By Dr. Ravikant Bharati
The Belizean underwater world has always been regarded as one of seven underwater wonders of the world. The underwater flora and fauna flourishing in crystal clear reefs of Belize have fascinated scuba divers from across the globe to take a plunge here. Scuba divers of all ages and abilities enjoy the spectacular underwater gardens teeming with sea life of all types.
The visibility in the Belize water makes you feel like diving in an underwater aquarium. Belize barrier reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world is not the only scuba diving heaven in Belize. There are many small islands that lie off the coast of the Belizean mainland known as “cayes” in Belize and these cayes have their own world of beautiful corals. After going through the diving destinations, I am sure that all the people who fancy scuba diving will rush to the Belizean waters.
The Blue Hole
Lighthouse reef in the Ambergris Caye barrier reef is famous for the great Blue Hole which was formed before the last ice age. The Blue Hole is the perfectly circular hole approximately one quarter of a mile and the water going as deep as 480 feet. The array of bizarre stalactites and limestone formations which mould its walls become more intricate and intense the deeper one dives and is an excellent treat to watch for scuba divers. Near to The Blue Hole, one of Belize’s largest protected areas, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, encompasses 10,000 acres of the atoll and 15 square miles of surrounding waters. Bull, reef and hammerhead sharks add to the exotic look of the blue hole. Many diving resorts are located on the Ambergris Caye where all the diving facilities are made available.
Turneffe Atoll is famous for its multitudinous scuba diving destinations all bundled into one. The underwater visibility here ranges up to 150 feet which helps to get the glimpse of the Caribbean’s amplest aggregation of marine life. Large pelagic, rays, turtles, eels and schools of snapper, jacks and permit can be found in abundance here. The numerous mangrove islands houses various diving resorts. Turneffe Atoll is famous for “Elbow”, one of the most exciting dives. The strong currents in some areas make the elbow dive more electrifying.
Gladden Split, Placenia
Gladden Split in Placenia boosts oneof the best diving sites to catch a glimpse of whale sharks and has become a hub of scuba divers. Do not keep any misconceptions about the whale shark. These are quite gentle and are playful with divers. Divers can swim and play with these giant fishes as long as they want.
Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan
Shark ray alley is one of the best “animal dives” in the Caribbean. Nurse sharks and several southern sting rays are the biggest fascination for scuba divers here. These creatures have great tolerance for divers and they enjoy the human company. The flora and fauna here attract the best underwater photographers from around the world.
Hol Chan marine reserve is a must stop for the first dive in Belizean waters. You can always see all species of fish including jacks, groupers, snappers, parrot fish, angel fish, and barracuda, eels, spider crabs, lobster, and nurse sharks hovering around in the Hol Chan waters.
Glover’s Reef Atoll
This is the most isolated of Belize’s diving destinations. The atoll is surrounded by a superb wall, and the local sea life boasts everything from sea turtles to manta rays. There are also plenty of sharks, but one should beware because not all of them are of the safe variety. The gentle giant whale sharks along with black tip reef and nurse sharks enjoy the company of humans. But in the middle are the hammerheads, and on the dangerous side tigers and bulls are sometimes seen around Glover’s Reef. It’s a great marine experience but not for those who scare easily.
The Chutes off Calabash Caye
This diving spot is nearly 50 feet deep along the top of the wall. It is good for oceanic encounters and taking wide angle photographs with huge sand flat that is home to garden eels and yellow head jaw fish. Wide chutes lead to a wall covered with yellow tube sponges, purple sea whips and brain coral. The hawksbill turtles, spotted drum, scrawled cowfish and spotted morays are found in the waters here.
Apart from these diving hot spots, many other smaller cayes also have their own corals reefs and diving spots. Belize maintains itself in the top ranks among the top Caribbean dive destinations and scuba divers across the world love to take advantage of the very best scuba diving in Belize. The Turneffe Atoll, the Lighthouse Atoll and the Blue Hole are easily the paradise for scuba divers.
Come experience the underwater world as never before!
Dr. Ravikant Bharati is not a quintessential writer – rather he is a back-packer who lives off his ultra-light folding bike. He lives (or tries to live) in the state of New York. He recently caught up with Larry Schneider of Eco Holdings Limited in relation to the eco-friendly tourism & real estate in Belize.
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