Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve is a World Heritage Site. Established in 1993, it encompasses the entire Glover’s Reef Atoll. Glover’s Reef is the southernmost of Belize’s atolls, and one of the best developed in the Caribbean. It is approximately 32 by 12 km and lies 45 km east of the mainland coast. It is surrounded by a fringing reef that has only 3 channels, all in the windward side.
The clear oceanic waters have permitted coral growth to depths of 100m or more. Over 700 patch reefs stud the central lagoon. Six privately owned cayes lie on the southeast side of the atoll. The Wildlife Conservation Society operates a research station on Middle Caye. The marine reserve is located approximately 50 km off the coast of central Belize. It is considered to be one of the most pristine and important coral reef sites in the Caribbean.
Due to the isolation of Glover’s Reef atoll, there is little influence from coastal sedimentation or pollution.The atoll has 700 coral patches in its lagoon and is surrounded by 50 miles of sheer drop-offs from 40 ft. straight down to 2600 ft.
Best Dive Sites in Glover’s Atoll
Plenty to see on these pristine reefs. Majestic manta rays are common visitors, and encounters with dolphins, eagle rays and sea turtles are frequent. Brightly colored tube sponges, gorgonians, stands of black coral and swaying sea fans decorate the seascape. Dive sites include Octopus Alley, Manta Reef, Hole in the Wall, Parrotfish Falls, Shark Point, Gorgonia Gallery, Long Caye Cut, Turtle Tavern and Dolphin Dance. With the numerous patch reefs this is a great place for snorkeling as well.
Getting to Glover’s Atoll
This can be quite an adventure in its own right. You will have to make it from Belize City to Sittee’s Glover’s guest House where you will be picked up for the boat ride to Glover’s Reef Atoll Resort on a Sunday morning at 7am. You can either fly, take a taxi or go by bus.
Take a Southern Transport bus to Dangriga and then on to Sittee River. There is a 2pm bus connecting with the 5:15pm bus from Dangriga.
You can take a plane to Dangriga on Maya Air or Tropic Air then continue with a taxi to Sittee’s Glover’s guest House.
Take a taxi from the International Airport of Belize City to Sittee.
The family will pick you up at the guest house for a 25 mile trip in a 50 ft. diesel sailing boat, or smaller, faster open skiff, down a majestic jungle river, past many cays and the barrier reef. It takes an average of 4 hours depending on the weather. The boat leaves every Sunday at 7am shark and returns the next Sunday or Saturday. If this schedule doesn’t suit you there is the options of chartering a boat as well.
When to Visit Glover’s Atoll
Best weather is May to August.
Where to Stay in Glover’s Atoll
Glover’s Reef Atoll Resort is fun and quiet at the same time, but not for the luxury seeker. This place is a privately owned 9 acre property on North East Cay. It is an idyllic little place surrounded by white sand, and coconut trees, left in its natural condition, and is surrounded by a pristine reef with clear waters and good diving, snorkeling and swimming right from shore. If you want to get away form it all this is the perfect place as you will find complete privacy and solitude.
The resort gives you access to a beautiful, unspoiled group of islands and reefs, a usually weatherproof place to sleep and cook, an experience in traditional Belizean living, maybe an adventure; certainly not modern conveniences.
They are a PADI Resort an have a good diving service going. The diving is done from fast boats that follow exact schedules and good service. They do like it if you help load and unload the boat, handle the sails, and that able-bodied guest who will volunteer one hour a day dragging coconut leaves to the burning spot, helping their family keep a low overhead and price. Drugs and heavy alcohol users are not welcome.
Accommodation is in beach cabins with 2 beds, there is a cooking area, kerosene stove, pots, utensils if you want to cook your own food. There are candles, shades, hammocks and a shared outhouse and shower stall (carry water from well). If no cabins are available, they can provide tents with mattress, If you can’t make a reservation, come anyway. They always have space! It is that kind of a place!
Bring your ownfood supplies, soap, towel, flashlight, candles, toilet paper, sunscreen, liquor or soft drinks if needed. They do make sea food meals and breakfast in their thatched divning room. if you do not want to cook.