Snorkeling is more like floating than swimming and offers an easy and relaxing alternative to diving. It’s a perfect way to discover our Meso-American Reef System’s magical underwater world, abundant with marine life and stunning coral formations.

They say it’s good to occasionally step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to do something new. For many visiting our beautiful Belize, exploring our stellar underwater world is a must. If you’ve never donned a snorkel mask and fins, or it’s been a while, making your first jump off the side of a boat into the deep blue can be a tad intimidating. Why not do a little homework before making the most of your aquatic adventure?

Wherever you are staying, chances are your accommodations rent/loan snorkel gear or a dive shop nearby. Being prepared and comfortable in your gear can prevent annoying, if not stressful, distractions and allow for a more enjoyable experience.


Testing the snorkel mask for proper fit is crucial. Your goal is to have an airtight seal, and you should be able to see everything around you clearly while maintaining comfort.
• To get that airtight fit, push your hair back, place the mask firmly onto your face, inhale through your nose, and then let go. If the mask stays on without you holding on, then it is properly sealed, and water will not enter your mask.
• If water is still coming in when fully submerged, adjust the straps on the back of the mask. If your mask is too tight after adjusting the band behind your head, you may need a larger mask. A too tight mask can hurt after a while (and you want to be out there for hours having fun). Keep testing masks until you find one with a proper fit.
• After determining which mask is a proper fit, wash the mask thoroughly with biodegradable soap and freshwater; this prevents your mask from fogging during your swim.
• Did you know many dive shops provide prescription snorkel masks? If you depend on glasses for better vision, these can be a game changer in your submerged adventure.
• Another mask option is a full-face mask, eliminating the snorkel tube.


The tub is attached to the side of your mask and moves flexibly. Gently bite on the snorkel’s mouthpiece, letting your lips seal around it, holding it in place. Breathe slowly and deeply through your mouth. No need to panic, you can always lift your head above water! You can hear your breathing through the snorkel and get into a rhythm while you gently kick your feet.


Make sure you find fins that fit just right; do not compromise! If the fins are too large, you will have trouble keeping them on during your swim, and if they are too small, you’ll be so uncomfortable you won’t enjoy the swim either! It is best to put your fins before getting into the water. If you must walk in them, turn around, and move backward, it’s much easier than putting the first flipper forward!


Once your equipment fits properly and is comfortable, it’s time for a test drive! Using a swimming pool or wading into the shallow beachside is a good start if you are a beginner. If you don’t have that option, take a practice snorkel close to the boat to test all the equipment before venturing out.



Just relax. Sometimes, first-timers will panic a bit, and that will cause you to over-exert yourself and wear out too quickly. Snorkeling is a safe way to enjoy your vacation, and you will find that the more you relax and let yourself glide through the water, the more enjoyable time you will have.
• Always stay with your group; do not stray from your guide.
• Do not stand on or break the coral.
Do not pick up shells for souvenirs; they could be someone’s home.
• Always go with a certified tour guide and operator.

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About the Author: Tamara Sniffin

I’m a sucker for a fuzzy face, a feathered face, a face with fins or even one with scales! I am in love with the creatures and the flora that are synonymous with Belize and every opportunity I have to learn more about them and explore their wild habitats I am there! I’m the happiest when I’m snorkeling the reef and swimming with turtles, however my passion is not just limited to critters! Laced throughout this compact jungle gem of a country live the Kriol, Maya, Garifuna, Mestizo and Spanish people, and experiencing each culture, especially their celebrations is one of my favorite pastimes.

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