Half an hour's flight from Belize City lies some world class diving and a great chance of whale shark sightings at the right time of year.
This is a world-class dive destination, with most of the diving organised as day trips, either to the inner atolls or the barrier reef, the former being 30 minutes away, the latter about an hour.
With all the day trips, except for the whale shark dive, where you have to stay on the boat in the protected waters of the inner reef, your surface interval is spent on the pristine white sand beach of some palm fringed island enjoying a delicious lunch.
Laughing Bird Cay, a submerged atoll, is used for shorter trips and night dives. It is home to two rare toadfish, endemic to Belize, and some inquisitive lemon and nurse shark.