Though snorkeling is far and away the most popular activity on our island, many of our guests take advantage of the scuba diving opportunities offered by the Long Caye Dive Center, just a few feet down the island from our dining hall. All scuba diving on the island is from a Long Caye Dive Center boat and accompanied by one of their skilled guides. A complete description of the dives available with them, along with their rates and requirements, is available in the dive Belize section of our website.
They also offer a full line of certification classes, from first time Bubblemaker classes for kids to Master Diver and everything in between. If you have never been scuba diving before but have wanted to learn, Long Caye at Glover’s Reef is the perfect place to learn – the water is 80 degrees and visibility is some of the highest anywhere. If you haven’t considered it before, check out this great article about first-time diving in Belize. Read this piece just out by Joshua S. Brown published in the 2012 issue of Destination Belize Magazine.
Becoming certified to dive involves a little bit of book study and classroom discussion, as well as taking written tests. That is followed by shallow water or in-pool skill training and testing. The final step involves open water dives and passing further skill tests at 40 feet.
Rather than spend precious days on the island with their head in a book or sitting in a classroom, many of our guests who are diving for the first time prefer to get the classroom and pool skills part of their certification completed before they arrive. This can be accomplished easily by contacting any dive center in your vicinity and regardless which organization you go with, as long as it is one of the widely recognized certification programs (e.g. NAUI, SSI, ACUC, CMAS, and BSAC) and you bring along the appropriate paperwork, the final open water steps can be completed on Long Caye. In this case your certification would be issued by PADI or you can opt to take your paperwork home and have it issued by your original organization. This kind of course, where you do half of the course at home and half on the island is called a “referral” course. You can see a complete description of all Belize dive courses on our website. Once you are certified to dive, it is a lifetime certification. You can then dive anywhere in the world.
Anderson Cooper, in a report recently on 60 Minutes, visits with coral reef specialists at a remote coral reef off the coast of Cuba: The Gardens of the Queen. This reef is special in that, due to its remote location and the fact it has long been protected from over-fishing and other human/industrial depredations, it is one of the few reef systems in the world that is still thriving. In this regard, and because of it’s location in the Caribbean, it is remarkably similar to what is found at Glover’s Reef, also a world-class marine reserve.
The reef as described in the 60 Minutes episode could be about Glover’s Reef, where our island is located off the coast of Belize. View this episode to see what can be found at a healthy Caribbean coral reef.
While many people go to the Caribbean for nothing more than sitting in the sun with a cocktail in hand, there’s more that the Caribbean has to offer. For one, not just a couple seasons of warmth, but pleasant weather year-round. With such clear waters to go with that, the Caribbean is one of the top diving destinations in the world. Here, courtesy of Cheap Air’s blog, is a list of a few of the best destinations to scuba dive in the Caribbean:
Aruba: If you’re less into marine life and more into wrecking diving, then put Aruba at the top of the list. Many cite Aruba as one of the top wreck diving destinations in the world, with opportunities for both experienced and novice divers. One of the most notable wrecks is the Antilla, a 400-foot German freighter. Since the location of the ship has such little current, it’s accessible by divers of varying skill levels.
Belize: For a full diving experience, head to the waters just off the shores of Belize. Belize isn’t in fact an island, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t offer some of the best diving waters in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef helps make up the second largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. However, no diving trip to Belize is complete without a visit to Glover’s Reef.
Turks and Caicos: The Turks and Caicos are often overlooked as a diving destination, making the diving spots often a lot less explored than many other destinations. It offers a good mix of marine life and wrecks. Not far off from Turks and Caicos are drop-off spots, where the elevation can drop off thousands of feet below sea level. This is recommended for the more experienced divers.
Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands make their way onto this list because it offers great opportunities for divers of all levels. There are tons of diving operators, many of which make it easy and cheap to get your diving certification. I recommend the Cayman Islands for the person just getting started who is more interested in the experience and a first-hand look at Caribbean marine life.
Grenada: Grenada is another destination that often gets overlooked by travelers. However, for the diving enthusiast, this is another destination that should be at the top of your lists for its wreck diving. Some of the more notable wreck sites in Grenada include the Titanic of the Caribbean, a 600-foot cruise ship, and the Isle of Wrecks. Many of these wrecks are recommended for more experienced divers since currents can be strong.