Scuba Diving Belize City and St. George’s Caye
Belize City is a storybook of culture and history that definitely can’t be appreciated by its cover and St. George’s Caye is a private island paradise.
Thought to be built on a foundation of rum bottles, logwood chips and loose coral sitting barely inches above sea level, Belize City gives up ground to the encroaching Caribbean every year. Visited by more than its fair share of natural disasters, one has to admire the persistence with which Belizeans maintain this hub as their commercial and social center, established as such in the early 1700’s by the buccaneer Baymen of St. George’s Caye.
The dominant cultural lean is Creole, while prominent along the street side shops and restaurants are communities of Chinese, East Indians and recent immigrants from other Central and South American countries.
The north side’s Marine Terminal is where you can catch boats bound for the northern cayes. The same building also houses the Marine and Coastal Zone Museums that offer displays and exhibits of the reef and the cayes along with descriptions of the eco systems that support them.
Arguably its most compelling attraction, the Museum of Belize. Built in 1857, what was formerly Her Majesty’s prison is now an immaculately restored building that will journey you through 362 years of Belizean history and over 3000 years of the Maya legacy. From the people, to the landscape, to the physical city, the stories are covered in pictures, words, and brilliantly delivered displays. The building’s second story is an archeological treasury of artifacts and explanations that leaves you with a real sense of the extent and impact of the Maya civilization. A visit to this extraordinary place will give you a fuller appreciation of the citizens, the city and the country that surrounds it.
On the sidewalks and street corners vendors gather to sell tropical fruits and hot homemade dishes like the traditional rice and beans. Delicious tamales, tacos and an assortment of desserts are usually on offer here too. For a real taste of Belizean cuisine, skip the expensive restaurants and have lunch on one of the benches at Battlefield Park while you feed your senses on the city.
Culturally and historically, Belize City could make a case for being the birthplace of modern Belize. A small but somehow sprawling metropolis, it seems in the midst of an identity crisis that’s been around as long as the country itself.
Just a stone’s throw from Belize City, St. George’s Caye is steeped in history. The country of Belize had its origins here at this private island, as St. George’s Caye held the original British settlement’s first capital. In 1798 the island was the site of a decisive battle with the Spanish. Their knowledge of the sea helped them to defeat the invaders in two hours. Some affluent Belize City residents weekend in their private cottages here.
SCUBA DIVING BELIZE CITY AND ST. GEORGE’S CAYE
Belize City is the transportation hub of the small Central American country and provides a convenient base of operations to access the abundance of dive operators either in Belize City or on the outer islands. Although this is a jump-off point to the magnificent islands and atolls of the Belize Barrier Reef, Belize City itself offers a variety of diving and snorkeling adventures.
St. George’s Caye is a private island home to only one resort, St. George Caye Resort providing VIP diving experiences and secluded accommodations. From St. George’s Caye you can access any number of the breathtaking Belize Dive Sites and then return to your own relaxing private tropical paradise.
DIVING SEASON: Diving in Belize is good all year-round. The best conditions for diving Belize are generally considered to be from March to December, although outside this period it is common to still find optimum conditions. The first few months of this period (March to June) are considered by some to represent the very best months.
VISIBILITY: Visibility remains constant year-round away from the mainland shore. You can expect the viz to run from 80 – 100′.
WATER TEMPERATURE: August to October tend to be the months with the warmest water temperatures at around 82 – 84º F (28 or 29° C). Even at the lower end of the annual water temperature range, Belize is very much a warm water destination. The temperature rarely dips below 77º F (26° C) even around the cooler months of January and February. Seldom would you need more than a shortie and many scuba divers choose not to use an exposure suit at all during the warmer months. Air temperatures remain relatively constant around the 80º F (27° C) mark.
WEATHER: Belize can be dived year round. February and March represent the driest months. March to June experiences occasional rainfall and August to October, “the wet season”, represents the more likely period for hurricanes.
FEATURED CREATURES: April to June is whale shark season in Placencia, in the south of the country. October and November is when thousands of groupers mate and give birth to their young in the shallows of the cayes
More information on Belize
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