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Posted by Laura:

Belize is a favorite scuba diving destination for many people.  However, it is a very diverse destination and there are many places that you could go to, each with very different diving opportunities.  Some of these are suitable only for more advanced divers, so you do need to make sure that you remain safe.  If you are wondering how safe Belize is, it really depends on where you choose to dive and what your experience and skill levels are.

How Safe is Belize – What Not to Do

Many people visit Belize on a cruise holiday and expect that they will be able to dive.  However, the docking station for Belize is Belize City, which is not a good place for scuba diving.  Many rivers mouth into the ocean there, making the waters brown and murky.  You will need to travel at least an hour to reach a good diving destination with good visibility.  Of course, cruise ships do try to cater for divers, but you will probably be left disappointed with the dive sites they offer.  Many people say that they dived in Belize and were left very unimpressed, but this is because they only spent a day there and dove on sites offered by the cruise ship operators.

Belize Barrier Reef

One of the dive sites that is quite interesting in Belize is the Barrier Reef.  The most well known sites here include:
Caye Caulker
Ambergris Caye
St George’s Caye
Caye Chapel
Let’s review these sites in a bit more detail.

Diving Belize – Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye

Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye are two very popular islands for divers as there are other activities to do there as well.  Diving here is quite challenging, so do make sure you have the right level of experience.  The reef itself is fascinating.  It runs the entire length of Belize, all 175 miles of it, and at times comes up to the surface.  This means that it can be very difficult to get to the open sea for divers, who will need to take a boat.  These boats need to negotiate Cuts – natural paths leading through the reef to the sea that are deep and wide enough for boats to pass.  If you suffer from seasickness, this is probably not the best place for you to go.  Particularly between December and April, the waves are really bad and you will feel the boat crashing down.
If you are able to dive in these areas, you will certainly increase your skill levels.  It is an incredibly challenging dive.  This does mean, however, that you will feel comfortable on all other dives from thereon, of course, as it can’t get more difficult than this.  Of course, another benefit of diving these areas is that there is much more on offer than just diving, including a vibrant nightlife, cave tubing, Mayan ruins and fantastic shops and restaurants. If you are planning a trip to Belize and and you would like to stay on Ambergris Caye we can recommend  Portofino Resort. This resort run by Sandra en Sjoerd Jan van Noord will make your trip even more special.

Diving Belize – The Belize Atolls

Atolls are bodies of water that are surrounded by a reef.  There are four of these in the entire Western Hemisphere, and three of these four can be found in Belize.  They are:
Turneffe Atoll
Glovers Reef Atoll
Lighthouse Reef Atoll
The fourth atoll is the Chinchorro Banks, which is just south of Cancun, Mexico.
Atolls have reasonably calm waters, making them more suitable for less experienced divers.  The visibility is fantastic and the underwater world itself is absolutely mesmerising.  The downside is that there is little else to do but dive, so this is not a suitable location for a family holiday where only one party enjoys diving, for example.  It is possible, however, to go on a daytrip to the Lighthouse Reef Atoll and the Turneffe Atoll from Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye, so you may be able to combine the two.  There are several lodges and resorts around the atolls, so you will be very comfortable.
Whale Shark Diving in Belize
It has been found that Whale Sharks migrate to Belize at the Gladden Split.  This happens at the same time as the spawning season of the Snapper, between March and June each year.  If you want to witness this fantastic feat of nature, try to go during a full moon, as you will be able to see the Snappers spawning.  It is possible to get to this reef in around an hour by boat from many of the main resorts.  Glover’s reef is the favourite atoll of many because of this wonder of nature.
Be safe and enjoy, but don’t go beyond your skill levels.

Photos courtesy of Canesaurus
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“Portofino Beach Resort’s Message to all our Friends”

The New Year’s rolling in a few days;
We’re planning quite a bash.
We need to have you here;
So it will be a smash!
We really want to see you;
And hope that you can make it.
So help us make our party fun!
Just bring your awesome selves…

When you let us know you’ll come,
We’ll smile and shout “Whoopee!”

So sit right down and phone us at 226 5096
With your kind R.S.V.P.


Like us on Facebook if you do so….

2 Responses to "Portofino’s Countdown to 2012"

1 | Hilde S. said on December 27th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Thank you, having some really good memories of our 3 hollidays at Portofino – Happy new year everybody !

2 | Dawn W.T. said on December 27th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Planning on returning to the Portofino in 2012. Had too much fun there this year!

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We had a blast!
Portofino Beach Resort together with Santa took Frank, one of our guests, on a Dive to Mexico Rocks, located North of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Even there was a little overcast, the visibility and water temperature was just perfect.

The area where this scuba Santa makes his aquatic home is the second largest barrier reef in the world. If you’ve been nice, you may see manta rays, nurse sharks, manatees, wolf eels, and other beautiful reef fishes.

Santa came face to face with a goliath grouper that seemed quite fascinated with the jolly man and his red suit.

The reef is Belize’s top tourist destination popular for scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing. The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300 meters (980 ft) offshore in the north and 40 kilometers (25 mi) in the south within the country limits.

The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300 kilometers (190 mi) long section of the 900 kilometers (560 mi) long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún on the northeast tip of the Yucatán Peninsula through the Riviera Maya up to Honduras making it one of the largest coral reef systems in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the New Caledonia Barrier Reef.

The real joy of Portofino Beach Resort:  One minute you can be relaxing on the beach, enjoying the sunshine, sea breeze and warm sand under your toes, the next minute discovering the Belize Barrier Reef just a half mile away from the beach, or swimming with nurse sharks and sting rays!  It’s the ultimate Caribbean Escape where you can do everything or nothing at all!

Your beachfront Cabana and Suite overlooking the Caribbean Sea opens the door to snorkeling, diving, sea kayaking, sailing and fishing right out your front porch.

You don’t have to be Santa to go scuba diving in Belize. There are so many great places to dive, canyons, caves, wall dives, to name a few. You can even organize dive parties, with friends and family. Portofino Resort and Action Divers can make your Christmas wish come true. So if you’re six mile north of San Pedro, keep your eyes open for Scuba Santa.

Did you know we have a Facebook Page, please “LIKE” us if you do so!


4 Responses to "HO HO HO… Merry Christmas from Portofino Beach Resort in Belize!"

1 | Belize Diving said on December 29th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Hi Portofino,

I genuinely loved this brilliant article. Please continue this awesome work.

2 | Carla Douberly said on December 25th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Love the pics…and Belize is one of my favorite countries and dive spots. Please put me on your email list and let me know of any specials you might have.

Merry Christmas
Carla D

3 | Dan Heimbrock said on December 22nd, 2011 at 11:45 am

Fantastic set of photos and this sure looks like a great “holiday time adventure!”

4 | Jose Luis Zapata said on December 20th, 2011 at 4:50 pm

This is awesome. Only in Belize :)

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