So you are thinking of Scuba Diving Belize? That is all very well but just how and where in Belize are you planning to Dive?
Belize is a diverse diving destination with multiple locations to Dive Belize each offering different types of diving. What I plan show you in this article, Scuba Diving Belize, is how to plan your Scuba Diving Vacation to suit not only your pocket book but also your dive experience level.
Let us first talk about how NOT to Scuba Dive Belize, and that is doing it by visiting on a cruise ship. While many Scuba Divers visit Belize on cruise ships and understandably want to dive Belize, the problem with that is the cruise ships dock in Belize City.
Belize City has never been a top diving destination in Belize it is mainly used as a base where all the Belize liveaboards use to dock and re supply for there next trip.
The waters around Belize City are a nice shade of chocolate due to the river mouths that empty into the ocean there, if you dive from Belize City you have to travel about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the Belize Barrier Reef where the visibility is much better,
The dive sites that you will be able to dive from a cruise ship will NOT be the best dives in Belize and as long as you understand this then go ahead and dive, my only problem is I read people saying oh yes I dove Belize and was not impressed, once asked where did you dive, I am told oh we went on a cruise ship and dove for a day.
You absolutely cannot dive Belize in a day and especially not from a cruise ship, at best you will dive along the Barrier Reef close to Goffs Caye the sites will be nice sites but certainly not the best diving Belize has to offer so by all means take a dive but plan a trip back to Belize for a week of the very best diving Belize has to offer.
Lets look at the different types of diving Belize has to offer
Scuba Diving Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Diving
Belize Barrier Reef diving is incorporates the following areas starting in northern Belize starting with Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker,Caye Chapel, St Georges Caye gradually heading south. the further south you go it is normally a longer boat ride out to the Barrier Reef.
Diving Ambergris Caye and Diving Caye Caulker
These islands are the most popular destinations for Scuba Diving Belize as they offer the visitor a nice array of activities other than Scuba Diving however both these destinations offer challenging diving.
The Barrier reef which is the type of diving you will be doing from these islands can be quite challenging for many divers. The Barrier Reef runs 175 miles the entire length of Belize, the reef actually comes right up to the surface and the waves crash over the reef as they head to the shore, what this means is the only way to get out to open sea is by negotiating the breaks in the reef called Cuts, these are natural paths out to sea and deep enough for boats to pass through.
Negotiating these cuts in all but calm weather can be quite tricky for the boat captains and uncomfortable for the divers on board.
During the months of Dec through April you can expect 5 to 8ft rollers to be coming through the cuts, the boat captains are very skillful at getting through however every now and again you go up and the boat comes down hard.
Many divers are not prepared for this type of diving, most expect flat calm seas like they experienced in the Cayman Islands or Cozumel and find it a little beyond there comfort level. (Not recommended for people with any type of back problem.)
The boat crews do a great job, but if you are not comfortable with choppy seas or get seasick, or your not as fit as you should be maybe this diving is not for you.
The best dive boats for diving in these waters are the ones that exit from the side and enters from the side, after owning more than 20 boats during my dive operator days in Belize including side entry and swim platform boats I can speak from experience when I say rear entry platforms are dangerous in these swells, if you can imagine being thrown around as you try to de-kit with the rear of the boat bouncing up 4-8ft its not only dangerous but unnecessary keep the dive platforms for calm waters.
On a positive note you will become a better diver for it and there will not be many other tropical places that will challenge you like diving the Belize Barrier Reef. Once you have dive the Belize Barrier Reef from these locations most other tropical destinations will be a walk in the park.
The reason the majority of visiting Divers to Belize tend to stay on these northern islands is they offer other things to do than diving such as Mayan ruin tours, Cave tubing trips, the islands have shops restaurants and nightclubs so all in all it’s a nice mixture of things to do other than just diving. For more information on Diving Ambergris Caye visit Dive Belize
Scuba Diving Belize, Belize Atoll Diving
An Atoll is a body of water surrounded by an outer reef system and Belize has 3 of the 4 located in the Western Hemisphere, Turneffe Atoll, Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Glovers Reef Atoll, the remaining one is Chinchorro Banks located south of Cancun in Mexico.
The water tend to be very calm and generally even in inclement weather a calm dive site can be found on the leeward side of the islands
This is the very best diving Belize has to offer, although when you visit these Atolls there is nothing much else to do other than Dive, relax, and fish but if you are a diveaholic then this is the place to Dive to give you the very best that Belize has to offer.
I forgot to mention you can do day trips to Turneffe Atoll and Lighthouse Reef Atoll from Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker so if you choose to dive there you can still dive the best Belize has to offer.
To Dive the Belize Atolls you have several choices such as a land based operations like Lighthouse Reef Resort or Turneffe Island lodge or one of the Live Aboard Dive Boats live the Belize Aggresor that depart out of Belize City.
Southern Diving Belize & Whale Shark Diving
Scuba Diving Belize in the south of the country has become famous over the past few years with the discovery of migrating Whale Sharks that visit Gladden Split to coordinate with the Snapper spawning..
This happens from March through June each year the best time to dive is on the full moon where you will see these behemoths and thousands of Snappers spawning.
The ride out to the reef takes about 1 hour form most of the mainland resorts from Hopkins down to Placencia.You can also access Glovers reef from the southern resorts this is my favorite atoll.
Hope this small article gives you an insight on the different types of diving that Belize has to offer.
Dive Safe Gaz Cooper