0,5m). Swim along the mangrove edge and, here and there, you will surely spot a pufferfish, a small group of sergeant major or a couple of foureye butterflyfish. Move closer to the mangrove to discover an atypical and almost disquieting decor: the atmosphere grows darker and the coral gives way to a forest of roots. Given the multitude of fish larva to be seen in this area, you will realize that the mangroves are genuine nurseries for a great many fish. You can only see this spectacle from the edge of the mangrove, since it becomes quickly impenetrable.
Retrace your steps and cross carefully the channel, watching out for boats that come and go on this area. See if you can spot the starfish that live in the sandy areas. In the central part of the channel, you may come across young southern stingrays, but they always swim off straight away into the ocean blue, darting above the sand and the seagrass.
You can now explore the mangrove area opposite to the restaurant, which offers more or less the same underwater landscape than the first area.
The current is present at the center of the channel, but isn’t normally strong enough to destabilize a swimmer, especially one wearing swim fins. If the current is stronger, do not cross the channel and go back to the shore.
The Split is is a very popular recreational site (particularly the week-ends), so watch out for the boats, kayaks, swimmers and the other snorkelers when you are in the water.
There is a wide range of budget accommodation and restaurants on Caye Caulker. The Lazy Lizard restaurant is facing the spot.