NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION Lighthouse Reef is 50 miles (80 km) southeast of the capital, Belize City
SCUBA DIVING Gently shelving lagoons are divided from the ocean here by small, raised reefs
DAYTIME TEMPERATURES Jan: 81°F (27°C); Apr: 85°F (30°C); Jul: 86°F (30°C); Oct: 84°F (29°C)
Lighthouse Reef’s famous Blue Hole, explored by Frenchman Jacques Cousteau on his Calypso expedition of 1972, is the jewel in Belize’s diving crown. This barren circular tunnel, which drops to a depth of 1,475 ft (450 m), has stalactites hanging from a shelf at 130 ft (40 m), indicating that it was once dry land.
The only fish you’ll see are reef sharks and groupers, but venture into other areas and you’ll find livelier spots, where bottom-feeding rays dwell in sandy lagoons, pastel-toned sea plumes cover the raised barrier reef, and pelagic species, including turtles, patrol the steep walls.
Getting There and Around Flights to Belize City are available from most major American cities. On arrival, your dive operator will arrange transportation to the sites, but Lighthouse Reef is best seen from a liveaboard boat.
When to Go This is an all-year destination, but from August to October there is more rain and a higher chance of hurricanes.