Scuba Diving Turneffe Atoll in Belize -What to Expect

Updated: Aug 28, 2019

The Turneffe Atoll includes an area of about 300 square miles and includes many other islands known as Turneffe Islands. It belongs to the well-known Belize Barrier Reef which is the largest barrier reef in the world (after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef suffered from coral bleaching.)


This atoll is the largest among the 3 popular atolls and the closest and most accessible from Belize City. It is located about 20mi (32km) away from the mainland, southeast of the famous Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.


In contrast with the two other atolls (Lighthouse and Glover’s), there are more than 200 cayes in the reef that are covered with mangroves. As a result, lagoons and creeks have created over the years.


The Turneffe Atoll area’s length is about 30 miles (48km) long and 10 miles (16km) wide. It is often referred to as a “collection” of many different dive sites.


Also, the underwater visibility is excellent due to the water’s depth and the distance of the city. On average, it exceeds 100ft (30m) deep and even ranging up to 150ft (46m).


Turneffe Atoll Offers an Amazing Diving Experience for Every Level of Diver


No matter if you are a beginner or experienced diver, Turneffe includes so many spectacular diving sites that are suitable for all types of divers.



Beginner divers can have a smooth experience exploring the shallow reefs without deep and steep walls, especially on the western line of the reef. The south-eastern side of Turneffe is recommended for the more experienced divers due to currents and walls. However, the opportunity to explore wrecks in varied terrain is worth the effort.



Explore Turneffe’s marine life


Turneffe’s marine life is a primary reason why it is one of the best places in the Caribbean for Scuba Diving. The wide variety of beautiful species and coral formations offer an unforgettable experience.

Have you ever seen a toadfish before? We do all the time!

Over than 200 mangrove islands and tidal zones provide natural shelter to Caribbean’s most exotic species that are commonly viewed between divers. Some of them include Whitespotted Toadfish, turtles, reef and other species of sharks, eagle rays, dolphins, groupers, snapper, eels, large pelagics, jewfish and many other magnificent forms of life.


Diving in Turneffe’s sites


A 35mi (55km) long vertical reef protects the entire eastern Turneffe’s shoreline. From this reef’s crest, a narrow ledge covers an area larger than 90m (100 yards) as it reaches a depth of approximately 60ft (17,5m). This is where the drop-off begins. Throughout this ledge, there are numerous groove and spur formations that provide a home to a variety of reef fish.


At a depth of about 150ft (45 m), there is a horizontal ridge and another one at 250ft (76 m). The ridges extend at the entire reef’s length and are proof of wave erosion at a time when water levels were much lower in comparison with today.


The reef has multiple navigable entrances. North Cut is located in the southeast side about 400yd (120m) south of Cocoa Tree Caye. South Cut is located a little further south about 150yd (45m) away from Big Caye Bokel.



Both channels are only 8ft (2.4m) so only small boats can access them. They two channels lead to South Lagoon where you can find a dive resort on Caye Bokel.


If you choose the eastern side of the reef, the drop-off starts at 80ft (24m). Diving deeper, divers will meet some truly magnificent scenery. The deeper waters are often associated with jewfish and groupers, but they are not the only species that live there. Tuna, King and Spanish mackerel, cero, Wahoo, Atlantic blue marlin and sailfish are some of them.


When is the recommended time to visit Turneffe?


Turneffe enjoys mild weather all over the year and the temperature of the sea stay warms all the seasons. This way, you can have a remarkable experience in Turneffe no matter what time of the year you decide to visit it.


How to get to Turneffe Atoll


The Turneffe Atoll is an under-protection area and there are not commercial plane rides. The atoll is close to the mainland, so the best way to reach there is by a boat ride. Many tour and charter local operators offer their services there.


The beauty of Turneffe Atoll never gets old

Experience an adventure to Turneffe Atoll


No matter if you are a novice snorkeler or an experienced diver, the marine life and the stunning underwater scenery of Turneffe atoll offers an unforgettable experience.


A combination of shallow and deep waters, a wide variety of unique and beautiful marine species along with different types of coral formations make the Turneffe Atoll one of the best Scuba Diving sites in the Caribbean and maybe in the entire world.


Do not forget to pack your sunscreen, swimsuit, your camera and get ready for one of the best underwater adventures in the world!


Make sure to book your excursion today as we fill up very quickly! You can book your package by clicking HERE!


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