6 Reasons to Explore Central America Underwater

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Snorkelling in the cenotes of Tulum, Mexico. Image credit: Ailish Casey

There are spectacular places to visit throughout Central America. But for a different perspective, try exploring the surrounding waters, where you’ll find fascinating shipwrecks, incredible wildlife, and much more. Here are just a few of the reasons to explore Central America underwater:

1. Stunning locations

Where better to begin an underwater adventure than in a picturesque tropical location? The coastlines of Central America boast countless strips of white sand, tropical palm trees, and shimmering blue sea. From snorkelling around the postcard-perfect San Blas islands in Panama to diving straight from the beach at Tobacco Caye, Belize, there are endless stunning options to begin your Central America underwater exploration.

Beach with palm trees and blue sky
The beautiful San Blas islands, Panama. Image credit: Ailish Casey

 

2. Cheap Diving Courses

The Bay Islands, off the coast of Honduras, are a popular place to take a scuba diving course. Though this is partly due to the great diving opportunities and the fun, chilled out nature of the islands, the main reason would-be divers flock here is the price. The Bay Islands are one of the cheapest places in the world to complete a scuba diving certification.

Do your homework before booking a course. Prices are comparable throughout the islands, but operators differ in their quality of equipment and standard of teaching. Ask to see the gear before you hand over any money- it should be clean and relatively new.

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Boat with row of scuba diving equipment, central america underwater
Preparing for a scuba diving course in Utila, Honduras. Image credit: Ailish Casey

 

3. Incredible Sea Life

There is a massive variety of sea life to encounter when exploring Central America underwater. Sea turtles, barracudas, moray eels, rays, and a huge range of colourful fish all lurk beneath the depths. You may even encounter manatees when exploring underwater in Belize.

A pair of manatees in Belize. Image credit:
A pair of manatees in Belize. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Central America is also a great destination for shark lovers. Reef sharks, nurse sharks, and hammerheads swim throughout the surrounding waters, and divers and snorkelers stand a good chance of getting up close with these incredible creatures.

The Yucatan peninsula in Mexico, and the island of Utila in Honduras even offer the chance to snorkel with gigantic whale sharks. Swimming alongside a 40 foot shark as it gapes open its huge mouth to feed is a truly unforgettable experience.

Snorkelling with a whale shark. Image credit: Jaontiveros

Snorkelling with a whale shark. Image credit: Jaontiveros

 

5. Wide Variety of Experiences

Central America is home to the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. But it’s not just about coral reef diving here. Head to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to explore the cenotes, sinkholes that have created underwater cave systems. Or check out the nearby MUSA (Museo Subacuatico de Arte), where over 500 sunken sculptures lie on the sea floor.

Snorkelling in the cenotes of Tulum, Mexico. Image credit: Ailish Casey
Snorkelling in the cenotes of Tulum, Mexico. Image credit: Ailish Casey

 

There are plenty of fascinating shipwrecks to explore, from the 300 ft Odyssey in Roatan, Honduras, to the trio of wrecks at Tortuga Island in Costa Rica. And of course, Belize is home to one of the most iconic dive sites in the world- the Great Blue Hole, where divers can sink into the deep blue water among hammerhead sharks.

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great_blue_hole
The Great Blue Hole of Belize. Image credit: US Geological Survey

 

7. Something for Everyone

Central America features an underwater adventures to suit all abilities. Advanced divers can tackle the pinnacles of La Viuda, at Isla Canales, Panama, or try drift diving in Cozumel, Mexico, where the current whizzes divers through the clear underwater landscape. But those who have no previous scuba diving experience can still take part in fun dives throughout Central America.

Central America underwater snorkelling
Snorkelling in the clear waters of Central America. Image credit: Ailish Casey

Those who don’t wish to scuba dive at all can still have citing encounters and breathtaking views by donning a snorkel. Try exploring the beautiful Corn islands in Nicaragua, or the clear, calm waters of Caye Caulker, Belize.

And, of course, if you’d prefer to simply paddle on a beach, there are plenty of those, too!

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