Here’s Why Belize is Central America’s Top Dive Destination

by Andrea Murray

When it comes to diving in Central America, there is one frontrunner that stands out from the rest—Belize. The country recently clinched the title of “Best Dive Destination in Mexico & Central America” at the 2023 World Travel Awards and for a good reason. Belize has the second-largest barrier reef in the world and offers exceptional underwater adventures. With its crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, plus iconic dive sites like the Great Blue Hole and encounters with gentle giants like whale sharks, Belize is one of a kind. Here’s why this gem of Central America shines in the spotlight in the realm of diving. 

The Great Blue Hole

Photo courtesy: Leonardo Melendez

Belize’s most famous dive site, the Great Blue Hole, is a part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s a must-visit for divers from around the globe. Located 43 miles off the coast, this great dive site attracts divers from all around the world who want to check it off their bucket list. To dive at this famous destination, though, you must possess an advanced diver certification. Luckily, if you’re not an advanced diver, Belize has plenty of 5-star Padi-certified dive centers where you can get certified. 

While you can reach the Blue Hole from almost any part of Belize, the two main launching points are Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. In this perfectly circular, 400-foot-deep sinkhole you will find large hanging stalactites, stalagmites, and columns dating from the Pleistocene period. Since the water inside the hole has poor circulation, it has an environment that is unfavorable for most sea life. Nonetheless, diving here is still a unique experience. After all, it is the Great Blue Hole.

Fortunately, you can also dive near and around the Blue Hole and explore its colorful marine life. The Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which houses the Blue Hole, is not only a geological marvel but also a hub for reef sharks, nurse sharks, and various species of fish. It’s an adventure like no other. 

Similar: How Hamanasi Resort is Helping Belizean Women Divers Break Barriers

Whale Shark Encounters

Belize is known for providing the rare opportunity to swim alongside the whale sharks. The Gladden Spit Marine Reserve, located off the coast of Placencia, becomes a central point of activity during the full moon from March to June, as plankton blooms attract these majestic creatures. Whether you’re snorkeling or diving, witnessing these massive yet gentle fish up close is an awe-inspiring experience that few places in the world can offer. 

Dive with the Best

To make the most of your Belizean diving adventure, consider two outstanding dive resorts: 
Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort

Located near Hopkins, Belize, Hamanasi is a unique paradise for divers. As a PADI- 5-star dive center, it offers a wide range of dive experiences catering to all skill levels. Beyond its exceptional dive facilities, Hamanasi is committed to sustainability and conservation, adding depth to your diving experience and eco-soul. 

Photo by Hamanasi

Ray Caye Island Resort

If you are seeking an exclusive and intimate diving experience, Ray Caye Island Resort offers a private island escape. Surrounded by vibrant coral reefs, and marine life, this luxury resort provides easy access to some of Belize’s finest dive sites. At the end of the day, enjoy beachfront villas with breathtaking views. Ray Caye is the perfect choice for divers seeking adventure with a touch of luxury. 

Photo by Ray Caye

Similar: What Getting Dive Certified On The Belize Barrier Reef From Ray Caye Looks Like

Belize’s remarkable underwater world has earned it the title of Central America’s top dive destination. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a beginner, the country’s many marine wonders promise unforgettable adventures. So, gear up, book your trip, and get ready to explore the captivating depths of Belize’s beautiful turquoise waters- it’s a diver’s dream come true! 

Featured Photo by Leonardo Melendez / LMP Studios

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