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Snorkeling Caye Caulker, Belize: Sharks, Rays, and Rum Punch Galore

The motto of Caye Caulker may be go slow – but the marine life doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. As soon as you dive beneath the clear turquoise waters, a riotous world awaits you.  If you go snorkeling Caye Caulker, you’ll see countless colors of fish, giant-yet-friendly nurse sharks, enormous manta rays, and if you’re lucky — perhaps an elusive turtle or two.

This was my second time snorkeling in Belize. The first time, I left from Ambergris Caye on a half day trip. This time, I did a four stop full-day snorkeling trip with Ragamuffin Tours – and it was one of my favorite days in Belize by far.

Snorkeling Caye Caulker with Ragamuffin Tours

Me snorkeling in Belize in Caye Caulker

We started off the day by slathering ourselves in reef-friendly sunscreen, which had the hilarious effect of making us look like streaky ghosts. The chemicals in regular sunscreen do immense damage to coral reefs, which are already under siege due to global warming.

Props to Ragamuffin for doing their part to keep Belize’s reefs healthy while providing snorkeling tours in Belize – these little changes we make can mean a world of difference for underwater life. You can do your part by switching to reef-friendly mineral sunscreens and avoiding the ingredient oxybenzone as much as possible. Buy sunscreen in your home country if possible, as you will have less selection abroad.

RELATED: 13 Sustainable Travel Hacks for a Greener World

Snorkel Belize in Hol Chan Marine Reserve

At our first stop, we spotted innumerable colorful fishes, ranging from standard silver to bright yellow, purple, and electric blue. A few manta rays undulated on the floor below us, unperturbed by us up at the surface.

We hopped back on the boat and about five minutes later, had a crew of sharks patiently trailing us. Proving Pavlov right, these sharks followed us, tipped off by the hum of the motor. No doubting it: it was shark breakfast time!

Shark Ray Alley - a place to snorkel in Caye caulker, Belize

Luckily the squid they feed these sharks are far easier of a catch than tourists, so the sharks (and cheeky jacks) are well-fed and uninterested in the people bobbing above them.

I’ve dived and snorkeled with sharks many times — there’s nothing to be afraid of. I reserve my fear only for great white sharks — a leftover of growing up near Stinson Beach, shark attack capital of California.

These nurse sharks were perfectly harmless so long as you don’t bother them, so I watched happily from a respectful distance. Seeing these sharks is one of the highlights of snorkeling in Belize, so don’t let an unwarranted fear of sharks scare you out of it!

Photo credit Pixabay

Me swimming and snorkeling in Caye Caulker, Belize

After our stop marveling at the sharks, it was time to visit Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the best place for snorkeling in Caye Caulker. There, our guide dove down and pointed out different species of fish, telling us their names and interesting facts about them.

We even got lucky and spotted an adorable sea turtle! Sea turtles are often quite shy so it’s really a rare treat to see them in their natural environment.

Seeing coral while snorkeling Belize

Our last and final stop was snorkeling in the gorgeous Coral Garden. Beautiful coral that looked like hands spouted everywhere, next to fan coral that waved to us in the ocean current. Electric blue fish darted into their hiding spots. And then, something amazing happened —

A beautiful spotted eagle ray photobombed me and glided right past. I followed it for a few minutes, and even managed to snap a few selfies with this gorgeous, elegant creature!

A highlight of snorkeling Belize

snorkeling in Caye Caulker, Belize

After the excitement of our final stop snorkeling Caye Caulker, we cooled off with all-you-can-drink rum punch.

Whiiiiich I may have taken a little too literally.

But the highlight of the day hadn’t even happened yet.

No – that was the pod of three wild dolphins who swam alongside us as we sailed home. They swam in perfect formation, diving into the water and disappearing momentarily only to resurface to the squeals and ahhs of our entire boat. Dolphins are one of my favorite creatures on Earth — which is saying something, as a massive animal lover — and this was a moment I’d never forget.

Nope, not even after unlimited rum punch.

Forgive the tiny photo – in my delirious excitement I could do little more than capture shaky video!

 

Snorkeling with sharks, rays, tropical fish, and turtles is one of the best things to do in Caye Caulker, Belize. We even saw some amazing surprise visitors!

 

Recommended Company: Raggamuffin Tours
Cost: $70 USD for a full-day trip
Recommended Accommodations: Go Slow Caye Caulker
Further reading: Lonely Planet Belize
Useful tips: No need to bring your own sunscreen – they will provide reef-friendly sunscreen for you. Lunch, fresh fruit, rum punch, and a ceviche and chips snack are provided.

Note: Many thanks to Raggamuffin Tours for the complimentary tour (and rum punch!). All opinions shared are my own — no BS, as always. This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase something using one of my links, I get a small commission.

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