Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park
At the southern end of Belize, 40 miles offshore from Punta Gorda, the 14 sandy isles of Sapodilla make up the elbow of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef as it bends toward Honduras. Extensive spur-and-groove coral formations (including elkhorn) run seaward of the islands, and atop the reef crest and inside the lagoons, corals grow almost to the surface, providing limitless shallow snorkeling. Endangered hawksbill sea turtles nest on Hunting Caye, and it's common to see turtles as well as nurse sharks, rays and all the ornamental reef fish. Accommodations in Punta Gorda, such as the Coral House Inn, can arrange local guides for the trip out to the cayes.