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Scuba Diving Belize’s Barrier Reef

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

If you are interested in visiting Belize, then scuba diving is an absolute must during your trip. If you already love scuba diving, the Belize Barrier Reef will definitely amaze you.

The Belize Barrier Reef belongs to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and it covers almost 190mi (300km) out of the 900km of the system.

In fact, the Barrier Reef of Belize includes a series of coral reefs and it currently ranks as the largest coral reef system on the World. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia used to rank first but now is considered second due to coral bleaching.

Further, Belize Barrier Reef is among the top tourist destinations of the country, mostly for the Scuba Diving and snorkeling activities. It attracts more than 130,000 visitors each year!

A dolphins swimming by the reef in Belize
Seeing dolphins while diving the reef is normal here!

Why is it a popular site for Scuba Diving?

The Belize Barrier Reed is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it includes over 450 cayes (e.g. Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye), 3 atolls and seven marine reserves. Some of the most popular are:

  • Great Blue Hole (National Monument)

  • Marine Reserve of Glover’s Reef

  • Natural Monument of Half Moon Caye

  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve

  • South Water Caye

  • National Park of Laughing Bird Caye

The ecosystem is still quite healthy, but it is considered sensitive so it is under the protection of local and worldwide authorities.

Completely, it covers 960 square km (370 square mi). As a result, scuba divers have countless options and sites to discover! It is not easy to choose a site right away, as they all seem magnificent!

Among the most visited Scuba Diving sites is the Lighthouse Reef which is the most famous of the three atolls. There you can explore the breath-taking “Great Blue Hole of Belize”.

This is probably the reason why Belize remains one of the most exceptional sites for Scuba Diving in the western hemisphere. A wide variety of reef flats, walls, and pinnacles are waiting to be explored.

a beautifully vibrant coral reef with fish and turtles swimming around
Our coral reefs are beyond beautiful

What species can you meet while Scuba Diving in the Belize Barrier Reef

Its marine ecosystem includes a wide variety of coral, fishes, and invertebrates. More specifically, while you are diving in its waters you can meet more than:

  • 30 “soft” coral species

  • 70 “hard” coral species

  • 500 fish species

  • Hundreds of invertebrates

It is worth to mention that scientists have only researched about 10% of the Belize Barrier Reef. As a result, it is estimated that only 10% of all species have been discovered.

Despite their concerns about the potential danger of global warming to the reef (coral bleaching), marine life seems quite rich. Scuba divers are excited to see seahorses, rays, sea turtles, pufferfish, lionfish, lobsters, eels and unique species of sharks.

The sharks are not a threat as they are not aggressive towards humans and even offer the opportunity to take a photo with them. Of course, you should always follow the guide’s rules and not harass or provoke them.

a scuba diver poses with a nurse shark in the coral reef for a cool picture
Selfies with our nurse sharks are definitely a thing

Most popular dive sites in Belize Barrier Reef

The Great Blue Hole

The Lighthouse Reef’s Great Blue Hole is a huge sinkhole in a circular shape and one of the most popular Scuba Diving places worldwide. It is 124m (407ft) deep and 318m (1043ft) long.

By diving there you can explore its underwater caves including huge stalactites and stalagmites, adding a mysterious feeling to an already eerie atmosphere. As you are ascending up, unique shark species such as Caribbean Reef and Bull Sharks may accompany you.

San Pedro’s diving sites

Only a 20-minute plane ride away from Belize City, San Pedro includes some of the best diving sites you can find in Belize. More than 200 cayes form a coastline with beautiful places to explore and different species to meet.

Some of the most popular sites are Tackle Box Canyons, Love Tunnels, and the famous Ambergris Caye.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Despite being relatively small in size, it provides a home to the Barrier Reef’s majority of fish and marine species. Marine mammals, sponges, sea turtles and many types of corals are attracting many scuba divers each year.

Scuba divers seeing lionfish at the bottom of a night dive
You'll see all kinds of different types of fish species with us

Also, you can easily access it by a fast boat ride from Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye.

Planning your Scuba Diving Trip to Belize Barrier Reef

Belize Barrier Reef offers so many options for Scuba Diving adventures that are hard to choose what site to include on your list for diving first. This way, it is recommended to examine your options and plan your trip accordingly in order to have the most unforgettable time possible!

With such a wide variety of diving sites to choose from, it is suitable for all types of divers. From beginners to most experienced divers, Belize can offer a remarkable experience for anyone interested in exploring its underwater treasures while Scuba Diving.

Plan your next adventure with us today and secure your spot in a few of our dive trips by clicking HERE!

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