Belize is Part of the Largest Living Reef in the World
Along the entire length of Ambergris Caye the reef is comprised of canyons, channels, grottoes and tunnels. Ambergris is the largest and most popular of the offshore cayes, with 25 miles of Belize's spectacular barrier reef sitting less than a mile offshore. Ambergris Caye is part of a chain of islands that all have one thing in common. Barely one mile in front of them to their east one can find the most astounding scuba diving and snorkeling on the second largest barrier reef of the world. Depth ranges on the barrier are between 50 and 200 feet of water. At it's deepest, the wall starts and drops to a few hundred feet.
Scuba Diving Adventures Ambergris Caye, believe or not, is not the first choice of SCUBA diving devotees. For SCUBA think more of Turneffe Island, Light House Reef and the Blue Hole. But the Island offers easy access to some interesting dive spots. One of the more interesting is Palmeros Point, 12 miles north of the island. The reef starts off at 50 feet and then meanders through some small canyons before making a modest drop of 110 feet. This is described as one of the better dive spots close to Ambergris Caye and excellent for marine photography.
Other dive spots around Ambergris Caye include the Love Tunnel, so named because many people choose to get married underwater at this location. Divers launch from a canyon, and then glide to a cavern that has an opening in the roof that lets sunlight through. This is a drift dive that goes up to 80 feet underwater. Other dive spots of note in the area include Angle Flats, Eagle Ray Canyon and Cypress Garden.
Belize has (3) of the (4) Atolls located in the Western Hemisphere.
Phenomenal dives are abundant up and down the entire length of the Belize Barrier Reef, which begins off the northern tip of Ambergris Caye and extends southward to the Sapodilla Cayes in Belize's southernmost reaches. Except for a few overused or storm-damaged spots, the barrier reef's coral is in excellent condition, due to much of it being set aside as National Parks by the Government of Belize.
An atoll is a ring-shaped reef (island or series of islets), which rise up from deep water and are surrounded by a body of water called a lagoon, which connects to the ocean.
Lighthouse Reef Atoll
LIGHTHOUSE REEF ATOLL -is one of four atolls located in the Caribbean Sea. This remote atoll is located 55 miles offshore from the mainland of Belize. Lighthouse Reef includes Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, which is Belize's first marine protected area and the famous Blue Hole Natural Monument. Accessible from Belize City, Ambergris Caye, and Caye Caulker, the Lighthouse Reef atoll is a favorite diving destination - not to mention that it is home to the famous Blue Hole, as well as the Half Moon Caye Wall, where the diving is second to none. While these dives sites might top the list, know that your options include literally hundreds of other opportunities that will keep you busy for a lifetime.
Lighthouse Reef is an atoll in the Caribbean Sea, the easternmost part of the Belize Barrier Reef and one of its three atolls, the other two being Turneffe Atoll and Glover's Reef. Lighthouse Reef is located about 50 miles southeast of Belize City. The atoll is of oblong shape, approximately 22 miles long from north to south, and about 5.0 miles wide. It forms a shallow sandy lagoon with an area of 46 square miles and a depth between 6 feet, 7 inches (to) 19 feet, 8 inches deep.
The reef is one of the best developed and healthiest reefs in the Caribbean, "with an emergent fringing reef, a sloping fore reef with a coral rimmed shelf edge, vertical coral walls, and numerous patch reefs in the shallow central lagoon." There are several islands, listed here from north to south: Sandbore Caye, Northern Caye, Half Moon Caye, Saddle Caye, Long Caye, Hat Caye.
Lighthouse Reef is known as a snorkeling and diving destination, considered as one of the best dive sites in Belize and the whole Caribbean. Notable diving locations are Half Moon Caye Wall, Long Caye Aquarium ("The Aquarium"), Silver Caves, Tres Cocos, and West Point. In addition to these coral reefs, it is also home to the Great Blue Hole.
TURNEFFE ISLANDS ATOLL -Not far from Belize City, the Turneffe Islands are a diver's dream. Here you will find some of Belize's not-to-be missed dive sites, such as The Elbow, and Gales Point. Turneffe Atoll is located southeast of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, off the coast of Belize, about 20 miles from Belize City. It is approximately 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, making it the largest coral atoll in Belize and in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. The atoll was officially declared a marine reserve on November 22, 2012.
In October 2013, the Ministry and the Belize Fisheries Department appointed the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) to co-manage the Reserve's day-to-day operations. The creation of the reserve was championed and supported by a number of NGOs and foundations including the Blue Marine Foundation, the Bertarelli Foundation and the Oak Foundation. Turneffe is home to many marine species that are threatened and/or commercially important. The land and seascape consists of a network of highly productive flats, creeks, and lagoons dotted by more than 150 mangrove islands and higher cayes with savanna and littoral forest. Large expanses of intact mangrove and seagrass habitat and shallows provide important nursery functionality for a wide array of fish species, crocodiles, lobster, conch and other invertebrates. It is home to more than 500 species of fish, 65 species of stony corals, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, seabirds, and other wildlife. In addition, at least three known important fish spawning aggregation sites have been identified. At the northern end of the island group is Mauger Caye, with its eponymous lighthouse, the southern end has a smaller aid to navigation on Caye Bokel.
Glover's Reef Atoll
GLOVER'S REEF ATOLL - The southernmost of Belize's atolls, Glover's Reef is a ring of beautiful coral reef that spans nearly 80 square miles. Glover's Reef is a partially submerged atoll located off the southern coast of Belize, approximately 45 kilometres from the mainland. It forms part of the outermost boundary of the Belize Barrier Reef. The oval-shaped atoll is 20 miles long and 7.5 miles wide. The interior lagoon is dotted with around 850 reef patches and pinnacles rising to the surface. Major cayes include Amounme Point Caye, Northeast Caye, Long Caye, Middle Caye and Southwest Caye.
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