Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark-Ray Alley
Belize is a world leader in conservation of natural resources. One of the many reserves in Belize, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, is one of the most popular diving and snorkeling sites. Hol Chan, about 10 miles north of Caye Caulker, features a natural break in the barrier reef that gives rise to spectacular coral formations and serves as a home for a wide variety of fishes and other marine life. The Hol Chan dive often includes a very popular wreck dive as well. Established in 1987, Hol Chan is the first reserve of its kind in Central America. Just to the south of Hol Chan is another popular dive site called Shark-Ray Alley. Shark-Ray Alley is a shallow cut in the reef where divers are almost assured of encountering nurse sharks and stingrays.
Canyons, Caverns, and Wrecks
There are far too many dive sites along the barrier reef to describe in detail. Some of the other locations include the Love Tunnels, Amigo's Wreck, Pescador Cavern, Buena Vista Point and the North Caye Caulker Cut. Each site offers its own unique diving experience including underwater cleaning stations, coral canyons, caverns and wrecks. You may even see a manatee or a whale shark.
The best diving Belize has to offer is found at the three outer atolls. You should try and fit a trip into your schedule. Turneffe, located about 20 miles from Caye Caulker, is the largest of the atolls. Turneffe offers a variety of underwater terrain for drift dives and wall dives. One of the favorite attractions, the "Elbow", includes a steep drop-off with a shallow reef and a ship wreck. Glover's Reef, approximately 50 miles from Caye Caulker, is a circular reef surrounding an 80 square-mile lagoon.
Lighthouse Reef and The Blue Hole
The most popular, and famous, of the atolls is Lighthouse Reef, home of the "Blue Hole". Lighthouse scuba diving Reef, about 50 miles from Caye Caulker, boasts true world-class wall diving. The Blue Hole, located in the center of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, was formed when the roof of an underwater cave collapsed over 10,000 years ago. It measures over 1,000 feet in diameter and over 450 feet deep. Once inside you'll discover huge stalagmites and stalactites and its own unique variety of marine life. Dive tour operators offer a selection of day trips and overnight trips to the outer atolls.