Snorkeling Around San Pedro

Photo credit: © White Sands Dive Shop
 

San Pedro is one of the best locations in Belize to get in some snorkeling for a number of reasons.  The first, and most attractive, is its location so near the Great Belize Barrier Reef.  Another is the fact that the local tourist association makes a major effort to ensure local waters remain pure and snorkeling guides are at the top of their game.

The Belize Barrier Reef is just about one mile off the coast, and finding a way to get in some snorkeling here is usually a top priority.  The draw of the strong and healthy corals are teeming with eels, angelfish, grouper, and other bright reef fish swimming in and out of the nooks and crevices, while stone crabs, loggerhead turtles, manta rays, and even a small number of sharks can be seen here as well.  You can visit the reef by signing up for a tour with a local operator.

Boat tours heading out for snorkeling from San Pedro Town have three other main sites that they take visitors to, and these are the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley to the south (you can usually see both as part of one tour) and the Mexico Rocks to the north.  You can expect to spend somewhere around $45(USD) for one of these trips, which includes the boat ride, gear, and guide. 

The great thing about San Pedro is that the beaches are great for snorkeling as well, so you can bring your own snorkel, mask, and fins, or rent a kit from a dive shop and just spend a few hours of peace and quiet under the sea all on your own.  

The majority of the time, conditions are great.  Thanks to that ever-important barrier reef, the waters are very calm, but they are also clear and warm.  Average water temperatures rarely dip below 80 degrees.  It is still important to keep an eye on the weather.  On very windy days, when the island is hit with what locals call “Northers” in the winter,  the waters can be a little too rough to make snorkeling a pleasant experience. 

Snorkeling Sites

Take a minute to read the following table to find out more about 6 of the best places to enjoy snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near San Pedro
Site Location
San Pedro Reef 0.8 mi. East of Central San Pedro
San Pedro Reef 1.3 mi. East-Northeast of Central San Pedro
San Pedro Reef 2.1 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
San Pedro Reef 0.7 mi. East of Central San Pedro
San Pedro Reef 0.8 mi. East of Central San Pedro
San Pedro Reef 4.6 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Reef Runner

For some people, the best snorkeling is located off shore.

If you're hoping to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you might want to check with Cari'Bean Tours. Captain Oliver offers an eclectic experience that includes Manatee Tours, snorkeling, fishing, and diving. One tour even includes a Barbecue on a remote beach.

Another option to consider is Reef Runner. The sightseeing and snorkel tour takes guests along the second largest barrier reef in the world. The trip is three hours long and goes to Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. They're located in San Pedro.

Still another option is Blue Tang Tours. Half and full day snorkel trips to Hol Chan Marine Park, Shark Ray Alley, Mexico Rocks, and Caye Caulker are available along with nightly sunset sails. Snacks, soda, water, rum punch, beer, and lunch are sometimes offered.

Review the following chart for a listing of boat operators that offer snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In San Pedro
Name Phone Location
Blue Tang Tours (507) 519-6000 0.9 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Cari'Bean Tours (501) 601-8586 Central San Pedro
Reef Runner (501) 226-2172 0.7 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Tanisha Tours (501) 226-2314 San Pedro

Snorkeling Services

White Sands Shop

If you looking for a business offering snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you might want to contact Belize Diving Adventures Snorkeling. One snorkeling trip takes you to both Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley, where you will feel like you are in a giant aquarium. On the Mexico Rocks and Tres Cocos Cut tour, you can explore a new marine park and see migrating fish and lobsters. They are located within the heart of San Pedro.

A second place worth knowing about is Seven Seas Resort Dive Shop & Pier. Thanks to its easy access to the Belize Barrier Reef, snorkeling is a very popular pastime here. In addition to daily dive excursions, this dive shop also has several different packages for those who feel more comfortable snorkeling.

A third option is Searious Adventures. This operation offers a number of daily tours of the island, and two of them include snorkeling. These are the Gold and Platinum Packages. They're located in the heart of San Pedro.

Some key facts about 13 firms that offer services related to snorkeling are provided here:

Snorkeling Services In San Pedro
Name Type Phone Location
Amigos del Mar Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (501) 225-2706 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Belize Diving Adventures Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-3082 Central San Pedro
Belize Parasail Plus Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (509) 315-2848 0.7 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Blue Tang Tours Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (866) 881-1020 0.9 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Ecologic Divers Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-4118 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Island Dream Tours Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 615-9656 1.0 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Lil' Alphonse Tours Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-3136 Central San Pedro
Reef Adventures Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (503) 347-7372 1.0 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Seaduced by Belize Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-2254 Central San Pedro
Searious Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-4202 Central San Pedro
Seastar Belize Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-3365 1.9 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
Seven Seas Resort Dive Shop & Pier Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-2382 1.2 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro
White Sands Shop Snorkeling Tour Operator (501) 226-2405 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central San Pedro

To learn more about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read this detailed Caribbean snorkeling article.

Snorkeling the waters of San Pedro is a must.  If you've never been snorkeling before, this is the place that is sure to spark your addiction; and if you've been before, you'll find the underwater sites so diverse and plentiful that you'll likely add it to the list of the best snorkeling spots you've experienced.  No matter your experience, snorkeling is a necessity when you visit San Pedro.  

 

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