Silk Caye Belize: Then and Now

Or How We Learned to Love Belize

Silk Cayes Belize
An early Slickrock expedition approaches Silk Caye Belize

mapAbout 40 miles southwest of Glover’s Reef, where our eco-resort is located on Long Caye, is a small group of tiny islands called the Silk Cayes of Belize. These islands figured prominently in how we first got started running sea kayak expeditions in the Caribbean. Cully, Slickrock’s founder, wrote a great post in 2011 about those early beginnings on Silk Caye Belize.

A recent coincidence caused us to revisit the topic. One of our guests, Blake Spellman, sent us a few photos from a trip he and his partner, Mary Holland, took with us back in those “good ol’ days.”

Blake and Mary are currently signed up for their second trip with us next April. Their first trip with us was years ago, before we started renting (and then bought) an island, which allowed us to build permanent facilities including guest cabanas, a large kitchen palapa and dining facility, solar heated showers and composting toilets, kite surfing center and a variety of shade palapas that today comprise our Adventure Island resort on Long Caye. Blake and Mary will be in for a much more cushy experience on Long Caye compared to what they had with us on Silk Caye Belize. We like to describe what our guests experience on Adventure Island as “five star camping.”

Back in the old days, our guests launched in sea kayaks from a beach at the small town of Placencia and paddled with us out to the Silk Caye Belize area. There, we camped on different tiny islands of coral sand that were dotted with a few coconut palms. It was all very “Gilligan’s Island.” See the photos from Blake and Mary below.

Silk Caye Belize: Now

silk caye Belize with bathroomAs you can see in these photos, the once pristine little island, Silk Caye Belize, now sports a bathroom building because it has become the focus of steady visitation, most of which is geared toward watching the whale sharks that frequent the area. Placencia, the closest village, has become a center for whale shark tours.



silk caye belize today

Happily, despite all the development, the area has also received increase protection. In 2001, Belize created the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve which has since become co-managed by Friends of Nature (now SEA) in consultation with a national group of whale shark stakeholders.


Silk Caye Belize: Then

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Mary in hammock
Mary on island time with the local dog, Johnny cake | Silk Caye Belize
group of three Silk Caye Belize
Erne with dinner on our last night out
Conch shell jacuzzi on Silk Caye Belize
Conch Shell tub – remnants of the Conch Industry
Pre-Glovers departure point for a week of adventure
Pre-Glovers departure point for a week of adventure
two palms
Sunset view from inside tent on Silk Caye Belize