"One of the four must-dive locations on this blue planet,” was how renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau described Belize. Considered one of Mother Nature’s Best Kept Secrets, Belize is home to the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in the world, and boasts three of only four coral atolls in the Caribbean. Divers encounter exceptionally diverse marine life and a kaleidoscope of color in locations spanning the length of the 185-mile Belize Barrier Reef. This includes coral gardens featuring over 70 types of hard corals, nearly 500 species of fish, the amazing Blue Hole and whale sharks. Some of Belize’s more popular dive spots include:
THE BELIZE BARRIER REEF
The Belize Barrier Reef extends from northern Ambergris Caye to the Sapodilla Cayes in Belize’s southernmost regions. Some dive sites begin in only 45 feet of water, and drop to 90 feet or more and feature deep coral canyons and dramatic drop-offs.
THE BLUE HOLE
Originally a cave, the Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef was formed about 10,000 years ago when the roof collapsed. Visible from space, the Blue Hole is nearly a perfectly circular hole 1,000 feet in diameter and 412 feet deep, with stalactites suspended from the cavern’s ceiling at 130 feet. As you ascend, be on the lookout for reef and bull sharks.
HOL CHAN MARINE RESERVE
Loosely translated from the Mayan as “Little Channel,” the Hol Chan Marine Reserve refers to the deep cut in the barrier reef off of Ambergris Caye. The depth is only about 30 feet with a strong current in the area; however, divers are rewarded with diverse schools of grouper, snapper and barracuda along the walls.
Due east of the charming fishing village of Placencia, Gladden Spit is known for the massive whale sharks found in this natural marine spawning ground located along the southern barrier reef. Whale shark sightings in this area are virtually guaranteed in April, May and June during full moons.
For information on accommodations, visit http://www.travelbelize.org/category/hot-deals.