Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Belize Scuba Diving: 5 Dive Sites Not Miss Out On


Belize Scuba Diving is part of our Top Dive Sites of the World

Scuba diving and Belize go hand in hand; in fact, it is arguably one of the main activities that draw tourists to the country. Belize scuba diving is home to some fantastic sites, including one of the most famous dive sites in the world, the legendary Belize Blue Hole.

The country is home to the Belize barrier reef, which achieved designation as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1996. The reef is an impressive 186mi/300km long and features some stunning dive locations.

You can dive in Belize year-round, although the subtropical climate means a wet and dry season. The most rain is between August and October, with the wet season running from June to November. The dry season runs from December to May, although the best time to visit regarding the richness of marine life is between December and March. Diving in Belize is almost all boat diving, with dive boats departing from several locations, including Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.


Hol Chan Marine Reserve

A Belize scuba diving trip would not be complete without visiting the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The oldest marine reserve in Belize covers an area of nearly 3sqm or 7.8skm. While the reserve has four zones the Reef, the Seagrass Beds, the Mangroves, and Shark Ray Alley. The whole reserve focuses on a tiny cut in the reef that is 30ft/9m deep and 75ft/23m wide. The cut called Quebrada is the heart of the reserve.

The latest addition to the reserve is Shark Ray Alley which is home to an impressive population of nurse sharks and southern stingrays. Due to the relatively easy conditions and shallow depth, diving here is suitable for a wide range of experience levels, and the site can make for excellent snorkeling.

Snorkeling Hol Chan Marine Reserve | Belize

Exploring the Hol Chan Marine reserve, you can encounter a wide range of marine life, including conches, lobsters, crabs, and a host of other critters. As mentioned above, you can also find southern stingrays and nurse sharks amongst jacks, eagle rays, and grouper. For those who the diving gods are smiling on, you can also see manatees and dolphins if you are lucky.

Turneffe Reef Atoll

The largest Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the Turneffe Atoll, measures an impressive 30mi/48km long and 10mi/16km wide. An idyllic laid-back location suitable for diving, snorkeling, or just relaxing, the atoll is home to over 200 mangrove islands that provide a habitat for a diverse amount of wildlife.

The topography is varied here, with the western side of the atoll featuring many shallower reefs and dive sites. While the eastern side of the reef is dominated by deeper walls and reef dives better suited to more experienced divers. Dive sites worth experiencing fat Turneffe include Jo-Jo’s, Lindsey’s back porch, Chsbo’s corner, and Elbow, to name a few.

Diving Belize Barrier Reef: Turneffe Atoll and Tackle Box

The atoll is very rich with life, with over 65 species of stony corals documented in the area and 500 species of fish. Diving the area, you can encounter manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and hundreds of other fish and critters. Between dives, you can occasionally spot saltwater crocodiles on the banks of some of the lagoons.

Half Moon Caye

One of the most stunning places in Belize, Half Moon Cay is a picture-perfect tropical paradise. That is a must-see for any Belize scuba diving trip itinerary. The island is stunning, with white sandy beaches and long lines of palm trees. Below the waves, Half Moon Caye is utterly stunning, with a magnificent amount of healthy marine life and corals. The Caye is part of the UNESCO World Heritage,  the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System.

In the Field: Scuba Diving Belize's Half Moon Caye Wall

The conditions are relatively easy around the dive site, with most dives starting at a depth of 42ft/13m; the reef wall will then drop to a depth of 100 ft/ 30m. in the shallower portion of the dive home to impressive corals, butterflyfish, wrasses, and angelfish. In contrast, the deeper sections are home to large coral beds with many sponges and sea fans. During the dive, you can encounter turtles and goliath grouper who come over to investigate divers. While diving the deeper sections, keep an eye out for blacktip reef sharks, which patrol the reefs’ outer walls.

Visibility and water clarity at Half-moon Caye are genuinely outstanding. Visibility over 66ft/20m is commonplace, and the water is so clear that on a good day, the sunlight can penetrate to a depth of 100ft/30m, giving the reefs striking color and vibrancy.

Glover’s Atoll

A World Heritage Site in 1993, Glover’s Atoll is another Belize scuba diving destination. The atoll is in the heart of the Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve and features some pristine reefs, rich and diverse marine life, and beautiful lagoons and scenery above the water.

The atoll features a host of central lagoons with over 700 patches of reef around it. Meaning there are multiple dive sites for you to explore. Diving conditions are relatively straightforward, opening Glover’s atoll to every level of diver and an ideal snorkeling site to boot.

Belize Glover's Atoll

The reefs at t the atoll are teeming with life, and you can encounter a wide range of soft corals, staghorn, gorgonians, sea fans, and tube sponges. The refs are home to a wide range of fish and critters. Diving the atoll, you can regularly encounter blacktip reef sharks, dolphins, and sea turtles.

The stars of the Show at Glovers Atoll are giant mantas. Encounters with these giants are a relatively regular occurrence. Glover’s atoll is an underwater photographer’s paradise with outstanding water visibility and amazing marine life, especially for those interested in wide-angle photography.

Belize Scuba Diving legend the Blue Hole

The most famous dive site in Belize, if not the whole world, is the Great Blue Hole of Belize. A scuba diving Belize trip would not be complete without experiencing this giant sinkhole. The Blue Hole lies about 3 hours by boat from mainland Belize and is located near the Lighthouse reef. A truly spectacular natural phenomenon popularized internationally by Jacques Cousteau, the Great Blue Hole of Belize is vast, measuring a massive 314m/1030ft across. In terms of depth, it is no less impressive, plunging down a whopping 442ft/135m.

The Great Blue Hole of Belize offers a unique diving experience for every level of divers. The site features almost no currents, which makes conditions inside the hole easy. Less experienced divers can experience the shallows and all the life there. While experienced technical divers can drop all the way to the bottom to explore the site’s geography.

The Bottom of The Great Blue Hole

Because of the lack of currents, the Blue Hole is not home to a thriving coral reef; instead, what you get is a fascinating dive into an alien world. The walls feature huge stalactites, while those interested in biology would enjoy examining the walls, which are home to rare bacteria and particles.

If there is one dive site you should try to experience on your Belize scuba diving trip, it’s the Blue Hole. It is a breathtaking experience that you will not regret.

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Brought To You By

Suunto - Conquer New Territory #suuntodive

Our Top Dive Sites of the World guide is brought to you by Suunto. We recommend that you use a Suunto Dive Computer when scuba diving or freediving at one of these dive sites. Suunto is the world’s leading dive computer designer and manufacturer providing diving instruments for recreational, technical, and freediving.  You can find out more at Suunto.com.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmyhttps://www.deeperblue.com
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for DeeperBlue.com