Belize Snorkeling & Free Diving

Belize Barrier Reef & Atoll Snorkeling Vacations

Most famous for its extensive Barrier Reef ecosystem and pristine coral, Belize is the perfect place for a tropical snorkeling trip. Scuba diving has long received more attention in Belize since it is such a widely known sport, but few people realize that the snorkeling opportunities are also exceptional. The clear warm waters of the Caribbean are more salty than in temperate regions, and creates extra buoyancy for swimmers which allows anyone to feel comfortable while exploring the reefs with a mask and snorkel.

Snorkeling the reef environment of Glover's Atoll

Snorkeling the reef environment of Glover’s Atoll
Keith Fialcowitz

Snorkeling is Part of the Package

Snorkeling from our island is not available without purchasing a Belize vacation package. Our island is located far out to sea, which is one of the reasons it is such a fabulous place; we experience none of the crowding found in other parts of Belize. There is no way to visit our island only for the day, a 5-night package (3 nights on the island) is our minimum as our private boat charter only goes to and from the island two days a week. Packages include hotels and meals in Belize City before and after the trip, transport to and from the island, accommodations and meals on the island, soda and beer on the island, and windsurf and other sports gear and instruction. We specialize in Belize multisport trips; we aren’t just a snorkel or dive resort! For a complete summary of all the sea sports we offer, visit our adventure sports page.

Each sport has a mandatory orientation session where we introduce our gear to you. Once you have had the orientation session, you are free to use the gear anytime you like, as long as you have a buddy. The buddy system is different for each sport, and that’s explained during the orientation. For example, a buddy while snorkeling is someone snorkeling with you, but a buddy while windsurfing is a person on shore paying attention to your location and notifying us if you need assistance. During scheduled activities, guides are on hand monitoring your progress and a buddy may not be necessary, since the guide is effectively your buddy.

[photo credit at top of page: Keith Fialcowitz]

Watch More Belize Videos

The first three minutes of this video by Glenn Boer are a great montage of our island trip, and include some great snorkeling sessions with our guides.

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Belize Scorpion Fish, Glover's Reef

“Our trip was excellent, we loved our experience. Our whole reason for coming was we wanted good snorkeling and we found it! The variety of sea life and the abundant coral is not something you find many places. Our favorite part of the trip was the friendly, involved and very necessary guides. I thought that MJ did a great job communicating expectations and procedures. He was extremely friendly and made everyone feel comfortable. All his attention to teaching and safety was great. Well done!”

Erin Brown, Cresskill, NJ

Adventure Island at Glover's Reef, December 2017

Snorkeling in Belize

It’s Like Hiking Underwater

Snorkeling is usually available wherever scuba diving is. The many shallow reefs of Belize allow snorkelers to see nearly everything that scuba divers access, along with the advantage of not having to worry about underwater safety, rigid time constraints, bulky equipment, and expense. The freedom of snorkeling, and with the security of always being on the surface, appeals to a wide range of people and is Belize’s most popular activity.

Snorkeling one of the many shallow patch reefs near our island.
Carol Cashion

Snorkeling at Glover’s Reef

Our island at Glover’s Reef is the premier snorkeling destination in the country. We know that sounds like hype, and we do admit to bias. However, there are very few places in Belize where you can snorkel right offshore, and our island, Long Caye, is one of them. We also access nearby snorkeling spots by kayak, and train you to do it on your own with a buddy. So the snorkeling opportunities are extensive within about 15 minutes of our island. To see a map of snorkeling spots we visit weekly (we snorkel every day, sometimes twice a day, sometimes three if we night-snorkel) view our Belize snorkel map.

Because our island is so remote, the boat only runs two days a week. We offer all-inclusive packages of set lengths and set start dates.

We use kayaks to access nearby snorkel spots.
Victor Myers

Belize Snorkeling Tours

When choosing Belize snorkel tours, remember that not all lodges are located on the coral reef.

If you want to avoid a long and expensive boat ride to access snorkeling spots, make sure you know that you can snorkel right off shore. Google Earth is a big help with figuring this out.

Visitors to the mainland should be aware that the Belize Barrier Reef and associated coral is a minimum of 10 miles away, and visitors to popular Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye are often surprised to find out that the reef is still a half-mile away, too far for most people to swim, and the waters are full of dangerous motor boats. Snorkeling tours also use motor boats for access in these areas.

School of Blue Tang with a Queen Parrotfish
Meg Griffiths

What’s the Best Place to Snorkel in Belize?

The best locations for snorkeling right off shore are the three atolls of Belize: Glover’s Reef, Lighthouse Reef and Turneffe Islands, as well as the the southernmost cayes of the Barrier Reef. In these spots the islands sit right on the reef and you can jump in and snorkel right there.

View our map of Belize snorkel spots to see how close snorkeling is to our island.

Common Octopus
Jasmine Ardeshiri

Free Diving

A sport related to snorkeling is free diving. Free diving is simply diving as deep as scuba diving, but while holding your breath. There are many places in Belize where one can free dive to depths of 40 feet or more. The water is clear and warm, and those with a small weight belt can stay down for several minutes safely.

Free Diving near The Wall, Long Caye at Glover's Reef
Rich Lawson

What Will I See While Snorkeling?

Serious snorkelers should not pass up a trip to visit Belize. Snorkel areas are so lush there that in one session a knowledgeable person can identify thirty fish, fifteen other creatures and many species of coral and sponges. Below is a short list of commonly seen underwater species.

Lizard Fish
Jasmine Ardeshiri

What You See While Snorkeling at Glover's Reef

And this is just a fraction of what you will see!
FishCreaturesCoralSponges
French Angel FishSpotted Eagle RayElkhornGiant Barrel
Queen Angel FishSouthern StingrayStaghornYellow Tube
Blue TangSpotted Yellow RayGrooved BrainRow Pore Rope
Stoplight ParrotfishBottlenose PorpoiseSymmetrical BrainRed-Orange Branching
Queen ParrotfishAtlantic-Spotted PorpoiseKnobby BrainOrange Encrusting
Lizard FishLoggerhead TurtleGolf BallLoggerhead
Tiger GrouperHawksbill TurtleLettuce LeafStove-Pipe
French GruntFlamingo Tongue SnailsBlade FireIridescent Purple Vase
Queen TriggerfishCaribbean OctopusPurple Sea FanFire
TrumpetfishCommon OctopusCorky Sea FingerBranching Tube
BarracudaCaribbean Reef SquidRed Sea WhipAntler
Midnight ParrotfishSpiny LobsterBlackBrown Bowl
Creole WrasseSpanish LobsterStarGreen Finger
Whitespotted FilefishGreen Moray EelPillarRed Boring
Whitelined ToadfishChain Moray EelEncrusting FireBrown Mound