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Scuba Diving

Belize is well publicized for possessing the second longest barrier reef in the world, as well as three major offshore atolls. In addition to the aforementioned, Belize possesses numerous mangrove systems both offshore and along the coast, thus creating a tremendous wetland environment.
GtB Free Diving in Belize
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With such a significant marine ecosystem, scuba divers and marine biologists have long recognized the importance of Belize, and it has become a favorite destination for them.

Belize offers some of the best and most varied diving in the world and has the added benefits of excellent weather conditions and clear, warm water. At 185 miles (300km) long, Belize's barrier reef is the second longest in the world, and the largest in the western hemisphere. Inside the reef, patch reefs are covered with hundreds of brightly colored fish and coral species.

Snorkelers and divers are almost guaranteed to see stingrays, schooling jack and the more common reef tropical fishes such as angelfish, barracuda, groupers and parrot fish. Spot turtles and sharks may well be sighted too.

Equipment and Education

Bring your own Equipment to Belize, or rent it at a dive shop. Lightweight lycra dive suits or nylon "skins" work fine. They keep you warm on a night dive but for most dives, a swimsuit is adequate. If you need more insulation 1/16 inch suits should be the most you should need.

Belize offers various levels of dive courses include discover scuba programs, refresher courses, open water and advance open water courses. Certification is available for PADI, NAUII and in some areas NITROX diving.

Don't leave home without your dive certification card if you have one.

Protected Areas

Much of Belize's marine system, from north to south, is protected with many falling under the category of World Heritage sites. This means that these areas and their inhabitants cannot be destroyed or harmed in any way. Care must be taken when on dives not to touch corals or increase sedimentation onto them.

  • Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve
  • Blue Hole National Park
  • Glover's Reef
  • Half Moon Caye
  • Hol Chan Marine Reserve
  • Laughing Bird Caye
  • Port Honduras
  • Sapodilla Caye
  • South Water Caye Marine Reserve
  • The Belize Barrier Reef

The Water Condtions

Visibility - Maximum visibility of 165 feet or 50 meters. In case of storms the visibility reduced to 65 to 100 feet or 20 to 30 meters

Tides - Not usually a factor for dives because the range is small at 1 to 11/2 feet except in extreme conditions of tropical storms.

Water Temperature - Water temperature usually remain constant around 70 to 75 degrees F. Higher temperatures are 80 degrees F.

Waves - Wave action minimal inside the reef or on the unexposed side of atolls.

Winds - Northeast wind can produce huge swells which can make diving difficult on exposed shores in the north, but this is usually steady at 5 to 15 knots.

Further reading

Dive Emergency, Dice Accident and the Recompression find out more in the Dive Emergency Page. For Dive Medicine visit our Dive Medicine Page. To avoid accident with Dangerous Creatures, please check out the Danger Creatures Page.

Guide to Belize,  September 2021



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