Highly acclaimed travel publication The Points Guy has listed Belize as the number one spot for snorkeling and diving in their latest guide. Published on March 7, 2022, the article lists Belize amongst 12 other bucket-list destinations including Egypt, French Polynesia, Hawaii, and Galapagos Islands. To learn Belize topped all of these iconic destinations and more says it all – there truly is no other country like it.
TPG’s article highlights many of Belize’s marvels as the reasons for earning a spot on the list. Mentions of the lush rainforests and ancient Maya temples earn some praise. But what truly cemented the country’s position as number one was Belize’s conservative efforts when it comes to its reef.
“What makes Belize’s underwater world so special is how far the country is willing to go to protect it,” TPG’s Lori Zaino writes.
Belize is no stranger to preserving the beauty it beholds. Banning single-plastic use, developing coral reef restoration, creating its first-ever wreck dive site. These are just a modicum of the actions the country has taken in the past few years. One of the larger conservation acts has received global praise and sets the example for other countries to do the same: ban offshore drilling.
“Belize has banned offshore drilling to protect its reefs, one of the first developing countries to take such a strong stance against oil extraction,” Zaino says in the article.
Adopting these greener initiatives did not prove to be in vain. In 2018, Belize’s pride and joy, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (BBRRS), was removed from UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites In Danger list. Now you can enjoy the wonders beneath the surface knowing a healthy reef will welcome you. And if you need advice on where to start, here are a few snorkeling spots in Belize you can’t miss.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve. A short boat ride from Ambergris Caye is the ever-famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Teeming with nurse sharks, stingrays, and the occasional manatee, this reserve is a fan-favorite for a reason. Stop by on Shark Ray Alley and swim alongside docile nurse sharks. Keep your eyes peeled for a giant Loggerhead turtle surfacing for some air. Wade around long enough, and you just might catch a manatee on your Go-Pro.
Half Moon Caye. This national monument is an oddly-shaped island made famous by its early inhabitants, the red-footed Boobie birds. Now, travelers can enjoy this beautiful gem and all its palm trees by either lounging on-site or snorkeling offshore. The marine life is an eclectic mix of groupers, snappers, stingrays, and even sand eels. If you venture to Half-Moon just for the Boobies, we suggest taking a trip between mid-December and March.
Laughing Bird Caye. Laughing Bird Caye is another national park. It sits only 11 miles from Placencia and is the southern-most island in the central lagoon of the Belize Barrier Reef. What makes Laughing Bird so special – apart from standing on an elongated reef known as faro – is that it holds a coral nursery. You can snorkel up close to the coral reef restoration site right off the island.
There’s no need to jet off to the other side of the world to witness underwater marvels when Belize holds so many a short flight away. After all, the Caribbean gem is home to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. A site that deserves its own slot on any traveler’s bucket list.