Belize is one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. Its barrier reef, included in UNESCO world heritage list, is the second-largest in the world, stretching for about 192 mi (309 km). Most great snorkeling spots can be found on the barrier reef or small outer atolls. You can snorkel year-round in tropical Belizean waters, as water temperature and visibility are great during any season. However, the best time to snorkel in Belize is during the dry season from December through May.
Snorkeling in North Belize
Ambergris Caye is one of the most developed islands in Belize, and many snorkeling tours leave from there. Many great spots rich with colorful fish are located in proximity to the port of San Pedro. Hol Chan Cut Marine Reserve has both deep and shallow waters. Located on the barrier reef, it boasts quite a variety of fish species. Shark Ray Alley is a shallow spot on the reef where southern stingrays and nurse sharks are especially abundant.
Mexico Rocks and Tres Cocos is another great snorkeling area near Ambergris Caye. It is quite shallow and rich with stingrays, yellowtail snappers, angelfish, damselfish, turtles, and shrimp. This area can have strong currents but is generally good for beginners and experienced snorkelers.
The Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole, made famous by Jacques Cousteau, is perhaps the most iconic marine destination in Belize. Located near the center of Lighthouse Reef, it lies about 43 mi (70 km) from Belize City. However, it's worth noting that the Blue Hole might seem pretty average to a snorkeler. Lighthouse Reef Atoll and Half Moon Caye have more shallow areas and fish to leave a better impression.
Snorkeling in Southern Belize
Further south, you can find the remote Glover's Reef Atoll with clear turquoise waters, a shallow lagoon, and a huge reef area. This oval-shaped atoll, which is 20 mi (32 km) long, has the most diverse reefs in the Western Caribbean. It's also the spawning site for the endangered Nassau grouper. Rendezvous Caye, Colson Caye, and Silk Cayes Marine Reserve are other nearby locations worth exploring.
Quite a few snorkeling spots are located off the coast of southern Belize near Placencia. An inner lagoon between the mainland and the barrier reef in this area hosts dozens of cayes and atolls. The magnificent Gladden Spit, located just 30 mi (48 km) from Placencia, is famous for its snorkeling with whale sharks, an experience that will surely become one of the main highlights of your Belize stay.