Belize is well known for its beautiful Barrier Reef, the second longest in the world, and probably one of the best preserved and healthy coral areas due to its water quality: always warm, clear and full of life.
Upon your arrival at the village of Hopkins, the first thing that your body asks for is to be soaked into the Caribbean Sea. Luckily, Jaguar Reef Lodge, known for its vocation to snorkeling and diving, offered us much more than just a swim in the Caribbean waters. Exploring and discovering the Belizean coral reef is truly an unforgettable experience! It is immensely “unbelizeable”!
You don’t need any expert certification or to be a swimming champion to enjoy the underwater views of the reef. You only need a mask, snorkel, fins and the urge to jump off the boat into the underwater world and discover.
With help from Rafael at the Adventure Desk, we joined one of the almost daily trips to South Water Caye, an island paradise of crystal clear waters that looks like something out of a dream. To get there you go through an array of untouched cayes and mangrove islands that dot the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, some of which are inhabited only by birds.
The half day Snorkeling Tours leave both in the morning and afternoon from the hotel dock to two perfect snorkeling locations. You can even book a private tour for a full day and enjoy a barbecue lunch on that very island.
While on a snorkeling trip you might think that there wouldn’t be anything interesting to see but that’s certainly not the case when it comes to having a snorkeling tour with Jaguar Reef Lodge & Spa. The water is very shallow and there are all types of marine life and corals virtually at your fingertips. You’ll be amazed to see stingrays, moray eels, sharks, such as nurse shark, which are not dangerous, plenty of fish in a variety of different colors, huge tarpons, lobsters and many more marine creatures. Some of which you might be seeing for the first time, such as sea cucumbers, upside-down jellyfish, lionfish, needlefish and arrowhead crabs.
Snorkeling is already awesome… diving is even better! Imagine diving into the depths of a wonderful reef full of life and full of new secrets to discover, like hidden caves. At Jaguar Reef you are given the opportunity to dive at different locations such as Glover’s Reef, South Water Caye, Silk Cayes, Shark Hole, and of course the amazing and super famous Blue Hole. At certain times of the year you can also go diving with the magnificent Whale Sharks. Even if you are not certified to dive, Padi Certification can easily be arranged.
There are at least 20 named dive sites in southern Belize, each bursting with untouched coral reef, channels that go down up to 110 feet and rising abruptly into shoals and cayes. When you are diving, the guides will show you the ins and outs of the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
At Jaguar Reef we were lucky enough to take part in a special Lionfish Hunt. The Lionfish is an invasive species, not native to the area. It has no predators, is very poisonous and is very aggressive with the environment. It is fast becoming a real threat to the local ecosystem. Therefore, hunts are organized to catch this type of fish that is not welcomed in these seas. After an exciting diving session hunting the lionfish, helped by expert guides, you can enjoy their exquisite taste at the restaurant where the chefs of Jaguar Reef Restaurant will be happy to prepare a fresh meal for you. This experience is unique and exciting for all diving enthusiasts!