Located on the eastern coast of Central America, Belize combines a relaxing vacation with exciting adventures.
Belize’s sandy shorelines are great for spending time on the beach. Belize borders the Caribbean Sea, which means the water on the coast is warm, calm, and clear. But while spending time on the beach for a day might be a good way to relax, most people that go to Belize are looking for adventure.
Belize has ancient Mayan archeological sites to visit, jungle areas to hike, and waterfalls to explore. And—a favorite for many visitors—plenty of diving and snorkeling locations.
Anybody that goes to Belize should plan to go on at least one underwater adventure. If Belize is on your list of places to visit, keep the following information in mind.
Choose your season carefully
Belize is suitable for diving all year long. Subtropical weather along the coast means it is always warm enough to go diving or snorkeling.
However, the best months to go are between April and June. Weather and water conditions are ideal, plus this is the time of year when you can find whale shark. Since these months are popular months to go diving, some locations get crowded quickly.
August to October is the rainy season. However, temperatures and water conditions remain ideal, and it isn’t as crowded. If you don’t mind a little rain, these months are a good alternative.
Vaccinations before you go
While vaccinations are not required to travel to Belize, travelers are at risk of contracting diseases such as Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid. This is because there are rural areas where food and water sanitation are problematic.
Visit a doctor before traveling to Belize and ask for travel immunizations. Your doctor will also make sure that you’re up-to-date on routine vaccinations.
Taking preventative measures while in Belize, such as wearing bug spray and drinking bottled water, can also lower your chances of getting sick. Keep in mind that health care is limited in some parts of Belize.
Learning to snorkel or drive
While Belize is often seen as a paradise for experienced snorkelers or divers, there are sometimes people that go to Belize without any experience.
For those that do not have any experience with diving or snorkeling, it is possible to learn while in Belize. There are plenty of instructors that are willing to work with groups or individuals.
Most of the time, instructors will take beginners to a location with shallow water and provide them with a guided tour. As people become more comfortable in the water, they get the chance to explore on their own.
Snorkeling for beginners and pros
Belize has the second-longest barrier reef in the world—snorkeling near this reef is perfect for both beginning and experienced snorkelers.
Ambergris Caye, in particular, is a favorite location for snorkelers. Ambergris Caye is easy to access and has several snorkeling locations, including Mexico Rocks and Shark Ray Alley.
Beginners will enjoy visiting Mexico Rocks, which has shallow waters and is protected from ocean swells. There might not be larger fish, but there are still coral, sponges, and smaller fish. More experienced snorkelers will enjoy Shark Ray Alley, which has shallow waters with Nurse Sharks and rays floating around.
The Great Blue Hole is for serious divers
The Great Blue Hole is one of Belize’s most well-known diving locations. Crystal clear waters, marine life, and coral reefs make this a must-visit location for anyone that enjoys diving.
While less experienced divers can visit the hole, they might not be able to dive as deeply as an experienced diver. And the deeper into the Great Blue Hole you go, the more you’ll see.
In shallow water, there are different types of coral. Deeper waters have stalactite formations, underwater dunes, and even the occasional hammerhead shark. In addition to the Great Blue Hole, watersportsmag.com has additional recommendations experienced divers might enjoy.
Cayes good for new divers
Divers that don’t have a lot of experience might not want to visit the Great Blue Hole, but there are plenty of Cayes that have diving locations that are ideal for new divers.
The Caye Caulker Marine Reserve is near the Great Blue Hole, but is good for divers of all levels. There is plenty of sea life to explore here, including queen angelfish and parrotfish.
Depending on the time of year, sometimes turtles and manatees make their way into the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve. It is rare, but sometimes they are spotted between the months of April and September.
There are some people that spend their entire time in Belize going on underwater adventures! No matter what level of experience you have with snorkeling or diving, you’ll want to check out at least one of the locations mentioned above or work with an instructor to go on a guided tour.