Belize: Snorkeling off the beach?

Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 06:30 AM
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Belize: Snorkeling off the beach?

We're looking to go to Belize sometime in November or December - not sure if this is a good time to go, but we're looking for someplace, either on the mainland or on one of the cayes where we could do a lot of snorkeling right off the beach. Does anything like this exist in Belize? I know that most of the beaches have a lot of beach grass/seaweed right off shore, but is there anyplace where we could swim out a few yards and actually see some reef/bommies?

Any responses would be appreciated.

Old Feb 2nd, 2002, 07:19 AM
Lan Sluder
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Tobacco Caye and Southwater Caye are two places that usually first come to mind when people ask about snorkeling from the beach. Both are on the reef so there is snorkeling from shore, and both have (a few) places to stay.

But there are actually a lot of places, on Ambergris Caye and on the mainland in areas like Hopkins and Placencia, where you can snorkel from the shore. Some places have built little artificial reefs, for example, and in a few places there are coral heads close to shore. You can see fish, rays, etc. but the snorkeling isn't as good as on the reef.

Frankly, though, this is a bigger issue for most people BEFORE they come than when they get to Belize. Most people get plenty of snorkeling on a couple or three easy, fun boat trips to the reef, plus snorkeling around in the water at their hotel. There is so much to see and do in Belize, and snorkeling is just one part of it.

--Lan Sluder
Old Jan 8th, 2004, 06:28 PM
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Can you suggest some hotels (3* or 4*)that have created articifial reefs for easy snorkeling?

Thanks for any suggestions!
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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A couple of places on Ambergris Caye: Caribbean Villas and Ramon's. And if you go farther north on the island, the reef is closer to the shore and there are coral heads close in (such as around Basil Jones).

But it would be misleading to say the snorkeling close to shore is anywhere near as good as on and near the reef.

Even without an artificial reef, however, you can certainly snorkel off the shore anywhere in Belize. There's all kind of life in the seagrass, which is like a nursery for small fish, rays, starfish, etc. In some places farther south you might even see a manatee when snorkeling off the beach.

--Lan Sluder
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Old Jan 9th, 2004, 08:43 AM
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The best shore snorkeling I've found is in either Cozumel, Mexico or Roatan, Honduras (this the best). We didn't find the water clear enough to snorkel from shore in Ambergris. The boat trips were a lot of fun - except for the part where you have to make your way through the opening in the barrier reef. Yikes! What a pounding.
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