St. Georges Caye Resort Belize - Diving, Fishing, Spa Resort
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Good Advice on "Reef-Safe" Sunscreens

Dive_Snork Coral reef near St. George's Caye

Chances are you've heard about "reef-safe sunscreens" and the importance of using sunblock that doesn't contain harmful chemicals.

But which chemicals are harmful?  What does that even mean?

In May of this year, Hawaii passed a bill that prevents the sale of sunscreen containing UV-filtering ingredients, like oxybenzone (the most common compound found in nearly 3,500 sunscreens worldwide), octinoxate (even more toxic that oxybenzone, but usually found in lower concentrations), and octocrylene.  These are the dangerous chemicals have been linked to coral bleaching.

A good rule of thumb:  the simpler the formula, the better.  A great alternative to using sunscreen when diving or snorkeling is to wear a long-sleeved sun shirt or rash guard with a UPF (UV-protective fabric) of 50-plus.  It should have a crew neck and ideally will have a thumbhole to hold the sleeve over the top portion of your hands.  More coverage, less sunblock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo of the Belize Barrier Reef

WHAT DOES OXYBENZONE DO TO THE REEF?

According to Craig  Downs, Ph.D., a forensic ecotoxicologist in Virginia and Executive Director of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, oxybenzone can damage coral DNA and might lead to what Downs calls "reef zombies" or corals and other reef organisms that look "healthy, but are actually sterile and dead - so they cannot reproduce."  Such UV-absorbing compounds can also contribute to coral bleaching, which occurs when the life-sustaining algae that normally lives on coral vanishes, due to changes in ocean temps, stress or pollution.  With these chemicals in the sea water, viruses can thrive, putting corals at risk of catching an infection and possibly lead to bleaching and death.

So, with information in hand, we'd like to give our some advise on buying a reef-safe sunscreen before you visit us at St. George's.  We care about your skin as well as our reef - so here's how you can help protect both!

1.  Find a sunscreen that does not have oxybenzone and octinoxiate listed in the ingredients

2.  Look for a mineral based sunscreen with the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (mineral based sunscreens sit at the top of the skin and block the UV rays and are less likely to wear off)

3.  Ingredients that are "non-nano" (particles are below 100 nanometers so they cannot be ingested by corals)

4.  Reef-safe labels (be sure to double check the ingredients!)

Just in case you didn't have time to go shopping, or forgot your reef-safe sunscreen at home, we have them available in our gift shop!

You can learn more about shopping for reef-safe sunscreens online, but here's a great article for reference by Travel and Leisure Magazine.  Of course, you can always call or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. us with any questions you have!

 

 

 

 
 
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What is a Resort Dive?

StGeorgesCayeUW-207 Learn to Dive on the Belize Reef

Learning to scuba dive is an amazing experience, but not everyone is ready to jump in for the full open-water scuba certification course. That's where the resort dive comes in!

A resort dive is a safe and excellent introduction to scuba diving that requires no previous diving experience. The half-day course is very popular because it lets you experience the underwater world without having to invest a lot of time.  The open-water certifications require classroom time, an exam and take 4-5 days to complete.

The experience and cost for a resort dive can be credited towards further training if you later decide to get SCUBA certified (usually for a period of six months).

 

What's Included in a Resort Dive?

Resort courses are a half-day and may include your dive equipment such as BCD (buoyancy control device), regulator, gauges, tanks, and weights. During the course you receive basic training from a Certified Dive Instructor (CDI) on safety and equipment, followed by a dive in open-water to a maximum depth of 30 feet. After completing the course, you are free to dive as many times as you like as long as it is with a CDI and the depth is no deeper than 30 feet. Most dive centers in tourist locations offer this introductory half-day course. SSI calls the course "Try Scuba" NAUI calls it "Try Scuba/Passport Diving" and PADI calls it "Discover Scuba."

Our resort has a SSI-Certified Dive Center and we offer "Try Scuba" to our guests.  In fact, you can complete the introductory session with our CDI for FREE in the pool!  Afterward, if you like it, we will take you out to the reef for your official resort dive.  The dive sites are only 5-10 minutes away by boat. 

Learn more about diving with us. 

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The Ultimate Gift for Graduation: an ADVENTURE-FILLED TRIP TO BELIZE!

The Ultimate Gift for Graduation: an ADVENTURE-FILLED TRIP TO BELIZE!

Is someone special in your life graduating from high school or college?

Reward your hard-working scholar with a trip abroad to experience adventure, culture, and post-school relaxation. We know we’re a little biased, but we think a Belize vacation with jungle and ocean adventures is a fantastic way to celebrate a notable accomplishment!

GIVE THE GIFT OF ADVENTURE

Cap’n Ron and the team at St. George’s Caye Resort are big supporters of education because education brings opportunity (read about the scholarship program funded by our staff). We want to help you spoil your graduate, so get in touch and we'll help craft the perfect graduation trip to Belize, complete with private thatch cabana, friendly service, and endless ocean views. 


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FOR THE DIVER IN YOUR LIFE

Is your graduate certified to dive? Then they will love diving the pristine, crowd-free sites just a few minutes way from St. George’s Caye on the amazing Belize Barrier Reef. Dive with sharks, rays, turtles, grouper, barracuda, and more. Divers can even spear-hunt the invasive lionfish and our kitchen will cook up their catch that night. We can also arrange bucket-list dive trips to the world-famous Great Blue Hole and Lighthouse Reef. It’s certain to be a dive trip they will never forget! 

Not certified? Try diving in the pool for free, or take the "Try Diving" resort course with our instructor, Jose, who has been with us 20 years and knows the best spots on our local reef for beginner divers. There's no better place to learn than the warm waters of Belize!

EVERYTHING FOR A FUN-FILLED VACATION

At St. George's there are plenty of fun adventures to go around with free unlimited use of kayaks, snorkel gear, Hobie Cat sailboats, windsurf boards, and standup paddle-boards.  And by reserving one of the Adventure Packages or Dive Packages, it includes everything for a wonderful vacation in Belize: airport greeting and transfers, private thatch bungalow on the beach or over the water, all meals, and select adventure-filled tours or diving.

LOW AIRFARES TO BELIZE AVAILABLE NOW!

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This is the best time to send your graduate to Belize (and for you to visit) because we are seeing the lowest air fares from the U.S. to Belize in over 15 years. Round-trip tickets are available from many U.S. cities for under $500, and we’ve seen quite a few for under $400. Act now to get these great airfares.

So if you’re thinking of spoiling the graduate in your life with a fun trip to Belize, get in touch with Cap’n Ron today. We’d love to help you make this a very special trip and gift – for your graduate, or for the whole family to celebrate together!

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