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Atolls, Belize

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Dozens of islands known as cayes (pronounced "keys"), large and small, dot the blue waters of the Caribbean off the Belizean coast. Here you will find the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and three atolls, making Belize a true marine lover's paradise.

Turneffe, located 25 miles east of Belize City, is the largest of the three atolls. It offers divers a variety of experiences from drift dives to wall dives and creek dives. Lighthouse Reef is made up of six cayes, and lies about 50 miles east from Belize City. Glover's Reef lies northeast of the town of Placencia. It is a circular necklace of coral reef surrounding an 80 square mile lagoon. Glover's Atoll is a UN World Heritage Site and Belizean National Park and one of the most pristine dive sites in Belize.

History & Culture

The atolls of Belize originated above giant faults. Limestone covered ridges settled in steps that provide a series of offshore platforms perfect for coral growth. In the mid-1970's, Jacques Cousteau ushered in the start of the diving boom for the region when his famed Calypso made its exploration of the atolls and reefs of the area.

Lodging & Dining

Turneffe Island Lodge and Turneffe Flats Blackbird Caye are wonderful options for lodging that provide deluxe accomodations, delicious cuisine, and unsurpassed proximity to diving and all the atolls have to offer.


Whether your interests are diving, snorkeling, fishing, or just laying on the beach, you'll find it on the atolls of Belize. These atolls contain some of the world's top dives - you won't want to miss them. You can also visit a marine research center on Turneffe island which is part of the University of Belize and conducts nightly seminars for guests.

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