Belize Diving

Should you decide to go scuba diving in Belize, you'll have access to the second largest barrier reef in the world! That alone makes Belize diving some of the best on the planet, and when you throw in the country's collection of open-ocean atolls, it just keeps getting better. Diving in Belize has become so popular with tourists that you'll find more Belize dive resorts than ever. From beginners to experts, the Belize diving offers an experience that is almost without compare. Even just treating yourself to a snorkeling outing here is exceptionally rewarding. Head to one of Belize's cayes, and you can wade into the shallow, turquoise waters with your snorkel gear and enjoy the underwater beauty at your leisure. Coral gardens, scores of tropical fish, and plenty of larger marine life will make it into the picture of most Belize diving expeditions, and if you have an underwater camera, the excellent visibility here makes for excellent photos.

All along the Belize coast, you'll find a myriad of Belize dive resorts and dive shops. Since many of the best Belize diving shops are found at the resorts, staying at one will provide you with easy access to professional guides and instructors. For those who are not certified for open water dives, the bulk of the Belize dive shops offer PADI courses that will have you in the water in no time. After a few hours in the classroom, you'll be off to a swimming pool or shallow part of the Caribbean Sea to get accustomed to actual diving. For those already experienced, enjoying a list of two-tank dives can easily by on the agenda. One of the featured dive sites in Belize is the famed Blue Hole, which is found in the Lighthouse Reef atoll. You can arrange diving trips here from a number of the Belize cayes found offshore, and from mainland coastal towns as well. Lighthouse Reef atoll and the nearby Turneffe Island atoll are what experts believe to be the two top spots for diving in Belize. The Blue Hole limestone sinkhole is smack dab in the middle of the Lighthouse Reef, and it's rich blue color is testament to its depth. At more than 400 hundred feet deep and 300 feet across, it's quite large to say the least. The deeper you dive here, the limestone formations, which include stalactites, becoming more and more bizarre, and the water actually becomes clearer. Regardless of the time of year, the water temperature in the Blue Hole stays at 76 degrees and above down to 130 feet.

Many of the top sites for diving in Belize are found among the northern cayes and atolls, and a good amount of visitors who have Belize diving on their itinerary head to either Ambergris Caye, or the smaller and even more-relaxed Caye Caulker. The Belize Barrier Reef, which extends some 185 miles top to bottom, is a mile at most from Ambergris Caye, and the healthy number of Ambergris Caye resorts means that you'll have plenty of dive shops and tour operators to choose from. The waters off of Ambergris Caye are exceptionally clear, and besides diving at the nearby Belize Barrier Reef, you can easily also include dives at the aforementioned Blue Hole and the Turneffe Island atoll. While exploring the Belize Barrier Reef, you'll be treated to all kinds of gorgonians, a variety of hard corals, and an array of intriguing shellfish. Besides spotting a myriad of tropical fish, divers may encounter a whale shark, a stingray, or even the occassional hammerhead or white tip shark. If you are headed for the coast in southern Belize, the resort hotels in Placencia can get you out diving at sites like Glover's Reef atoll and Gladden Spit. At Glover's Reef atoll, you'll generally experience fewer fellow divers, and though your choices for Belize dive resorts here are far slimmer than on Ambergris Caye, you can find a good one nonetheless. South Water Caye and Tobacco Caye are popular spots to hook up with dive operators for those vacationing in Dangriga and Placencia. Also, since Placencia boasts the best beaches in Belize, it's a top Belize destination for all around fun in the sun.

There are a few different ways to go about arranging your Belize diving experience. You can show up to your hotel or resort along the coast or on one of the cayes and simply walk into the dive shop, or you can book ahead before you get there. The variety of Belize dive packages is impressive, so you'll have seemingly no limit to choose from. For the most serious divers, staying on a live-aboard dive boat is the most efficient way to enjoy the most number of spots. Most of the top dive spots will take anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours to reach by boat from wherever you are based, and you can arrange a number of full or half-day trips. If you're feeling brave, you might try a little night diving. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve in the northern cayes is an excellent spot for night diving. Many Belize dive packages not only offer a number of dives, but also the chance to add other fun things to do in Belize. Your package might see you heading inland after a few days of diving to explore Mayan ruins in the Cayo District, for example. Maybe canoeing through the Barton Creek Caves will suit your fancy. For those who might be a bit timid when it comes to scuba diving in Belize, there are also tons of snorkeling trips to choose from at all the coastal hot spots.

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