Belize, Roatan or Cozumel: which is best snorkeling?

Feb 9th, 2015, 05:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Belize, Roatan or Cozumel: which is best snorkeling?

I am going to be on a cruise to Roatan, Belize City and Cozumel and want to snorkel in one of those. Which is the best? And can you recommend a vendor? Trying to minimize sun exposure (I realize this sounds strange) so if have to take a boat, would like one with bimini. Thanks
newlyretired is offline  
Feb 12th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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Can't recommend a vendor, but the snorkeling in Belize was some of the best I've ever experienced anywhere. I'd probably go snorkeling in both Belize and Roatan, as I hear that is also splendid. Of course, on a cruise, you also would likely have the option to see some Mayan ruins in Belize and that is also fascinating. We had a short week in Belize a couple years ago and really enjoyed the ancient ruins and the beach...but from Belize City, understand that it is not really "beach" -- your snorkel trip will be from a boat that goes out to the reefs.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Feb 12th, 2015, 10:52 AM
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We loved the snorkeling in Belize too. Do you know exactly where you would go? We did ours from Ambergris at Hol Chan, but not sure if that's an option for you if you're going from Belize City. We saw huge rays, nurse sharks, lots of turtles, and colorful tropical fish. Also hear great things about Roatan. We've been in Cozumel, and at least where we went, Belize was much better by comparison. Definitely wear sunscreen; we got burned on our backs.
volcanogirl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2015, 06:27 AM
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Head to West Bay Beach on Roatan. No need for a snorkel tour at all as you can simply enter the water and access reef directly from the beach. Hire a driver to take you to WBB. Theris Dixon is great. Snorkeling here is incredible.
bellaboo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 05:50 AM
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Having been to all three, it is still difficult to answer your question. We spent a week in both Roatan and Ambergris Caye (Belize). We spend a month in Cozumel every winter.

From my point of view the best snorkeling was from West Bay Beach in Roatan, as bellaboo says. The reefs were beautiful, but they are a fairly long swim out. Having said that, your cruise ship may not land anywhere near WBB. The snorkeling in Belize is beautiful, but quite far from shore -- especially if you are landing at Belize City. We went to The Blue Hole and to Turniff (sp?) Caye.

The snorkeling in Cozumel is very good, but so many cruise ships, spew so many people that its hard to get to anywhere pristine anymore.

As for sun exposer; consider buying some "dive skins". They can be found on Ebay for very little. Or simply snorkel in a long sleeve tee shirt and a pair of footless tights. Works the same. Cozumel would be the place with the least amount of travel time to the reefs in a boat. Belize would be the most boat travel time.
TC is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 04:05 PM
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The reef is incredibly close to shore on West Bay Beach and a very short swim if you enter water by The Grand Roatan, you literally swim a few feet after walking in and voila....the reef is there. You could almost spit on the reef from shore. WBB itself is not too far at all for cruisers as hundreds come off every cruise ship to enjoy it, both by guided tour and otherwise. ( from both cruise ports of Coxen Hole and MB ). A lot of serious snorkelers wear rash guards to minimize sun exposure when in the water for long. Visiting West Bay Beach from the ship to snorkel is probably the smartest thing a cruiser could do visiting Roatan....its what Roatan is about.
bellaboo is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2015, 04:37 PM
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I've read that the reef at Cozumel was nearly destroyed by a hurricane a few years ago?
brubenow is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2015, 08:45 AM
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The very shallow reefs at Cozumel were hurt during hurricane Wilma in 2005. That was TEN years ago. They have made a sterling recovery. The biggest threat to the reefs are all those cruise ship snorkelers day after day.

Bellahoo. It was many years ago when we stayed on WBB. There was no Grand Roatan, or any other large resort. We rented a house and had the whole beach to ourselves. I think there were a few people who showed up once a week on a catamaran excursion from one of the small cruise ships. How sad that there are now "hundreds". We would walk all the way to the end of WBB and snorkel around the point. It was amazing.
TC is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 07:29 AM
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TC, that must have been lovely! The Grand Roatan wasn't there when we first started going either, it saddens me now to go to that area of the beach. Which is at the complete end of beach by the iron shore wall where the black iguanas "used to" hang out....Fosters would be at the complete opposite end, I'm assuming Fosters would have been there. It's changed a lot in the 7 years we have been going, it's no Cancun....but, it is a built up busy little built the entire length of beach now. Praying the reef is protected, its at its most vulnerable by the Grand Roatan as that is where the reef is literally steps from shore....Still, for easy access to world class snorkeling, Roatan is hard to beat.
bellaboo is offline  
Mar 4th, 2015, 03:38 PM
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"I've read that the reef at Cozumel was nearly destroyed by a hurricane a few years ago?"

We were just there in December 2014. We took a snorkeling tour to 3 different reefs including the Palancar Reef. It was out of this world and I highly recommend it.
P_M is online now  
May 14th, 2015, 04:13 AM
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To be frank all three is there good snrkekeiloing fof the avid snorkelers,coral bleaching. Furthrer to the siyjWest off Roatan it gets decidedly better. In 2o98 we sborkeleled around a a number of bays to can locate secets snorkeling. Also with permission you can snorkek without firmsl apptovak, If want the besr snorkelinh is tb the Raja Ampat Islands While is is a 22 houtr trip ewsacvh way thev arired of Corals and ind hundreds od diffrentfish and sea anenonmoore.
LindasLover is offline  
May 14th, 2015, 04:56 PM
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LindasLover . . . were you trying to type on a phone (or maybe after one or two too many tequilas )
janisj is offline  
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