Shark-Ray Alley is one of the most amazing dive sites off Ambergris Caye There were so many nurse sharks thrashing on the surface that we thought we would have to part the sea just to get in the water with them. Get in with them? Wait a minute; all your life you have been told that swimming with sharks is not something you want to do. And now here you are in the Caribbean, watching sharks circle in the clear water. Even the bravest first-time shark diver has to change gears fast. You search the bottom for a rock large enough to hide under. Five minutes later you're snorkeling among sharks that are bumping into you and feeding like puppies from the hands of your divemaster. Soon your confidence returns. You are the master of the ocean once again. This pendulum of emotions is called Shark-Ray Alley. It is also billed as the ''shallowest high-voltage dive in the Caribbean,'' eight feet of water just inside the reef with more sharks than you can count. This is just one of many dive adventures available to guests at Ramon's Village on Ambergris Caye - the most popular dive resort on Belize's well-known offshore island. Ramon's and Ambergris present a menu of fun, adventure and tranquility, not in equal servings, but in as much of each portion as you please. Ambergris Caye is Belize's most visited offshore destination for all the right reasons. The slim, nearly 30-mile-long island (barely an island, it's separated from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by a narrow canal) is bordered by a nearly continuous white-sand beach on its eastern side. The social focus is the town of San Pedro, a friendly fishing and tourist village on the island?s south end that is peppered with more quaint restaurants, bars and shops than you could possibly visit in a week. After a 15-minute flight from Belize City, a two-minute golf cart ride takes you to Ramon's Village, a tranquil oasis right on the beach. Ramon's is both an escapist's retreat and a dedicated dive resort. The handsome, thatch-roofed village is surrounded by white sand and framed by manicured landscaping, blue sky and blue-green sea. Besides Shark-Ray Alley, at least 30 other dive sites are close to the resort. One of the most popular areas is Hol Chan Marine Sanctuary, a shallow reef garden punctuated with dense corals and frothy seawhips that is populated by friendly groupers, morays and thick schools of reef fish. And experienced divers should not miss the all-day excursion aboard Miss Gina to Lighthouse Reef Atoll and the Great Blue Hole. Guests also may opt for an outing via boat and van to the Maya ruins of Altun-ha, just one of many mainland excursions offered from the resort. Few dive resorts in the Caribbean offer the combination of fun, adventure, location and ambiance of Ramon's Village. Accommodations: Sixty bungalows are sprawled across the beach and/or assembled in courtyards. Most of the bungalows, except those facing the sea, are cooled by air conditioners. The resort also features a restaurant and bar, a boutique and a pool. Diving: The resort's dive center provides daily trips, full instruction, rental gear, storage, shower and wash areas, and berths for a half dozen open, mid-sized dive boats and the resort's flagship, the 42-foot Miss Gina. Diving is inside and outside Belize's famed barrier reef. In addition there are all-day boat trips to the offshore atolls. For more information about visiting Sark-Ray Alley, click onto the home page below. For general information about visiting Belize, click on the home page below.
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