16 Reasons to Dive The Cayes of Southern Belize

Ever since learning how to scuba dive I’ve naturally combined it with my interest in photography to record what I experience underwater.

Underwater photography presents many unique challenges and my Belize photos are some of my first attempts at capturing the beauty of the great blue ocean and it’s incredible marine life.

Belize is home to the second largest reef in the world, a designated world heritage site. Every time you hop in the water in Belize there is something new to see to and experience.

That’s what makes scuba diving and snorkeling the ocean so exciting. Check out these 16 photos from below the surface and into an alien world!


1. The Colorful Reef

coral reef

Diving the small cayes and atolls in Southern Belize captured some of the most colorful reefs I’ve ever seen.


2. The Sneaky Pipefish

belize barrier reef
Their camouflage isn’t good enough to hide from my wandering eyes!


3. Mr. Mean Green

green moray
Moray eels look meaner than they actually are. If you dive in Belize you’re likely to see a few!


4. Lobster Dinners

red grouper
People aren’t the only ones enjoying Belize’s tasty lobsters. We arrived just as this grouper was helping itself to a large mouthful of lobster.


5. Jaws!

shark ray alley
Just kidding! These little nurse sharks are frequently seen and they’re harmless.


6. Fangs

belize moray
Spotted morays are smaller than their green cousins but seem to have much more attitude!


7. Pinocchio

The first batfish I’ve ever seen! Sure are pretty aren’t they?


8. Deadly Cuteness

The porcupine puffer fish (Porcupinefish) has an extremely toxic poison called tetrodotoxin that can kill you when eaten. If you dare try it, make sure your chef knows how to prepare this one properly!


9. Hide and Seek

This small sharpnose puffer fish tried to hide in a brightly colored sponge but I found him!


10. Brainiac

brain coral
Mesmerizing brain coral!


11. Mugshot

That’s one only a mother could love!


12. Hypnotized?

sea turtle
All it took to get this turtle’s attention was the waiving of a conch shell.


13. The Hungry Lion

The lionfish is an invasive species. Without any predators to keep it in line it’s decimating marine life all over the Caribbean.


14. Shark!

nurse sharks
I’ve been snorkeling in diving in a lot of places and I’ve never seen more nurse sharks than in Belize. If you have a huge fear of sharks these harmless little guys are a perfect introduction to help you conquer your fear.


15. The Little Guys!

Sometimes you just have to slow down and hold still for a minute or you miss all the little things in life. There are tons of little fish who calls the reef’s nooks and crannies home but you’ll never see them if you don’t look closely!


16. Alien or Fish?

The batfish is one of those creatures that’s so odd it blows your mind when you see one! Normally they live in very deep water and I’ve never seen one anywhere else. The long thing nose they’re equipped with is used as a “fishing pole” to lure prey close enough to be eaten.

Dive locations included:

  • Glover’s Reef Atoll
  • South Water Caye
  • Silk Cayes
  • Laughing Bird Caye

Diving the coral reefs of Belize’s Southern cayes was nothing short of amazing – If these photos don’t make you want to hop in the water right now I don’t know what would!

Diving encounters also included enormous rays, small reef sharks, nurse sharks, a variety of sea turtles, a seahorse, toadfish, and lots of other marine life! Not to mention swimming with whale sharks the size of school buses.

Departing from Placencia most dive sites are a 1-2 hour boat ride away. The secluded cayes and vibrant reefs are definitely worth the extra time to get to. A special thanks to Placencia’s Splash Dive Shop for the wonderful adventures.

Related: Scuba Diving in Galapagos Islands

Author Bio:

James loves to share his passion for traveling and to inspire you to go out and do more exploring of your own! There’s a great big world out there that we don’t see enough of.

More than half of Americans haven’t even set foot outside of their own country! From Belize’s barrier reef, to the jungles of Borneo, James loves to explore and share some awesome travels!