We travel up to six miles (10 km) north and four miles (6.5 km) south on the outside of the reef. The reef is 1/2 mile (1.5 km) off-shore making any local dive easy to get to and in minimal time.
It is said that Belize has more marine life per square foot than any place on earth. The living proof is in the miles of living, colorful coral. The water temperature ranges from 79 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (25-28 C) during the winter months and 81 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (27-29 C) in the summer. The visibility rarely drops to 60 feet (18 m) but can be as much as 150 feet (45 m), averaging between 80 to 100 feet (24-30 m). The average depth for local reef diving is between 60 and 80 feet (18-24 m). Canyons and caverns can also be explored for the more advanced diver with depths from 100 to 130 feet (30-39 m).
One of the most popular local dive sites is Hol Chan Marine Reserve, ideal for snorkelers and divers alike. The reserve is only moments away by boat, approximately four miles (6.5 km) southeast of San Pedro. The central feature of the reserve is a natural break or cut in the reef. The cut is famous for its schools of exotic fish, coves with moray eels, swaying sea fans, an abundance of large groupers, snappers and of course, nurse sharks. The reserve itself encompasses more than five square miles (8 sq km) of ecologically linked coral reef, sea grass meadows and coastal swamp habitats.
The need for protection in this area has stemmed primarily from an increase in tourism along with a history of stress from being over collected, over fished and anchor damage. With the protection offered to the area by "reserve status" it is hoped that the area will be restored to that of its ancestral age. In an effort to contribute to its preservation, Park Rangers collect a fee from all divers and snorkelers who take advantage of this water world. As one of the most popular dive locations, it offers a variety of dive sites that range in depth. The most popular is the Hol Chan Cut, just inside the reef where the coral rises to the surface in a long snaking ridge. With a maximum depth of 32 feet and during opportune diving conditions, this dive is gentle with the insurance of seeing some of the best of Belize. Hol Chan also enjoys a healthy nightlife where a look in the dark will enhance your appreciation of the lives led by our underwater friends.
Folks try to visit the sea twice daily at 9:00am and 2:00pm and only need two divers to make a local trip. Two tank dives are the most popular with the surface interval back on the island. Only a handful of locations are inside the reef, such as Hol Chan Marine Reserve, but we like to save those for the windy days. Ambergris Caye can be known for its trade winds and due to the sometimes high wind factor, dives may need to be postponed or delayed until the swells calm.
All dives include tank(s) and weights.
Equipment Rental - $ varies according to needs, such as BCD, regulator, wetsuit, fins, mask, snorkel.
Night diving is another adventure not be passed up while on the Caye. The marine life is abundant and the coral colors under light are magnificent. Night diving is done at Hol Chan Marine Reserve.