Diving and Snorkeling
"...Belize is one of the western Caribbean's premiere dive destinations..." - Skin Diver magazine
This statement could be amended to say premiere diving destination in the world. Indeed, Belize's barrier reef has been named one of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World.
Water visibility commonly reaches 100+ feet; water temperature hovers around 80 degrees Fahrenheit; and the barrier reef makes for calm water most of the year.
SCUBA divers have three major options when deciding how to experience the underwater world of Belize.
Belize is a perfect place to indulge in the fabulous sport of windsurfing. The Cayes have it all, flat water created by the reef and the constant onshore/sideshore wind provide an ideal location for the beginner to try a first lesson or take a course. For the intermediate it is fantastic for blasting and chop hopping. Runs of 10 miles plus are possible on either tack; perfect for practicing waterstarts and carve gybes. The water below is so clear that you can see fish and stingrays and it is not unusual to see dolphins as you sail. For the more experienced sailor, there are several wave sites and of course access to the swells of the big blue. The windy season is historically February through April where the trades provide wind of 11 to 17 knots and above 70% of the time. The rest of the year expect at least 2 or 3 6.0 days per week.
Belize is a mecca for those interested in fishing. All kinds of fishing - spin, fly, trolling - can be experienced all year long, and the abundance of game fish guarantees excellent sport.
The estuaries, inlets and mouths to the many rivers are known for their tarpon, snook and jacks. The lagoons and flats are known for the bonefish, permit and barracuda. The coral reefs support grouper, snappper, jacks and barracuda while the deeper waters off the drop off are home to sailfish, marlin, bonito and pompano.
Fishing is great all along the coast of Belize, from the Port Honduras and Punta Icacos lagoon of Toledo to Rocky Point on Ambergris Caye. Any of the many rivers which empty into the Caribbean along Belize's coasts can guarantee a daily catch.
Most of your guides and boatmen speak English so learning where and what to fish will be no problem.
Because of Belize's small population and lack of industry, much of Belize has remained virtually undisturbed. About 66% of the country is still forested.
Birders in particular will have the opportunity to observe hundreds of different species of birds. It is not uncommon to view 50 in a single outing. Belize has recorded over 500 species of birds within its borders.
Belize is an ideal location for the formation of caves. With abundant limestone and a wet climate, caves abound in many places throughout Belize.
Caving is a dangerous sport, and it is adviseable to check with the locals before exploring any caves on your own. Because of the isolation of many caves, they have not been thoroughly explored.
In fact, many caves are closed to public exploration because:
most have archaeological significance
many caves systems are subject to sudden flooding
few maps exists
Having said all that, there are a number of caves that are safe and easy to visit. These include:
Che Chem Ha - Cayo
Rio Frio - Mountain Pine Ridge
St. Herman's - Hummingbird Highway
Barton Creek Cave - Cayo
Blue Creek - Toledo
Ben Loman's - Manatee Lagoon
Actun Tunichil Muknal - Cayo