Adventures / Adventure School

Dive the Belize Barrier Reef

Stay on a private island, discover the beauty of the Caribbean and help protect one of the world’s most important biospheres

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Trip Ref #9408

Adventures / Adventure School

Dive the Belize Barrier Reef

Stay on a private island, discover the beauty of the Caribbean and help protect one of the world’s most important biospheres

DURATION

4 nights

LOCATION

Belize

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Jan—Dec

GROUP SIZE

Up to 18 people

MEETING POINT

Philip S. W. Goldson Airport, Belize

ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Easy

All you need is a moderate level of fitness, a love for marine wildlife and a good attitude!

Stay on a tranquil, private island in the heart of the Caribbean, just 1½ acres across and clock up a dozen dives in five days – including at least one night dive

Spear invasive lionfish, participate in essential marine conservation and support the work of a non-profit organisation that's committed to protecting the barrier reef

Featured in the best Citizen Science Holidays in the Metro

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Emanuella, February 2022

My partner and I did our open water diving and had a wonderful time. The instructors were knowledgeable and patient, the food was delicious and we both loved the additional educational elements. All the staff are super friendly and also effective- we were in good hands all round. The accommodation was basic but comfortable and it was amazing spending time on basically a private desert island. We made some great friends and are hoping to return in the not too distant future. Thanks everyone :)!

Patricio, February 2020

Great place with fantastic people!

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking diving instructors

Accommodation

4 nights on a private island

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Transfers

Boat to and from the island

Not Included

Travel to and from the start point

Some equipment

Personal expenses

Travel insurance

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Hokey Pokey Water Taxi Dock, Placencia

09:30 on Day 1

Ends

Hokey Pokey Water Taxi Dock, Placencia

11:00-13:00 on Day 5

Transfers

You should fly into Placencia Airport (PLJ) on either a Saturday or Sunday. Please note that there are no direct flights between Placencia and the UK.

From Belize International Airport (BZE), fly down on a ‘hopper’ plane to Placencia with Tropic Air or Maya Island Air. The flight takes about 45 minutes and will range anywhere from $230-260 USD round-trip and is an exciting ride. Tropic Air and Maya Island Air provide 7-9 daily flights on the weekends to/from Belize International Airport and Placencia; the first flight staring at 7:00 am and the last flight around 5:00 pm.

Hop in a cab (10mins) from the airport to the Water Taxi Dock and your host will meet you there.

Due to the arrival and departure times, you should book accommodation on the mainland for the weekends on either end of the trip.

Your host will take you to the Water Taxi Dock between 11am-1pm on Friday to fly back to the mainland. You should schedule your departure out of Placencia, Belize, on either on a Saturday or Sunday. Book any connecting flight which suits you from Placencia to Belize International Airport.

Travel options

While there are no direct flights between Placencia and the UK, regular hopper planes from Tropic Air or Maya Island Air run from Belize International Airport (BZE) and take around 45 minutes.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Days 2 – Day 4

Guesthouse · Twin or triple share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 5

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

The food is one of the best parts of the trip thanks to the island’s incredible resident chef. All dietary requirements can be catered for, just give your hosts a heads up when booking so that they can prepare for your arrival.

What is the accommodation like?

Tom Owens Caye

You’ll stay in a basic guesthouse that has a hostel-feel in an unparalleled location. Some rooms have their own bathroom, while others share and while there is no hot water, every room comes with beautiful views of the ocean, the sound of lapping waves and fans for when the sea breeze doesn’t cut it.

Day 1

The Island

Make your way to the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi Dock in Placencia and then head over to Tom Owens Caye, a private island located in Belize’s Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve Park. Learn more about the vital conservation work that you’ll be a part of in and then fill up the day kayaking, snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding, fishing or playing volleyball and badminton on the beach.

Days 2

Surveys and BBQ’s

Become part of an ongoing marine survey (more than just identifying fish) and learn about the unique local ecology around you. After a hard days diving, unwind in a hammock, listen to the sound of the waves and tuck into some freshly caught food.

Day 3

Coral and invertebrate conservation

Spend the day investigating all things coral. Once you’re below the surface, you’ll help identify any occurrence of coral reef bleaching – a huge threat to this protected biosphere and lend a hand with the lobster and Queen Conch surveys. Back on dry land, channel your inner cast-away with some more hammock time and then sit down for another delicious meal by the water.

Day 4

Commercial Species Investigation

Broaden your survey-scope to include all the sea’s critters that call the reef home. You’ll also participate in a reef survey, including whale shark monitoring, bio-diversity dives and reef health investigation. Relax, unwind and enjoy your last night on the island.

Day 5

Final dive and then back to the mainland

Wake up early and catch a last dive before heading to the boat and back to Placencia. If you have time, explore some more of Belize or return to the airport in time for your flight home.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's available to hire?

  • All dive equipment (BCD’s, tanks, regulators, weights) can be hired on arrival for a $25 USD per week dive gear rental fee.

What do I need to bring?

  • Mask and snorkel
  • Fins
  • Booties
  • Wetsuit
  • Torch for nightdive
  • Swimwear
  • Clothes for evenings to relax in
  • Suncream/sunhat etc (make sure you look at the FAQ on sunscreen - only Reef Safe sunscreen is permitted)

PADI Open Water Certification Course (3 days)

Payable Before Departure

PADI Open Water Certification Course (3 days)

PADI Dive Master Certification

Payable Before Departure

PADI Dive Master Certification

Per Person

Coral Reef Conservation (2 days)

Payable Before Departure

Coral Reef Conservation (2 days)

Per Person

Deep Diver (3 days)

Payable Before Departure

Deep Diver (3 days)

Per Person

Emergency First Response (2 days)

Payable Before Departure

Emergency First Response (2 days)

Per Person

Fish Identification (2 days)

Payable Before Departure

Fish Identification (2 days)

Per Person

Invasive Lionfish (2 days)

Payable Before Departure

Invasive Lionfish (2 days)

Per Person

Underwater Photographer (2 days)

Payable Before Departure

Underwater Photographer (2 days)

Per Person

PADI Advanced Open Water Certification

Payable Before Departure

PADI Advanced Open Water Certification

Per Person

PADI Rescue Diver Certification

Payable Before Departure

PADI Rescue Diver Certification

Per Person

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 93kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Nope! You can learn from scratch, build on your current qualifications or just spend the week soaking up the sun – it’s up to you! your host certifies divers so you can explore a whole new world whilst also doing your part to protect it. Look at the Optional Extras section for the prices of the PADI qualifications on offer, and then just ask when booking about the options for getting your PADI Open Water Certification or any additional qualifications you may want.

Your host can offer a full range of PADI qualifications and courses which you can do during your stay. See Optional Extras section for prices. These include:

PADI Certification Courses Offered on the Island:

  • PADI Open Water Certification (3 days)
  • PADI Advanced Open Water Certification (1 week)
  • PADI Rescue Diver Certification (1 week)
  • PADI Dive Master Certification (4 week minimum stay)

PADI Specialty Certification Courses Offered on the Island:

  • PADI Specialty Course: Invasive Lionfish
  • PADI Specialty Course: Coral Reef Conservation
  • PADI Specialty Course: Fish Identification
  • PADI Specialty Course: Deep Diver
  • PADI Specialty Course: Emergency First Response
  • PADI Specialty Course: Underwater Photographer

Note that the PADI Open Water, Advanced, Rescue, Dive Master, and Underwater Photographer require the PADI eLearning prior to arrival which is an additional cost paid to PADI. All other courses do NOT require the PADI eLearning prior to arrival. You must be a fully certified Open Water diver before taking any PADI Specialty Courses. Just request at the time of booking.

It's totally up to you. Some people want to get involved as much as possible, others want to combine conservation dives with relaxation and some fun dives, while others just want to relax in a hammock with a good book. The choice is yours!

Of course! People often stay from between 1- 8 weeks and you can extend your trip for as many weeks as you like. If you wish to book for more than week just get in touch with our Customer Service team so we can set up your booking.

IMPORTANT: The diving week is Monday to Friday, so if you do want to dive for additional weeks, you will still need to leave the island every weekend.

The Belize Department of Fisheries charges $25 USD per week for all volunteer visits to the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park where your trip is held, and this fee is a legal requirement. The marine park fee provides critical funding for the Belize Department of Fisheries to patrol and enforce no fish zones and other conservation efforts in the marine park. Hence, just by visiting you are supporting marine conservation efforts! The fee is collected by your host at the end of your stay by credit card.

There are some incredible day trips that run from Placencia on the weekends, inlcuding to the ancient ruins at Tikal, jungls and nature expeditions, spelunking, repelling, ziplining, cave and river tubing, cultural tours - there's literally something for everyone. Lots of tours also depart from Placencia and your host recommends Roam Belize or Placencia Tourz. Please contact them direct for information and pricing.

In a word: beautiful. In numbers, averages of 84F/ 29C all-year-round. The island is located in the Tropics so don’t be surprised if it rains and bring a couple of jumpers just in case.

It's important that you only bring reef-safe sunscreen onto the island. Over the past three years, around one-fifth of the world’s coral reefs have died off and there is a growing awareness that sunscreen is playing a role in this. On average 14,000 tons of sunscreen slide off of humans and onto the world’s coral reefs each year, exposing vital underwater ecosystems to potentially fatal chemicals.

Here is a list of recommended Reef-Safe Sunscreens on the Market

  • Badger SPF 30 Unscented Sunscreen Cream
  • Stream2Sea SPF 30
  • Mineral Sunblock Thinksport SPF 50 Sunscreen
  • All Good SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen Lotion
  • Coral Safe All Natural Biodegradable Sunscreen
  • Sun Bum Reef Friendly Ingredients Sunscreen
  • Babo Botanicals SPF 30 Clear Zinc Lotion
  • Raw Elements SPF 30 Certified Natural Sunscreen
  • Tropical Sands Biodegradable Mineral Sunscreen

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Belize, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

Due to the nature of this particular adventure, this adventure in Belize is one of the very few exceptions to the offer.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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