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Belize has the second largest barrier reef in the world and has three of the four atolls in the Western Hemisphere. The Turneffe Atoll is the largest marine reserve in Belize since 2012. Shortly after, the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association was created and now comanage the pristine atoll with the Belize Fisheries Department. The atoll is thirty miles long and ten miles wide. It has four zones to help manage the atoll’s marine ecosystem: General Use, Conservation, Special Management, and Preservation Zone. The Turneffe Atoll is a bucket-list-worthy destination perfect for the young and the young at heart! Here are a few activities that make Turneffe a must-visit:
If you are a diver, the Turneffe Atoll will be your playground. Whether a beginner or a master diver, this atoll is famous for having a place for everyone to enjoy. There are two hotspots in the Turneffe Atoll that you should explore:
Wit Dive and Snorkeling Site. The 375 feet concrete ship was sunken in the Dog Flea Caye & Blackbird Caye Conservation Zone to give a unique diving experience. Popularly known as “The Wit,” this new dive destination is also environmentally conscious as it helps to increase biodiversity and ease the stress from nearby natural reef habitats.
Elbow. The Elbow is the most popular diving site in the southmost part of the Turneffe Atoll due to its thriving marine ecosystem. From hammerhead sharks to eagle rays and various fishes, diving into this 60 to 100 feet area will intrigue divers to explore its hidden wonders.
Not a diver but still want to be adventurous? You should visit Calabash Caye! There are several amenities and picturesque views on the island to experience. You could do a photo-op at the colorful welcome sign or in front of the detailed mural of the marine reserve. There are also other adventures on Calabash Caye to enjoy, such as:
Calabash Snorkel Trail. The Calabash Snorkel Trail is a 30-minute-long adventure in front of the island. It has six stops between two moorings with buoys with information pamphlets about the different fishes and corals in the area. You can spot the shimmering silver of Tarpons, vibrant Spotlight Parrot fish, and the mysterious Southern Sting Ray. Whether you’re a swimmer or not, the marine community along the trail will amuse you as corals sway and fishes roam.
Calabash Nature Trail. Get your cameras ready as you immerse yourself in Calabash Nature Trail. Walk the journey and see the flora of Calabash Caye, like swamp fern, sea grapes, red mangroves, black mangroves, bearded figs, and the wild art created by woodpeckers. Look out for hermit crabs or say hi to iguanas as they stroll by.
The Observation Tower. While on your nature trail, walk down an isle of mangroves when you cross the narrow hammock bridge to the 45 feet tall observation tower. Reach to the top for a breathtaking view, which is the perfect backdrop for a photo-op! Feel the cool breeze as you embrace the blues and greens of the Turneffe Atoll.
Cut through the dancing waves of the sea as you look on at a performance by dolphins. Don’t hesitate to book a stay to explore the Turneffe Atoll.