It is widely known that Belize is replete with rainforest, wildlife, and most importantly, the Caribbean Sea and its islands, the Blue Hole and the biggest Barrier Reef in this hemisphere. For the Diving enthusiast, Belize offers diving that is second to none, simply because Belize’s population is small, and care has been taken to protect and preserve our many resources.
1. Hol-Chan Marine Reserve
Belize’s small size means that our waters are pristine. There has been no over-fishing or over-diving. The Barrier Reef is easily accessible and teeming with corals and sea life of every size and description. In Maya, Hol-Chan means Little Channel. Since 1987, it has been a protected marine park. For 3 square miles, it is actively patrolled. Actually, it is formed by a deep cut in the reef only 30 feet deep. It is a must-see water wonderland teeming with coral and dense schools of fish such as grouper, snapper, jacks, and barracuda.
Bring a snorkel for this famous site. This area used to be a place for fishermen to clean their catch. Eventually, this rich bounty attracted nurse sharks and stingrays. Here, you can swim with them and even take close-up photos.
3. Ambergris Caye
This “Isla Bonita” is most popular for its location. It is the largest of 200 cayes along our coastline and closest to the Barrier Reef. Access is easy by air or sea. Come and experience this quirky beach-village with a laid-back feel, but with all modern amenities; barefoot bars, bistros, restaurants, ATMs, internet cafes and golf cart rentals.
4. Barrier Reef
The Barrier Reef stretches north to south for 190 miles of the coastline, protecting the interior cayes and offering limitless opportunities to explore. Skilled Dive operators will take divers through deep coral canyons formed by staghorn, elkhorn, and brain coral. Water is 45feet dropping to about 90 feet. Expect the usual Caribbean reef fish and discover other tiny tropicals, or reef sharks and turtles.
The Belize Blue Hole is truly a natural wonder. It is a sinkhole which is an inky blue orb in the middle of the sea; perfectly round and 1000 feet across and 450 feet deep. It is within reach of all the cayes, from north to south. At 130 feet, you will be stunned by stalactites suspended from caverns. Dive or do a helicopter fly-over you will never forget.
6. The Atolls
Outside the Barrier Reef, there are three of four rare, true coral atolls to be found in the Western Hemisphere. Imagine round barrier reefs wrapped around sandbars, with enough dry area to house a dive lodge get-away. Enjoy the reef in total isolation, diving among shallow coral gardens or vertical walls and towering pinnacles.
7. Southern Coast
The southern coast is less frequented than the north so there are new resorts and a growing roster of dive options. The most recent are popping up around the pristine southern coastal town of Hopkins. You’ll be close to the Blue Hole, Glover’s Reef, and Gladden Spit. Further south is Placencia, known for its whale shark encounters.
8. Whale Sharks
From April to June, the migration of whale sharks coincides with the spawning cycle of 25 different species of fish, providing an abundant source of food. These creatures are docile enough that you will be able to take pictures, swimming up to the biggest fish in the sea.
9. Top Side Tours
Because of Belize’s size and convenient geography, you will be able to venture out on a topside tour from anywhere on the mainland in only one day. You can visit a Maya site or venture into the jungles for a river trip, experience caving or a hiking tour.
Whatever you choose, you may be assured of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not only because of the diversity of all you see and do, but you will appreciate and be appreciated by our primary resource, Belize’s warm and hospitable people.
Written by Nelita Castillo