Best time to visit Belize

Snorkeling in Belize

Explore the mysterious Blue Hole and other fantastic snorkeling spots in Belize

Best time: all year round (best December–May)

Snorkeling in Caye Caulker

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.

Practical info

Where can the Great Blue Hole be found?

The Great Blue Hole is situated in the midst of Lighthouse Reef, about 43 mi (70 km) away from Belize City. It is unique for its crystal-clear water, depth and size and has become one of the favorite destinations for divers globally. Show more

What is the best time of the year to go snorkeling in Belize?

The period between December and May is considered to be the finest season for snorkeling in Belize because the water temperature and visibility are perfect. However, you can go snorkeling throughout the year in tropical Belizean waters, keeping in mind hurricane season usually lasting from June to November. Show more

What are the famous places for snorkeling surrounding Ambergris Caye?

The vicinity of Ambergris Caye offers several stunning spots for snorkeling. Some of the most famous ones include Shark Ray Alley, Tres Cocos, Hol Chan Cut Marine Reserve, and Mexico Rocks. These spots provide an opportunity to witness marine life which includes stingrays, turtles, snappers, damselfish and many others. Show more

What makes Glover's Reef Atoll an exclusive destination for snorkeling?

With clear turquoise waters, a vast reef area, and a shallow lagoon, Glover's Reef Atoll is a unique snorkeling destination. This atoll is 20 mi (32 km) long, oval-shaped and has the most diverse reefs in the Western Caribbean. This renowned area is the breeding site for the endangered Nassau grouper, and tourists can explore this location by snorkeling, diving, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding. Show more

Describe the location and unique features of the magnificent Gladden Spit.?

Gladden Spit is situated only 30 mi (48 km) from Placencia and is renowned for its amazing snorkeling experiences with whale sharks. Gladden Spit is a protected marine reserve area administered by the local community. From March to June, these gentle giants mostly inhabit the area, however, they are also sighted outside this period. The place offers a range of activities, including snorkeling with exotic fishes and other marine life. Show more

Ask a question
Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen