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Best Diving Destinations in Turneffe Atoll
About Turneffe Atoll
Turneffe Reef Atoll lies directly to the east of Belize City. This atoll is covered in vegetation, unlike most other atolls, which are collections of sandy islands. Turneffe is a series of mangrove islands, lagoons and inlets. Dive sites here are suitable for all experience levels. Along the western side, the shallow reefs are perfect for novice divers, while the varied topography on the east and south sides are more suited to the seasoned diver. Wrecks, drop-offs and channels make for a good variety of dives and larger reef fish, turtles, spotted eagle rays and the endemic whitespotted toadfish. The Elbow is the "must-do" dive site on Turneffe, with stunning drop-offs and reef formations where large schools of snappers and jacks feed in mid-water above the reef, large jewfish (goliath grouper) and other groupers hide in the canyons. The wreck of the Sayonara, now bedecked in sponges and corals, provides a multi-colored backdrop against which schools of French grunts, parrotfish and a variety of angelfish can be seen. The nearby reef is home to schools of barracuda and there are several impressive coral patches on the sandy slope. Other dive sites worth a visit include Blackbird Caye, Caye Bokel, Lindsey's, Northern Bogue, Vincent's and West Coast, among others.
When to go to Turneffe Atoll
Diving in this region is available year-round. From November to February, water temperatures drop to 78-80F/26-27C and visibility is around 80ft/25m. From March to October, water temperature averages 84F/29C. During the dry season, from March to May, visibility can reach 100+ft/30+m. July-August is loggerhead turtle nesting time at Turneffe so there are a lot of them in the water during this time. Pilot whales and killer whales migrate through the area from March to June.