Located on the mainland coast of Central America, Belize boasts untouched natural beauty and crystal clear waters full of vibrant marine life. It has long been the destination of choice for holidaymakers seeking a relaxing vacation surrounded by pristine sandy beaches and astounding natural beauty. Belize well deserves its reputation as one of the best and most popular diving destinations in the region, and the diving season lasts year round. With the longest coral reef in the Western hemisphere and three Caribbean atolls, divers are truly spoiled for choice. The following dive sites, however, are not to be missed.
The Lighthouse Reef is the most easterly diving sight, and is the furthest from mainland Belize. It is home to the world famous Great Blue Hole, an awesome submarine sinkhole that is a protected natural heritage sight. The Great Blue Hole was listed by the Discovery Channel as number one on the list of most amazing places on Earth. The spot is ideal for recreational scuba divers because of the crystal clear water and weak currents. The reef is full of a variety of fish such as midnight fish, Caribbean reef sharks and even the elusive hammerheads and bull sharks can be sighted. Trips to the Lighthouse Reef are most commonly full-day trips by boat from one of the coastline communities in Belize.
Turneffe Reef Atoll
This atoll is the most easily accessible diving sight in Belize as it lies just east of Belize City, just a short boat ride away. Unlike the other atolls that are mainly sandy islands, Turneffe Reef is covered in dense, lush vegetation. More precisely, Turneffe is a series of lagoons, inlets and mangrove islands. This makes it a veritable paradise for juvenile fish species that thrive in the well-developed, healthy reefs that surround the islands. The Elbow is Turneffes most well-known dive sight, and it is famous for its jaw dropping large shoals of schooling fish.
Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize, in the northeast of the country, and is the only part of Belize that is completely separated from the mainland. Its main claim to fame is the close proximity to a 35km long barrier reef that is full of swim-throughs, canyons, mangroves, drop-offs and grass flats. For the truly brave divers, the fittingly named Shark Ray Alley offers exciting dives with nurse sharks and stingrays. Ambergris Caye has a small airstrip, so can be easily reached by plane from Belize City, or you can opt to use one of the fast sea ferries, either from Belize or Chetumal in Mexico.
Long Caye Walls
This is a top dive sight that is located in Glovers Atoll. Dense vibrant corals grow in stunning reef gullies that lead to a sheer drop into the deep ocean. The flora is truly breathtaking, and you can see yellow tube sponges, orange elephant ear sponges and deep-water gorgonians. The fish are just as stunning, with huge schools of Atlantic spadefish, jacks and tarpon patrolling the deep blue waters. The sandy shallows are also home to eagle rays, stingrays and garden eels.