The Turneffe Atoll is the largest of the three Belize atolls. It is nearly 50 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide and is located southeast of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, about 32 kilometers from the big city, Belize City. It is also the least remote and least wild atoll. However, since November 22, 2012, Turneffe has been declared a Marine Reserve. Indeed, the atoll is home to many threatened marine species, often due to fishing. In addition, the atoll is made up of more than 400 small islands, most of which are covered with mangroves and beautiful lagoons. The place is ideal for a memorable diving trip in Belize. Most of the 70 dive sites in Turneffe are wonderful reefs and drop-offs on translucent water. They are relatively close to the hotels and the diving centers usually go out for only one dive. Be aware that the best way to visit the different Turneffe diving sites is to book a liveaboard in Belize
What can be seen while Scuba diving on the Turneffe atoll
Around the atoll, more than sixty hard corals and nearly 550 different species of fish have been counted. One can for example dive with sea turtles, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, manatees or dolphins. To make the most of a dive trip to Belize, we recommend that you also visit the Lightouse Reef atoll, best known for its Blue Hole. In addition, the third atoll of the Belize reef, Glover’s Reef, also has some extraordinary dive sites.
Best diving sites in Turneffe
Nearby Blackbird Cay
This marvelous island takes its name from the famous pirate Blackbird, whose real name was Edward Teach who had established his base there in 1717. It was from this island that he captured new boats to create a fleet. We understand why he chose this island. It is simply beautiful and there are some of the prettiest diving centers in Belize.
This dive site is particularly known for its extraordinary fauna and its wonderful coral gardens. But the site also has a very developed fauna and you will be able to see there a multitude of angel fishes, trigger fishes as well as some magnificent hawksbills turtles.
Sting Ray Motel
This beautiful plateau takes its name from the multitude of rays wandering on the site. You can dive with eagle rays, garden eels, stingrays or small blennies. Also note that the mangrove next door is inhabited by manatees.
This dive site takes its name from the large rocks found there and which recalls a human construction. It is an easy dive, very close to the coast and hotels. The site is particularly suitable to try scuba diving in Belize.
This is a relatively easy and enjoyable drift dive. Particularly suitable for beginners divers that would like to try diving in Belize. There are many eels on the sand that covers the seabed.
This dive site, as well as Coliseum, is particularly easy and perfect for a first dive. The waters are simply transparent and the corals are beautiful as is usually the case for every diving site in Belize. There are also plenty of small fish.
Caye Bokel in South Atoll
Southern Turneffe Atoll has fewer soft corals than the north but has an impressive collection of hard corals. In addition, life is more developed and the dive sites are particularly beautiful and recognized such as the Elbow diving site which is one of the ten best dive sites of the Caribbean.
It is a relatively shallow reef that goes down to 15 meters. You can dive there with turtles, groupers, barracudas and of course snappers.
Beautiful drop-off and exceptional dive. On the black beauty site wyou should be able to dive with eagle rays, turtles and sharks. Just know that the current can be quite powerful. The site takes its name from the magnificent black corals that were present on the site before being taken to make necklaces.
Particularly renowned for underwater photography. This large wall which starts at 11 meters to extend up to 40 meters allows to dive with eagle rays, snappers, groupers and, as its name indicates, turtles.
If you have come for a diving holiday in Belize, you should definitely dive into the Elbow. This is one of the ten most beautiful diving sites in the Caribbean and it is clearly the site with the highest density of fish in the entire Turneffe Atoll. This is a drift dive and the current and the concentration of plankton that attracts pelagics and immense schools of fish. You can dive with manta rays, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, groupers, large reef sharks and snappers and, for the lucky ones, with dolphins.
The wreck of Sayonara
It is one of the few wrecks in Belize. This boat belonged to the Island Resort which decided to scuttle it in 1985 to create an artificial reef. The ship’s wreck lies about 18 meters and is inhabited by numerous invertebrates such as starfish, lobsters and shrimp. Very visual and particularly suited to underwater photography, the site is worth the detour. Moreover, close to the wreck, a nice reef and large coral potatoes deserve to be visited. You can dive there with large benches of fish, parrot fish, barracudas and balistes.