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Part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System (with over 400 islands and cays), Belize is a diver’s paradise. And while the Blue Hole might just be the most famous dive site, it’s by no means the only one. There are hundreds of worthwhile dive sites to explore on your trip here.
The thing about scuba diving is, it’s quite weather dependent. Animals don’t seem to follow your vacation calendar either. In this article, we’ll tell you the best time to go scuba diving in Belize. Plus, tips on how to save serious money.
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October to November for Grouper Mating in Ambergris Cay
Aside from shallow reefs and steep vertical walls, what attracts divers in Ambergris Cay is the arrival and swarming of groupers for their annual migration and mating season. From October to November, three types of grouper (tiger, red and Nassau) converge in the thousands. The groupers start their journey the southwest corner of Ambergris Cay, they swim for a short migration towards the western section, ending in a swarm of ready to mingle groupers. It’s really quite romantic…
April to June for the Whale Sharks in Placencia
While Placencia is not as popular compared to other dive sites in Belize, this part of the country becomes a diving magnate from April to June when the biggest fish of the world arrives. Congregating near Gladden Spit, whale sharks flock this time of the year to feed on the plankton-rich waters of Placencia. Usually, your underwater interaction with whale sharks in Placencia involves whale sharks swimming with their mouth wide open as they take in water and filter in microscopic plankton as their main source of food. Don’t stress, though, despite their size, whale sharks are harmless and prefer little critters to human ones.
April to June for the Best Visibility in the Blue Hole
Located in Lighthouse atoll, the Blue Hole of Belize is a massive 300 meter (1,000 feet) wide hole that goes all the way down to 120 meters (400 feet) deep. Although the Blue Hole is an icon in Belize, you will only see a few reef fish and stalactites which gives you an idea that this was a dry land a long time ago. It is just the massive size and sheer drop off that impresses divers. Because of this, the best time to swim in the Blue Hole is from April to June, when you’ll have the best visibility (30+ meters). Scuba diving in the Blue Hole certainly isn’t for beginners, so be sure to stick with a guide and dive within your limits if you take the plunge here.
The Best Time to Save Money on a Belize Dive Vacation
If you’re on a budget and don’t mind a bit of wet weather, the best time to go on a scuba dive trip to Belize is from May to November — heavier downpours are more likely from July to October. During these months, hotel prices and flight fares are cheaper that regular months.
The good thing about scuba diving? You’re going to get wet anyways. The shoulder season ends up being a blessing as great diving is still possible. When it comes to water temperature, you’ll still get away with wearing just a short wetsuit or thin full length wetsuit all year long.
Amazing Liveaboard Trips in Belize
Most of the liveaboard vessels in Belize cater to diving in the Blue Hole since it is a necessity as the dive site is relatively far from the mainland. So if you’re eyeing the Belize Blue Hole, here are a few liveaboards to consider.
Belonging to one of the many fleet of Aggressor liveaboard vessels, the Belize Aggressor IV is a mainstay when it comes to a Blue Hole dive safari. This 42-meter long vessel has 10 cabins that can accommodate up to 20 guests. Aside from the Blue Hole, the itinerary of this vessel includes stopping by at other famous dive sites of Belize, like the Halfmoon Cay and Turneffe Reef.
Another liveaboard that comes from the Aggressor fleet is the Belize Aggressor III. Although it is cheaper than its sister vessel, it still provides the same luxury and comfort while you are out diving. But what sets the Belize Aggressor III apart is that, it is known for its jam-packed dive itineraries that is mostly focused in the Blue Hole and other adrenaline loaded sites. This is the reason the Belize Aggressor III is often considered one of the best liveaboards for experienced divers.
Located at the heart of a village, the Placencia is your top pick especially if you’re dreaming of swimming with whale sharks. With an inhouse dive center operated by Seahorse Dive Shop, you will have no problem with your equipment and planning out your dives with the whale sharks — this is the specialty of this PADI dive center. Accommodation can be packaged with your dive and snorkel trips, making it more affordable than purchasing everything a la carte.
If you want to indulge in some exclusivity and luxury in your Belize dive vacation, then take a look at the Royal Belize Private Island. Just imagine this, the entire 7-acre island property is yours for your vacation.
Belize Underwater is the resort’s dive service provider. Although they are located outside the private island, it means that you are given full privacy at the resort and will only be picked you up when its time to go diving.
If you’re considering to observe the grouper mating season from October to November, consider also having a reservation with Ramon’s Village Resort. They are located 15 minutes away from the grouper mating site and they have 4 spacious dive boats to take you and your gears in.
Back at the resort, your accommodation choices include beachfront, seaside and jungle cabanas, all nestled in a sanctuary of tropical garden and Mayan sculpture.