Best Place to Snorkel in Belize

Woman snorkeling at the surface of the water in a swimsuit

Belize, I adore you. You’re beautiful, laid back, and a good time. Oh… wait… sorry. You’re not Belize, you’re looking *for* Belize. My bad. Well, either way, I like you too because you’re planning a trip to this gem in the Caribbean. And I’ve got to tell you, not only is snorkeling in Belize amazing, it is some of the best snorkeling I’ve ever encountered. I’ve snorkeled in Costa Rica, Hawaii, and even in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, and Belize snorkeling might truly top the list. So if you’re looking for the best place to snorkel in Belize and what you’ll experience on your snorkel day trip, keep reading.

The Short Version

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is where your perfect day of Belize snorkeling will occur. If you do a full day of snorkeling, you’ll make a handful of stops throughout the day where you’ll see the following animals:

  • Manatees
  • Sting rays
  • Moray eels
  • Nurse sharks
  • All of the fish
  • Eagle rays
  • Tarpons
  • Seahorses

The Long Version – Answering Questions About Snorkeling in Belize

What Belize Snorkel Tour Should I Take?

There are so many different tour operators to choose from, you can feel free to book in advance or wait until you arrive in Belize to book. I did the latter and booked once I arrived for my stay in Caye Caulker because we actually met some tour guides while we were hanging out one afternoon and they offered us a spot on the next day’s snorkel cruise. We did the full day Hol Chan Tour and I’d 1,000,000% do it again.

Where Will I Be Snorkeling?

This tour will take you all over Hol Chan Marine Reserve! You’ll hop in the waters to snorkel in the following places:

  • Manatees Lookout
    • Hang out in an area where manatees frequently hang out and have a manatee human humanatee hang out (I do not apologize for this sentence)
  • Conch Graveyard
    • Snorkel above thousands of conch shells brought to this area by fisherman
  • Shark Ray Alley
    • Snorkel with dozens of nurse sharks
  • Shipwreck & Coral Garden
    • Dive down to an old shipwreck that has turned into a coral garden and home to tons of fish
  • Tarpon Town
    • Stop and feed these massive, jumping fish by holding bait between your fingers and watch them fly
  • Seahorse City
    • See seahorses in this little habitat created just for them with pelicans all around
  • & more!

We stopped many places that weren’t designated spots on the tour because our guides wanted to see if there was certain wildlife there that day, and that was really incredible!

Will I Swim With Sharks?

Yes, if you want! But you don’t have to if you’re not comfortable doing so. The sharks in Shark Ray Alley are nurse sharks, which aren’t harmful or dangerous to humans at all. Like, legitimately, I accidentally kicked one super hard when swimming and nothing happened. I even feel guilty about it to this day, poor shark.

Shark Ray Alley has a little bit of everything though, and most of the sharks hang out by the boats that are likely feeding them. If you’re a little nervous but don’t want to miss out, hop in the water but stay a couple of meters/yards away from the feeding frenzy. For me and my snorkel in Belize experience, it was one of the most fun and memorable parts of our day and I’d highly recommend hopping in the water.

Why is the Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel in Belize So Good?

From my experience, it’s because of the visibility. The water is crystal clear but also not terribly deep, so there’s tons of natural light beaming through the water almost everywhere you go. Like I said earlier in this blog, I have also snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef. Just a few months before I was snorkeling in Belize, and the visibility in Belize made it just so incredibly magical.

Where Do Tours Leave From?

I stayed in Caye Caulker (read my entire travel guide here) which was a super easy launching point for Hol Chan Marine Reserve, and we also had people staying on Ambergis Caye on our trip as well. I’d bet you could get find a snorkel in Belize tour from anywhere along the coast or any of the islands to be sure. Just research where you’re staying and see if they have snorkel trips there!

So there you have it; a review of the best snorkeling in Belize. Are you ready to book now or what? As always, check my Instagram story highlights for a look at Belize on the ground or shoot me a note here. I’d love to help you plan!


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