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Glover's Reef was the best! Most untouched reef and beautiful scenery!

Al & Cindy Uyeno,
Seattle, Washington

Turneffe had incredible wildlife--sharks, turtles, rays and huge schools of fish!

Amy & Alex Romasharo,
Illinois, USA


 

 

Reefs of Belize

Southern Barrier Reef | Glover's Reef Atoll | Turneffe Islands Atoll
Lighthouse Reef Atoll | Gladden Spit

Beneath the turquoise sea of Belize is an underwater world that exceeds every other Caribbean dive destination in diversity, size and scope. The total diving area is absolutely immense. More than 185 miles North to South, the Belize Barrier reef system is the greatest stretch of coral in the Western Hemisphere and encompasses a huge variety of coral reef including walls, pinnacles, spur and groove, swim-throughs and more. It gets even better because farther offshore are three enormous rings of coral known as atolls which provide hundreds of miles of additional reef dropping off into the deep blue.

Glover's Reef Atoll, Turneffe Islands Atoll and Lighthouse Reef Atoll together cover more than 400 square miles with a total of 140 miles of drop-off walls. Incredibly, these atolls comprise as much reef surface as the Belize barrier reef itself! These Belizean atolls, unlike Pacific atolls built on volcanoes, actually sit atop two parallel submarine ridges close enough to the surface to allow the formation of massive coral and sponge growths.

 

SOUTHERN BARRIER REEF
Hamanasi is ideally located and equipped to access all three atolls by day trips with the added bonus of having the pristine, Southern Barrier Reef in our front yard. Dives on this section typically produce sightings of spotted eagle rays, turtles, moray eels, southern stingrays, large grouper, barracuda, king mackerel, dolphins and several shark species, as well as almost every kind of smaller tropical reef fish in regular profusion. These sites are typically wall drift dives interspersed with sand channels and adorned with multicolored sponges and gargonia corals.

 

GLOVER'S REEF ATOLL
In Southern Belize and directly offshore from Hamanasi is Glover's Reef Atoll. Named after the 17th century pirate John Glover, who used the remote islands as the base for his raids against Spanish galleons heading to and from the Bay Islands of Honduras, Glover's Reef is the most remote island group in the country. Rising out of the blue from a depth of well over 2,000 feet this well defined oval shaped coral formation surrounds more than 700 patch reefs inside its 100 square mile crystalline lagoon. Of the three atolls Glover's Reef sees the least amount of human contact and is largely unexplored. Come see for yourself why this atoll was designated a National Marine Reserve and, in 1997, a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

 

TURNEFFE ISLANDS ATOLL

The Turneffe Islands Atoll is the largest of the trio and also the closest from the Belize coastline. Here you will find an area dominated by purely mangrove islands. These mangrove ranges, both offshore and coastal, make Belize diving so special as they are the nurseries on which almost all marine life depend to insure juvenile protection and biological productivity. Although the atoll is best known for its walls, there are many shallow sea gardens and bright sand flats inside the reef excellent for scuba diving. Undoubtedly, the highlight of Turneffe Islands diving is a spot called the Elbow located at the extreme southern tip of the atoll. Here at the convergence of several ocean currents you may dive through enormous schools of permit, snappers, eagle rays, Atlantic spadefish, grouper and jacks numbering at times in the thousands.

 

LIGHTHOUSE REEF ATOLL
Lighthouse Reef Atoll is known worldwide in SCUBA Diving circles for its spectacular diving, but it is most famous for a site called the Great Blue Hole. Originally, a cave whose roof collapsed thousands of years ago and filled with water, the Blue Hole forms a perfect 1,000 foot diameter circle on the surface then plunges vertically to a depth of 430 feet. At 130 feet depth, one can find the world's largest underwater dripstones, or stalactites, ever found. Also at Lighthouse Reef, you will find Half Moon Caye, a National Park managed by the Belize Audubon Society. Half Moon Caye is home to a bird colony of rare Red Footed Boobies that can be observed up close by visitors. This Atoll is 50 miles out to sea and is the furthest out of the Belize Atolls.

 

GLADDEN SPIT
The Gladden Spit Marine Reserve is located due south of Hamansi in the southern region of the barrier reef. The site has a sloping shelf that drops off steeply at about 130 ft to over 6,000 ft. Gladden Spit hosts over 25 species of reef fish that aggregate to spawn. During the full moon of April, May and June, whalesharks congregate in the area to feast on the fresh eggs and spawn. Large aggregations of snappers and jacks and schools of dolphins are often seen but the ultimate highlight of a Gladden Spit dive is a whaleshark encounter. These majestic fish can grow up to 60 ft in length and reaches sexual maturity at the age of 30.

Whale shark diving is not included in any of Hamanasi's packages and the upgrade fee is currently USD $120 per person (subject to change). For non package guests, Whale Shark Dives are USD $200 per person (subject to change). All divers will be required to attend a short whale shark training meeting and complete and sign Hamanasi's Whale Shark Liability Release.

2014 Whale Shark Season Dates

Full Moon
Start Date
End Date
March 16
March 19
March 24
April 15
April 18
April 23
May 14
May 17
May 23
June 13
June 16
June 21

Hamanasi prides itself by our well-trained staff. All our divemasters and captains have attended a two day course on Whale Shark Diving presented by Friends of Nature, the organization managing the Gladden Spit Marine Park. This course has given them a great appreciation for the gentle giants of the ocean and an understanding of how to interact with the whale sharks.

We look forward to sharing with you this rare opportunity of diving with whale sharks!

Click on this link to check out a video taken on a hamanasi resort whale shark dive! 




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