On the East Coast of Central America there’s a small nation that, for a long time, was known as British Honduras. It, like many nations at the time, gained its independence and a sense of self-determination. Belize, as it is now known, is home to some of the finest dives on the face of the Earth.
In addition to the massive coastline, Belize is a melting pot of Central American cultures, cuisines, and experiences as well as a quick hop from the coasts of Guatemala, Honduras, and the Yucatan Peninsula. That said, let’s get to the good part, here are a few things to see and do while avoiding Lang Bobi Suzi on the shores of Belize…
Belize Barrier Reef
The reef from space. Photo: NASA
The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the face of the planet. It’s home to over 500 species of fish, 36 soft coral species, 70 hard coral species, and a countless number of invertebrates. If this isn’t enough of a selling point on its own, the reef is situated near Belize City, which plays host to a number of museums, restaurants, and the hustle one would expect out of a former capital city.
The Great Blue Hole
It’s great, it’s blue, it’s deep. Photo: USGS
Crystal clear, calm waters make for a peaceful dive into the abyss. Reef sharks, parrotfish, and several small species are regulars in the hole, and occasionally hammerheads make an appearance. The Discovery Channel has ranked this site as the most amazing place on Earth. Strap in for an amazing day trip popularized by Jacques Cousteau himself.
Shark Ray Alley
Nurse sharks abound here. Photo: Atlas Obscura
Off the coast of San Pedro Town there’s a series of reefs and dive sites known as “Shark Ray Alley.” Our readers are tremendously smart, so we’re guessing you know what you’ll find there. In addition to the namesake species, you can also spot parrotfish and moray eels in abundance. When you surface, hit the beach bars for fresh seafood.
A place to be nowhere. Photo: Chabil Mar
If you’re looking to get away for a while, Placencia is your place. Relax at unoccupied beaches and their accompanying bars, snorkel the Silk Cayes, and in general enjoy some of the best weather in peace and quiet. How quiet? Well, the “Main Street” of the city is a sidewalk listed by Guinness World Records as the smallest main street on Earth. For diving, clear waters present great views of everything from smaller species to massive whale sharks.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Rays are all over in this area. Photo: Yomanagi via Wikimedia Commons
With the Mayan name for “Little Channel,” Hol Chan actually happens to be home to a large amount of life. Brain corals and eagle spotted rays, as well as nurse sharks, call this area home. Once threatened by dwindling fish populations, this reserve has bounced back to become a healthy incubator for smaller species. In addition to the species of fish in the area it’s also home to dolphins and three turtle species.
Learn More About Diving in Belize
– Todd Allen Williams, Senior Editor