Belize might be one of the smallest countries in Central America, but it is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world. Even though there’s a lot to do on land, like dozens of Mayan Ruins, cave exploration, cultural exchange, and more; you must not miss exploring the underwater world just beyond Belize’s shores.
To help you explore the countless miles of reefs and their beautiful, colorful formations, here I’ll share with you five of the best diving spots along the Belize Barrier Reef.
If you’re an advanced diver, make sure you do not miss this experience. This Blue Hole is the biggest in the world and probably the most famous of all. And yes, it does not disappoint. While the hole has a depth of 400 feet (122m), you can dive to up to 130 feet (40m) as you make your way between stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and its dark expanse. Inside the hole, you can see Caribbean Reef Sharks, sea turtles, and more. While diving the Blue Hole is an impressive experience, the beauty of the dive does not rely on the marine life or colorful corals, but the size and oddity of the hole itself.
The Blue Hole is located in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, about two and a half hours away from Caye Caulker or San Pedro by speed boat and it is done as part of a larger two or three dive trip.
If you dive the Blue Hole, it is possible you’ll do this dive on the same trip as it is also located in the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Long Caye Aquarium is classified as one of the most well-preserved dive spots along Belize’s Barrier Reef, and possibly one of the most beautiful too. In my opinion, it is!
The site is not too deep, with only about 50 feet (15m) at some of its deepest points, but it includes an incredible variety of marine life that includes Spotted Eagle Rays, Nurse Sharks, Sea Turtles, Barracudas, and more. Not only is there variety, but there’s also a significant concentration, so it is a busy site teeming with marine life.
The corals still preserve their beautiful colors, and many of the invertebrates still flow beautifully with the sea’s current – something many other sites are losing due to climate change.
The Silk Cayes are located just 45 minutes away from the town of Placencia, and they hold one of the widest varieties of marine life found in Belize, including the Spotted Frog Fish – which is only found in Belize. You can reach a depth of 100 feet (30m) to see the variety of corals and marine life along the wall at its different depths. The Cayes (islands) are uninhabited, so if you take a break between dives on any of them, you’ll get to enjoy the luxury of being all on your own (and your diving buddies) on your “private” island (for a few hours).
If you’re planning on going on a dive tour, Placencia has great diving shops, but their most renowned is Splash Dive.
The Love Tunnels can almost be considered a cave dive, even though it technically isn’t. If you’re an Open Water (basic) diver, then this is an excellent choice to get a peek at cave diving.The Love Tunnels are small cave-like formations at the bottom of the ocean where you can swim in and maneuver through its tight spaces and go as deep as 85 feet (25m). Around the area, you can find Spotted Drumfish and Scorpion Fish, among others.
This dive spot is about 25 minutes away from the town of San Pedro, and most dive shops in town go to this place as part of their full day diving trip that includes other spots nearby.
The Christ of the Abyss dive might not be the most beautiful dive in Belize, but it is an interesting one since it has a statue that resembles Christ on the bottom of the ocean. It is a beautiful life-size statue, and it is impressive and surreal to see underwater. While in reality it is the statue of St. Peter, the patron of San Pedro, everyone refers to this statue as the Christ.
Even though it is easily accessible since it is located in the reef only five minutes away from San Pedro, it is recommended to do the dive with a local dive company that knows the exact location of the statue. I recommend Ecologic Divers, who has the perfect GPS location of the statue and let you descend right on top of it. If you’re diving on your own, try getting the GPS coordinates first as it is difficult to find and most divers fail to do it.
The statue is not that deep, but as part of your dive you can explore the surroundings and go to a depth of 60 feet (18m).
Ready to explore Belize’s underwater world?
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Norbert Figueroa is an architect who hit the pause button on his career in 2011 to do a round the world trip. He's been blogging for over three years at globotreks.com, where he shares his travel experiences, budget travel tips, and a good dose of world architecture. From hiking Mount Kilimanjaro to diving with great white sharks, he is always on the search of adrenaline and adventure. Norbert is originally from Puerto Rico and he is currently based in Milan, Italy... when not roaming around the world, that is. He has traveled to more than 80 countries in 5 continents and his goal is to travel to all 193 U.N. recognized countries. Follow Norbert on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus.
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