Caye Caulker, Belize Snorkeling Guide

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Caye Caulker Belize is a small island off the coast of Belize. You can reach it by regular ferry service from Belize City. The ferry continues on to San Pedro. Caye Caulker offers a much more relaxed atmosphere compared to San Pedro. There are very little cars on the island and most people get around by human power or golf carts. Caye Caulker is a great place to visit on a long weekend from the US or Canada. The island is not that big and you will exhaust all the snorkeling in a couple days. Certainly, some people spend months here, but if you are looking for a four to five-day vacation, this is a quick escape.

As with much of Belize, the reef at Caye Caulker is offshore making it necessary to take a snorkel boat tour to visit it. There is not much snorkeling directly from the island because it is really shallow and there is no coral reef next to the island. There are many snorkel tours available on the island and many of them follow the same format. This review describes the half day and full day snorkel tours typically available, along with a couple other locations on the island. Many snorkel tour boats visit the same spots, so just look at the list of areas they visit and compare. Boats from San Pedro also come down to visit some of the northern areas. You should also know, some locations they feed fish to attract them to the boats. I did see some snorkel tours on the island that had signs advertising they do not feed the fish. I don’t think you would miss out on much because in a couple locations the fish are attracted by the boats regardless if they feed them or not. That being said, you will get close to a lot of marine life on Caye Caulker.

Belize Snorkeling Locations Map

(Click the box on the map header to open in Google Maps app)

Click to jump to each location: 

Chatos Area

Full Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Local fisherman has been dumping his catch here for many years. The bottom is covered in conch shells and there is a large turtle that hangs out here. The turtle hangs around the fisherman’s boat waiting for scraps. Opportunity to get close to a large turtle. Popular stop so there will be other snorkel boats here.

Coral Gardens North End

Full Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Deeper water with a break in the barrier reef. Deeper water allows free divers some opportunities. The coral gets better out towards the break in the reef. Follow the coral out and back. The location is less crowded than others.

Coral Gardens South End

Half Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Scattered coral area in about 10 feet of water. Boat will stop for a time and you snorkel around the boat.

sorry, no video :( 

South Channel

Half Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Follow the snorkel guide as they lead you out towards a break in the barrier reef. Deeper water allows free diving opportunities. Guides know where resident eels are hiding and will coax them out with conch shells.

sorry, no video :(

Hol Chan

Full Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Popular snorkel boat destination. A break in the barrier reef leading out to deeper water allows some limited free diving. Guide will get in the water and lead you around the opening in the barrier reef. Small cave like feature you can sim through if you are brave. There are several resident eels hiding in smaller corals the guide will show you.

Shark Ray Alley North

Full Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Similar to the Shark Ray Alley South, snorkel boats stop in a shallow sandy area and chum for nurse sharks. Many other species of fish are attracted and is a great opportunity to get close to lots of fish.

Shark Ray Alley South

Half Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Similar to the Shark Ray Alley North, snorkel boats stop in a shallow sandy area and chum for nurse sharks. Many other species of fish are attracted and is a great opportunity to get close to lots of fish. The difference with Shark Ray Alley North is this location is much shallower at around 4 feet deep and there appears to be mainly nurse sharks and sting rays.

Sunken Barge

Full Day Snorkel Boat Destination. Large rectangular barge sunk in about 20 feet of water. The top of the barge comes up to about 10 feet deep. Plenty of corals growing on the barge and fish hiding inside. Fun to free dive along the edges. The story is the barge broke loose in a storm and floated over here before sinking.

Tarpon Feeding

Full and Half Day Snorkel Boat Destination, but is accessible from shore. Shallow lagoon area on the west side of the island. Numerous large tarpon congregate here. Both full day and half day snorkel boats stop here but it is also accessible from shore. From shore pay a small fee for fish food. Tarpon will jump out of the water for food, but you must hold the small fish in between your fingers with your hand flat facing down. Just like in the video. Otherwise if you hold it with the tips of your fingers they will chomp on you. Opportunity to get in the water and snorkel with them. There is a building on shore that sells fish food. You could potentially get in the water with them. I recommend not having any food on your person when in the water.

The Split

Accessible from shore. Not really an amazing snorkel area, but its really the only place you can snorkel from shore around the island. The whole island has very shallow water extending all the way to the outer breakers. There is not much but sand and grass around the island. Up by The Spilt is a channel between islands and some deeper water accessible from shore. Lots of boats pass through here so try to stay to the sides of the channel. The better areas seemed to be the eastern side. Underwater, find the edges of a small drop off that distinguishes the channel and follow that. Look for conch shells.


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For even more detailed information on these snorkeling sites, download our Belize Snorkeling Map. Full color maps in .pdf version. Extra notes, tips and tricks to maximize your experience. Download for offline use and take with you to the snorkel spot.