Scuba divers and snorkelers from across the globe come to Belize for water adventures that are unlike those anywhere else. Your Belize diving and snorkeling experiences are authentic and unspoiled, like the country itself. Belize is definitely unique in every aspect.
“One of the four must-dive locations on this blue planet,” was how renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau once described Belize.
Belize is home to the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere and boasts three of only four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere. When you come to Belize, you’ll see how magnificent and unrivaled the environment is for all levels of scuba diving and snorkeling.
The Belize Barrier Reef spans 185 miles of the country’s coastline and features dive sites inside and outside the reef. There are countless dive locations throughout Belize, which will dazzle you, whether you are an accomplished diver, experienced snorkeler or a beginner at either one.
The water is clear and pristine and underwater visibility routinely extends hundreds of feet, so you can easily view activity under the surface. Since water temperatures are similar to that of bath water, divers of all ages and abilities take pleasure in knowing that a dive in Belize’s waters is comfortable.
The Blue Hole
You won’t want to miss the most famous diving site in Belize is the Blue Hole, a national monument. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization named the Blue Hole a World Heritage Site, a location with universal value.
For the best views of underwater life, you’ll find the lip of the crater – 60 to 80 feet underwater – is much more interesting. Some of the largest midnight parrot fish in the world frequent this hole, which also attracts stingrays, angelfish, butterfly fish and smaller reef fish, which tend to cluster around coral heads and outcroppings. You also can see barracudas and small groupers.
The atolls located beyond the barrier reef and heavier visitor traffic offer combinations of patch reefs and the sheer walls of drop offs teeming with huge schools of different species of fish.
Originally a cave, the Blue Hole was formed about 10,000 years ago when the cave’s roof collapsed. Visible from outer space, the Blue Hole is a nearly perfect circular hole 1,000 feet in diameter and 412 feet deep, with stalactites reaching up to 130 feet. In the early 1970s, Cousteau and his television crew explored the tunnels, caverns and stalactites that the Blue Hole is now famous for.
The world renowned dive site is located at the center of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which is about 50 miles east of Belize City. Considered to be a must-do trip for advanced divers, most groups descend to about 135 feet.
Coral Gardens, Moray Eel, Snapper
Just outside the reef and before the “drop off,” look for spur and grove formations – narrow canyons of corals which are great for spotting grouper and the occasional emerald moray eel.
Drift dive along a ridge in lazy pursuit of a spotted drum fish, half over coral gardens and immense barrel sponges, and then with a flick of the fin find yourself suspended in the bottomless blue of the drop off.
Inside the reef, patch reefs are covered with hundreds of brightly colored fish and coral species.
For something a little different, try snorkeling or diving near a mangrove island – “the nursery of the sea” – where you are sure to find tiny barracuda, snapper and other fish whose parents you might have seen in deeper water.