With the breaking waves signifying the reef crest of Belize’s coastal treasure, the world’s 2nd largest barrier reef, clearly visible from its’ sandy shores it is only understandable that the thriving offshore waters of Ambergris Caye would provide some of the country’s most spectacular and acclaimed dive venues. Indeed, dive excursions account for a significant portion of the island’s bustling tourism trade and dive operations can be found on practically ever pier, street corner, and hotel lobby in the central town of San Pedro which is only a short boat ride from any of the area’s 35 major dive sites which span the full perimeter of the 25 mile long island.
From shallow sea-grass beds to complex coral formations, every inch of the Ambergris aquatic eco-system is teeming with marine life. Depths range from as shallow as 10 feet in the ever popular Shark Ray Alley to over 150 feet in the mysterious Devil’s Canyon where steep canyon walls envelop a profusion of some of the area’s most diverse species of coral and tropical fish. Colorful sponges, branching anemones, staghorn and elhorn coral formations, the majestic spotted eagle ray, several species of snapper, grouper, angelfish, and a multitude of other marine creatures, some more indigenous to particular venues which shall be discussed on an individual basis later in this section, engulf the underwater wonderland and provide a memorable spectacle of wonder and enjoyment to all who traverse these vibrant waters.
All of the island’s diver operators, most of which are PADI certified, offer a range of beginner, intermediate, and refresher courses in addition to providing open water certification. Prices can range from as little as $125.00USD for refresher courses to as much as $475.00USD for full certification. Tank dives start at around $45.00USD and increase in cost depending on the vicinity of the dive venue. Equipment can be rented at an additional cost or as part of an all inclusive package. Dive conditions are generally well suited to beginners with a comfortable average water temperature of 79F and relatively stable tide conditions. The exceptionally crystal waters boast visibility of up to 165ft in some areas. Home to the country’s only hyberbaric chamber, Ambergris Caye has the best emergency response service in relation to diving mishaps.
Undoubtedly, with its’ thriving underwater gardens, unique layout of the sub-aquatic terrain, stable offshore currents, and state-of-the-art facilities, it is no surprise that Ambergris Caye is ranked as the nation’s premier diving destination!