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Belize City juts into the Caribbean offering a convenient base for diving the Belize’s most famous locations like the Barrier Reef and the Blue Hole.

Highlights

Belize Barrier Reef

In addition to numerable Caribbean fish species, reef sharks and turtles, Belize’s barrier reef is home to the endemic whitespotted toadfish.

The Blue Hole

The most famous of Belize’s dive sites, this strange geological structure welcomes divers inside its circular depths, reaching 400 feet (124m) deep.

Silk Cayes Canyon

Just south of the city is Silk Cayes Canyon, an excellent wall dive with plenty of coral species to spy and endemic species like the grey triggerfish.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve, established in 1979, leads divers through a cut in the Belize Barrier Reef, resulting in colorful marine life encounters.

Shark Ray Alley

Traditionally, this was where fishermen cleaned their catch. Nurse sharks and rays were attracted to the area and have been coming ever since.

Diving in Belize City

Quick facts

Gorgeous Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are right offshore, only a quick boat ride away. Some of the most astounding dives in the Caribbean can be accomplished from Belize City, with its easy access to the Belize Barrier Reef. You’ll also be able to reach the Blue Hole and Shark Ray Alley within a day trip.

Closer to the city itself, you’ll find plenty of canyons, walls and reefs to explore. Many dive operators are found in Belize City, so you can afford to pick and choose. Almost all diving will take place from mid-sized dive boats. Keep in mind that most dives will require almost an hour of travel time from Belize City.

While the Blue Hole should only be attempted by advanced divers due to its depth, the vast majority of dives in the cayes are appropriate for beginners. These boast little to no current and crystal clear visibility.

While it’s not necessary to carry any special equipment to Belize, divers who use a DIN regulator should bring an adapter with them. For divers headed to the Blue Hole, a $40 per day park fee must be paid before diving.

When to go

Warm and rainy, the best diving with good visibility and surface conditions is during the dry season, which is most prevalent from February to May.

August to October

The wet season falls from August to October. These months tend to be the warmest with average temperatures around 82 or 84°F (28 or 29°C). The wet season also offers the best surface conditions, ensuring that all sites are accessible. Rainfall, while prevalent during these months, will only impact a few hours of the day. This means that most of the day will be sunny rather than rainy. More importantly, visibility may decrease due to runoff from nearby rivers.

October and November is grouper mating season. Thousands of these fish descend on the cayes to mate and give birth to their young.

August to October is considered low season for tourism and diving in Belize. However, the diving is only slightly impacted by the rain and many would argue that this is the best time to dive in Belize. You’ll find fewer crowds and the best deals during these months.

November to July

The drier of the two seasons is from November to July. These months bring slightly cooler temperatures above and below the water. However, temperatures will only drop by a couple of degrees and most divers are still comfortable in a shorty. Surface conditions can become choppy at this time, creating limited access to the more exposed sites. With that said, from November to July, you can expect little to no rain and excellent visibility.

April to June is considered the best time to dive in Belize.

These months also coincide with peak season, so you can expect more fellow visitors than during wet season.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

Silk Cayes Canyon is the premier dive site near Belize City. Otherwise, divers will want to take day trips to Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.

    Snorkeling in Belize City

    You’ll find plenty of operators willing to take you snorkeling. The coral reefs within a few minutes boat ride are outstanding. The current is not so strong and the fish are colorful, making this a great area for beginners. Tours are also offered to nearby Ambergris Caye, the Blue Hole and Caye Caulker.
    Belize City is well-located for taking advantage of Belize’s many dive areas. From Caye Caulker to Lighthouse Reef, everyone will be able to find their own prefered site. Just south of the city is Silk Cayes Canyon, an excellent wall dive with plenty of coral species to spy. Unique endemic creatures like gray triggerfish are specialties of the area. Be sure not to miss out on the Great Blue Hole, which is one of the premier dive sites on the planet. It’s reachable within a short day trip of the city. You can also enjoy the dive sites around Ambergris Caye and the Belize Barrier Reef from Belize City.

    What to see

    Huge barracuda idle near piers and docks, searching out their next meal with leering eyes. Whale sharks make their way through these waters, as well as other large creatures. Hammerheads, Lemon Sharks and Manatees are not unheard of, although you would have to be extremely lucky to see one.

    On the reefs, you will find all of your favorite Caribbean specialties, jacks, angelfish, and lobster.

    You are almost certain to run across a pod of dolphins if you take a boat ride, giving you a chance to watch them play and frolic. Most operators will even give you a chance to get out and swim with them!

    Calendar

    For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

    Area

    The largest city in Belize, Belize City lies alongside the Caribbean. Offshore, scores of smaller islands can be seen in the distance.

    Founded by British lumber harvesters in 1638, Belize City was once a blossoming Mayan civilization. The British brought slaves by the thousands to harvest lumber. Slavery was abolished almost 200 years later, in 1833, but Belize didn’t receive their independence until 1981.

    Once, Belize City was the capital of the region, but the massive Hurricane Hattie wreaked havoc in 1961, destroying most of the city. The capital was moved to Belmopan, an inland city.

    Other attractions

    Raft down a river or take a jungle trek just outside of the city, checking out the ancient temples along the way. Horseback riding tours are another adventure activity the whole family is sure to love. The Belize Zoo also lets you get up close and personal with the local creatures, from jaguars to toucans. Be sure to head to the Museum of Belize and St. John’s Cathedral to get an in depth history of the region, which will aid you in your adventures. If you get the chance, try to find the ‘Belize’ sign for an amazing photograph of the area.

    Getting there

    Belize City contains the largest airport in the country, Philip SW Goldson International Airport. Flights arrive from around the world every day. Once you’ve flown into the airport, take taxis or buses to get around. They are cheap and effective. To get to the offshore islands, take the water taxis.

    UTC-06:00

    Time zone

    BZD

    Currency

    +501

    Calling code

    110 V / 220 V

    Electric volt

    A, 

    B, 

    G

    Plug type

    BZE

    Main airport
    Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.