Destination: Turneffe Atoll Belize | Sport Diver

Destination: Turneffe Atoll Belize

Turneffe Atoll located on the 2nd largest reef system in the world and home to Turneffe Island Resort.

With more than 70 named dive sites, the marine life at Turneffe Atoll is a spectacular experience. This 30-mile long and 10 mile wide atoll is located 25 miles from Belize mainland and is surrounded by deep oceanic waters. Turneffe Atoll is the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere. The Turneffe Atoll is situated in the central Barrier Reef system, between the Inner Channel and Lighthouse Reef

Turneffe’s cultural heritage dates back to at least Mayan times, when the islands were likely used to harvest marine resources and served as a trading post along the trading route between the Yucatan Peninsula and the Bay Islands.

Turneffe is one of only four atolls in the Mesoamerican Reef region and approximately 17 in the entire Caribbean. The excellent reef development around the atoll’s margins and hard-bottom communities support a diverse assemblage of species, including an abundance of sponges and fish species. The abundant sponges offer rich feeding grounds for the endangered hawksbill sea turtle as well as the three species of sea turtles found in Belize, all of which nest on the atoll beaches.


Turneffe is unique for many reasons, mainly associated with the extent of terrestrial and mangrove vegetation found in such an offshore location.

Currents pull in schools of grunt, grouper, permit, snapper and jack, while an exploration of hawksbill and loggerhead turtles, eagle rays and hammerhead sharks await divers at the Elbow, the area’s ultimate wall dive.

Just off the elbow is one of the world’s best Dive Resort- Turneffe Island Resort. Check out their information at