The Island borders the southwestern side of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll and is the dominant Island in the Atoll. An atoll is large lagoon with coral formations around its perimeter. The islands in the atoll are land masses where the coral buildup is above sea level and plant life has taken root. Lighthouse Reef is one of only four atolls in the Western Hemisphere. Long Caye is located approximately 45 miles east of Belize City in the southern quarter of the atoll, which is 27 miles in length (North and South) and about eight miles wide. The Island itself is 2 1/4 miles in length, 3/4 miles in width and approximately 650 acres. It has its own fresh water source, is surrounded by water ranging in depth from three to 30 meters within the atoll to over 1200 meters in depth beyond the coral formation. Its lagoons and mangroves provide a habitat for an abundance of tropical wildlife, such as breeding fish and rare birds. The Island is surrounded by magnificent walls of coral with a marine ecosystem that extends for miles. Underwater explorer, Jacques Cousteau, filmed a documentary for National Geographic, at the world renowned Blue Hole, which is just minutes away from the Island and is one of the world's best known diving attractions. Long Caye is protected from severe weather by the reef formation. High and low mangrove plant communities can be seen throughout Long Caye, harboring nurseries for marine life as well as serving as a stopover and nesting area for a variety of birds. Nesters include, the Mangrove cuckoo (Coccyzus minor), Green heron (Butorides viriscens) and the Osprey (Pandion haliatus), Mangrove warbler (Dendroica petechia), Great-tailed grackle (Cassidix mexicanus), White-crowned pigeon (Columba leucocephala), and the Least tern (Sterna albifrons), to name a few.
For tropical migratory birds, the Caye serves as an essential rest stop during the long flights north and south. As more and more habitats are destroyed or lost to development along the migration routes, islands play an ever increasingly important role in this seasonal migration. Due to its significant size and extreme eastern location, this Island is unique in these open waters of the Caribbean.The Caye is a premier location for scuba diving, snorkeling, recreational fishing, bird watching, beach combing, and exploring. Its location allows for the control needed for ongoing research and study by members of the scientific community.