Dive the Belize Barrier Reef

Discover the beauty of the Caribbean while protecting the reef in this unique diving island adventure. From 5 days.

  • Belize
  • October—August
  • Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport, Belize City (BZE)

Set on a tranquil, private island in the heart of the Caribbean, you’ll get to spear invasive lionfish and participate in essential marine conversation.

Your hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 4 nights on a private island
  • 5 days diving
  • 12 dives per week
  • At least 1night dive
  • Training for conservation work and participation in research
  • Boat transfers to and from island
  • All meals
  • All diving equipment (excluding wetsuits, booties, masks and snorkels)

Perfect for: Anyone who wants to discover the wonder of diving while doing their part to help the environment. Dive training can be provided, so all you need is moderate fitness, a love for marine wildlife and a good attitude!

It was featured in the round-up of best Citizen Science holidays in the Metro.

Adventures for Good Your host is a non-profit based in Belize that’s committed to protecting the Barrier Reef through conservation projects and research. They offer hands-on experiences that combine world-class diving with practical activities that inspire and inform their volunteer citizen-scientists. See all of our Adventures for Good here.

Want to stay longer than 5 days? You can extend your trip for additional weeks. See the FAQs for more information.

Need To Know

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

Schedule your arrival and departure in and out of Placencia, Belize either on a Saturday or Sunday.

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.

Travel Tip! Have your camera ready as you will fly low enough to take in all the beautiful scenery with the Mayan Mountains and jungle on one side and the Belize Barrier Reef on the other.

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

ReefCl’s food is one of its most often-praised attributes thanks to their resident chef (which is saying something, given it’s a paradisaical island in the middle of a barrier reef). All dietary requirements can be catered for, just give the hosts a heads up when you book so they can prepare for your arrival.

Of course! For single travellers, there are lots of individual cabanas (complete with hammocks) for you to relax and unwind in.

Nope! You can learn to dive from scratch, build on your current qualifications or spend the week soaking up the sun – it’s up to you! ReefCl certifies divers so you can explore a new world knowing that you’re doing your part to protect it as well. Just ask when booking about the options for getting your PADI Open Water Certification or any additional qualifications you may want to do.

  • Flights to and from Placencia, Belize
  • Dive manuals for PADI training (if getting certified)
  • Sapodilla Caye Marine Park Fees: 25 USD per week
  • Alcohol while on the island (2-5 USD per drink)

All dive equipment, minus masks with snorkels, booties and wetsuits, are provided. Please note that there is nowhere in Placencia to buy these items, so you need to get them before arriving. Everything else – BCD’s, tanks, regulators, fins, weights, etc – will be here waiting for you. If you’d like to night dive, however, you must bring your own torch.

Yes of course! People coming on this type of experience often stay anywhere between 1 week to 8 weeks. You can extend your trip simply by selecting “additional week” within Activities in Optional Extras when booking.

IMPORTANT: The diving week is Monday to Friday every week. If you want to dive for additional weeks, you still need to leave the Island every weekend.

There are some incredible day trips running from Placencia on the weekends. From ancient ruins in Tikal, jungles and nature expeditions, spelunking, repelling, ziplining, cave and river tubing, to cultural tours; there is something for everyone. Lots of tours depart from Placencia on the weekend. ReefCI recommend Roam Belize or Placencia Tourz: please contact them directly for tour information and pricing.

It’s totally up to you. Some people want to do as much conservation work as possible, some want to combine the conservation dives with relaxation and fun dives, and others just want to spear lionfish! Still others just want to relax in our hammocks with a good book, fish from the island, or do a bit of sea kayaking. The choice is yours!

Location

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Tom Owens Caye is a private island in Belize’s Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve Park. The organisation has been operating for 13 years’ and gives travellers a truly unique opportunity to aid in conservation efforts while exploring a new world. ReefCl’s ethos is rooted in protecting and preserving our oceans by empowering, educating and inspiring their volunteer citizen-scientists.

Back on the mainland, Placencia is a quirky beach-holiday town that balances fine food with a laid-back ambience. It’s nestled between the reef and the Mayan mountains, and plays host to everything from ancient ruins and cultural tours, to jungles treks and nature expeditions.

Start point? Hokey Pokey Water Taxi Dock at 09:30.

End point? Hokey Pokey Water Taxi Dock, Placencia at around 11am-1pm on Friday.

Getting there and away Due to the arrival and departure times, you should book accommodation on the mainland for the weekends on either end of the trip. Cost ranges anywhere from 15 USD to 100 USD a night depending on your hotel preferences.

What to Expect

Monday: Arrive on the island

Make your way to the Hokey Pokey Water Taxi Dock in Placencia and depart for the ReefCI island at 09:30. Arrive for orientation and learn more about the conservation work you’ll be participating in. Fill up your free time by stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkelling, fishing or playing volleyball and badminton.

Tuesday: Surveys and BBQs

Today, you’ll be IDing fishes, conducting surveys and getting to know more about the local ecology. After a day of diving, unwind in a hammock and tuck into some freshly caught food.

Wednesday: Coral and invertebrate conservation

Today you’ll be learning about all things coral. Once you’re below the surface, you’ll help identify any occurrence of coral reef bleaching, as well as help with lobster and Queen Conch surveys.

Thursday: Commercial species surveys

For your penultimate day on the island, you’ll be broadening your survey’s scope to include all the sea’s critters. You’ll also participate in a ReefCl check survey, which the team will use for their essential research, and includes whale shark monitoring, bio-diversity dives and reef health surveys.

Friday: Final dive before returning to the mainland

Wake up early for one last dive before returning to the mainland. Departure time ranges from 11:00 to 13:00, once back in Placencia, you’re free to explore more of Belize or make your way to the airport.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.

Accommodation

The accommodation is hostel-like and basic but its location is unparalleled. Set miles from land, you can channel your inner cast-away by whiling away afternoons swinging in a hammock or lost in a good book. It’s not often in life you get to fall asleep to the sound of waves lapping just outside your window or wake up to the sun rising over the breath-taking Belize Barrier Reed.

The island is about 1½ acres, it has a large living area and there are a variety of twin, family and double en-suite rooms available in both the main building/cabana and on the beach. Some rooms have their own bathroom and some have shared bathrooms, and there is no hot water. However every room has beautiful views of the ocean and fans for when the sea breeze doesn’t suffice.

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Dates & Prices

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Your host will confirm your booking subject to availability. There may be a minimum number of guests required to guarantee that a trip will go ahead.

Special requirements? Get a quote for a custom trip

Sorry, no private trips are currently available for this product. Try a group trip or ask for a quote.

Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Additional 5 days of diving (Mon - Fri) Payable Before Departure
Additional week $967.00 Per Person
PADI Dive Master Certification (4 week minimum stay) Payable Before Departure
PADI Dive Master Certification $400.00 Per Person
PADI Specialty Course: Fish Identification Payable Before Departure
PADI Specialty Course: Fish Identification $100.00 Per Person
PADI Specialty Course: Deep Diver Payable Before Departure
PADI Specialty Course: Deep Diver $100.00 Per Person
PADI Advanced Open Water Certification Payable Before Departure
PADI Advanced Open Water Certification $150.00 Per Person
PADI Rescue Diver Certification Payable Before Departure
PADI Rescue Diver Certification $200.00 Per Person
PADI Open Water Certification Course Payable Before Departure
PADI Open Water Certification Course $100.00

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