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Four Top Dive Sites in Belize

30 June 2011 2 Comments

Located in Central America just south of Mexico, Belize sits along enchanting turquoise waters of the Caribbean. Every year, thousands of scuba divers from around the world visit Belize in search of the perfect dive. Belize is home to three of four atolls, – a ring-shaped formation of coral reef – located in the Western hemisphere. This makes Belize one of the best dive spots in the world. Their crystal clear and warm waters provide great visibility.

Here’s a list of the best dive locations in Belize:

Lighthouse Reef Atoll has the famous, great blue hole located roughly 46 miles from Ambergris Caye. The blue hole is a perfect circle, 460 feet deep and 1,000 in diameter. It’s the only blue hole that can be seen from outer space and was charted and made famous in 1970 by Jacque Cousteau and the Calypso Crew. There are two dive spots in the blue hole; the north spot and south spot. The north spot only offers dramatic stalactites while the south spot offers both stalactites and stalagmites.

Chances are that the weather and wind will determine which spot you dive. Most of the underwater stalactites are over 100 feet making them hundreds of thousands of years old. Bull and hammerhead sharks are sighted frequently. You’ll most likely be diving 130 feet with a bottom time of eight minutes. If you don’t dive, there is great snorkeling around the reef closer to the shore.

Bev’s Garden at Glover Reef Atoll is a great dive for beginners and advanced divers. The reef is located in southern Belize and is generally less crowded because of it. The dive starts over Staghorn and Lettuce Leaf coral reefs and descends to get a closer look at the wall at 35 feet. There are eel, snapper, hawksbill turtles, and spotted eagle rays.

The Crack at Glover Reef Atoll is for intermediate to advanced divers. You’ll dive into a vertical cave at 45 feet and exit either at 70 or 90 feet. The darkness from the cave and occasional bull shark gives this dive an eerie feel. There are also mini-caves that can be explored from the main cave. Be sure to bring a flashlight to see the lobsters, crabs, shrimp, and sponges.

The Sayonara Wreck dive at Turneffe Atoll is a great dive for both beginner and advanced divers. In 1985, the Sayonara passenger/cargo boat was sunk by Dave Bennett. Resting on coral and sand, the wreck sits at only 50 feet deep.

Diving within the wreck is not advisable, as the structure is unstable and could collapse. However, there is plenty of wildlife to be enjoyed outside. Basket starfish, File clams, and Coral shrimp are frequently seen in and around the wreck. You might also see a barracuda, school of small French grunts, and peacock flounders.

There are several dive spots located around the atolls and other islands in Belize. Each offers a unique experience for all skill levels. Many dive companies require a scuba card validating your certificate, so be sure to bring it. If you’re not certified, Belize is a great place to learn and there are several dive operators that offer dive certifications.

About the Author: Adam Costa is a freelance travel writer who loves diving, hiking and biking in Italy.

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