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A Guide To Belize: Snorkling Tours

 If you only read ONE of my "A Guide To Belize" series, I hope and pray it's this one.

My one biggest piece of advice is: SNORKEL WITH CAVEMAN.
Hold on, I'll explain....
Prior to our trip, we generated a list of places we had to see and things we had to do. One thing was on everyone's list: snorkeling. I was in charge of booking all the tours/adventures we went on during our trip. I did lots of research, read lots of reviews, and compared lots of prices before eventually realizing none of the others came remotely close to matching what Caveman Tours could. 

I sent a few emails and spoke to the owner and before I knew it, we were booked on an all-day snorkel excursion. The full-day tour is a total of 5 hours and takes you to 5+ locations. 

Manatee Watching:
Went manatee watching and all I saw was this cute boy....

To be fair, we watched for the manatees twice and other people in the boat did manage to sneak a peek at some. I have a hard time seeing a black spot in the water and saying "I saw a manatee!" But it that's something you can adapt to, this will be a stop you'll enjoy!

Chatos Area:
This area was the first stop on our tour after manatee watching. It was a bit of a boat ride out to Chatos but it was worth the ride. If you are nervous about the process of snorkeling, this might not be the tour for you. It was literally a "pull up to the location and jump in" kind of thing. No instructions just a simple "head on out and we will meet you out there in a bit" followed by "anyone need a life jacket?" As a first timer, this was scary but also extremely exhilarating. 

I won't lie, the first five minutes I felt like I was drowning. The idea of snorkeling is to relax and breathe in and out just like normal. Just so you know, it's WAY HARDER than it sounds. My advice is just that though, relax and breathe in and out just like normal. Feeling like you can't master it? STAND UP. This area isn't very deep so it's the perfect starter location. You're able to get your wits about you while swimming over THOUSANDS of conch shells, a barbless sting-ray, and the occasional turtle. 

Say hi to Leonardo!

Shark Ray Alley:
I'm the girl on vacation that will try ANYTHING. Seriously, I refer to myself as "Vacation Morgan" because I truly am a different human being when in the tropics. I was REALLY EXCITED about swimming with sharks....until we headed toward San Pedro. Nope, wasn't feelin' it. 

.......I eventually talked myself into it because duh, FOMO. Anyway, coolest + scariest + most incredible experience EVER. I can't tell you to do it, but seriously, DO IT. You'll regret it if you don't. 

HEADS UP: Caveman Tours DO feed the sharks. Some of the other tours on the island won't depending on individuals beliefs. If you'd prefer the sharks not be fed, make sure it's something you bring up at the beginning of your day. 

Hol Chan Marine Reserve:
Located 12 miles from Caye Caulker, this was the furthest stop on the tour but easily one of the coolest and most popular among the group. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is a protected area of reef so you can't get into this area without an entrance fee/wristband. This is included in your tour costs and allows you the opportunity to see the 4 acres of coral reef, seagrass beds, and mangrove forest.

During this stop, you will be broken up into two groups (roughly 4-6 people in both groups). Your individual tour guide will hop in the water with you and spend nearly 40 minutes swimming and snorkeling alongside you and your fellow tour group members. 

Hol Chan allows you to experience loads of coral breeds, fish, stingrays, and the occasional shark swimming below. Mostly, it gives you the chance to dive down a bit (don't forget to blow out on your snorkel!) and get a closer look at the ocean floor. 

Sidenote: At one point while Eddie K and I were swimming, we noticed that it had started to rain. (see bottom photo) Holy moly. PURE MAGIC. 

After 40 minutes of swimming around and fighting the currents, this is the stop where we started to lose people. No, not literally. They just seemed to lose interest. Maybe it's because it was a task to swim that long or maybe because they weren't as excited as we were. Not quite sure why, but for most people, this was the last time they got out of the boat. 


Everyone was pretty tired from Hol Chan / simply "over-it" and decided to stay on the boat. We went from 12 people ready to jump in to just 4 brave individuals who took the swim off the boat on their own. Eddie K and I did it because that's what we paid for. We came to Belize to create memories and try everything. I can't stress it enough, TRY EVERYTHING. 

While this was our least favorite stop, it was still an experience. It was the first time we were 100% solo in the water. (yes, the boat was right beside us but whatever...). The area was a bit lame and we didn't see many fish at all, but again, an experience. 

Coral Gardens:
The last stop. The longest stop. The coolest stop. OUR FAVORITE STOP. 
I cannot say enough good things about this area we spent the last part of our day at. It was entirely on our own and again, only like five people decided to give it a whirl.

When I say this was my favorite place to snorkel, I mean it. Was I tired? YES. Did I kinda want to stay on the boat and bask in the sunshine? YES. Was it worth enduring the cool water and CRAZY CURRENTS? ABSOLUTELY. If I went back and they told me to pick only one stop, it would be this one every single time. 

The pictures speak for themselves.....

Tarpons + Seahorse: 
Before the final dock, we stopped to feed tarpons and birds. Again my advice is: DO IT. You'll regret it if you don't. The fish and the birds don't bite so you literally have NOTHING to worry about. 

We were also able to sneak a peek or two of the baby seahorses. They hide very well, so good luck! Ha!

Other Notes:
- Lunch Provided: Eat all the chicken and red beans you can stomach. One of my favorite things I ate!
- Don't be ashamed to ask for a life-jacket. It truly does make the process a LOT easier.
- Splurge on an underwater camera / GoPro. It's worth it!
- The current is pretty strong and the full-day tour is quite difficult. If you aren't sure you can make it or aren't a confident swimmer, maybe try a half-day tour first!
- WEAR SUNSCREEN. This one from Smart Stuff is reef safe!
- Make sure you say hi to "Cavegirl" the official tour-dog!

You can book your full day/ half-day tour from Caveman Snorkeling Tours HERE. 
Full-day tours start at $65 per person. This includes all equipment, lunch, fruit, drinks, and park fee for Hol Chan Reserve. It's a deal you just can't beat!

Going to Belize? Have more questions? I'm your girl.