Snorkeling in Caye Caulker
There are at least a dozen different small companies that offer snorkeling trips in Caye Caulker, but few or none of them have a website, so finding details from home can be challenging. The good news is that there are plenty of options once you arrive on the island.
Finding the snorkeling operators
Caye Caulker has only three major streets, and none of them are paved. Front Street runs most of the way along the Caribbean coast, with a mix of hotels, apartments, businesses, and stretches of raw beach as well. Middle Street runs parallel to Front Street about 50 yards behind it, and Back Street is further inland. The Water Taxi pier is where most visitors arrive, and on Front Street beginning just north of that central pier you’ll find a big cluster of small operators that work out of stalls or modest buildings. As you walk along you’ll see one sign after another offering snorkeling trips.
Booking a snorkeling trip
Except during the busiest weeks of the year (just after the Christmas holidays) you really don’t need to worry about reservations too far in advance. If you arrive one afternoon you can just compare the trips the next morning or the following afternoon and you’ll have no trouble getting spots on the one you want. You can also usually book an afternoon trip the same morning, or even a morning trip just before it leaves in some cases.
The operators tend to work together and they need a minimum number of snorkelers, so if one company only has 4 people and another one only has 5 they might combine the groups into one. Everything on Caye Caulker is pretty casual and this is no exception.
Prices of snorkeling trips
The most popular trips are half-day or full-day basic snorkeling adventures. The companies all tend to go to more or less the same places, and there aren’t many differences between one company and another. Prices are negotiable and depend on a few factors. If you are in a group of 3 or more you can probably get a better per-person rate than a single person can. Prices for half-day trips (3 hours) tend to be between US$20 and US$35, but if everyone is quoting the high end of that range there is no guarantee you can find a cheap one at that time. Full-day trips (around 6 hours actually) usually include lunch, often on Ambergris Caye. These can go from US$40 up to about US$70 per person. Again, you have to negotiate and you might be able to get a good price, but if the island is crowded and tours are filling up you might have to accept a higher price.
Finding a good snorkeling company
All the snorkeling companies will provide a boat driver, an in-water guide, all your snorkeling gear, bottled water, and usually a small snack (or lunch on the full-day trips). They tend to be similar to one another, and as mentioned above, you might book with one and then end up going with another. But still, some are better sales people than other ones, and that doesn’t mean their equipment or guides are better. Caye Caulker is a friendly place and half the people there have gone snorkeling recently, so just ask around in a bar or restaurant and you’ll quickly find someone who can tell you about their experience. Most people will be really happy with their trip and if they tell you what they paid you can use that information to begin bargaining with the company they used.
More information about snorkeling
Check out the general snorkeling in Belize page for more details about what you’ll see and how the trips work.