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Scuba Diving in Belize – Barrier Reef

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Belize Barrier Reef

General Info
Belize is a small Central American country that has the good fortune to have a true natural marvel off its coastline. The Belize Barrier Reef is the longest in the Northern Hemisphere, and offers a vast range of diving possibilities for all skill levels.

Secluded Country
Belize covers around 8,880 sq miles (23,000 sq km) and has only 220,000 inhabitants. The country is renowned for its marine life, and due to the efforts of various voluntary organizations and its government, over 40 percent of Belize has been classified as a nature reserve.

Diving in Belize

The Barrier Reef
Belize also boasts a World Heritage Site—the Belize Barrier Reef. Extending for 174 miles (280 km) and ranging from 9 miles (14 km) to 19 miles (30 km) offshore, the reef offers a huge variety of divable sites to explore. Three of thefour atolls in the Caribbean are found along the length of the reef. An atoll is a circular island that surrounds a lagoon, and is formed when coral reefs grow around the perimeter of a collapsed volcano. Linear sand and coral islands —known locally as cayes—also run along the length of the Barrier Reef, and provide a base for much of the area’s dive activity. Of these, Ambergris Caye is the most popular location.

Diving Highlights
Around 500 fish species swarm over the reef, including five different species of butterfly fish. Some larger animal species can also be seen, including huge jewfish and manta rays on the outer reef, and stingrays and nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley. There are also healthy populations of reef sharks, as well as manatees in the shallow inshore waters and estuaries of the country. While the most famous site in Belize is undoubtedly the Blue Hole, the area has a great deal more to offer, with classic reef dives, magnificent spur and groove reef formations, and some notable seasonal gatherings of big animals. At Gladden Spit in the south of the country, large numbers of whale sharks meet in feeding aggregations during the early part of the year. These huge ocean-going plankton-feeders grow to as much as 60 ft (18 m) in length.

The Blue Hole
Perhaps the most famous site in Belize is the Blue Hole. Famously explored by Cousteau in 1972, this vast cavern lies 50 miles (80 km) off the east coast of Belize in the middle of Lighthouse Reef. Its perfectly circular entrance measures some 985 ft (300 m) in diameter, with the
cavern plunging to a depth of 410 ft (125 m) beneath. The resident population of bull and lemon sharks in the interior of the Blue Hole is an eerie sight for divers visiting the stalactite formations found 130 ft (40 m) below the surface.

Essential information

  • Water Temperature 77–82°F (25–28°C)
  • Ecosystem Tropical
  • When to visit Diving in Belize takes
  • place year-round, but the hurricane
  • season begins around October.
  • Must-sees Whale sharks at Gladden
  • Spit, Blue Hole, Shark Ray Alley.


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Comments

  • Angela Cheadle said:

    Don’t “belize” the hype about diving in Belize. Diving is very expensive (50-60 US dollars per tank….even if you bring your gear) and very off shore. The actual dives were average…no better than Honduras, Bahamas, or Bonaire. I will say it again, for Central America…..BELIZE IS VERY EXPENSIVE….ALMOST THE SAME PRICE AS THE U.S. FOR EVERYTHING!….Caye Caulker was a nice visit, laid back….but food was just as expensive as the Radisson in Belize City.

  • Diverdude (Author) said:

    in Radisson everything is expensive 😀

  • chris said:

    Wow, simply incredible! And the water looks magnificent!Belize is one of the most popular destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling.great blog…

  • Mel said:

    My husband and I found Belize to be magnificent diving-better than Honduras & Grand Cayman..and no more expensive than diving in either of the other two locations. The water is the perfect temperature, is clear, and teeming with loads of marine life. On our two dives, we encountered nurse sharks, eagle rays, moray eels, spiny lobsters, sea turtles & barracuda, just to name a few. The coral was dazzling & came in an amazing array of colors! Perhaps the dive shop or group you go out with makes the difference, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and plan on diving Belize again!

  • GULLIVER (Author) said:

    You’re right Mel , Belize is a wonderful destination

  • Kristen chamberlain said:

    Belize is the most beautiful places to dive!
    I’ve been there millions of times and each time i was there I saw something different and amazing each time! natural and unharmed beauty. If you need a dive shop go to Sea Sports Belize in Belize City on Front Steet. They reach the reef off of St. George’s Caye which is a real cool spot. And the Blue Hole is just as breath taking 😀

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