Central America always presents an amazing opportunity for intrepid dive enthusiasts and beautiful Belize is no exception. It’s home to the world’s largest blue hole, a hot spot zone for whale shark diving and features incredibly healthy coral reefs that teem with all kinds of marine life. Belize is a haven for divers seeking a tropical destination that provides you with a bunch of exiting dive sites to visit.
Belize Dive Highlights
THE BLUE HOLE
By far the most famous of Belize’s dive sites is the world’s largest blue hole. This unique geological structure invites divers inside its circular depth to explore the vivid blue seas within. The Blue Hole reaches an astounding 124 metres (400ft) deep. It’s an easy day trip from many dive resorts in the region-here divers are rewarded with encounters with both reef and bull sharks. Not to mention the towering stalactite and stalagmite formations abound.
One of the top dive highlights here is the opportunity to dive with whale sharks. At Gladden Spit nearby Placencia, intimate encounters with these imposing yet gentle creatures whilst diving and/or snorkelling is pretty much guaranteed. Best season to see them; April to June.
SHARK RAY ALLEY
Back in the day this local was the place where avid fishermen cleaned their daily catch. Bountiful numbers of nursesharks and rays were attracted to alley and continue to frequent it to this day. Travel tip: leave your dive gear behind and enjoy a laid back snorkel odyssey with the local rays and reef sharks here.
BELIZE BARRIER REEF
Asides from the numerous Caribbean fish species, placid reef sharks and grand sea turtles, Belize’s barrier reef is the only place on the planet where you can see the white-spotted toadfish because its endemic to Belize.
Belize Dive facts
– October and November is grouper mating season. Thousands of these groupers arrive to the cayes to mate and procreate.
– The wet season (August to October) is arguably one of the better times to visit Belize on a dive expedition. Rainfall is minimal and yet it actually delivers excellent surface conditions. Plus, it’s the tourism low season -meaning much smaller crowds in comparison to other times of year.
– Approximately 70 types of hard corals and around 400 species of tropical fish are found in the crystalline waters that surround Belize. Expect to see the endangered hawksbill turtle along with noble loggerhead turtles, giant jewfish, eagle rays, and nurse sharks. Other shark species do frequent the region but are rarer to see, these include; lemon sharks, hammerheads and bull sharks.
– Belize is rich in cultural history and there’s plenty of land based activities here. Think; ancient Mayan archaeological site excursions, funnelling cave systems, dense jungles and stunning beaches. Fact; the coastline of Belize stretches for over 200km’s and is cradled by the exquisitely beautiful Caribbean Sea.
When To Dive Belize
December to March is widely considered the optimal time to dive in Belize due to the fact that there is an exceptional amount of sea life present. In saying that, the subtropical climate makes the region a favourable year round dive destination. Primarily April to June is targeted as the best time to dive in Belize, however this is also high season so, be prepared to meet big tourist numbers at popular dive locations such as the Blue Hole. August to October is the official wet season.
The water temperature wonderfully warm during the summer at 30°C/85°F and a very pleasant 26°C/79°F in the winter months. Looking to join an experienced dive tour expedition? If so, Belize Underwater are excellent dive tour operators in Southern Belize.
The Best Dive Sites in Belize
THE OUTER CAYES & ATOLLS OF BELIZE
Here you will officially find dive paradise! The longest barrier reef in the western hemisphere is located here, plus you have access to the incredible Blue Hole. Overall the outer cayes and atolls present many ‘must see’ sites for divers of all abilities.
Ambergris Caye is located within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve (just offshore from the culturally diverse San Pedro village). This is one of the most exciting dive sites in Belize, largely due in part to the surrounding marine park zoned within at a deep cut in Belize’s barrier reef. Think; flourishing marine life, brightly coloured corals and plentiful schools of grouper, snapper and barracuda.
STANN CREEK DISTRICT
This popular dive zone is precisely where the coastal region starts curving away from Belize’s grand barrier reef system. A major highlight for dive enthusiasts is the whale shark encounters at nearby Gladden Spit.
Want to stay longer on a dive vacation in Belize? The Turtle Inn makes a great base for a scuba diving holiday. Fact: this charming hotel is owned and operated by Francis Ford Coppola & family. Check out the above pictures for planning inspiration!
THE ELBOW // Turneffe Atoll
Seeking a remote dive site that offers an adrenaline charged drift drive? Great, because ‘The Elbow’ is just the place. Expect to see big marine animal action amid stunning reefs with excellent visibility. The speedy current movement here attracts a variety of schooling fish like crevalle and horse-eye jacks. Glide along the edge of a grandblue-water abyss on a sheer walland spot barracuda, snapper, Atlantic spadefish and several species of sharks.
SILK CAYES CANYON
Located just south of Belize City the Silks Cayes Canyon dive site is within easy reach. Plenty of shallow patch reefs integrated with coral outcrops that create interesting reef formationstowards the edge of the drop-off zone. The canyon features awide variety of healthy hard coral species and extravagant gorgonians.
LONG CAYE WALL // Glovers Atoll
A spectacular dive site and a true Belize dive highlight! Here’s where you’ll discover plenty of lush coral. Keep a look out for deep-water gorgoniansand vibrant yellow tube sponges. Large schools of jacks, tarpon and Atlantic spadefish all hang out here in the balmy blue seas. Glide the shallows to find stingrays, eagle rays and curious garden eels.
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