With average year-round water temperatures in the 80s and visibility of up to 150 feet, the turquoise waters off Ambergris Caye are a snorkeler’s and diver’s dream. The barrier reef stretches the length of the island, providing calm waters and numerous coral heads inside the reef for snorkeling. The island’s 39 named dive sites, just a 10-minute boat ride from shore, reveal an unspoiled terrain of coral-rich walls and abundant marine life.
Farther afield, Lighthouse Reef, the Great Blue Hole, and Turneffe Atoll entice avid divers with the best best-known diving in the world.
Only 4 miles south of San Pedro town, Hol Chan (Mayan for “little channel”) is Ambergris Caye’s best-known snorkeling destination. A protected marine preserve, Hol-Chan is home to 160 species of fish, 40 types of coral, 5 varieties of sponges, 3 species of sea turtles, and numerous other forms of marine life. Both large fish (grouper, jack, rays, nurse sharks) and huge schools of smaller reef fish pass through the “cut” from the Caribbean to the calm waters inside the reef.
Shark Ray Alley, a shallow, white-sand bottom snorkel site, is home to schools of gentle nurse sharks and Southern stingrays who were originally attracted to this spot where local fisherman regularly cleaned their catch. Today snorkelers can get up close and personal with these gentle creatures in clear, calm, 8-foot deep water.
An unforgettable dive adventure, Lighthouse Reef/Great Blue hole is a 2.5 hour boat trip from Ambergris Caye. The underwater sinkhole that formed here some 15,000 years ago created what is now called the Great Blue Hole, a 400-foot deep cavern circled by a living reef. Its 1000 foot diameter lures divers to its underwater walls and caverns replete with submerged stalactites.
A full-day trip from La Beliza, Turneff Atoll is an island of coral surrounding a lagoon. Thirty miles long and 10 miles wide, it is the largest of Belize’s offshore atolls. Turneffe features spectacular diving for every level diver…novice through expert…and its abundance of marine life makes for a diving adventure unlike any other in the Caribbean. With more than 200 mangrove islands, the atoll is a breeding ground for exotic species, such as the rare whitespotted toadfish, as well as morays, eagle rays, dolphins, turtles, jewfish, trunkfish, grouper, snapper, permit, nurse sharks, and reef sharks. Underwater visibility is excellent, often up to 150 feet.