Deep Water Diving in Belize

Despite its small size, jungle-clad Belize packs a serious punch, acting as a springboard for both the iconic Blue Hole and the vast Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (MBRS). As the world’s second-largest barrier reef system, second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the MBRS is home to a whole world of aquatic creatures to discover and no shortage of deep water diving. In Belize, the diving is split into three main areas: the northern cayes, the central atolls and the exclusive private islands and marine reserves in the south. Each of these regions boasts an abundance of exotic and exciting marine life, with some incredible topography to boot.

The Great Blue Hole

Belize's main claim to diving fame lies in the Blue Hole. Perhaps the most photographed site in the world, the world-famous Blue Hole has some of the best deep water diving in Belize. Located on Lighthouse Reef, the Blue Hole is an almost perfectly circular marine sinkhole plunging to depths exceeding 100 metres, adorned with giant stalactites and stalagmites at around 40 metres. Although this site is somewhat isolated from the rest of the MBRS and less fishy compared to the open dive sites, you still have a good chance of seeing Caribbean reef sharks as you ascend. Plus, the shallow sections of the sinkhole, especially around the rim, are more vibrant.

Turneffe Atoll

Turneffe Atoll lies halfway between Lighthouse Reef and the country's largest city, Belize City, in the central region, and boasts some of Belize's best wall dives. As the largest coral atoll in Belize, there are plenty of opportunities to explore its depths and seek out megafauna in the blue. Keep an eye out for white-spotted toadfish, eagle rays, tarpon, huge groupers, nurse sharks, jacks, snappers and Caribbean reef sharks plying the depths. For the lucky few, whale sharks have also been known to make the occasional appearance.

Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve

Situated in the southern waters of Belize, the Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve, known as GSSCMR, offers the chance to see the ocean's biggest fish, the whale shark. Between March and June, the area hosts spawning aggregations of mutton snapper and grouper, a natural spectacle that has been capitalized on by local fishermen since the 1920s. However, it's not only the fishermen taking advantage of these events.

The release of eggs and sperm into the water during these aggregations attracts these spotty giants, and although there are fewer sightings than in the past, you still have a good chance of breaking your whale shark duck. Aside from the possibility of seeing whale sharks, the shallower areas around the marine reserve also feature good macro life. The Gladden Spit and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve also has a wealth of deeper sites catering to divers seeking to experience deep water diving in Belize, with silky sharks and dolphins commonly seen cruising in the deep blue.

If you're feeling the call of the Caribbean and are looking to explore the Maya ruins, jaguar-infused jungles and the delightful deep water diving in Belize, our team of dive travel experts are on hand to craft the perfect Belize holiday itinerary for your travel dates and plans.

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