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Scuba Diving in Ambergris Caye, Belize

Jul 27, 2008
If you've never been to Belize, a great spot to start is Ambergris Caye. It offers great diving and interesting topside attractions to keep you busy during those surface intervals.

Ambergris Caye is the most popular spot in Belize for scuba diving. It offers a variety of diving such as reefs, walls, blue holes and more. If you've never been to Belize before, Ambergris Caye is a great place to start.

Geography

Ambergris Caye is the largest island of Belize and is about 25 miles long and 1 mile wide. So it's a small island and easy to explore. The town on Amergris Caye is San Pedro and lies near the southern tip.

San Pedro has 3 main roads that run parallel to the beach and reef. They have more tourist oriented names now but many of the locals still call them by their old names. The 3 main streets are Barrier Reef Drive (Front Street), Pescador Drive (Middle Street) and Angel Coral Drive (Back Street).

The barrier reef lies just offshore from Ambergris. It is about a half mile east from the shore so boat rides to most dive sites are short.

Location

Belize itself is situated on the Caribbean coast. It is bordered by Mexico in the north, Guatemala to the south and west and the Caribbean on the east.

Ambergris Caye is located about 35 miles northeast of Belize City and 11 miles north of it's sister island Caye Caulker.

There is airport on the island with several flights a day from Belize City (Maya Island Air and Tropic Air). The flight is short, about 20 minutes, but beautiful. You can also reach Ambergris via water taxi from Belize City (or Caye Caulker). The ride from Belize City is about 75 minutes and is a fun way to get the island.

Weather

The average daytime temperature during the summer months is typically around the mid to high 80's F with temperatures in the 90's F not that uncommon. Things cool off a bit in the winter months with average temperatures closer to around 80F.

Belize and Ambergris Caye have a rainy season from June to November with the most rainfall occurring in the September-November timeframe. The island does get hit by hurricanes during the hurricane season (June-November also).

Reefs and Rides

Ambergris Caye Belize sits right off the second largest barrier reef in the world (the reef runs for 185 miles). The reef is only about a half mile offshore from the island so boat rides can be short. The visibility is typically in the 50-100 foot range.

If you go out to the reef, some dive sights are less than a 10 minute ride away. One of the most popular spots for diving is within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve which lies less than 5 miles from San Pedro. This is also the area where the popular Shark Ray Alley is located. Although it is a snorkel spot, it is fun and worth doing.

There is alot of variety in Ambergris Caye diving. You can do canyons, tunnels, wrecks, blue hole, etc. Since it is the most popular tourist spot and dive destination in Belize, there are alot of dive operators to choose from. Most hotels usually have or are affiliated with/recommend a particular outfit.

So if you're looking for a spot with great diving and interesting topside attractions, Belize and Ambergris Caye may be for you.
About the Author
Dianne Rein runs a scuba diving website at www.scuba-diving-smiles.com. You can read her full report on scuba diving in Ambergris Caye as well as a report on scuba diving in Caye Caulker, Belize on her website.
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