Located in the western Caribbean ocean and south of the Yucatan peninsula, you will find the small Central American country of Belize. Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, scuba diving in Belize offers an adventure to see the hundreds of different types of coral, sponges and other marine life from the dozens coral atolls or cayes as they are called in Belize.
Whether you are a beginner or experienced diver, you will find everything you need available at the many dive shops or resorts to make your diving adventure truly one for the log book.
If you have never been scuba diving before you can sign up for classes at one of the many dive shops or dive resorts. The classes range from very basic scuba breathing in shallow water, open water certification or advanced certifications. All scuba diving in Belize is done under the watchful eye of the Belize regulated dive masters.
Check out dives and certifications are available for those who have completed their classroom work and basic scuba instruction, but have not completed the final exam. It is a good idea to call ahead to the dive shop to make sure you bring all of the needed paperwork from your stateside instructor.
Several dive operators offer Live-Aboard diving boats that will take you to many of the popular diving locations in the lap of luxury. The all inclusive rates include room, meals and air all just a few feet away from your room. Make your reservations well in advance as these boats are quite popular.
Located on the southern end of Ambergris Caye and a short boat ride from San Pedro are the popular diving locations known as the Hol-Chan Marine Reserve and Shark-Ray Alley. This protected area is divided into 4 zones, each with its own unique habitat and bio-diversity. Coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass beds make up the different sections of the reserve. Hol-Chan is also one of the best night diving sites.
Expect some company when you arrive at Shark Ray Alley. For years the local fishermen have been cleaning their catches here so the sharks and rays will appear near your boat expecting a free lunch.
Another popular diving spot located on Lighthouse Reef, a day trip east of Turneffe Reef is the famous Great Blue Hole. Explored and filmed by Jacques Cousteau in the early 1970’s, it is more than 400 feet deep and 1000 feet across. Blue Hole offers the experienced diver a chance to go deep, while exploring the corals and stalactites that were formed when the sea levels were much lower.
The scuba diving in Belize is different from other areas in the Caribbean as the water temperature only varies between the mid 70s to the mid 80s year-round. Water visibility varies upon location but you can expect to have 50 foot or better viewing with 100 foot visibility not uncommon in some areas. Water clarity will be less in the rainy season during the summer months.
Swim with the Whale Sharks, chase the rays, feed the groupers or relax in the shallow mangrove cayes beside the manatees. Going scuba diving in Belize has something to offer all divers regardless of experience. Make your reservations early and be prepared for the diving experience of a lifetime.