Local Barrier Reef Dive and Snorkeling
You’ll be diving on the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest in the Northern Hemisphere. There are many excellent dive and snorkel sites to experience where we regularly see turtles, rays, nurse sharks as well as a wide variety of colorful fish and corals. Let our experienced guides take you to some of the best diving and snorkel spots in Placencia, Belize.
Barrier Reef Dive
These are daily 2 tank dive trips that may include wall dives (drop-offs), Canyon dives (swim thru) or Faro dive. They are done on the Barrier Reef (Outer Reef) or the Inner Lagoon (Inner Reef) each with their unique features and characteristics.
Dive sites and destinations are usually determined by group interest and weather conditions of the day. Some dive destinations include Laughing Bird Caye, Silk Cayes, and Pompion Caye. Your divemaster will lead the group pointing out fascinating marine life and creatures as you cruise along on your dive.
On a typical day, we do one dive in the morning, break for Belizean-Style lunch on the white sandy beaches, then do a second dive in the afternoon before heading back home.
Although fishing of any kind is not allowed while scuba diving, we are permitted to spear Lionfish. This species aggressive tendencies and a large appetite for juvenile fish make them hazardous to our reefs. Because they are not native to our waters and have very few predators, we spear them to keep their population in check. We provide tridents for divers who like to help us with the Lionfish.
Barrier Reef Snorkel
Snorkeling is often combined with diving for groups with non-divers. The snorkeling is done from the white sandy beaches of the cayes we visit. This way you will not be on the boat entire trip. This also makes it a great spot for beginners and children.
There is excellent snorkeling just a few feet from the beaches. The reefs around these islands are teeming with sea life. You can expect to see multicolored reef fish and corals, as well as the occasional turtle or ray as your snorkeling guide will point out interesting creatures and marine life.
After refueling with a Belizean-Style lunch on the beach, we do a second guided snorkel session before heading back home.
Not certified? Still want to dive?
Have you ever dream of discovering what wonders awaits you under the surface of the sea? If you want to try scuba diving, but don’t have the time or not quite ready to take the full certification course, Discover Scuba Diving is for you. This course only lasts a day and will have you exploring a fascinating underwater world in no time!
Silk Cayes and Turtle Ray Ally
Located about 22 miles from Placencia (about 1 hr boat ride), it is made up of three small islands located inside the Gladden Split & Silk Cayes Marine Reserve.
This location is quickly becoming famous for a snorkeling spot call Turtle Ray Ally. Here you can get close encounters with Sea Turtles, Sting Rays, and Nurse Shark. This is normally done as a bonus snorkel for both diver and snorekelers at the end of the day.
Some of the more frequent dive sites we visit at Silk Cayes are:
- North Wall
Consider among one of the best dives in Belize, and one of the most popular dives from Placencia, it is known for almost every kind of Caribbean reef creatures, including a few reef sharks, and the occasional whale shark sighting.
- Turtle Canyons
Named from the Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles that rest here, this site makes a great second after North Wall. This site also makes a great nursery for spotted drum, arrow crabs and cleaner shrimp, which also makes for good photography.
- White Hole
Named for the white sandy patch of sand (about 30 feet) where the dive normally begins. You are likely to run into a few Southern Stingrays, Nurse Shark, and Green Moray eels.
Laughing Bird Caye National Park
Located inside the Barrier Reef, about 10 miles from Placencia (30 Min Boat Ride), this long narrow aisle stands on a reef known as a Faro.
A Faro is an angular atoll on a continental shelf, also known as a shelf atoll. this makes it ideal for beginners and novices because the water is calm and clear. While the vast numbers of fish you will see outside the reef are missing, it more than makes up for it with a variety of juvenile fishes and hard and soft corals.
Some of the dive sites we visit :
- Laughing Bird Caye Slope
This is accessible by shore and boat and is a favorite spot to begin our Discover Scuba Diving Course or Confine Water Dives for the Open Water Certification Classes. It is an excellent fish nursery and gives learning divers something to see while taking these courses.
- Coral Garden
This is a novice boat dive known for its diversity of Corals. There are also lots of reef fish including spotted drums, as well as invertebrates like lobsters, cleaner shrimp and arrow crabs.
- Laughing Bird Caye South
It is home to a huge canyon that runs north to south giving it multi-dive potential on either side of the canyon or in between. You can find lobster hiding in the walls, while nurse sharks and southern stingrays lay on the sand.
This small privately own Island located further East of Laughing Bird Caye, South of the Silk cayes, and about 20 miles from Placencia. It is a favorite base for local fishermen as the surrounding reef are full of life.
The more popular dives at Pompion Caye are:
- Pompion Wall
This dive Site is about 2 miles out from Pompion Caye itself, and 22 miles from Placencia. The wall starts about 45 feet and drops steeply into the abyss. On top of the wall, you can find many colorful reef fish, while pelagic are often seen in the blue. Alongside the wall, around 60 – 70 feet, are nook and crannies where you can find lobsters, lurking moray eels, arrow crabs, and feeding hawksbill turtles.
- Pompion Canyon
The canyons are actually groves in towers of corals. The current normally dictate the direction we dive, either North to South or South to North. Searching the canyons and spur for marine creatures makes this a really fun dive.
- Scuba Divers must be an Open Water Certified from a reputable SCUBA association, in good health, and have dived within the last 12 months. If you have not been diving within 12 months, we recommended that you do a Refresher Course.
- Basic swimming skills are required for snorkeling.
Diving: Easy to Moderate
Snorkeling: Easy, suitable for children
What Should I Bring?
- Reef Safe Sunscreen
- Dive and Snorkel Gear (if you have any)
- Underwater Camara
- Insect repellant
What Equipment Will I need?
All the equipment you need for this dive and snorekl tour is provided and includes mask, snorkel, fins and full dive equipment (except dive computers). However, we do strongly recommend getting your own personal items such as mask, fins and snorkel for fit and comfort.
- 2 guided dives or 2 snorkel session
- All Diving and Snorkeling Equipment
- Belizean-Style Lunch
- Bottled Water
- Beach towels
- Marine Reserve Conservation fees
- Hotel Transfer (some restrictions may apply)
- 12.5% Sales Tax
Scuba Diving: $140 USD
Snorkeling: $85 USD
Discover Scuba: $175 USD
(minimum 5 Divers)
30 min - 1 hour
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Includes 2 Dives or Snorkel Sessions, Pick-up/drop-off from hotel (restrictions may apply), all diving equipment, Lunch, Conservation Fees,12.5% Sales taxes, and led PADI Divemaster or Snorkel Guide.