It’s been over a month since I returned from Belize, but it’s taken a bit of time to work through all the photos and thoughts on this fantastic trip. I couldn’t let this pass without sharing some of the experience with all of you!
As you know, I love adventure travel. And this vacation was no exception! Our goal was to spend as much time underwater as possible, so we looked for locations known for amazing scuba diving. We chose Belize, because of the famous Blue Hole dive site.
The Blue Hole is a sinkhole, or underwater cavern, which is off the coast of Belize. The name comes from how the area looks from the air (you don’t see this from a boat). From above, you literally see a dark blue circle in the water (from the very deep water in that area) sitting in the lighter blue ocean water around it (from the shallower water around it).
The Blue Hole was absolutely the most amazing dive I’ve done so far, both because of the depth (130 feet!) and the dive site itself. Imagine swimming around stalactites far beneath the surface – with only 7 minutes of no decompression time at that depth. As you swim around these huge rock formations hanging from a shelf above, you see a giant cavern stretching out in front of you. It’s just surreal!
[Tweet “#Scuba Diving in #Belize – add to your bucket list! #travel”]
Why Turneffe Resort
We chose a dive-focused resort (they also offer fishing), which is a 90 minute boat ride north of the Belize airport. You get the sense it’s going to be good when you have to take a boat to the resort.
Turneffe Resort is on a private island, which means there is only room for a small number of guests. For our week, there were about 10 couples on the island – most in private villas overlooking the ocean. All the rooms & villas were oceanfront, so really there wasn’t a bad room on the island. We were very happy with our choice one of a private villa – which gives you plenty of space to spread out and relax when you want privacy. And I have to mention my favorite feature – the outdoor shower. We never even turned on the shower in the bathroom!
Coffee & Tea was delivered to our front porch each morning, which was an incredible way to start the day. With 2-4 dives each day, this isn’t a place you sleep in unless you wanted to sacrifice one of those dives. Both Kirk and I hit all 15 of the available dives, so we were up to see the sunrise each morning. And it was 100% worth it!
All the meals are served family style, which I admit made me a bit nervous. All-inclusive food can be hit or miss. But I was extremely impressed with the high quality food at every meal – you will not be disappointed here! I let them know when I booked that I don’t really eat chicken, so they made sure I had something different when they did serve chicken to the other guests. There was a guest who was a strict vegan and they did a fantastic job serving delicious food to her at each meal, as well. They probably could have given her more protein in those meals, but I was still pretty impressed with the level of creativity that went into each dish!
When we weren’t diving or eating, we spent our time exploring the little island, lounging by the pool, or enjoying the bar with the other couples on the island. All the staff is amazing, so we had a great time getting to know a few of them throughout the week.
Diving in Belize
I already told you about my favorite dive, but what about the 14 other dives? We were told that the conditions were a bit rougher than normal (I seem to have bad luck with that!), so I was very happy we chose a dive resort vs a liveaboard. I am prone to sea-sickness, so it was a relief to spend less than 10 minutes on a boat to each dive site, then back to land for the surface intervals. It’s pretty fantastic to have a shower and relax by the ocean or pool between dives.
The rougher conditions meant that we didn’t experience the high visibility that is typical for this area. With that said, we still had 60+ feet of visibility on each dive, so we’re not talking about anything bad! There was a bit more “stuff” floating in the water, so that was the noticeable difference.
The scuba diving was GREAT! As I hope you can see from the photos. There was a wide variety of marine life on every dive and more large animal sightings than most other places I’ve seen. Some of the more memorable were the remora, reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, and loggerhead turtles. Unfortunately, there were also a lot of lionfish, which are not indigenous to the caribbean and can really wreak havoc on a reef. We did get a lesson on spear fishing during the trip and had the chance to help reduce the lionfish population. I was TERRIBLE at this, too nervous to get very close which doesn’t work well for lionfish hunting. I did eventually spear one, but it took a LOT of misfires and a lot of burned air in the process.
[Tweet “Take a virtual #Belize vacation with this review. #travel”]
The divemasters at the resort were fantastic! We dove with Daniel for 99% of our dives and he did an excellent job finding interesting animals underwater. He also is an instructor and handled our Nitrox certification during the week, so we could start using more than half of our air on each dive. It’s nice to not worry about the decompression time limiting our dive time with so many repetitive dives! And it’s one step closer to finally getting my Master Diver certification.
If you’re a scuba diver, Belize has got to be on your travel bucketlist. And I highly recommend checking out Turneffe Resort for the trip. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back for another amazing vacation, other than the fact that there are so many places to explore! The perfect combination of activity, relaxing, socializing, and exploring the underwater world.
Where is your next dream vacation??