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As a passionate diver, I have always been drawn to the beauty and diversity of our underwater world. And when it comes to diving destinations, Belize is simply unparalleled. My favorite way to explore an area as vast and diverse as Belize is on a liveaboard boat.
With its crystal-clear waters, colorful coral reefs, and abundance of marine life, Belize is a true paradise for divers of all levels. But what sets Belize apart from other diving destinations is its magnificent barrier reef, the second-largest in the world and a true wonder of nature.
In this article, we will embark on an exploratory adventure beneath the waves, uncovering the myriad wonders that Belize liveaboard diving has to offer. We’ll navigate through the premier dive sites, educate ourselves on the optimal liveaboard choices, and gather essential information to craft your perfect dive trip.
As a diver with a deep-rooted respect for conservation, I will also impart critical advice on how we can experience this delicate ecosystem responsibly. This ensures that future generations can also marvel at its grandeur. So, get ready to plunge into an immersive exploration of the astonishing Belize Barrier Reef through liveaboard diving. Let’s dive deep into the wonders of Belize liveaboard diving!
The Best Liveaboards in Belize
If you’re looking for a liveaboard dive operation in Belize, you’re in luck. There are two worldclass charters to choose from.
1. Belize Aggressor III Liveaboard
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Discover the underwater treasures of Belize aboard the Belize Aggressor III Liveaboard, a top-notch vessel renowned for its comfortable accommodations and variety of dive sites. Experience unrivaled diving adventures, top-notch amenities, and a dedicated crew that caters to every diver’s needs.
- Spacious, comfortable cabins with en-suite facilities
- Top-notch amenities including a camera station and hot tub
- High demand during peak season may lead to fully booked trips
- Pricing may be a bit steep for budget-conscious divers
2. Belize Aggressor IV Liveaboard
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The Belize Aggressor IV Liveaboard offers an unparalleled diving adventure, combining luxury accommodation with world-class dive sites, such as the Great Blue Hole. Experience Belize’s stunning marine biodiversity while enjoying top-notch amenities and exceptional service aboard this premier liveaboard.
- Opportunity to dive in the famous Great Blue Hole.
- Strong emphasis on safety.
- Higher cost compared to some other liveaboards.
- Limited number of Master cabins available.
- Rental equipment may incur additional charges.
|Belize is a top-rated liveaboard diving destination, boasting the largest barrier reef in the northern and western hemispheres.|
|Several high-quality liveaboards operate in Belize, including Belize Aggressor III, Belize Aggressor IV, and the Sea Hunter. Each offers unique features and amenities that cater to various preferences and budgets.|
|Liveaboards in Belize offer up to five dives a day, including night dives, allowing divers to fully explore the diverse marine life, from macro-critters to larger species like dolphins, tarpon, sharks, and eagle rays.|
|Unique dive spots such as the Blue Hole, a 124-meter deep collapsed freshwater cave system, provide unforgettable experiences.|
|Diving in Belize is year-round due to its tropical climate, but the wet season (August to October) and dry season (November to July) offer different advantages.|
|Despite the lack of internet connection during the safari, liveaboards provide plenty of entertainment, including board games, movies, and land excursions.|
|Belize is English-speaking and easily accessible from the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport. Local currency is the Belize Dollar (2BZD to 1USD).|
Belize Liveaboard Boats – Top 3 Operations
Luxurious diving boats in Belize are perfect for those seeking an immersive underwater experience while enjoying high-quality service and amenities. The Belize Aggressor III and IV, for instance, offer a hotel-like feel and exquisite chef-cooked meals. Warm towels are provided after every dive, adding to the already luxurious experience. However, such luxury comes at a higher cost, with budgets for liveaboards ranging around 229 euros per day. Alcoholic drinks and special gear may incur additional charges, and Nitrox is offered at an additional cost of approx. USD 100 per week – USD 150 per 10 days trip.
On the other hand, budget liveaboards are available in Belize, offering a more affordable option for those seeking to explore the country’s underwater treasures. The Sea Hunter is a great option, offering a simpler experience at a lower cost. While the service may not be as luxurious as that of the Belize Aggressor III and IV, the Sea Hunter still provides a comfortable and safe diving experience.
It is worth noting that while budget liveaboards offer a more affordable option, they may not have as many amenities as their luxurious counterparts. Thus, when choosing between luxury and budget liveaboards, it is essential to consider the pros and cons of each option and choose one that best suits your needs and budget.
Learn more about Belize liveaboard trips here.
|Boat Name||Key Features||Overall Customer Rating|
|Sea Hunter||Renowned for excellent services in long range trips. Has a small submarine that can take passengers up to 1,500 feet.||4.8/5|
|Belize Aggressor III||Notable for its dive trips to the Blue Hole. Offers a complete photo-editing center.||4.7/5|
|Belize Aggressor IV||Offers diving in the largest barrier reef in the northern and western hemispheres. Has a spacious sun deck with jacuzzi.||4.9/5|
Belize Aggressor III
The Belize Aggressor III, part of the world-renowned Aggressor Fleet, offers an exceptional diving experience around the largest barrier reef in the northern and western hemisphere. Renowned for its exploration of the 124-meter deep Blue Hole – a magnificent collapsed cave system, this luxurious liveaboard allows divers to immerse themselves in up to 5 dives per day, including night dives. Encounters with dolphins, tarpon, sharks, and eagle rays are common, and a complete photo editing center is available for reviewing your underwater shots. Post dive, relaxation awaits in the sundeck’s Jacuzzi with a complimentary beer or glass of wine.
Read my comprehensive article about the Belize Aggressor III liveaboard.
Sailing through the shimmering seas of Belize, the Belize Aggressor III brings divers to some of the world’s most thrilling dive spots, including Half Moon Caye, Blue Hole, Turneffe, and more.
Known as one of the top 10 dive sites globally, Belize promises vibrant corals, small and larger marine species, and endless underwater beauty. The Belize Aggressor III spans 110 feet (33.528m) in length and 72 feet (22m) in width, ensuring ample space for your Dive Safari Holiday experience.
With a capacity for 18 guests and a dedicated crew of 6, facilities include a spacious salon, full entertainment system, extensive library, fish identification sessions, games, a roomy sundeck with a Jacuzzi, loungers, bar service, and nine cabins each featuring a private head and shower, bathrobes, hairdryer, individual climate control, and TV/DVD.
Your stay aboard the Belize Aggressor III also promises a culinary treat. Local food specialties and Western fare are prepared by a trained chef and served buffet-style in the galley.
A typical day starts with fresh fruits, hot entrees, cereals, and juices, followed by buffet-style lunches featuring hot soups, homemade bread, salads, sandwiches, and/or entrees. Dinners, served at your table each evening, include salads, vegetables, seafood, beef or chicken, and a freshly made dessert.
Despite the remote location, the vessel tries to accommodate special dietary needs and includes a limited selection of complimentary local beer and wine. Other amenities include land excursions, a camera station, air-conditioning, spacious diving platform, separate Zodiac/Dhoni, snorkeling, and more.
Here are the key features of the Belize Aggressor III liveaboard.
|Length / Width||34 m / 7 m|
|Year built / renovated||1987 / 2011|
|Rental equipment||YES ($)|
Belize Aggressor IV
The Belize Aggressor IV, part of the renowned Aggressor Fleet, is your gateway to a captivating underwater adventure in Belize, one of the world’s top ten dive sites. Read my comprehensive article about the Belize Aggressor IV liveaboard.
This vessel not only brings you to these exciting locations in comfort and luxury, but it also boasts a crew that knows every corner of the vast barrier reef system. Enjoy four to five dives per day, including night dives, and encounter an incredible array of marine life such as dolphins, tarpon, sharks, eagle rays, and numerous macro-critters.
Plus, dive into the striking Blue Hole, a 124-meter deep collapsed freshwater cave system that offers a unique diving experience. To top it off, the Belize Aggressor IV also offers a jacuzzi on the spacious sun deck and a complete photo-editing center, making it the perfect relaxation spot after a day of underwater exploration.
At 138 feet (42m) long and 26 feet (8m) wide, the Belize Aggressor IV promises an optimal dive safari holiday. With itineraries designed to let you explore the dive sites at the perfect time of year, this liveaboard ensures a truly memorable experience.
The boat features air-conditioned, individually climate-controlled staterooms. Eight deluxe staterooms offer twin or king beds, while two master staterooms boast queen beds. All staterooms have private facilities, views, monitors with media players, mirrored cabinets, wardrobes, bathrobes, hairdryers, toiletries, and fresh towels.
For your non-diving hours, the Belize Aggressor IV offers a spacious, air-conditioned dining area and salon, as well as a sun deck complete with lounge and deck chairs, a shaded wet bar, a grill, and a photographic center.
Diving on the Belize Aggressor IV starts Sunday morning and ends Friday at lunch, offering a range of American feasts, barbecues, and local cuisine.
The buffet-style lunches feature hot soups, homemade breads, salads, and sandwiches, while dinners offer salads, vegetables, seafood, beef, or chicken with a fresh homemade dessert. The beverage selection includes fruit juices, soft drinks, iced water, iced tea, coffee, and a limited selection of local beer and wine, all complimentary.
Overall, the Belize Aggressor IV goes beyond providing exceptional diving—it also ensures great comfort and engaging spare-time activities for a truly immersive and enjoyable dive safari holiday.
Here are the key features of the Belize Aggressor IV liveaboard.
|Length / Width||42 m / 8 m|
|Year built / renovated||2002 / 2012|
|Rental equipment||YES ($)|
The Sea Hunter is a remarkable liveaboard vessel, boasting a rich history as a former commercial diving support boat. Today, it serves as an impressive diving vessel, its 36-meter length catering to thrilling expeditions across some of the world’s most pelagic-rich waters.
Stability is a standout feature, owing to the vessel’s robust design specifically tailored for long-range expeditions to remote destinations like Malpelo and Coco Islands. Equipped with all the necessary facilities for divers, the Sea Hunter comfortably accommodates up to 20 guests in 10 cozy cabins. Each cabin features a private bathroom, hanging lockers, shelves, air conditioning, and a circular porthole.
On board, guests can enjoy a range of amenities designed to enhance their diving experience. A camera lounge offers the opportunity to edit photos, relax while watching a slide show, TV or DVD, or participate in diving course theory lessons.
Dining aboard the Sea Hunter is a blend of Costa Rican and international cuisine, prepared by an onboard chef and served in the cozy dining room, outfitted with four-person booths. Snacks between dives provide the necessary energy for your next underwater adventure. The vessel also boasts a spacious sundeck, perfect for soaking up the sun, taking in the stunning views, or engaging in conversations with fellow divers.
Adding to the vessel’s allure is its incredible location. Here, divers are treated to a myriad of marine life including white tip reef sharks, schooling hammerheads, dolphins, mantas, marbled rays, giant moray eels, sailfish, and whale sharks.
Other common encounters include large schools of jacks and tuna, silky sharks, silver tips, marlin, Creole fish, green turtles, and octopus. The Sea Hunter also stands out for its ‘DeepSee’ Submersible, a custom-built submarine that carries a pilot and two passengers up to a depth of 1,500 feet, offering a 360-degree field of vision. This, along with comprehensive diving services and facilities, makes the Sea Hunter an ideal choice for any diving enthusiast, particularly photographers and lovers of pelagic species.
Here are the key features of the Sea Hunter liveaboard.
|Length / Width||36 m / 8 m|
|Year built / renovated||2010 / 2015|
|Rental equipment||YES ($)|
Catamarans, Yachts, and Traditional Sailboats
When it comes to liveaboards in Belize, there are a variety of vessels to choose from. Catamarans are one option that are becoming increasingly popular due to their stability and spaciousness. They generally have several cabins with private bathrooms and communal areas for dining and relaxation.
Yachts are another popular option, offering a more luxurious experience with top-notch amenities such as hot tubs, gourmet cuisine, and even on-board masseuses. Traditional sailboats offer a unique experience with their classic design and often eco-friendly practices.
Check out my video about liveaboard diving in Belize.
Amenities, Comfort Level, and Pricing Comparison
The type of vessel you choose will impact the overall comfort level of your trip as well as the amenities that are available. Catamarans tend to be more affordable than yachts but still offer comfortable accommodations and basic amenities such as air conditioning.
Yachts generally come with higher price tags but offer top-of-the-line amenities such as en suite bathrooms, entertainment systems, and high-quality cuisine. It’s important to note that pricing can vary greatly depending on the length of the trip, the number of guests on board, and the level of luxury you’re looking for.
Some liveaboards may also include additional costs such as equipment rentals or national park fees. When choosing a liveaboard vessel in Belize, consider what type of experience you’re looking for – do you want something more affordable or are you willing to splurge on luxury?
Do you value stability over speed? Once you’ve determined your priorities, research various options online or speak with a travel agent who specializes in dive trips.
Typical Liveaboard Itinerary in Belize
A Week of Adventure on the Belize Liveaboard
For those seeking the ultimate diving adventure, a liveaboard trip to Belize is an experience not to be missed. With its crystal-clear waters and abundance of marine life, Belize offers some of the best diving opportunities in the world. A typical 7-day itinerary aboard a liveaboard vessel will provide you with ample time to explore some of Belize’s most popular dive sites while also enjoying other activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, and island exploration.
Day 1: Arrival and Briefing
Upon arrival at your liveaboard vessel, you’ll be greeted by your friendly crew members who will give you a thorough briefing about safety protocols and onboard facilities. Once settled in your cabin, it’s time to get ready for your first dive! You’ll begin with an easy warm-up dive at one of the nearby reef sites before moving on to more challenging dives throughout the week.
Days 2-5: Exploring Dive Sites
Over the next four days, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to explore some of Belize’s famous dive sites. These include The Great Blue Hole, Half Moon Caye Wall, Lighthouse Reef Wall, and Turneffe Atoll.
Each site offers unique underwater landscapes teeming with colorful fish, sea turtles, sharks, and other fascinating marine creatures. In between dives, you can take advantage of other activities offered by the liveaboard such as snorkeling or kayaking around nearby islands.
Day 6: Island Exploration Day
On day six of your trip aboard the Belize liveaboard vessel is devoted to exploring some of Belize’s stunning islands. You can take guided tours or simply relax on white sandy beaches while enjoying tranquil surroundings away from civilization. You might also want to sample some of the local cuisine and immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of this beautiful country.
Day 7: Departure and Farewell
On your last day, you’ll have one final dive before heading back to port. You can review all the incredible memories made during your trip while enjoying a farewell dinner with your fellow travelers. As you disembark, take a moment to say goodbye to your new friends and crew members and reflect on an unforgettable experience aboard the Belize liveaboard.
Essential Information for Liveaboard Diving in Belize
When it comes to liveaboard diving, Belize offers an enticing tropical climate that can be enjoyed year-round. However, it’s essential to consider the nuances of its wet and dry seasons to make the most of your diving experience.
The wet season, typically between August and October, provides ideal surface conditions, making all dive sites accessible. Despite occasional rainfall, which might slightly affect visibility, the wet season is also grouper mating season— a spectacle many divers deem worthy of the trade-off. Air temperatures range from 28C/82F-29C/84F, marking the warmest months in Belize.
On the other hand, the dry season from November to July brings cooler temperatures (24C/75F-29C/85F) and generally clearer visibility, though some dive sites may become inaccessible due to rougher surface conditions.
If you aim to visit Belize’s renowned Blue Hole, be prepared for larger crowds and higher prices from April to June— the high season for diving. Additionally, these months signal the onset of whale shark season in Placencia, promising a unique underwater spectacle.
Getting to Belize is relatively straightforward, with the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport welcoming flights from around the globe. For more localized travel, including island-hopping, the Belize City Municipal Airport serves as a useful hub.
The country’s official currency is the Belize Dollar, with an approximate exchange rate of 2BZD to 1USD. As for language, English is widely spoken, making communication easy for many travelers, though Spanish is also common.
Whether you’re attracted to the lush, warm wet season or the clear, cool dry season, Belize presents a fantastic liveaboard diving experience teeming with diverse marine life and captivating underwater landscapes.
Top Liveaboard Dive Sites in Belize
I can’t wait to explore some of the top dive sites in Belize, including The Great Blue Hole, Glover’s Reef, The Aquarium, Black Beauty, and The Cathedral. The Aquarium, Black Beauty, and The Cathedral are particularly impressive, with their stunning coral formations and occasional turtle and eagle ray sightings.
Glover’s Reef, the most remote and least visited atoll, offers even more diversity, with the chance to see Atlantic spadefish, turtles, and even pods of dolphins and manatees.
This table lists my pick of the top liveaboard dive sites in Belize.
|Angel Fish Wall||Friendly grey angel fish, small fish, eagle rays, and occasional sharks|
|Aquarium||Rich fish life, deep-water gorgonians, sponges, reef sharks, groupers, horse eyed jacks and sea turtles|
|Black Beauty||Turtles, eagle rays, long mounds of coral with sandy bottom channels|
|Blue Hole||Stalactite formations, healthy reef with abundant juvenile sea life, parrot fish, squid, flaming scallops, and angel fishes|
|Cathedral||Black groupers, jacks, angel fishes, scorpion fishes, eels, silver sides and Spanish dancers|
|Eagle Ray Wall||Arrow blennies and decorator crabs|
|Elbow||Eagle rays, reef and hammerhead sharks (advanced dive)|
|Elk Horn Forest||Lettuce leaf coral, elkhorn corals inhabited by juvenile fishes|
|Grand Bogue||White-spotted, white-lined and large-eyed toadfishes|
|Half Moon Caye||Bird sanctuary, lighthouse, nurse sharks|
|Half Moon Caye Wall||Tunnels, grouper, snapper, eagle rays, sharks, turtles|
|Long Caye Wall||Ridge of reefs, swim throughs, soft corals, sponges, and eels|
|Painted Wall||Painted tunicates, parrot fish, black durgeon, queen trigger fish|
|Que Brada||Green moray eels, spotted drum, lobster, crabs, tarpon|
|Silver Caves||Silver sides, big black groupers, horse-eyed jacks, yellow tailed snappers, Creole wrasses|
|Tarpon Caves||Garden eels, midnight parrot fish, razor fish, southern stingrays, tarpon|
|Triple Anchor||Barrel sponges, eagle rays, cleaning station|
|West Point 1 & 2||Black coral, deep-water gorgonians, giant barrel sponges, red finger sponges, garden eels, peacock flounders, southern stingrays
These sites offer some of the most stunning underwater landscapes I’ve ever seen, with breathtaking coral formations and an abundance of marine life. Diving in these sites offers the opportunity to see a diverse range of creatures, including goliath grouper, eagle rays, and schools of horse-eyed jacks.
Liveaboard Accommodations and Amenities
Your Home Away from Home
If you’re planning to go on a Belize liveaboard adventure, it’s important to know what your accommodations will be like. Most liveaboards in Belize offer cabin or stateroom options that are fully air-conditioned and come with private bathrooms.
These rooms can vary in size and comfort level depending on the type of vessel you choose. Some cabins may have twin beds, while others offer queen-size beds or even bunk beds.
Comfortable Common Spaces
When you’re not out exploring the depths of the ocean, there are plenty of amenities available on board to keep you comfortable and entertained. Most liveaboards in Belize have one or more common areas where guests can relax, socialize, or enjoy some downtime.
These areas may include a lounge or salon with entertainment systems such as TV, DVDs, and music players. There may also be outdoor spaces for sunbathing or stargazing.
One of the biggest advantages of a liveaboard is that all meals are usually included in your package. The food aboard a Belize liveaboard is often prepared fresh daily by an onboard chef who takes pride in creating delicious dishes using local ingredients. Meals are usually served buffet-style with a wide range of options available for different dietary requirements such as vegetarian or gluten-free diets.
Accommodations on board a Belize liveaboard vessel are designed to provide comfort during your stay at sea with private cabins equipped with air conditioning and private bathrooms. Common areas offer ample opportunities for relaxation and entertainment while dining delights cater to diverse culinary preferences with fresh ingredients prepared onboard daily by expert chefs.
Belize Liveaboard Crew & Staff
Meet the Crew Members
When it comes to liveaboard diving in Belize, the crew members on board can make or break your experience. Fortunately, most liveaboard vessels in Belize have experienced and friendly crews who are committed to making sure you have an unforgettable trip.
The crew will consist of a captain, dive guides, chefs, and other staff members who work together to ensure that everything runs smoothly during your stay. You’ll quickly get familiar with the crew members on board as they will be taking care of you from the moment you step on the boat until it’s time for you to disembark.
They will handle everything from preparing meals and cleaning cabins to assisting with dive equipment and leading guided dives. Most importantly, they are there to ensure that your safety is always a top priority.
Vessel Staff Qualifications
When booking a liveaboard trip in Belize, one important factor to consider is the qualifications of the vessel staff. You want to make sure that everyone on board is fully trained and qualified to handle any situation that may arise during your trip. Most reputable liveaboards in Belize have staff members who are certified divers with extensive experience in diving in the area.
Some may also have additional qualifications such as first aid certification or rescue diver training. In addition, many vessels will employ local staff who know the area well and can provide valuable insights into the local marine life.
Overall, you can rest assured that when diving on a liveaboard vessel in Belize, you’ll be surrounded by a team of professionals who are dedicated to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all guests. Whether you’re an experienced diver or just starting out, the friendly crew members will be there every step of the way to ensure that your trip is nothing short of amazing.
Practical Information About Diving in Belize
The only recompression chamber in the country is located on the north side of the airstrip in San Pedro, making it important for divers to keep this in mind when planning their trip. In case of an emergency, this facility can provide life-saving treatment for divers suffering from decompression sickness.
Here are some Belize travel tips that can help ensure a safe and enjoyable diving experience:
- Dive with a reputable and licensed operator. Look for operators that are certified by recognized organizations such as PADI, NAUI, or SSI.
- Check your equipment before diving. Make sure your gear is in good condition and properly maintained.
- Follow health and safety precautions. Avoid diving with a cold or flu, stay hydrated, and don’t drink alcohol before diving. Be aware of your diving limits and don’t exceed them.
Marine Life and Seasons in Belize
Exploring the underwater world in Belize is like opening a treasure chest; each season brings new marine life and surprises that are waiting to be discovered.
From whale sharks cruising by at Lighthouse Reef between April and June to mantas attracted by plankton blooms from August until November, Belize offers a diverse range of marine life that is sure to excite any diver.
The Belize Barrier Reef is home to over 500 species of fish, including goliath grouper, Atlantic spadefish, and horse-eyed jacks. It also hosts pods of dolphins and manatees in its lagoons, providing a unique opportunity to witness these gentle giants in their natural habitat.
Despite Belize’s rich marine biodiversity, conservation efforts are crucial to maintain the health of its underwater ecosystem. Diving conditions in Belize are excellent, with visibility ranging from 65-130 ft. (20-40 m) and mild currents on many dive sites.
However, it’s important to remember that our actions have an impact on the environment. Divers can contribute to conservation efforts by practicing responsible diving techniques, such as not touching or disturbing marine life, avoiding contact with coral, and properly disposing of any trash or debris.
Together, we can ensure that future generations will have the opportunity to explore and appreciate the beauty of Belize’s underwater world.
Conclusion: Embracing Belize’s Underwater Wonders
In conclusion, a liveaboard adventure in Belize promises an unforgettable experience, merging exploration, relaxation, and incredible marine encounters into a single journey. Be it the Belize Aggressor III, the Aggressor IV, or the Sea Hunter, each liveaboard offers a unique opportunity to delve into Belize’s warm tropical waters, home to a diverse range of marine life including dolphins, sharks, and vibrant corals.
These liveaboards, with their comfortable accommodations and superior amenities, provide the perfect base to explore Belize’s underwater wonders throughout the year. In essence, a diving adventure in Belize is more than just a trip, it’s an intimate journey with nature, offering an unparalleled connection to the mesmerizing marine world.