Overview of the Best Belize Snorkeling Sites

Overview of Belize Snorkeling sites

The tiny country of Belize proves that great things come in small packages.  Boasting over 180 miles of pristine coral reef, the snorkeling to be found here is world-class.  The Belize Barrier Reef stretches the length of the country, and is part of the larger Meso American Barrier Reef System that covers the Easter coast of Mexico, Belize and Honduras.  The Belize Barrier Reef is a dynamic and important ecosystem.  Read more about it including 10 facts to know, here.  Five of the best Belize snorkel sites are highlighted below, to make choosing your next snorkel destination even easier.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a large protected area located between Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker.  It covers several zones throughout its 21 square miles, each representing a different habitat.  Snorkeling at the cut is paired with a stop at Shark Ray Alley where you can swim with nurse sharks and sting rays.  Click here for 8 more reasons to snorkel at Hol Chan.

Snorkel Site Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley
Location South of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye
Type of Reef Channel Cut and Barrier Reef
Distance From Shore 25 Minute Boat Ride, 5 Miles
Highlights Sea Turtles, Nurse Sharks, Sting Rays

 

Mexico Rocks

Belize’s newest marine protected area is a must-see on your Belize vacation.  Mexico Rocks is a unique site just offshore of Ambergris Caye with its large boulder coral formations.  Boulder coral can also be found at Glover’s Reef in Southern Belize, making this site one of only two locations on the Belize Barrier Reef with this type of formation.

Snorkel Site Mexico Rocks
Location Northern Ambergris Caye
Type of Reef Boulder Coral
Distance From Shore 1 Minute Boat Ride
Highlights Sea Turtles, Snapper, Sergeant Major, Eagle Rays

 

Glover’s Reef Atoll

One of three atolls in Belize, Glover’s Reef is one of the least-visited sites due to its remote location.  The trek to Glover’s Reef is definitely worth it for the rich and healthy reef systems that you will encounter there.  With over 700 patch reefs in the atoll, it is an official World Heritage Site, receiving funding through UNESCO.

Snorkel Site Glover’s Reef Atoll
Location Placencia
Type of Reef Patch Reef and Boulder Coral
Distance From Shore 90-120 Minute Boat Ride, 30 Miles
Highlights Goliath Grouper, Seahorses, Fairy Basslet, Pillar Coral

 

Gladden Spit

A bucket list snorkel is to swim alongside the gentle Whale Sharks that congregate each year near Gladden Spit off of Placencia.  The best chance to see them is on the days surrounding the full moon from March-June each year.  Whale sharks feed at fish spawning aggregation sites and are the size of a school bus.  Snorkeling in their presence really is UnBelizeable.

Snorkel Site Gladden Spit
Location Placencia
Type of Reef Deep Water, Fish Spawning Aggregation Site
Distance From Shore 90 Minute Boat Ride, 26 Miles
Highlights Whale Shark Migration, March-June on the full moon

 

Tobacco Caye, South Water Caye Marine Reserve

A thirty minute boat ride out of Dangriga Town will find you at the tiny, picturesque island of Tobacco Caye.  Just 5 acres in size, there are a handful of small hotels, one bar and one restaurant.  The reef is so close that you can swim right to it and enjoy snorkeling amongst the coral at the cut.  Boat trips to nearby patch reef and spur & groove formations in front of the island are available as well.

Snorkel Site Tobacco Caye, South Water Caye Marine Reserve
Location Tobacco Caye
Type of Reef Channel Cut, Spur & Groove
Distance From Shore Swimming Distance
Highlights Moray Eels, Octopus, Squid, Blue Tang