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#369738 - 03/06/10 04:17 PM Goff's Caye Back on the Map
Marty Offline

Goff’s Caye is one of the closest islands to Belize City. It’s just a few miles to the south-east of the country’s largest population center and a boat can get you there in 35 minutes. So why is it so under-utilized – particularly by Belizeans? That’s what the Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute is addressing with a complete upgrade of visitor facilities on the small island. I visited today to find out more.

Jim McFadzean Reporting,
It used to be the favourite getaway destination and playground of many Belizean families, during the sixties and seventies. It’s close proximity to the mainland, white sandy beaches and an abundance of coconut trees, made it the ‘perfect’ spot for thousands looking to take advantage of a piece of paradise in their own country. Enter a new millennium.

Once a destination with little or no infrastructure, now this little slice of paradise known to Belizeans as Goff’s Caye, has a new look, a facelift given courtesy of the Belize Coastal Management Agency.

Colin Gillett, Director – CZMI
“With the funding from PACT we got a new toilet, flushable, new grill, a lot more picnic tables that we cemented down so that they don’t go anywhere, the signage that we put up with tourist information on what they should and shouldn’t here and the thatch roof has been replaced with a new tile. The pier has been extended to accommodate larger boats that could not come in close enough so it has been extended further out to accommodate them.”

The importance and historical significance given to the island as a cultural landmark was reflected today at the ribbon cutting ceremonies which was attended by Acting Prime Minister Gaspar Vega.

Hon. Gaspar Vega,
“The main purpose for the Ministry granting this lease to the Coastal Zone Management was for the preservation of the island. We want to ensure that what we have today, our kids, grandkids, can come and enjoy it in generations to come because as you know with the traffic, most of the people that come here, if it is not properly managed, the island will be destroyed along with parts of the reef. Basically what we said is want to give it to a group, to a body that is responsible and has that passion to ensure that we want to preserve what our fathers and grandfathers have preserved and left for us.”

Hon. Rene Montero,
“We depend on all the stakeholders to ensure that we upkeep it, to ensure that it remains a cultural heritage for all Belizeans to enjoy for generations to come. We depend on the stakeholders to bring the tourists out here and to enjoy what Belize is all about, the jewel.”

A host of representatives from the various stakeholder organizations, such as the Belize Tourism Board, Belize Audubon Society, PACT, the Coastal Management Agency and the Belize Coast Guard, also celebrated in the island’s new and improved look.

Vincent Gillett, Chief Executive Officer – CZMA
“Coastal Zone Authority has always recognized its importance, both in terms of the nature of the caye, the physical nature of the caye, and indeed its importance in terms of its ecology and the natural resources that are within the vicinity. There is substantial fishing for example that goes on. It has a rich biodiversity, the reef structure is still in shape and perhaps what was more important for us was the fact that the caye is really part of our heritage, people from Belize City especially traditionally come out to this caye.”

This ecological wonder with its economical, historical and cultural importance, will face new challenges with its new attractions.

Vincent Gillett,
“We went to funding agencies such as PACT which provided the financing, the funding to put in all of the infrastructure work that you see here. However that was for the initial activity. In the long term we still have to maintain those structures and upkeep all of the other things including monitoring and patrolling and doing all that Coastal Zone needs to do in terms of its management and it is for that reason that we applaud the tourism industry for its interest and the interest of the tour operators to utilize Goff’s Caye as one of its many tourist destination sites and through that process, we will collect a fee from each visitor who comes on the island and that money is put back into operation, management, and maintenance of the caye.”

With the modern infrastructure now in place, and a small fee in consideration for all users including Belizeans and tourists alike, the island is bracing for an increase in visitors. One of the greatest challenges in maintaining a clean and safe environment will depend heavily on the type of security available, and that’s why the Coastal Management Agency is looking to the Belize Coast Guard for its assistance.

Lt. Gregory Soberanis, Operations Officer - Belize Coast Guard
“One of the tasks and responsibilities we have as the Coast Guard is environmental protection. As a result the commandant of the Coast Guard has directed that we be in direct support of the Coastal Zone Management in maintaining sustainable development here on Goff’s Caye. We do that by conducting patrols in this area to ensure that maritime laws and regulations are adhered to. One of the areas we must focus on is maintaining a pollution free environment. Visitors who come here do not leave their trash behind, ensuring that the place is kept clean and also in the whole area of security, we have a lot of foreign nationals who visit Belize who contribute greatly to the economy of Belize and we must ensure that when they come to Belize they are safe and they have a good time.”

And to clarify, currently only tourists visiting Goff’s Caye are charged a five dollar fee. Belizeans continue to enjoy free use of the caye, however the CZMAI is considering a general fee for all users in the near future.

Channel 7

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#493582 - 07/20/14 11:17 AM Re: Goff's Caye Back on the Map [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

CAYO GOFF, BELIZE. La isla soñada en el Caribe.

La isla perfecta. Cuando uno piensa en la isla perfecta, a menudo piensa, sin saberlo con el Cayo Goff. Una isla pequeñísima, de menos de 10 metros de largo, en medio del Caribe, donde sólo hay una quincena de palmeras y algunos matorrales y está rodeada de una finísima playa de arena blanca, rodeada a su vez, por unas aguas entre azul y verde esmeralda, muy poco profundas, pero llenas de coral, en medio del cual nadan peces de mil colores diferentes.

Cuando uno ve una isla como ésta en la televisión o un catálogo, piensa que él nunca podrá ir. Que probablemente esto sea producto del fotoshop, y si existe, sea una isla sólo al alcance de los ricos del planeta.

Pues nada de eso. Si un día están de vacaciones en Belice, el único país anglófilo de Centroamérica, sepan que la excursión al Cayo Goff, que está a tres cuartos de hora en lancha desde Belice, la ciudad más grande del país, cuesta sólo 45 USD, o sea, unos 35 euros.

IMG_9304_Small

Cayo Goff

Como no queríamos perdernos la excursión de ninguna manera, contactamos vía mail con dos empresas que la ofrecían. Las dos nos ofrecieron precios similares, y al final, contratamos con Ecological Tours.

A Belice City no llega demasiado turismo (realmente, la ciudad es muy fea), de modo que la mayoría de visitantes llegan en crucero. Es por ello, que estas empresas ofrecen tours de 5-7 horas por Belice a los cruceristas, ya sean tours para ver la ciudad, para ir a algún recinto arqueológico maya o al Cayo Goff, como es el caso. Ecological Tours se encuentra en el Tourism Village, que es por donde entran los cruceristas y está al lado de la estación marítima del water taxi que nos llevó desde Cayo Caulker (imprescindible, también) hasta Belice.

Como tomamos el water taxi de las 7 de la mañana, antes de las 8 estábamos en la estación marítima del water taxi. Los de Ecological Tours nos vinieron a buscar, nos llevaron al hotel para dejar las maletas y hacer el check in y nos devolvieron hasta el Tourism Village, donde salía la excursión a Cayo Goff. Sin pagar ni un dólar de más.

RendezvousCayeAstrumx

Cayo Goff. Imagen tomada de Internet.

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Cayo Goff

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Cayo Goff

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Cayo Goff

Esperamos una media hora, y cuando llegaron los cruceristas marchamos hacia Goff. En total fuimos unas tres lanchas y sesenta personas.

En tres cuartos de horas llegamos a lo que será la isla más bonita en que nunca podremos estar. Allí no hay ni hoteles ni restaurantes. Sólo un criollo que hace barbacoas para que nadie se quede sin comer. Puedes elegir brocheta de pollo o pollo a la brasa. El Rum Punch (ron con malibú y diversas frutas) o el zumo de fruta, lo ponen gratis los de Ecological Tours. Al menos, tomamos 4 vasos…

Hicimos una hora de snorkel. Aunque el coral no es tan impresionante como el que disfrutamos en la excursión realizada desde Cayo Caulker, fue un rato realmente precioso. Miles de peces de colores en medio de coral de todos los tamaños y colores que puedas imaginar. Te llevan en lancha a unos trescientos metros de la playa, y en grupos de 10 o 12 personas y te vas acercando a nado, muy poco a poco, hasta la costa, disfrutando del enorme espectáculo del fondo marino más claro de todo el planeta. Esta vez hice el snorkel con la camiseta puesta, pues después de un par de días en Cayo Caulker y aunque me había puesto crema solar, empezaba a tener la espalda un poco asada.

Cuando llegamos a la playa, nos bañamos un buen rato. Nunca habíamos visto unas aguas tan claras como las que hemos visto en Belice. Y además, bien calentita, como nos gusta a nosotros. Después de un buen rato en el agua, comimos, entre sorbo y sorbo de Rum Punch y Marc, con zumos de fruta, que también estaban incluidos.

Y después de comer, sencillamente, hacer tiempo en este lugar, que parece sacado de un cuento de náufragos. Sin duda, una experiencia única, que no solemos hacer en nuestros viajes. En total, estuvimos unas tres horas en Cayo Goff, tiempo suficiente para hacer el snorkel, bañarse, comer descansar e ir y volver de punta a punta de la isla tantas veces como uno desee

Nadie que vaya a Belice debería perderse la excursión al Cayo Goff.

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Cayo Goff

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Cayo Goff

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Cayo Goff

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