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Belize Snorkeling

Sapphire Beach resort is on the north side of Ambergris Caye. We are lucky enough to have some of the best snorkeling spots in Central America at our doorstep.

Why? Because Ambergris Caye, Belize is surrounded by the world’s second largest barrier reef and world heritage site. The coast of Belize offers guests unrivalled snorkeling with plenty of coral and tropical fish. Snorkeling in Belize's clear blue waters provides fantastic half- or full-day snorkeling adventures.





There are many snorkeling spots near Sapphire Beach Resort, our pick of the best snorkeling tours.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Half-Day Snorkeling Tour

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve is about 30 minutes south of our resort by boat. Hol Chan translates the Mayan for little blue channel. With maximum depth of 30 feet, and excellent visibility, this a fantastic spot to see aquatic life. 


Snorkelers can see a variety of Caribbean reef fish like snapper and grouper, parrotfish and surgeonfish. Rays are also often seen here, together with the moray eels.. Also seen on site are eels, spider crabs, lobster, and nurse sharks. All flora and fauna within the reserve are protected, and feeding fish is discouraged.

Snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley, at a depth of 8-10 feet, snorkelers can see nurse sharks, Sting Rays, and a variety of coral. The area is shallow and makes for excellent underwater photography.As soon as your boat arrives, our dive master briefs the group and provides information about the ecosystem. The marine life is visible from the surface and is attracted to the approaching boats. There are also many other varieties of animals, such as grouper, yellow-tail, and moray eel.

Departure: 9:00am
Return: 12:30pm

Mexico Rocks Half-Day Snorkeling Tour

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.

One of our favorite spots, Mexico Rocks, is a shallow patch of reef off of the northern tip of Ambergris Caye and is part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef. Mexico Rock's claim to fame are the large colonies of 10–12 feet (3.5 meters) high boulder coral. These tall formations nearly reach the surface and are home to a wide variety of marine life. There are many species of fish such as flame scallops, anemones, sponges, tube worms, shrimp to moray eels, butterfly fish and wrasses in this area. The shallow conditions and favorable light are perfect for underwater photography.


Departure: 9:00am
Return: 12:30pm

Snorkel the Blue Hole & Lighthouse Reef Full-Day Tour

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.

You can go snorkeling at the Blue Hole off the coast of Belize. This famous dive spot also features snorkeling in the shallow rims circling the hole. Explore this natural wonder and its extensive marine ecosystem from the Lighthouse Reef Atoll. This trip is perfect for non-divers that want to go beyond the Barrier Reef, or to tag along with divers at the Blue Hole. 


The lighthouse reef is furthest atoll from Ambergris Caye. It is surrounded by coral reef and is fairly shallow at 10 feet on average. It is worth the trip. There are hundreds of coral heads in the interior. This is atoll surround the blue hole.

Departure: 5:30am

Tres Cocos Half-Day Snorkeling Tour

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.

Tres Cocos located 4.5 miles north of the Sapphire Beach Resort. It is populated with corals, spurs, and narrow canyons running up to the coral reef line teaming with life. Here you find harlequin bass, trumpet fish, French grunts, dusky damselfish, pork fish, blue chromis, schoolmasters, stoplight parrotfish and squirrelfish darting among the coral cover with many other types of marine life.


Departure: 9:00am
Return: 12:30pm

Punta Azul Snorkeling Tour

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.

Another beautiful nearby destination is Punta Azul. Punta Azul is only 20 minutes by boat from Sapphire Beach. You can see canyon formations and a marine life that includes nassau grouper, horse-eye jack, barracuda, and snapper along with the occasional spider crab and lobster.

My husband and I had a great time snorkeling with these guys! Edruardo was really helpful and made the excursion a lot of fun for us. It’s so beautiful to see the waves breaking at the reef line while snorkeling in that perfectly clear blue green water. The sting rays are amazing to watch, and each fish seems to have their own personality and interest ?.  . It’s a great experience ?.

Basil Jones

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.

Please request prices with front desk, or contact us online.Basil Jones is located 45 minutes north of San Pedro, near The Belize Barrier Reef. With its own private sandy beach and lagoon, Basil Jones is a guest favorite. The back reef is shallow and packed with a wide variety of tropical fish, some not seen elsewhere.Depth Range: 15-70 ft (5-21 meters)Visibility: 50 ft (15 meters)


Depth Range: 15-70 ft (5-21 meters)
Visibility: 50 ft (15 meters)

All of our Sapphire Beach tours are operated by our exclusive diving, snorkeling, and fishing partner, No Worries Tours. No Worries Tours have their own dive shop situated right next to the front desk. You can call our front desk for reservation information or simply stroll out to talk to the friendly No Worries team.


Belize Snorkeling Info

Everything you want to know about snorkeling in Belize

When To Snorkel in Belize

While you can snorkel in Belize all year round, the best time to snorkeling in Belize is the dry season from November to May. The dry season is the peak travel season. Visibility remains decent through out the year, but is limited during the rainy season.

What to Wear for Snorkeling in Belize

We recommend a lightweight long sleeve rash guard. Look for rash guards with U.P.F. 50+ UV protection. Ideally, you want a tight fit that hugs your body like a second skin. There are fabrics recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Most of these are made of Polyester and Spandex blend for effective UV protection with minimal heat absorption. They can be worn alone or under a wetsuit for rash protection with minimal seam placement. 

Reducing the amount of sunscreen in popular snorkeling spots is important because it may harm corals.

Snorkeling with Sea Life in Belize

Belize's snorkeling sites are home to unique underwater sea life and coral. Below, we've listed some common animals you might encounter on your adventures.

Belize snorkeling with a Manatee

West Indian Manatee

These large, timid creatures are also known as sea cows. They can grow up to 15 feet. The females of the species are larger than the males. A female West Indian Manatee may reach over 3000 pounds. Most are around 10 feet and about 1500 pounds. There are several locations to see manatees, including the Swallow Caye Marine Reserve near Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye.

Rays

Living amongst the coral reefs are three types of rays. Keep an eye out for the southern stingray, the spotted eagle ray and manta rays.

Sea Turtle

Three species of sea turtles are commonly found off the coast. Look out for the green turtle, the hawksbill and the loggerhead turtle. The mangroves off of Belize provide perfect feeding and nesting grounds for turtles. We recommend not touching the turtles at all of our snorkel spots.

Whale Sharks

One of the most popular diving activities is searching for the largest fish in the ocean - the whale shark. To see whale shark's head to Belize in the spring. During this time snappers are spawning providing an excellent source of food for the large animal. One of the best places to view Whale Sharks is Gladden Spit, near Placencia. Placencia is in the southern part of Belize on the coast. These are gentle creatures that are fantastic to swim near.

Where Are The Best Belize Snorkeling Spots?

There are so many amazing underwater places to explore in Belize. The second longest barrier coral reef in the world runs nearly the entire length of the country. All the snorkeling is on this barrier reef or the smaller offshore atolls. Most snorkeling is done by boat.

Ambergris Caye - San Pedro Area

Sapphire Beach resort is on the north side of the island, about 25 minutes from San Pedro Town.

Yellowtail Damselfish - Seen when snorkeling Belize.

Ambergris Caye Snorkeling - The largest caye has the most convenient access to coral reefs and fantastic resorts. If you'd like to organize a private customized trip, check out the locations below.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve - Belize's first marine park, this area has both shallow and deep waters. You can find larger fish species and stronger currents.

Mexico Rocks -This is actually a patch reef area that is great for beginners and experienced alike.

Tres Cocos - This shallow area is right on the barrier reef edge and has a lot of fish a good bit of current.

Shark Ray Alley - This interesting snorkeling spot has shallow waters. It is also a feeding area that is home to nurse sharks and rays.


The Outer Atolls

There are three popular offshore atolls for snorkeling. The downside is that they are a long boat ride and you will cross open ocean.

Lighthouse Reef Atoll - The lighthouse reef is furthest atoll. It is surrounded by coral reef and is fairly shallow at 10 feet on average. It is worth the trip. There are hundreds of coral heads in the interior. This is atoll surround the blue hole.

Half Moon Caye -One of our snorkel spots, a shallow location teeming with life.

Glover's Reef Atoll - The furthest south and one of the best atolls is Glover's Reef. A shallow reef with almost one thousand coral heads.

Long Caye Wall- Primarily frequented by divers, it is literally out of the depth for most snorkelers. All the same, many people like the area.

Turneffe Atoll is the closest of the three outer atolls. Turneffe comprises hundreds of mangrove covered islands in a reef system.

Blue Hole -The most famous spot in Belize. Many people suggest you skip it for snorkeling because of the lack of marine life and lack of coral species. If you're interested in underwater geology, this is a fantastic place to dive.

Cayes South Of Ambergris Caye

On the southern coast of Belize, the most popular destination is Placencia. Because of the sediment from the rivers and rainforest, the water clarity is lower in this area. There a few snorkeling sites in the area.

Rendezvous Caye - A lovely little island is one better snorkel spots around Belize.

Pompion Caye - East from Placencia, this small caye is on the edge of the barrier reef. Unfortunately, the reef health and visibility isn't as great as the north.

Little Water Caye - Probably not the best choice with cloudy water, it is close to Placencia

Colson Caye - A small snorkel spot with a bit of reef that is south of Rendezvous Caye.

Carrie Bow Caye - If you can find the cut in the barrier reef, there is snorkeling worth investigating.

Gladden Cayes - A unique area near Gladden Spit. These breaks in the barrier reef are at nice depths and have a variety of creatures.

Snorkeling in Belize FAQ

Below are a list of frequently asked questions from our past guests. 

Q: What are the best Belize snorkeling spots?

A: The best Belize snorkeling sports according to our guests are:

Mexico Rocks Snorkel Tour

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour

Barrier Reef Snorkel & Fishing Combo

Barrier Reef Snorkel: Half Day

Barrier Reef Adventure With Green Moray Eel, Sting Rays Alley and Beach break

Q: What are you doing to take additional safety precautions?

A: Our Belize snorkeling provider No Worries Tours are gold certified and provide additional COVID-19 safety measures:

Q: Which Belize snorkeling locations are the best for avoiding crowds?

A: These hidden gems in Belize may have limited interaction with crowds:

Barrier Reef Snorkel & Fishing Combo

Barrier Reef Snorkel: Half Day

Snorkel the Perfect Tropical Isle Silk Caye with Turtles, Rays and Sharks

Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour

San Pedro for a Day Hol Chan & Shark Ray Snorkel

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