The Outer Atolls Diving: An Overview
Boasting three out of four of the Caribbean's atolls with over 160 miles of reef, not to mention the world-famous Blue Hole, Belize's outer atolls have some of the best diving in the Caribbean - and with so much reef to explore, it's likely you won't encounter another soul.
Wonderfully secluded yet less than a two hour boat trip from Belize City, Turneffe, the country's largest atoll, extends a whopping 30 miles parallel to the mainland. While the northern side features shallow reefs ideal for beginners, further south steep walls, thrilling channels and wrecks await. As with all Belize's diving, the dives aren't necessarily fishy but the marine life you do encounter - including nurse and reef sharks, eagle rays, turtles, morays and more - are curious and will stay with you for entire dives.
To the east of Turneffe, Lighthouse Reef is home to one of the world's most recognised dive sites, the Blue Hole. Formed by the collapse of an underground cave system some 10,000 years ago, descend to a max depth of 40 metres to explore a maze of stalagmites and stalactites while all manner of marine life lingers below. Lighthouse Reef itself is equally enthralling with excellent coral and marine life. Half Moon Caye in particular has some beautiful topography with sandy passages leading through citrus sponged reefs out into the deep blue.
Despite boasting UNESCO World Heritage status, Glover's Reef, Belize's most southernly atoll, remains largely unexplored - whereupon lies the charm. An elliptical reef harbouring a shallow lagoon, there are over 700 coral patch reefs to explore. Not to forget it is the site of one of the few remaining Nassau grouper spawning aggregations.