The Best Snorkeling in Belize

Belize is a small country on the east coast of Central America that also shares borders with Mexico and Guatemala. Unlike most other Central American countries, Belize's official language is English, which can be an advantage as a tourist. There is also an abundance of Belizean Creole and Spanish.

Belize is very well-known for biodiversity on land, as the location between North America and South America provides an ideal climate for a variety of life. However, the most popular tourist destination for those seeking an outdoor adventure is not the dense forest, but is the Belize Barrier Reef.

Belize Barrier Reef

The Belize Barrier Reef is an incredible snorkeling destination. It's actually a 190 mile long section of the 560 mile long Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system which extends into Mexico. One of the main reasons the Belize Barrier Reef is popular for snorkeling is because of the shear abundance of marine life.

Here, you can find 70 hard coral species, 36 soft coral species, 500 fish species, and hundreds of invertebrate species.

What's even more impressive is that it's estimated only about 10% of the species living in or around the Belize Barrier Reef have been discovered! No wonder Charles Darwin described it as the most remarkable reef in the West Indies!

Belize Barrier Reef Snorkeling

The Belize Barrier Reef is one of the most popular spots to snorkel in the world. Some are surprised by this, but in general, Belize doesn't see the influx of tourists to the same extent that places like Hawaii or Australia may see. Nevertheless, Belize has lots to offer, particularly the snorkeling, which is top notch!

The marine life in the Belize Barrier Reef is wide spread; however, names of different sections of the reef may help indicate what species predominantly populate that area during a certain time of year. Examples of the creatures you may see when snorkeling Belize include, but are not limited to, a wide variety of coral, sea fans, gorgonians, tunicates, manta rays, spotted eagle rays, nurse sharks (especially in Shark Ray Alley), tons of colorful fish, and sometimes even a whale shark! The list goes on, but all you need to know is that the marine life is abundant in the waters of Belize.

Snorkeling from the Shore in Belize

If you're interested in doing some snorkeling in Belize, but are not interested in snorkeling tours or charters, you can still enter from the shore in some great spots. One thing to note, the more popular snorkeling spots in Belize like Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye are pretty far out (literally), and also packed with boats holding scuba divers and snorkelers, that sometimes it's just not practical or safe to get to these areas on your own as they are still about a half mile out into the water.

Snorkeling Tours in Belize

Although there is lots of good snorkeling from the shore of Belize, some of the cooler and more popular areas to snorkel in the Belize Barrier Reef are much more accessible by boat, and helps make your trip more efficient and also provides local tips and tricks to the specific area.

Below are some of the best and most popular snorkeling tours in the Belize Barrier Reef.

CARNIVAL

Carnival Snorkeling Excursion

Destination: Rendezvous Caye

Rendezvous Caye is great for all levels, as it is protected from ocean swells and winds by the reef itself. Lots of interesting marine life to see in a beautiful exotic environment with a great view. Snorkeling is followed by relaxing beach time.

Cost: $79.99/adult, $59.99/child (min 8 years to snorkel)

Cost includes high quality snorkeling equipment, instruction, beach mat, and water and juice on the boat. Drinks and snacks available for purchase on Rendezvous Caye.

Phone: 1-800-764-7419

Email: Click here to fill out form

Website: www.carnival.com


ECOTOURS

Belize Snorkeling - Ecological Tours and Services

Destination: Can choose from Goff's Caye or Shark Ray Alley (the latter may be accompanied by another location or two depending on tour and conditions). 

This snorkeling tour company has a few different options which is nice. Trips are 4 or 5 hours in duration. Goff's Caye is a natural sand coral island, which offers stunning views, relaxing lounging time, great water to play in, and of course, awesome snorkeling.

Shark Ray Alley is a super cool area populated by sting rays and nurse sharks, both of which are safe to snorkel around when accompanied by guides. This incredible experience may be followed up by beach time on Caye Caulker or shopping at San Pedro.

Goff's Caye Cost: $60/adult, $49/child (under 10 years). Includes snorkeling equipment, water, and rum punch for adults. 

Shark Ray Alley Cost: $60-$135/adult per person depending on exact tour selected. Includes snorkeling equipment and drinks, but not lunch (available for purchase).

Phone: 011-501-223-4874

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.ecotoursbelize.com


GRUMPY AND HAPPY

Grumpy and Happy Private Snorkeling Trips

Destination - Ambergris Caye area (specifically, Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley, Mexico Rocks area, and Coral Forest).

This is a very personal snorkeling tour company. They take groups of 1-6 people and offer personalized trips based on your wants and needs combined with their knowledge and expertise. This represents a great alternative to packed charters with strict schedules.

Cost: $360/half day, $720/full day, rates are constant no matter how many people in boat.Cost includes mask, fins, snorkel, snorkeling vests, snacks, and water. Prescription masks available. 

Lots of different options for combinations of different spots you can visit to snorkel, based on your preferences and current conditions. Very personalized trips.

Phone: 1-888-273-9226

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.grumpyandhappy.com


CORAL BREEZE

Coral Breeze Snorkeling Tours

Destination: Caye Caulker, Shark Ray Alley, and Coral Grdens (begins at Beize Tourism Village). Full tour takes about 4 hours and 45 minutes. 

The main snorkeling spots include Coral Gardens and Shark Ray Alley, as well as some exploration on Caye Caulker. Highlights include seeing harmless sting rays and nurse sharks, as well as pristine beautiful coral formations and other colorful marine life. On land you can explore, shop, eat, and relax.

Cost: $72/adult, $60/child ages 3-12 (children under 3 are free). Cheaper rates available for observers (as opposed to snorkelers). Cost includes snorkeling equipment, instruction, water, fruit, and rum punch (non-alcoholic available). 

Phone: 401-946-4544

Email: Click here to fill out form

Website: www.coralbreezetours.com



Best Spots to Snorkel in Belize - General Info

There is a ridiculous amount of information available online about snorkeling in Belize. Depending on how much time you have to research, this could either be an advantage or disadvantage. With tons of info getting into specifics about man different snorkeling spots, there's everything you need, but it can be really difficult to narrow the options.


Therefore, if you don't want to spend a hug amount of time researching snorkeling spots in Belize, especially when you won't even be sure about your choices, we suggest one of the snorkeling tours we listed above, or at least contacting the ones in areas you are interested in and getting their perspective first. A really good company to contact could be Grumpy and Happy tours, as they are less likely to sell you on a tour, and more likely to provide accurate and useful information.

Generally speaking, Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker are the most popular spots for snorkeling in Belize, as each caye has a variety of snorkeling spots within it, as well as developed infrastructure on the islands themselves, so you can enjoy some great food, drinks, beaches, shopping, etc, al in addition to amazing snorkeling.

However, as mentioned previously, often times the best way to get to these popular spots is via a snorkeling tour. If this isn't for you, we would recommend contacting a smaller snorkel charter company like Grumpy and Happy, and seeing if they would be willing to arrange a trip that works for your budget and needs, and that allows you to snorkel from the shore of Belize and explore on your own, and later be picked up and transported to some even more awesome snorkeling spots by boat.

At the end of the day, our main piece of advice is to not worry! Of course, you want to get the most out of your snorkeling trip to Belize, but when it comes down to it, there are so many great snorkeling spots and experienced guides and charters that can direct you, that it's extremely unlikely you won't get to experience some of the best snorkeling in te world!