The Best Places To Go Scuba Diving in Belize

The Great Blue Hole is part of Belize's Barrier Reef
Reading Time: 4 mins

A few years ago, I ran into my childhood friend: ILya Rosado, and to my surprise, he was now a Belize dive expert. Since he is an experienced dive instructor, I asked him to share how learning to dive is and I was so impressed by the article that I asked him to make a list of the best places to dive in Belize.

Related: The Best Belize Dive Resorts & Top Beach Resorts in Belize

This list took a couple of years to compile since ILya had only been to dive sites around Belize’s northern cayes. However, since then he’s been diving for several years and he trusts himself enough to provide accurate information about which are the best Belize dive sites.

Top Dive Sites in Belize

Typically, lists of top dive sites in Belize usually mention the Great Blue Hole as the number one, however, ILya was clear to state that it is not really the best! In his words: “the Blue Hole is surely the most popular dive site in Belize, but it is not the best! That title goes to The Wall!”

1. Half Moon Caye Wall

coral reef belize

Many consider Half Moon Caye Wall the best dive site in Belize. This is because of the sheer consistency of diverse wildlife encounters, beautiful corals, and gentle conditions at The Wall. 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. On the surface, it’s the sort of scene you would only expect to see in a magazine ad, with the pristine crescent-shaped tropical island of Half Moon Caye in the background.

2. Long Caye Aquarium

long caye aquarium fishes

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.

3. Esmeralda Canyons

nurse sharks diving in belize

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.

4. Great Blue Hole

Belize Blue Hole

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.

5. Gladden Spit

Diving with Whale Sharks in Placencia, Belize

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!

Do you agree with this list? Share your experience below…



Reader Interactions