Approximately 5 years ago I was vacationing in Caye Caulker and I ran into my high school friend ILya Rosado. I hadn’t seen him in a while and to my surprise, he had fallen in love with scuba diving and was now a dive master, and working towards becoming a dive instructor. Due to his passion for the sport, I asked him to share his experience of learning to dive, so that tourists could see what it was like. I was so impressed by his article that I quickly asked for him to recommend the best places to go diving in Belize.
This list took a couple years to be posted since ILya had not been to all the dive sites in Belize. However, now he’s been diving for several years and he trusts himself to provide the best and acurate information on the top dive sites in Belize.
Top 5 diving sites in Belize
5. Gladden Spit
BTW: Ordinary lists like to include the Blue Hole as the number one place to go diving in Belize but ILya was clear to state that it is not! It is the most popular dive spot but not the best!
Many consider Half Moon Caye Wall the best dive site Belize. This is because of the sheer consistency of diverse wildlife encounters, beautiful corals and gentle conditions. Turquoise waters and unbelievable visibility are the norm and many divers who have been all over the world claim that this is pretty much as good as it gets. At the surface it’s the sort of scene you would only expect to seen in a magazine ad with the pristine crescent shaped tropical island of Half Moon Caye in the background.
The Long Caye Aquarium is sometimes lost in all the hype that surrounds the Blue Hole, but I’ve been on many excursions where it was the highlight of the trip. On a good day, from the moment you jump into the water you’re surrounded by schools of Bermuda chubs, sergeant majors, creole wrasse, and the occasional trumpet fish. The reef there is referred to as a table-top formation. The shallower part is essentially a flat expanse covered with clusters of brain coral, purple fans, and groves of sea plumes. As you go deeper, the steep 90-degree coral walls drop suddenly giving the diver the feeling as if they are base-jumping from the top of a cliff in slow motion.
Esmeralda Canyons shares a distinct geography that mostly features hard coral ridges running west to east. These structures gradually extend and create deep canyons, like rows of bookshelves in a vast underwater library. Hard and soft corals speckle the landscape, sea fans rock back and forth to the music of the waves, and sea plumes dance, inclined into the direction of a gentle whispering current. This site is located in the famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve and reigns supreme because it boasts its own collection of unique canyons plus a bustling community of nurse sharks, large groupers, rays, moray eels and spiny lobsters.
Belize’s Blue Hole is the ultimate item on every adventure diver’s bucket-list. It looks amazing from the sky and it is even visible from outer space. It is however different from up-close and unless you like diving in dark collapsed prehistoric caves, it might not be as colorful as you expected. Those who enjoy the site love the many shark encounters and the enormous stalactites located at 130 feet underwater that hang from the ceiling like Stone Age chandeliers. Only do this trip if you’re well informed and are an experienced diver.
Every year for 10 days after the full moon during the months of March, April, May and June, access is given to one of the most amazing experiences in the world. Snappers spawn around Gladden Spit and attract numerous Whale Sharks to dine on clouds of caviar. This opportunity attracts divers, with not a guarantee, but merely a possibility that they might have a chance to swim alongside the largest cartilaginous fish in the world. Like many giants, their massive form is accompanied by a gentle nature. Come test your luck!
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