No parrots or pirate hats required to dive this gorgeous Belize atoll, though the pirates are no longer around to welcome you!
According to “Moon Belize” author Lebawit Lily Girma, one doesn’t need to travel to a large island to enjoy the world’s best diving experience, which is why Glover’s Reef Atoll in Southern Belize has become a popular destination for vacationers.
First of all, it’s a mystical atoll. Early Mayas used this sliver of earth as their jump-off point when they trolled the coastline for fish. Historians know this because pottery remains that have been identified as Maya-made utility items have been found here over time.
Where did this 80-square-mile parcel get its name?
From brothers who earned their livings as Caribbean pirates in the 1750s. John and Rodger Glover frequented cayes and atolls situated along what’s now the Belize coastline, using them as base camps when they weren’t plundering treasures from ships in the vicinity. To make sure no other pirates stole their treasures, they buried them on what’s now Glover’s Reef Atoll for later retrieval.
While pirates no longer use this parcel of land as a stopover, it remains a place of interest to environmental groups. Designated a marine reserve in 1996, Glover’s Reef was elevated to World Heritage Site status in 2000 by UNESCO. Once given this designation, the protection of marine life and the atoll was assured in perpetuity.
700+ coral patches and amazing marine life
Currently, 30-percent of Glover’s Reef Atoll serves as a “no take zone,” thus fishermen must keep tabs on their catch numbers or Belize Fisheries Department Rangers could levy a hefty fine. Happily, there is no limit to the marine life tourists can see, photograph and record while making a visit to this 18-mile-long; 6-mile-wide atoll.
Observers are treated to a ring of brilliant coral, every color of which can be seen up close when visitors dive and snorkel beneath the surface. There are 5 dive sites from which to choose and each one has a unique name: Dolphin Dance, Emerald Forest Reef, Grouper Flats, Manta Reef, Octopus Alley, Shark Point and Turtle Tavern.
Visitors swim, dive and snorkel the perimeter of the atoll in search of marine life that may include these species: turtles; manta rays; sharks (reef; hammerheads; whale), spotted stingrays; barracuda; queen, blue, and French angelfish; trunkfish; hogfish; butterfly fish; blue tangs; groupers; sergeant majors, blue-headed wrasses and too many others to name here. See most of these and count yourself lucky!
The ideal resort for your Glover’s Reef adventure
Make the best use of your vacation time by choosing Laru Beya Resort as your home-away-from-home so your visit goes off without a glitch. Book your reef trip immediately because it takes 24-hours to prepare supplies and gear for the trip. While resort staff see to preparations, check into your elegant ocean view or oceanfront suite, enjoy the resort’s gourmet restaurant and check out all of the extras you’ll be provided by Laru Beya so you can stay as busy as you like.
It takes less than 2 hours to reach your destination (it’s 30 nautical miles off Placencia where Laru Beya is located). Once you arrive, skilled guides will provide everything you need for your time on site; gear; guidance; instructions; a packed lunch; drinks and all of the extras a vacationer desires when visiting this miraculous vacation spot.
Will you see all 700 species of marine life? That depends upon how long you intend to stay at the resort! Will you spot pirates? The answer is perhaps—if you opt for a wreck dive that gives you a glimpse into what happened to voyagers when they sailed too close to John and Rodger’s former stronghold. Want to know more? This link gets you where you want to go.