Manatees

Mistaken for mermaids by early sailors (who must have been out on the water a VERY long time), and called sea cows by the locals, manatees are large, gentle creatures (they are vegetarians) that live in the turtle-grass shallows surrounding nearby cayes.  Chocolate, a leader of eco-tourism on the island, spearheaded the establishment of the Swallow Caye Wildlife Sanctuary (2002) to protect the manatees and their habitat.  In 2003, at 73 years of age, Chocolate received a lifetime achievement award for his tireless environmental work.

The manatee tour includes a visit to Swallow Caye where the manatees seem to know the guides boats.  Snorkeling with the manatees is not allowed, but from the boat, you will see them poke their noses out of the water (please keep in mind, this is still the wild, so a sighting is not guaranteed, but almost always happens). All the while, your guide will provide information and history about the manatees, the ecology of the area, and local lore. Your guide will try and find dolphins playing in the water for you, and he will take you to a caye near the reef for some snorkeling and relaxing on the beach.  The tour departs at 9:30 and returns at approximately 4:30.  All gear, lunch and entrance fees are included.  You’ll find a cooler on board. $85USD/person.