Belize is a small Central American country tucked between Mexico and Guatemala, but it offers big-time diving in the Caribbean Sea. Belize's Turneffe Atoll features fantastic diving, including the site Black Coral Wall, where you can see thriving communities of reef fishes and corals, and even some big animals like free-swimming nurse sharks and eagle rays. Check out this video to see what it's like to go scuba diving in Belize at the Black Coral Wall dive site.
Turneffe Atoll is one of Belize’s three major atolls — along with Lighthouse Reef and Glover's Reef — and the home of dozens of prime dive sites, including Black Coral Wall. On our first dive of the day with Belize Diving Services, we make our way down the wall to 80 feet in crystal-clear water — I'm talking wonderful Caribbean conditions with 80 feet of visibility and water at 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
But first, we make an initial descent to a shallow reef where we're quickly greeted by a curious free-swimming green moray eel, who follows our group as it descends down the wall, poking its head out at various check points, like a tourist on a skyscraper's observation deck.
This dive site is home to a host of marine life, including blue parrotfish, butterflyfish of different varieties and other vibrantly colored reef critters. With the wall on my left and open ocean on my right, I peer out into the blue to see the outline of shiny barracuda cruising in the open ocean. Back on the reef, we spot impressive tube sponges and barrel sponges bigger than most San Francisco apartments.
Then come the highlights: A free-swimming nurse shark — that I would estimate at 5 feet — swims by multiple times, checking out the group as it makes its way along the wall. And at the end of the dive, we see the group ahead slow down and a camera strobe firing. Out of the blue comes a graceful spotted eagle ray, capping the dive with a special highlight.