The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest reef system in the world, stretching from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, along the coast of Belize, and south to the Bay Islands of Honduras. The reef is over 450 miles long and home to more than 60 species of coral, 350 mollusks and 500 fish species. Lucky divers may see rays, whalesharks, and hawksbill turtles amongst other creatures.
Great diving is available just off the coast of Punta Gorda, the closest major town to Cotton Tree. This part of the Belize Barrier Reef is an easy 1 - 2 hour boat ride from PG and is much quieter than well-known locations near Ambergris Caye or Placencia. Cotton Tree Lodge can help you book day or overnight diving trips for certification, marine research, or fun, depending on your interests.
Please note: All diving should be booked in advance. These trips are weather dependent, and captains are occasionally forced to cancel excursions due to poor conditions.
ReefCI: Overnight Packages and Marine Research
Reef Conservation International is located on the beautiful, private island of Hunting Caye in the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve on the southern end of the barrier reef. ReefCI operates marine research dives and involves its guests in data collection efforts. Guests may choose to do non-intensive or more intensive marine conservation work, dive, snorkel, or just relax in a hammock all day. Experienced divers, people who want to learn to dive and non divers are welcome. PADI certification is available.
Cotton Tree Lodge and Reef CI offer a special Reef and Jungle Package that includes four nights with ReefCI on Hunting Caye and four nights at Cotton Tree Lodge. Trips include 2-4 dives per day, training in marine research survey techniques, all necessary diving equipment, cultural and jungle tours, all meals, accommodation, and airport transfers. The four nights at ReefCI must be completed Monday - Friday as ReefCI closes on weekends. Shorter stays with ReefCI may be possible.
Rates start at $1999 per person, double occupancy
Garbutt's Marine: Day Dives
Day Trips are available through Garbutt's Marine in Punta Gorda, leaving at 7am each day on one of their canopied skiffs. The Garbutt brothers offer Discovery Dives, Junior Open Water Certification, and adult Open Water Certification along with regular two-tank dives for certified divers. Certification courses can take three or four days. Divers must be at least 12 years old, but children as young as 10 will be considered if they have some previous experience. Snorkeling equipment is available for those who do not wish to SCUBA dive. Prices are as follows:
- 1 person $300.00 US
- 2 persons $200.00 US per person
- 3 persons or more $150.00 US per person
- Maximum of six divers per boat allowed.
These rates includes all necessary equipment. Lunch and park fees are an additional US $20 per person. Transportation to and from Punta Gorda is US $50 each way for up to 4 guests. Cotton Tree Lodge will cover lunch, transportation, and park fees for All-Inclusive guests.