Glover’s Reef: The Best Belize Snorkeling Spot For Explorer Chicks
The turquoise waters of the Belize barrier reef are nothing short of breathtaking and host over 700 patch reefs. It’s some of the most transparent marine-rich waters in the Caribbean and it’s one of our favorite snorkeling spots in the entire world.
The best part?
We’ve already scoped out the best coral reefs and snorkel sites that Belize’s atolls have to offer. In just a short boat ride away from your hammock-swinging accommodations, you too can experience world class snorkeling.
As for us, we’d like to intro you to Glover’s Reef Atoll, the epic snorkel spot on our Belize adventure trip.
Why Snorkeling is a Must-Do in Belize
Wondering what the hype about Belize Snorkeling is about? Three words: Belize Barrier Reef, where all the fun is at. It stretches from Bacalar Chico to the Bay of Honduras. The reef is home to beautiful tropical fish, like yellowtail snappers, barracudas, and harmless nurse sharks, as well as beautiful soft corals.
The southern part of the Belize barrier reef is Glover’s Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glover’s Atoll has shallow water and patch reefs making it the perfect location for snorkeling, kayaking, diving, or paddleboarding.
Needless to say, it’s all very amazing.
Where to go Snorkeling in Belize, According to Us
Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central America but has some of the richest marine life sites in the world…
…which is exactly why it’s a great spot for our Belize snorkeling adventure.
Some low-lying Belize islands and Atolls accommodate reefs that stretch to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and more.
Some of the most famous snorkeling sites which Belize offers include
- Glover’s Reef Atoll – we’ll get into this one next
- Turneffe Atoll – Turneffe Atoll is a coral atoll located about 20 miles offshore of Belize City, making it a quick boat ride away. It is popular for its diving and fishing opportunities thanks to its crystal clear water and abundance of marine life. If you’re in Belize only for a short time, then it is worth checking out before you leave.
- Caye Caulker – Caye Caulker is a small island located just north of Belize City. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere, crystal clear waters, sunken ships, and abundance of marine life. The caye is separated into two islands by a split where people like to gather along its sandy shores and snorkel through the channel.
- Tobacco Caye – Tobacco Caye is about 10 miles offshore, making it a quiet idyllic paradise. Its location along the Barrier Reef is what makes this a popular spot for experienced snorkelers and scuba divers. Likewise, the calm waters protected by the Barrier Reef are great for paddleboarding and relaxing too.
- Lighthouse Reef Atoll – Where the famous blue hole lives, this is some of the best snorkeling in the world thanks to its amazing, uh, big blue hole right in the center.
- Hol Chan Marine Reserve – This marine reserve is in between Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker and is teeming with marine life. This is a popular tour operator destination from both cayes, giving you plenty of options to choose from for your accommodations.
Like this list? Check out our Belize Snorkeling Guide on a map:
Our Top Pick: Snorkeling at Glover’s Reef Marine Preserve
You would be correct to call Glover’s Reef marine preserve a snorkeler’s paradise. There are over 500 tropical fish species to discover and an assortment of marine life there. It’s a protected area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1977, making it one of the best marine parks in the Caribbean. Grover’s reef comprises five Cayes: Long Caye, Northeast Caye, Middle Caye, Southwest Caye, and Manta Island.
Where is Glover’s Reef Located?
Glover’s reef is in the southern part of Belize, just off the coast of Hopkins and Dangriga in Southern Belize. While there, expect to explore clear shallow waters that host over 700 patch reefs and other water activities.
Glover’s Reef is the most remote atoll off the coast of Belize, making it a whopping 2.5 hour boat trip to get there from the mainland.
What makes Glover’s Reef Special?
One of the things that makes Glover’s Reef atoll special is that it is one of the four atolls found in the western hemisphere. It accommodates over 700 patch reefs and has a wealthy population of marine life, including colorful fish such as parrotfish, yellow snappers, southern stingrays, and spiny sea urchins.
Because it’s the most remote atoll, you’ll witness the most wildlife while there.
In fact, this is where our off-the-grid private island is located for our Belize trip. Glover’s Reef is a part of the Belize Barrier Reef (a UNESCO protected site), the largest (and most pristine!) barrier reef outside of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
We have access to 850 patch reefs in the Glover’s Reef lagoon for our snorkeling excursion! While there, we have the opportunity to visit the Wildlife Conservation Society Research Station on Middle Cay. Since its opening in 1997, the station has hosted more than 200 scientific and research expeditions. It is the place where everyone, both tourists and scientists alike, marvels at the wildlife.
What Kind of Sea Life Can You See at Glover’s Reef?
The reef is home to breathtaking sea creatures. Animals like sea turtles, whale sharks, eagle rays, and nurse sharks thrive because of the abundance of food and favorable currents. Here are some sea creatures you are likely to see while snorkeling in Belize:
- Manatees (sea cows) –These fantastic gentle giants are water mammals and grow up to about 15 feet. The reef is rich with foraging grounds, especially near Dangriga.
- Rays – The southern stingray, spotted eagle ray, and manta ray are the most common ray species found in Glovers’ Reef.
- Fish – There is an assortment of over 500 tropical fish to discover in this part of Belize, making it an especially exciting location for snorkelers.
- Coral – Coral gardens are probably the center stage of the whole operation at Glover’s Reef atoll. Not only are they amazing to look at and swim through, they’re also an integral part of the ecosystem by providing shelter and food for all of the fish that live there.
- Jellyfish – As you dive and snorkel in the clear waters, you get to see jellyfish thriving in their natural environment like you’re on a Nemo-inspired adventure.
Best Time to Snorkel in Belize
Schedule your Belize snorkeling trip between December and May. That’s when the country experiences the dry season, allowing for calmer waters that provide more visibility. The months of June to November are the rainy season, and Belize experiences showers and strong winds during that time. Severe weather featuring storms and hurricanes happen in August, September, and October so this might put a damper on your snorkeling plans.
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What else can you do at Glover’s Reef?
Besides the fact that snorkeling in Belize is epic, so is everything else related to the water. While our Belize trip explores other spots on the mainland, there is plenty to do around Glover’s Reef if you choose to stick around.
- Kayaking – You can explore the rich Caribbean marine environment on a kayak, gently floating above and watching the fish and patch reef below.
- Night snorkeling – Night snorkeling allows you to discover a whole new undersea world through a flashlight. If you’ve got the guts, then it’s worth trying.
- Fishing – Given its remote location, you have the opportunity to catch your dinner and later learn how to prepare it.
- Culture – The culture in Belize is rich, with influences from all over the globe, including both Latin and African origins. Pro tip: take up lessons to know the local Garifuna dance as well.
Ready to Go Snorkeling?
We’re pretty serious about having a good time. So when Nicki first designed this trip back in 2019, she was sure to include all of the best things that Belize has to offer. This includes epic snorkeling in the most remote reef of Belize AND rappelling waterfalls, zip lining, kayak sailing (yup, it’s a thing), Mayan ruins, and more. All of this with a fun adventure-seeking group of women. Let’s just say that things get a little crazy. Join us!
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