Advanced Diving in Belize

Belizean beaches are backed by lush rainforest and fronted by the calm blue waters of the Caribbean. The 150-mile coastline is mirrored offshore by the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System – the world’s second-largest barrier reef – and dotted by myriad islets, atolls and cayes. With turquoise lagoons and shallower dive sites nestled between the reef and the coastline, the more advanced diving in Belize is centred around the outer reef, where endless visibility, deep walls and the bigger fish await.

The Cayes

Ambergris Caye is the largest and northernmost of the cayes and is blessed with beautiful beaches, superb snorkelling and access to some of the best advanced diving in Belize. Ambergris Caye has something for everyone, though, with Hol Chan Marine Reserve located just four miles from its southern point. Hol Chan is the oldest marine reserve in Belize, and divers and snorkellers can spot nurse sharks and southern stingrays, as well as numerous species of coral and three different species of sea turtles.

But if you're looking for the more advanced diving in Belize, then a trip out to the barrier reef will bring you to deeper waters. The sites are crawling with marine life, with Nassau grouper, angelfish, lobster and moray eels commonly encountered. On the deeper sites, you may also be rewarded with reef and nurse sharks, and you should keep your fingers crossed for a passing whale shark or loggerhead turtle.

The Outer Atolls

Three out of the four atolls in the Caribbean - Turneffe Atoll, Glover's Reef and Lighthouse Reef - are located in Belizean waters. Lighthouse Reef is home to one of the world's most famous dive sites - the Great Blue Hole. The vast sinkhole disappears into the depths of Lighthouse Reef, revealing immense stalactites and circling Caribbean reef sharks.

The Blue Hole is also home to midnight parrotfish and other juvenile fish species, while the lucky few may get a glimpse of a bull shark or a hammerhead. The cave-like nature of the dive site makes it off-limits to novice divers, but places it at the top of the list for advanced diving in Belize.

Southern Belize

Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve provides the best opportunities to enjoy the more southerly advanced diving in Belize. Gladden Spit is a promontory that forms the southernmost tip of the sunken atoll. The spit features a short sloping shelf down to 40 metres, before plunging dramatically down to more than two kilometres in depth. The Silk Cayes - North Silk, Middle Silk and South Silk - lie to the south of Gladden, and make up the rest of the marine reserve.

Gladden Spit itself hosts a plethora of colourful reef fish, and divers can also spot turtles, moray eels, dolphins and barracuda, while glances out towards the blue can reveal eagle rays conducting fly-bys.

But the area is best-known for its spawning aggregation of mutton snapper and grouper from March through to June. Local fishermen have known about the aggregations since the 1920s, but they are not alone in noticing the abundance of food in the water during this period. The local whale sharks have also caught wind of the all-you-can-eat buffet and occasionally stop by for a snack too. Diving the aggregations can be a little on the deeper side, so this is best left to the more experienced diver, but it's easily one of our favourite advanced dives in Belize.

Our team of dive travel specialists have dived extensively along the Belizean coast, and if you're looking to put your skills to the test with some of the more advanced diving in Belize, we can help put together the perfect itinerary to suit the kind of challenging diving that you enjoy the most.

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Emily C, Eleanor and Jacqui are our 'Advanced Diving in Belize ' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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