Belize is fast becoming a hot spot for snorkeling. The barrier reef, pristine corals and wide variety of marine life make it a snorkelers’ paradise. While scuba diving is the most popular activity in the region, Belize offers exceptional snorkeling opportunities . There are a number of snorkeling sites close to Ambergris Caye, the biggest island in Belize. Compared to the other temperate regions, the warm and clear waters of the Caribbean are more salty. This provides added buoyancy and ensures that you feel comfortable while exploring the underwater wonders snorkeling on Ambergris Caye.
In Belize the snorkeling option is available at all scuba diving sites. The shallow nature of a reef allows snorkelers to see almost everything that is accessible to divers without the underwater safety hassles, bulky equipment and rigid time constraints. Snorkeling on Ambergris Caye is also less expensive than scuba diving.
When it comes to snorkelling in Belize, you have numerous options to choose from. Shark Ray Alley is one of the most popular sites. Other top sites include the Horseshoe, the Wall, the Cut, Dado’s Reef, the Aquarium, the Practice Reef and the Channel. For snorkeling you can easily hire equipment from any of the several outlets. You can also opt for snorkeling tours.
For snorkeling right off the shore, Lighthouse Reef, Turuneffe islands and Glover’s reef are the 3 most popular atolls. While snorkeling on Ambergris Caye you can expect to see creatures like spotted eagle ray, queen angel fish, French angel fish, queen parrot fish, stoplight parrot fish, spotted yellow ray, southern stingray, blue tang, tiger grouper, turtles, sponges, corals and much more.
Shark Ray Alley is the most popular site for snorkeling and scuba diving in Belize. It is also known as the Sand Bar. Skin Diver magazine has named it as one of the top 7 Caribbean animal dive sites. Located south of Ambergris Caye, just inside the reef, the area was used by the local fishermen for cleaning their catch for many years. This activity started attracting southern sting rays and nurse sharks in large numbers to the area. When the activity was noticed and the area explored by divers, Shark Ray Alley was discovered.
As soon as you arrive near the alley, you will notice dark shallow, underwater surface. These are rays and sharks attracted by the sound of the boat. The creatures are used to human interaction and even seem to enjoy it. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine rays and sharks up close. The wing span of rays is between 2- 4 feet, while the length of gentle nurse sharks ranges between 4 - 6 feet.
At just eight feet deep, the alley offers excellent opportunities for photography. It is also a great place to start for first time snorkelers. Located close to Ho Chan, another popular snorkeling site, most visitors consider snorkelling in the Shark Ray Alley to be the highlight of a Belizean vacation.