Belize Off-shore Adventures from Placencia in November, What to Expect!

by Megan Rodden
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November could be described as “shoulder-season” for Belize tourism but it is one of my favorite times of the year.  Businesses that may have closed or reduced their hours during September and October are all re-open and gearing up for high season, we celebrate the uniquely Belizean holiday of Garifuna Settlement, and the Atlantic hurricane season has mostly petered out by this point.  November, while not consistently the best month weather-wise, can boast some of the most beautiful and spectacular days of the year.  You know the ones: bright sunshine, the sea’s surface as flat as an ice-skating rink, visibility for miles, not too hot not too cold just gorgeous.  November is a great time to go island-hopping, diving, and/or snorkeling in Belize and less tourists mean smaller groups on your excursions and more personalized attention at no extra cost.  

Adventures with Splash Dive Centre

Snorkeling Laughing Bird Caye with Splash Dive Center. Image courtesy Splash

Splash Dive Centre in Placencia is my top pick for marine adventures.  They’re the biggest dive operator in the area and have multiple trips to choose from each day.  If you’re not a diver, no worries.  Splash is the industry leader in Introduction to Diving and other PADI courses.  You can earn your Open Water Diver certificate in as little as 2 days!  They have dives for novices or experts and hit all the best sites along the Belize Barrier Reef including The Blue Hole and Gladden Split, but their most popular trips stay close to home, within the Inner Reef.  Belize is a mecca for divers because of its year-round temperate waters, thriving reef and unique geological features, and very little current.  November is a wonderful time to dive, and especially learn to dive before the influx of visitors in January and February.

Image Courtesy: Splash Dive Bill Carmella

If diving isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy most of the reef’s best views from the surface of the water.  Scuba may seem more glamorous but snorkeling is the underrated activity super star.  Our most colorful corals and schools of fish prefer the shallows.  You’ll see the majority of the reef’s most beloved marine life in less than 20 feet of water.  Skimming the calm surface of the Caribbean Sea takes very little effort and nearly no coordination so it is an accessible adventure for the masses; vacationers young and old can enjoy taking a peek at the beautiful underwater world off our shores.  Splash Dive Centre offers snorkeling trips daily (weather permitting) that usually include a picnic lunch stop on a remote off-shore island.  They even offer night trips for brave snorkelers to view the nocturnal happenings among the corals and sponges.

Island Hopping  

Belize has hundreds of islands (called cayes here) big and small scattered around the barrier reef.  Many of the islands off the coast of Placencia are private, housing small resorts or fishing camps, but there are a few cayes within marine reserves that are dazzling and inviting to the public.  Though never truly “crowded,” November is a better time to come island-hopping as you may find some of the cayes completely deserted.  Imagine: powder-soft sand, swaying palm trees and crystalline water as far as the eye can see… almost all to yourself!  If you find yourself so lucky then perhaps your good fortune might extend to a turtle sighting.  Belize is home to 3 species of marine turtles; the hawksbill, loggerhead, and green sea turtle, and although they can lay eggs at any time throughout the year the most active nesting season is May through November.  Splash Dive frequently takes trips to my favorite island just 11 miles from Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye.  The island and surrounding waters are a protected area, a national park, and turtle hot spot so your chances are good!

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