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Best Best in Belize for snorkeling & ruins?

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First--I know almost nothing about Belize except that it is supposed to have incredible snorkeling, which is the main reason my husband & I are considering it as the detination for our 20th anniversary trip (yay!). Few questions for the Belize experts:

1) where would be the best place in Belize for snorkeling right off the beach, or is the best snorkeling experienced taking the chartered trips that take you out? Is there a location where there is pretty good snorkeling from the beach but the trips are easily accessible? We just don't have the money to pay for the chartered trips every day for a week.

2) is there a location that meets the above and also is close to some kind of ruins?

3) is Belize relatively a safe place to visit considering the drug violence in Mexico?

4) is Feb. a good month to go? If not what month closest to Feb. is good?

Thanks to all responding!

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