Diving and the Atolls

The atolls are the epitome of the Belize diving experience. They are far from shore and are basically wilderness existing in pristine conditions. They are immense; each is about the size of Grand Cayman. Being farther from land, they lie within the clearest waters.

driveroad
atoll

Inside the Lighthouse Reef Atoll is the Blue Hole, one of the finest dive sites in this Hemisphere. The Blue Hole is 1,000 feet wide by 440 feet deep and just eight miles from Long Caye. It is the largest ocean sinkhole in the world and the only one of its kind that can be clearly seen from outer space. To the left and below are some pictures of the Blue Hole.

The Lighthouse Reef Atoll is Belize's dive paradise. It offers some of the finest and most diverse marine life in the world. It is the outermost of the three atolls lying 45 miles east of Belize City. Approximately three miles east of Long Caye, set at the southern end of Lighthouse Reef, is the famous island known as Half Moon Caye. This Belize Natural Monument is preserved and protected by the Belize Audubon Society. It serves as a home to the Red-Footed Booby Bird. Half Moon Caye also has a 24-hour a day manned lighthouse.

blue
diver-with-rock

The Turneffe Islands Atoll is the largest and closest to mainland Belize. Sponges of every shape and color are intermingled with Black Coral dominating the scenery with schools of snapper, grunts, spadefish and jacks milling about. Glover's Reef is situated about 70 miles from Belize City. The scenery above and below the sea is nothing less than spectacular.

Additionally, the Belize Barrier Reef has some of the best diving. It is the second largest barrier reef in the world and the largest coral reef ecosystem in this Hemisphere for its size. Aesthetically and ecologically, its integrity is virtually unharmed. It forms almost a continuous fortification for 150 miles along the continental shelf edge.

diver
coral

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is for those who do not dive and still want to enjoy the marine life. Snorkeling can be just as exhilarating as diving. Snorkel in shallow water with brilliantly colored coral or over the deep ocean waters beyond the reef and experience some of the finest aquatic diversity in this Hemisphere.

Snorkeling at night is a good way to see a variety of nocturnal sea creatures that are entirely different than those seen during the day. Many dive operators can arrange trips to the Belize Barrier Reef and the atolls. Make sure you bring a bathing suit, light cover clothing, towel, sunscreen, sunglasses and snorkeling equipment.

Windsurfing

Long Caye is a great site for windsurfing. Each winter month can offer many days with winds that are more than adequate to make for great windsurfing. The windy season is generally October through March and the calmer months are generally July through September.

surfing

Sailing, Kayaking and Canoeing

These activities can be fun and easier on the environment than using powered boats, equipment can be rented from most dive operators or hotels. Tours can be prearranged with local guides.

Fishing

Spin fishing, fly fishing and trolling can be experienced throughout the year, and because of plentiful quantities of game fish it promises to be an excellent sport. If you are looking for real excitement, check out big game fishing. Several hotels offer deep sea fishing and the country has several tournaments annually. Just outside the Lighthouse Reef Atoll is some of the best deep sea game fishing in the Hemisphere.

fishing

Deep sea fishing offers large game such as sailfish, bonito, pompano and marlin. The inlets, estuaries and deltas to the rivers within Belize are known for their jacks, tarpon and snook. The lagoons and grass flats are popular fishing grounds for bonefish and barracuda. The coral reefs support snapper, jacks, grouper and barracuda.

When traveling through mainland Belize you may wish to experience the many other available activities such as...

National Parks

Belize has thousands upon thousands of acres of pristine protected areas, from rainforests to marine and wildlife preserves. For a list and brief description of national parks, go to Belize National Parks.

Bird Watching

Belize is also known for its diversity of bird species. With over 520 species, it is a bird watchers paradise. Around 370 species are residents and about 150 species are transients, who spend their summers up north and their winters in Belize. Long Caye serves as an essential rest stop during their long flights north and south. The island plays an important part in this migration as habitats around the world continue to be destroyed. For a list of bird species on Long Caye go to list of bird species.

bird
pyramid

The Mayan Ruins of Belize

Belize has the highest concentration of Mayan Ruins in the World. With over 600 sites identified, here are just a few:
Lamanai
, meaning "submerged crocodile," dating back to 1500 b.c., was one of the largest meeting places for Mayan rituals, with plenty of wildlife covering five square miles. It is located in the Orange Walk District.
Altun Ha, meaning "the priest of the sun," is located 31 miles northwest of Belize City, off the Old Northern Highway. The site dates back some 2,000 years.
Caracol, meaning "the supremacy of lord water," was re-found in the 1930's.  It is easily accessible, and its highest pyramid is the tallest structure in Belize.
Xunantunich, meaning "lord of war and fertility," is a site about 325 square yards, and is located near the western border.

The Belize Zoo

The Belize Zoo is just off the Western Highway on the way to Belmopan. It boasts over 125 species of animals indigenous to Belize on its 29 acres of savanna. A wonderful place to visit with friends and family.

Caving and Tubing Trips

Trips can be arranged for you to cross the clear blue Caves Branch River and then hike through the tropical jungle led by an experienced guide who will identify, discuss and answer questions regarding the various flora and fauna. You may wish to then go into the river and ride through five cave tunnels.

Campsites

This is a list of some campsites. Additionally some other hotels and lodges not listed will usually allow camping...

Lagoon Campground, north of Corozal Town
Caribbean Campground, in Corozal Town
The Trek Stop, near San Ignacio, Cayo
Jungle Drift Lodge, Bermudian Landing
Cosmos, San Ignacio
Chaa Creek, San Ignacio
Mountain Equestrian Trails, Pine Ridge
Clive's Campground, Placencia
Here are some park areas which allow camping. At some other parks, camping is permitted with prior permission.

Cockscomb Preserve, Stann Creek
Community Baboon Sanctuary
Five Blues Lake, near Belmopan
Bocatura Bank, on the Sittee River
Douglas De Silva in the Pine Ridge

Ecological Nature Trails

Take a stroll through the wild. Explore. See all sorts of exotic and endangered species of flora and fauna. Long Caye as well as all of Belize is full of eco-trails where you can see nature thrive in pristine conditions.