Find A Handful Of The Best Dive Sites in Belize Here

by Gisselle Hernandez
lionfish hunting scuba dive barrier reef belize DOUGLAS KLUG:GETTY IMAGES

The marine life in Belize is second to none, with the Belize Barrier Reef system often praised for its biodiversity and eclectic wildlife. Time and again, dive enthusiasts make the trek out to as many Belize islands to absorb the beauty and see the results of the country’s sustainability efforts first-hand. The great legend himself, Jacques Cousteau, once thought Belize a premier diving destination, and recommended it to all who would listen. In fact, his grandson recently came to Belize to film a product catalogue for their scuba diving, free diving and snorkeling lines.

With a robust list of must-visit dive sites in Belize being listed in forums, articles and even official brochures, there’s bound to be a few that’ll have you planning repeat trips.

Half Moon Caye Wall

Half Moon Caye diving ramons

Miss Nena, one of the many boats of Ramon’s Village Resort while docked at Half Moon Caye. Image courtesy of Ramon’s.

Lighthouse Reef contains this majestic dive site that can be seen as deep as 100 feet, with dive depths ranging 30-120 feet. Known as the “6000 feet of vertical abyss” the wall has a famous steep drop-off, inhabited by nurse sharks and rays.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve/Shark Ray Alley

hol chan

Off the coast of Ambergris Caye lies the popular Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Meaning “Little Channel” in Maya, this reserve allows divers to go as deep as 30 feet, where you can see schools of parrotfish, barracuda and perhaps even a manatee!

Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve

lionfish belize splash dive

Photos courtesy Splash Dive Center

If you’ve been hunting for a whale shark sighting all your life, you just might accomplish that task at this reserve. Near Placencia in Southern Belize, Gladden Spit is known as a spawning site for myriad tropical fish that end up attracting whale sharks around the months of March to June.

The Elbow at Turneffe Reef Atoll

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Nurse sharks eye their underwater visitors. Image courtesy Bill Carmella/Splash Dive Center.

Turneffe Atoll spans around 30 miles long, making it the largest atoll in Belize. At this dive site, you’ll come across the larger fish, like eagle rays, sharks and schools of Horse-Eye jacks. This is due to the large currents present at the Elbow, so it’s only recommended to dive on calm days.

Glover’s Reef Atoll

glovers reef atoll belize reopens

Aerial of islands inside Glover’s Reef Atoll. Photo by Our Travel Tips

As the southernmost atoll, Glover’s Reef houses the best formed coral atoll structure and a white sandy bottom. This site is actually the least visited since it’s the furthest from the mainland, making it even more special and secluded for one-on-one diving.

Esmeralda Canyons

©MLowen via Splash Dive Center

As the name suggests, this dive site hosts hard, coral ridges spanning east to west. This unique geography calls for a vibrant community of sharks, rays and even moray eels. About five minutes off the coast of San Pedro Town in Ambergris Caye, this is one of the most beautiful sites to dive. 

Header of lionfish hunting on the Belize Barrier Reef. Image via DOUGLAS KLUG/GETTY IMAGES

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