Top Dive Sites in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve

South Water Caye with Hamanasi Snorkeling Guide
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Just off the coast of Southern Belize lies the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, a diver’s paradise. As one of the largest marine protected areas in the country, it is filled with pristine reefs that house abundant coral and incredible marine life.

And since the southern part of Belize’s reef system is considered off-the-beaten-path in comparison to the north, seeing only a few divers at the South Water Caye Marine Reserve is guaranteed. Here are 5 of the best dive sites located within the reserve.

1. Discovery

Diver above coral and fish at South Water Caye Marine Reserve
Photo by Hudson and Emily

Located south of Curlew Wall, the Discovery dive site is a favourite amongst new and experienced divers due to its very active marine life. Divers get to explore both sand and coral landscapes allowing them to see a wide variety of fishes, such as angel fish, parrot fish, sheepshead, creole wrasse, and even garden eels! The ideal time to scuba dive at this location is when the tide is coming in.

2. Trick Ridge

Eagle Rays are often spotted while diving in Belize
Photo by Michael Murray

Trick Ridge is one of the most beautiful dive sites along the southern barrier reef wall. Located east of Carriebow Caye, it has a healthy display of hard and soft corals, with a sand channel where turtles, sharks, and lots of rays are often seen! In fact, an inner wall there is nicknamed “Eagle Ray City”, due to the frequency of spotting eagle rays! The outer wall of the ridge boasts an impressive drop-off into the deep blue sea.

3. The Abyss

Reef sharks are often spotted while diving in Belize
Photo by Michael Roy

Located south of Discovery, the Abyss gets its name because it is an impressive example of how the water depths drop past the barrier reef wall. The dive starts at 40 feet, you enjoy beautiful coral formations and sea life as you swim toward the wall. Once you arrive at the edge of the reef, you can see for yourself the immense beauty of the deep blue sea. It’s a great habitat for spotting sharks, rays, and pelagic fish. 

4. Paradise

Moray eels live in crevices of reefs
Photo by Michael Roy

The Paradise dive site is located just south of Trick Ridge. This dive is within a channel that boasts beautiful coral formations and serves as a “highway for marine life”. Divers often encounter sharks, rays, moray eels, turtles and countless species of fish. Make sure you visit this site when the tide is high as it is more active with marine life. 

5. Curlew Wall

Various fishes can be seen when diving Southern Barrier Reef
Photo by Michael Roy

A little further south from Paradise, you’ll find Curlew Wall, another fantastic place for scuba diving within the South Water Caye Marine Reserve. This popular dive site is home to mature coral formations displaying both hard and soft corals. The formations and its sand channels make the area an exciting labyrinth to explore while spotting marine wildlife.

Guest Post by Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort

Pool and Beach at Hamanasi

Located in Hopkins, Hamanasi is one of the most prestigious dive resorts in Belize. Equipped with a PADI 5-Star Dive Center, the resort has been leading dive trips for over 20 years.

Many of the diving sites in the South Water Caye Marine Reserve are approximately 30-40 minutes by dive boat from Hamanasi, depending on the weather.

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South Water Caye Marine Reserve Dive Sites



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  1. France Miranda says

    What an amazing pic of me. It’s a good photographer that took the photo! SWCMR has such amazing dive sites, they are some of the best in Belize.

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