Half Moon Caye, Belize
Coordinates: 17 12 N 87 32 W
Area: 45 acres (18.2 ha.)
In the Northern Hemisphere, millions of beachgoers are lured to the seaside each summer by the promise of sand, sun, and revealing swimwear as far as the eye can see. Find a beach in your trusty atlas, like Half Moon Caye in Belize for example, and the story is almost always the same: sand, sun, and in this case, thousands of Red-footed Boobies. Established as a protected marine area in 1928 (the first in Central America), this small atoll east of the Turneffe Islands is the site of one of the largest colonies of these sea birds on the planet as well as one of the Caribbean’s oldest lighthouses. Having since become part of a World Heritage Site, Half Moon Caye also attracts groups of snorkelers and scuba divers eager to see its reef-bound aquatic life through the lens of a swim mask.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.