Scuba Diving Near Belize

The coral reefs and aquatic life of Belize make conditions for scuba diving and snorkeling ideal

Photo credit: © Michael Herman | Dreamstime.com
 

The waters off the shores of Belize are home to one of the largest reef formations in the Northern Hemisphere. Belize's extensive coral reefs are second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

Maps

The amazing and vibrant coral as well as its diverse aquatic residents form an incredible underwater world just waiting to be explored by curious divers. As one of the most pristine dive destinations in the world, vacationers may find exploring the aquamarine waters of Belize an extremely worthwhile experience. In fact, Belize was voted by 2011 readers of Caribbean Travel + Life as the top Caribbean destination for snorkeling and diving.

Below the Surface

The tropical waters of Belize remain at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit almost year-round, and the ocean waves are calm and mild because the reefs form a protective barrier around the island. The visibility in the crystalline waters of Belize is at least 50 feet or greater and often is 100 feet or more during the drier months of the year, which are from December to April. Sometimes, during the rainy season, storms can stir up the debris and sand from the ocean floor clouding the waters for a short period of time. But for the most part, the conditions underwater are great for diving any time of year. If you're looking for a deal on your aquatic adventures, visit Belize's dive shops during the wetter months because they will often negotiate cheaper rates.

The ocean current outside the protective area of the barrier reef flows in a northernly direction, creating a counter current because the waters between the coast and the reefs of Belize flow south. Breaks in the reef structure restrict the flow of the ocean waters, creating the ideal habitat for a number of large tropical fish and coral. Belize is world-renowned for its spectacular coral reefs, and there are several different types of reefs offshore.

The underwater world of Belize is packed with a multitude of marine life, which feature a stunning array of colorful sea animals including crabs, coral, and fish of all shapes, sizes, and colors. This underwater network is one of the richest ecosystems in the world, full of rare and exotic sea specimens. You can get a good look at these amazing underwater structures and wildlife with a scuba diving excursion.

...world-renowned for its spectacular coral reefs...

 

Amazing Atolls and Reefs

The reefs edging Belize's shores run approximately 174 miles parallel to the coast under only about a few feet of water. These far-stretching corals run as far as the Yucatan Peninsula all the way to the tip of Guatemala. Combined, all three of Belize's reefs are about 347 miles. As you head for more open waters, the steep sea walls drop off hundreds of feet into the depths of the ocean. Here is where some of the best diving is located.

Various types of coral are found under the waters of Belize and include fringing reefs, patch reefs, faroe, barrier reefs, and coral atolls. The reefs that are located in the waters closer to the mainland are called fringing reefs.

Belize's only fringing reef is at Rocky Point on Ambergris Caye's north end. The fringing reefs at Rocky Point rise out of the water, so you can actually walk thorough coral skeletons scattering the shoreline. Patch reefs range from small clumps to gigantic reef masses. These types of reefs can be found throughout the coastline but are more prevalent in southern waters. Faroes, or shelf atolls, are ring-shaped reefs or angular atolls located on the continental shelf. Faroes have steep sides that surround a central lagoon. Belize's best example of a faroe is Laughing Bird Caye. The barrier reef necklaces Mexico in the North all the way to the Sapodilla Cayes in the South. This wall of reef comes to a steep slope and drops off vertically into the depths of the ocean. Finally, Belize has three coral atolls, which are considered by some to be the best formations of their kind in the Caribbean Sea. The three atolls are called Turneffe Islands, which is the largest; Lighthouse Reef, the smallest of the atolls; and Glover's Reef.

A variety of Caribbean coral live among Belize's reefs. Brain coral, elkhorn, lettuce, and star coral, as well as sea fans, black coral trees, ledges, caves, and many more samples of impressive marine life dwell throughout the reefs just waiting to be explored by divers.

You'll find 23 dive services, a variety of dive shops, and at least 67 interesting dive sites to choose from.

Dive Operators and Shops

The dive shops available are displayed right below.

Dive Shops Near Belize
Name Phone Location
Amigo's Del Mar Dive Shop (501) 226-2706 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Aqua Scuba Center (501) 226-4775 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Avadon Divers (501) 523-3577 0.7 mi. Northeast of Central Placencia Belize
Blue Hole Dive Center (501) 226-2982 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Bottom Time Dive Center (866) 201-5421 San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Ocean Motion Dive Shop 523 3363 0.7 mi. South-Southeast of Central Placencia Belize
Reef Adventures Dive Shop (501) 226-2538 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Seahorse Dive Shop (501) 523-3166 0.9 mi. South of Central Placencia Belize
Splash Dive Center (501) 523-3058 0.4 mi. South of Central Placencia Belize
White Sands Dive Shop (501) 226-2405 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye

If you're looking forward to diving, you should consider Amigos Del Mar. Since 1997, this well-recommended dive center has been assisting tourists in finding the perfect underwater destinations for them. Featuring complimentary transportation services to and from most major hotels on the island, and offering four different dives a day, you can't go wrong with Amigos del Mar. They are located in San Pedro, Belize.

Another good option is Belize Diving Services. Fully certified by a number of world scuba organizations, award-winning, and constantly recognized by leaders in the scuba diving industry, Belize Diving Services (BDS) is the most accomplished and trusted center in Belize. With over 30 years of experience and pride in what they do, the dive specialists at this spot are some of the best around. You can reach them at (501) 226-0143.

A third good option is E Z Boy Tours. Although they really specialize in sailing tours, EZ Boy Tours also employs a staff of fully trained snorkeling professionals who are ready and waiting to help you to explore what lies just beneath the surface of the sea. Just off the coast is one of the most extensive barrier reefs in the world just waiting to be seen. They're located on Caye Caulker, Belize.

Be sure to look at this table for details concerning diving services in the area.

Dive Operators Near Belize
Name Phone Location
Ambergris Divers (501) 226-2634 San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Divers (501) 226-2634 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Ambergris Divers at Banana Beach (501) 226-2634 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Amigos Del Mar (501) 226-2706 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Belize Diving Adventures (501) 226-3082 0.2 mi. East-Northeast of Central San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Belize Diving Services (501) 226-0143 1.2 mi. South of Central Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
Blackbird Caye Diving (866) 909-7333 4.1 mi. Southeast of Central Turneffe Cays Belize
Caye Caulker Travel & Tour (501) 226-0370 Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
E Z Boy Tours (501) 206-0349 Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
Ecologic Divers (501) 226-4118 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Frenchie’s Diving Services (501) 226-0234 1417.1 mi. West of Central Puerto Rico Caye Caulker
Hicaco Tours (501) 226-0174 1.3 mi. South-Southeast of Central Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
Hugh Parkeys Belize Dive Connection (501) 232-9939 Fort George, Central Belize Belize
Mario’s Snorkeling Tours (501) 226-0056 1.4 mi. South of Central Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
Paradise Hotel Diving (501) 523-3179 0.9 mi. South of Central Placencia Belize
Portofino Diving (501) 678-5096 6.6 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro Ambergris Caye
Ramons Village Diving (800) 624-4215 San Pedro, Northeastern part of Belize Ambergris Caye
Scuba Sensation (501) 667-4700 Caye Caulker Caye Caulker
Sea Sports Belize (501) 223-5505 Fort George, Central Belize Belize
St. George's Caye Resort Diving (800) 813-8498 Central Belize Belize
Tranquility Bay Resort Diving (501) 236-5880 5.8 mi. North-Northeast of Central Ambergris Caye Ambergris Caye
Turneffe Flats Diving (888) 512-8812 5.3 mi. North-Northeast of Central Turneffe Cays Belize
XTC Dive Center -- 0.7 mi. North of Central Xcalak Mexico

Dive Services

Review the chart below to learn more about the typical cost of dive services in this area.

Dive Services
Offering Type Low Rate High Rate
Discover Scuba $ 140.0 $ 200.0
Double Tank Dive $ 70.0 $ 230.0
Night Dive $ 50.0 $ 65.0
Open Water Certification $ 350.0 $ 495.0
Single Tank Dive $ 45.0 $ 75.0

Dive Sites

Details regarding some of the area's major dive sites are provided in the following chart.

Dive Sites Near Belize
Name Quality Experience Max Depth Latitude Longitude
3 Amigos Good Open Water / CMAS * 80.1 17.2140166667 -87.8555
Aquarium Excellent -- 49.9 17.2262333333 -87.6049
Belize Barrier Reef -- -- -- 17.5366776426 -88.0444335937
Black Beauty Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 71.9 17.1591666667 -87.9061166667
Black Hole Very Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 114.8 17.02265 -88.0403166667
Blanquizar -- -- -- 18.3822211208 -87.7620506287
Blanquizares -- -- -- 18.2494863565 -87.8164672852
Blue Hole Very Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 480.0 17.3158166667 -87.5346833333
Calabash Cut Good Open Water / CMAS * 80.1 17.2802666667 -87.7988833333
Canones -- -- -- 18.2877120131 -87.8161239624
Caye Caulker -- -- -- 17.7360842027 -88.0162760803
Christ of the abyss Good -- 98.4 17.91635 -87.9496833333
Ciudad Undida -- -- -- 18.3481712079 -87.781791687
Coco Point Good Open Water / CMAS * 69.9 17.2110666667 -87.86525
Colusium Good Open Water / CMAS * 60.0 17.3014166667 -87.7927166667
Coral Garden -- -- -- 18.2420684632 -87.8175830841
Coral Garden Very Good -- 20.0 17.7499166667 -88.0021833333
Crawl Cay Excellent Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.5757166667 -87.8102833333
Cut Throat Good Open Water / CMAS * 80.1 17.2257 -87.8522666667
Cypress Canyon Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.9204333333 -87.94675
Dona Nica -- -- -- 18.3005878429 -87.8121757507
Elbow Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 196.9 17.1552833333 -87.9086166667
Fabian's Roost Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 75.8 17.1813833333 -87.8722166667
G Spot -- -- -- 18.2676629317 -87.8140640259
Gladden Spit -- -- -- 16.3298458236 -88.1494853088
Gladden Split -- -- -- 16.6273099708 -88.1164455414
Glover's Reef Atoll -- -- -- 16.8050207844 -87.8659007141
Glover's Reef Marine Reserve -- -- -- 16.8214663987 -87.7903747559
Grand Bogue Fair -- 49.2 17.2618 -87.8154
Half Moon Wall Good -- 98.4 17.2035 -87.5425
Hat Caye Drop-Off Good Open Water / CMAS * 131.2 17.1771166667 -87.6282333333
Hon Na -- -- -- 18.4743990593 -87.7333831787
Julie's Jungle Excellent -- 131.2 17.2025166667 -87.6173
La Chiminea -- -- -- 18.2262534364 -87.827539444
La Chiminea Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 98.4 18.23175 -87.8286166667
La Poza -- -- -- 18.2572299731 -87.8231620789
Long Cay Wall Good Open Water / CMAS * 69.9 17.2231333333 -87.6053166667
Majestic Good Open Water / CMAS * 69.9 17.2054 -87.85615
Mermaid layer Fair -- 91.9 17.8859666667 -87.9627166667
Mexico Rocks Good -- 16.4 17.9951666667 -87.9052333333
Paradise Canyon Very Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.9036166667 -87.9555166667
Peter's Peaks Good Open Water / CMAS * 60.0 17.2413333333 -87.8467833333
Pilican Cay Excellent Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.49555 -87.7675
Portilla -- -- -- 18.2460627528 -87.8281402588
Poza Rica -- -- -- 18.4001394279 -87.7467727661
Punta Gonzalez Good Open Water / CMAS * 98.4 18.5133 -87.4417333333
Que Brada Good Open Water / CMAS * 131.2 17.2157333333 -87.6122833333
Quebrado -- -- -- 18.2779322629 -87.8149223328
Rendez-vous Point Excellent Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.5588833333 -87.8141666667
Rocky Point Canyons Good Open Water / CMAS * 82.0 18.1197666667 -87.8317166667
Santa Julia -- -- -- 18.4196845462 -87.7375030518
Sayonara Wreck Good Open Water / CMAS * 60.7 17.2019 -87.93165
Scott's Playground -- -- -- 18.2039958351 -87.8260803223
Shark and Ray Alley Very Good -- 9.8 17.8417833333 -87.9861833333
Shark-Ray Alley & Hol Chan Marine Reserve -- -- -- 17.873700105 -87.9867503235
Siete Cocos -- -- -- 18.3199812736 -87.8071975708
Sieto Cocos Fair Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 82.0 18.3420666667 -87.8018833333
Sopadilla Cayes -- -- -- 16.0933201854 -88.2768630981
South Water Caye Marine Reserve -- -- -- 16.8686192708 -88.0931854248
Stingray Motel Good Open Water / CMAS * 65.0 17.3141333333 -87.7817
Tarpon Hole Excellent -- 85.0 18.2608833333 -87.8250666667
Three Corner Cay Excellent Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.5447166667 -87.7463833333
Tuckle Bucket Canyon Excellent -- 111.5 17.8983833333 -87.9561166667
Tuffy Canyon Fair Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 82.0 17.8996833333 -87.9493333333
Turneffe Island & Lighthouse Reef Atolls -- -- -- 17.314410623 -87.6956126282
Turtle Ridge Good Open Water / CMAS * 69.9 17.3261666667 -87.7759166667
West Point Good Advanced Open Water / CMAS ** 131.2 17.3751333333 -87.5806

For more information about snorkeling, including suggestions and helpful tips for both "old pros" and beginners, read our extensive guide to scuba diving in the Caribbean.

Belize's cayes, atolls, and colossal coral reefs are amazing spectacles. You will be able to get up close to amazing aquatic wonders by adding a scuba diving adventure to your agenda while visiting Belize.

 

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