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The sleepy islands of Caye Caulker offer easy access to the fantastic diving in the Blue Hole and on the second largest barrier reef in the world.

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.

Caye Caulker Marine Reserve

With brilliant soft corals, deep canyons, steep walls and lazy drift dives, Caye Caulker Marine Reserve is a wonderland for divers of all abilities.

Diving in Caye Caulker

Quick facts

Most famous for its proximity to the Belize Barrier Reef, Caye Caulker is a great base for divers wishing to explore a different section of the reef every day. Diving here is by boat, specifically small to mid-size speedboats. As the coral reefs are just a mile away, journeys can be quite short.

Barely a handful of dive shops operate here. Each offers trips to the famous Blue Hole as well as the many other stunning sites on the barrier reef and slightly further afield atolls. The atolls can take around an hour to get to. The Blue Hole is popular and sometimes crowded. Note that the trip to get there is 2 hours.

In addition, the area offers calm, clear conditions in which to learn or for beginner divers who wish to get more comfortable in the water. However, beginners should not attempt to dive the Blue Hole. The depth of that dive requires an advanced certification.

For divers headed to the Blue Hole, a $40 per day park fee must be paid before diving. Divers who use a DIN regulator should bring an adapter with them.

When to go

For the best visibility, surface conditions and above-the-water weather patterns, book your trip to paradisiacal Caye Caulker between February and 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

Caye Caulker affords access to some of the best sites in Belize, including the advanced Blue Hole and the beginner friendly Belize Barrier Reef.

    Snorkeling in Caye Caulker

    There are plenty of places to keep surface fish spotters happy too. Expect abundant reefs with a variety of hard coral, soft coral, sponges and sea fans. The sites near to Caye Caulker are suitable to snorkeling with light currents and good visibility. Further afield, snorkelers will find stronger currents but more marine life.
    Besides the Blue Hole and the Belize Barrier Reef, there are plentiful dive sites nearby the islands. Rock Beauty is a favorite among locals. Here you can dive to 60 feet (18 meters) to swim among giant fans and schools of tropical reef fish. More advanced divers will enjoy a trip to Island Queen Canyons. Steep walls, tunnels and canyons invite a game of hide and seek between divers and marine life. Finally, Sand Trap and North Cut are easy dives full of healthy corals and brilliantly colored fish and macro life. Visibility is almost always good here, resulting in fantastic underwater photography.

    What to see

    Declared a marine reserve in 1998, Caye Caulker is home to a wide variety of life under the sea. You can see manta and eagle rays and the lucky few might encounter a whale shark too. During the summer months, a few species of sea turtle arrive to lay their eggs on Caye Caulker’s sandy beaches. Expect grouper, jacks and barracuda to be intimidating the large variety of colourful reef inhabitants. Lobster are everywhere. You’ll also find crabs and a selection of shrimp too. Snapper schools and bat fish poke their faces in. While hammerhead sharks, lemon sharks and oceanic whitetip sharks are seen, but are quite rare.

    Calendar

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

    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

    Area

    Caye Caulker is a small island off the coast of Belize. A little over 1 mile (2km) wide and 5 miles (8km) long, it lies just 1 mile (2km) west of Belize’s barrier reef. Technically Caye Caulker is two islands owing to a split that allows boat traffic to pass through. Only the southern part is inhabited. It has a history of shipbuilding that remains today. Although tourism is now one of the main incomes for this island, it retains a certain local charm not overshadowed by any big business tourism.

    Other attractions

    Apart from the very laidback and easygoing atmosphere, the big draw is what lies beneath the ocean’s surface. Snorkelling and scuba diving here is beautiful. Children will love heading out for the day to spot manatees. The relaxed island locals provide accommodation, excellent food, including locally caught lobster, and a superb chilled vibe. If you can peel yourself out of your hammock, you can take a day trip to Altun Ha on the mainland to see Belize’s best Mayan ruin or enjoy a kayak tour in the same area.

    Getting there

    To reach Caye Caulker, you’ll first need to get yourself to Belize City via bus or plane. Small planes and fast water taxis connect Belize City with the island of Caye Caulker. Golf carts and cycles are the only form of transport on the island, but most people walk as the island is so small.

    UTC-06:00

    Time zone

    BZD

    Currency

    +501

    Calling code

    110 V / 220 V

    Electric volt

    A, 

    B, 

    G

    Plug type

    CUK

    Main airport
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