Why Scuba Diving Lessons are Worth It if You’re Visiting Belize
Visitors flock to Belize to enjoy the world-famous Belize Barrier Reef. You can too! The reef in Belize is easy to access, even if you have never been scuba diving before. Scuba diving lessons are widely available on Ambergris Caye, no experience necessary. Add some adventure to your beach vacation by exploring the reef and all that it has to offer. Experience neutral buoyancy for the first time; that amazing feeling that is neither sinking nor floating. Glide along as you watch sea turtles feast in the aptly-named turtle grass beds, check every nook and cranny for spiny-tailed lobster and marvel at large schools of snapper and jack.
An on-site dive shop makes all of this easy; you can sign up for scuba diving lessons without leaving your resort. PADI dive instructors are certified through both PADI and the Belize Tourism Board as tour guides and are local experts in their field. The reef is their underwater backyard and they know it well. The knowledge and experience that your divemaster and dive instructor will bring will set any lingering nervousness at ease. All of the gear needed for a successful dive can be rented from the dive shop, there is no need to invest in gear right away. Just bring your swimsuit, reef-safe sunscreen and your sense of adventure!
There is a wide variety of scuba certifications, each with its own set of guidelines. For rank beginners just looking to get their fins wet in the world of scuba, a Discover Scuba Dive experience can be the way to go. This is not an official certification and is completed in just a couple of hours, after which a shallow-water dive is done along with your divemaster. This half-day starts with an explanation of the rules of diving and how the session will work. You enter the water get accustomed to the regulator and the rest of the equipment. Once you’re comfortable in the water your instructor will introduce you to some skills to practice. If you are comfortable in the water you can choose to go on a dive. This is normally a shallow dive with a max depth of 40ft. This certification allows you to dive with us for the rest of your trip but is not an official certification valid after your stay.
PADI offers several diving certifications for kids as well. The Discover and Open Water courses are available for those 10 years old and up, with the Bubblemaker course for those 8 years and up. These are all great options for kiddos that are already comfortable in the water and have basic swimming skills. If you have a lapsed diving certification, or even if it’s just been some time since you last dove, a Refresher Course is a great way to get back in the water. This will review your skills and build confidence, allowing you to really enjoy diving again.
Don’t let not having a dive buddy stop you from taking your first dive. For those that just aren’t interested in Scuba, for whatever reason, there are often dive sites that allow for snorkeling as well. On Ambergris Caye, we are lucky to have Hol Chan and Mexico Rocks which are both great sites for snorkeling as well as scuba diving. Many excursions can be planned with an option for diving or snorkeling, right from the same boat. You get to enjoy the same area, just from different perspectives. This is a great option if you’d really like to give it a go, but others in your group of travelers would rather not.
If you try it out and end up falling in love with scuba diving, you can always build on your certifications and advance to deeper or more technical dives. To keep your interest while land-locked, invest in a good set of Reef ID books, or start seeking out interesting blog articles on the amazing critters you are likely to see. Beyond enjoying all of the pretty fish and coral, there are some incredible adaptations present under the sea. One of our favorites is the Mantis Shrimp. We’ll see you out there, happy diving!