With hundreds of offshore islands and a long stretch of the world’s second-biggest barrier reef, Belize is a paradise for snorkeling. Although coral reefs compose less than 4% of the ocean’s surface, they provide shelter and feeding grounds for an astonishing 25% of all marine life species. The crystal clear waters of the Caribbean and white sandy seafloor make the islands and reefs in Belize the ideal place to spot fish, anemones, whale sharks, sea grasses, dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays in their natural habitat.
If you are traveling to Placencia and the southern Belize area, here are some of the top spots to enjoy snorkeling:
Laughing Bird Caye
Named for the so-called laughing gull flocks that once were the island’s only residents, Laughing Bird Caye is partly a protected nature reserve and part adventure destination. Just a short distance (13 miles/21 km) from Placencia, Laughing Bird Caye looks like a tropical island paradise from a book or film. The palm trees and sugar white sand beaches are the perfect accompaniment to snorkeling expeditions to the shallow reef around the island where you can marvel at the rich diversity of underwater life.
The Silk Cayes
Sometimes known as the Queen Cayes, the Silk Cayes are part of a much larger protected marine reserve. These islands are uninhabited by humans but are home to an astonishing number of avian and marine species. Just a short boat ride from Placencia, the Silk Cayes have nearly transparent water that has to be seen to believed. The shallow, gentle waters are ideal for snorkeling, and sunset barbecues underneath the coconut palms are rapidly becoming a popular tradition.
One of just three coral atolls found outside of the Atlantic Ocean, Gladden Spit is part of a vast 26,000-acre marine reserve and contains three different islands. No one lives on these islands, but the atoll plays an important role in sheltering more than two dozen species of local fish. Every spring, migrating schools of whale sharks come to the waters off of Gladden Spit to feed on spawn, giving divers and snorkelers a unique opportunity to interact with the largest non-whale species in the world’s oceans.
If you would like to explore the beautiful snorkeling areas described in this article, Chabil Mar in Placencia has several packages that include lodging and organized trips out to the Belize Barrier Reef.
While it’s true that top snorkeling spots can be found even in northern Belize such as the Hol Chan Marine Reserve near Ambergris Caye, southern Belize and the islands near Placencia are less crowded and are perfect for travelers who want to see some of the most beautiful areas of the southern reef where a rich diversity of colorful marine flora and fauna thrives.https://chabilmarvillas.com
Visit our website chabilmarvillas.com for more information about snorkeling in Belize, and don’t hesitate to send us an email, or call US/CAN Toll Free: 1-866-417-2377, Local: (011-501) 523-3606, if you have questions or need help in planning a Belize vacation.