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Best Aquatic Adventures In Belize

By Jesse Henson

Belize boasts the largest coral reefs in the world, second only to those of the Australian Great Barrier Reefs. Home to some of the most colorful and unique sea life imaginable, Belize’s coral reefs glisten with vivatious hues. The beautiful coral, fish, eel, and other aquatic residents that call these reefs home make Belize a Mecca for snorkelers, divers and other vacationers from around the world.

Warm and Clear Pools of Pristine Beauty

With nearly 174 miles of coastline, Belize’s reefs run nearly parallel to the coastline and make up almost 350 miles of gorgeous views. With the coral reefs forming a protective barrier along the coastline, Belize’s coastal waters remain warm nearly year-round, at almost 80 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures, which are pleasing to bathers, swimmers, snorkelers and divers alike, are also the reason for the exotic sea life present in the area, as the coral and other aquatic life require this type of environment for their very survival.

The Dry and Rainy Seasons

Belize’s dry season, between the months of January and March each year, allows beach-goers a clear view of the coral reefs without ever leaving dry land. The patch reefs are visible to the naked eye, resting only a few feet below the ocean’s surface, and for those who do venture into the water, in some areas if you walk through the water, you will have reef underfoot. These reefs are found scattered along most of Belize’s coast; however, they are most prevalent along the southern coast of the marine wonderland.

For the more adventuresome snorkelers and divers, the dry season is perfect for taking in the astounding sights of the reefs from under the surface. During the rainy season in Belize (between December and April), storms can cause sand and debris from the ocean floor to disrupt snorkelers’ and divers’ ability to truly appreciate the crystalline vision that is the Belize reefs. However, even in the rainy season, some snorkeling and divers is still possible, and other aquatic adventures may still be had as well.

The Open Water and Scuba Diving

Leaving the coast and patch reefs behind, headed for more open water, divers will find sea walls which descend hundreds of feet in some cases, providing some of the most desirable diving venues in the world. These sea walls are often aligned with the present at the continental shelf, or where the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust meet on the sea floor.

Additional clustered reefs are scattered throughout the ocean off the coastline of Belize, giving those who dive in the open sea innumerable sites to explore. Belize’s coral atolls, believed by many to be the most astounding diving location in the Caribbean, include the Turneffe Islands. These islands consist of Glover’s, Lighthouse and the Turneffe Reefs.

Faroe, or masses of reef formed into shelves below the surface of the sea, create lagoons at their center, giving enjoyment to swimmers and divers alike. Perhaps the best known and most well reviewed of the world’s faroe is located at Laughing Bird Caye.

With the majority of Belize’s reef diving occurring off the northern coastline, many scuba divers enjoy exploring the caverns formed by The Blue Hole, a dormant volcano, which when active, formed caves stretching nearly 400 feet below the surface of the sea. Accessible at about 90 feet below the surface, The Blue Hole’s main shaft opens to a series of intricate caverns which are purported in local legends to be the home of sea monsters.

Snorkeling and the Coastline

Snorkelers are able to explore the shallow reef areas along Belize’s coastline without the cumbersome equipment required of more extreme depths, not even requiring an oxygen tank in many locations. There, snorkelers can easily spot coral in a number of varieties including lettuce, fan, star, elk horn and the more exotic black tree coral.

Just off the southern tip of Ambergris Caye rests the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. At the reserve, snorkelers will find a perfect location to see some of the more exotic sea life that call the reefs home, including manatee, eel, sharks, and various dish and rays.

At Rocky Point, along the northern section of Ambergris Caye, adventurers will find Belize’s only fringe reef which rises above the surface of the ocean, allowing visitors to walk among the skeletons of coral.

Equipment, Training and Safety Precautions

Belize’s shops include those that cater to training snorkelers and divers. Safety in aquatic adventures is important and proper training is the first step. Proper equipment in good working condition is also essential, and the shops in any destination will have that equipment available. Those looking to purchase their own equipment for long-term use will find fantastic deals in Belize’s shops during rainy weather or the off-season, making the trip extra attractive for the skilled or repeat aquatic adventurer. is an online travel company determined and dedicated to becoming the leader in providing travelers with the most intuitive online booking experience full of relevant information, helpful guides and travel tips. Find great deals on Caribbean Hotels at!

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Henson, Jesse "Best Aquatic Adventures In Belize." Best Aquatic Adventures In Belize. 11 Jul. 2010. 4 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Henson, J (2010, July 11). Best Aquatic Adventures In Belize. Retrieved August 4, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Henson, Jesse "Best Aquatic Adventures In Belize"

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