My husband and I will be at AC from 5/27 until 6/3 for our honeymoon and we would like to do some snorkeling. However, we are both fairly inexperienced. We did snorkel in the Keys and seemed to do OK snorkeling off the beach. (His first time, my second). I had a very bad snorkeling experience in Key West before that, basically thrown out of the boat in the middle of very choppy water, had a hard time relaxing and figuring out what to do. My question is: what snorkeling trips are good for novices and are there opportunities to snorkel off the beach or just in the middle of the Caribbean? Any other tips anyone can recommend to make it easier? We are planning to go to a dive shop and get good quality gear. That may have been part of the problem before. Anyway, all suggestions appreciated!
Depending on where you stay, the reef can be right offshore(Way Up North) to 1/3 of a mile. Most of the good reef snorkels are inside the reef, Hol Chan and Shark Ray City are both wonderful. Be aware that some days, depending on the time of year, even inside can be alittle choppy. Never went to Mexico Rocks but heard that was a good one too. let the Dive Master know your kinda new..they will really bend over backwards to help. In fact everyone is like that, as least on my trip...spent 9 glorious days diveing there. Got back a week ago....in culture shock right now... Enjoy your trip and Congrats on the Wedding...where are you going to stay? Mark
I was pretty afraid of the water (not a very experienced swimmer) and went to Hol Chan and Shark twice on my first visit to AC last year. It was so awesome, now I am getting Scuba certified and going back in July. If you get lazy or tired ask for a flotation belt and just kick back while you snorkel. It's no big deal. If you are going to snorkel only and don't intend on ever diving, don't blow alot on gear. Some of the big warehouse stores like Sam's or Costco have snorkel packages for cheap that are good. Just make sure your mask fits well. Also, spend the few extra bucks and go with a guide. It gives you the margin of safety plus a nice relaxing boat ride and you can chill on the way back with rum punch or an Icy Cold Belikin!!!
Prior to our trip to Belize beg. of April this year, I had cheaper snorkel gear. Last year when we went to the Caymans I had some trouble with water getting in my snorkel at Stingray City even tho the water was only about 15' deep. I'm not a good swimmer and even tho I also had on a snorkel vest that my husband had bought me I still felt uncomfortable. I might add too that my husband was diving while I was snorkeling so I didn't have his reassuring presence next to me. This year we went to a dive shop and he had me buy a dry snorkel (Ocean Masters-$40) and a good mask(Sherwood-$40) and fins for about $20. What a difference the better gear made! I had no trouble with water in my snorkel even tho the time of year we went was very windy with very choppy seas. Also the guides are very good about making you feel ok-just let them know what your concerns are. Whatever you do, don't miss going to hol Chan and Shark ray alley. I never had so much fun snorkeling as I did there. I only wish I could have persuaded my friend to take some snorkeling trips with me when both our husbands were out diving. She was more interested in shopping and being at the pool and she did unfortunately get sick(some bronchial thing) for the last 3 days we were in AC. Katrinka (sp?) at Belize UW VIdeo also recommended Mexico Rocks as a good place to ge snorkeling. I hope you and your husband have a good time.
Axeman - we are staying at the Tropica, which from what I hear is pretty basic accomodations, but on other trips we have been on, we never hardly ever stay in our room anyway. We are always out and about! I can't wait to try this beer I keep hearing about....all the suggestions from everybody sound great - I think we'll be fine once we get into the groove!
Got back from AC 4-21. Our best trip was to Mexico Rocks & Tres Cocos! Tres Cococs was Awesome! Your in only about 3'-5' of water. The Elkhorn coral is fantastic! Saw baracuda, starfish, octopus, great corals and many fish. At Mexico Rocks (16') we saw 2 moray eel's, lots of fishes and a spotted eagle ray. Our Dive Shop (Banyon Bay) chartered Cap't. Gilbert (The "My Girl"), boat has a mermaid on the side. $25.00 ea. was very accomodating, just the family, (4) of us went, about 1 1/2-2 hours @ each site.(Don't forget your t-shirt, I fried my back!) You can get some great pictures because of the shallow water. As for gear we bought our gear before we went. $49.95 for a mask/snorkel (Snorkel Pro). Very good equip. No problems. Rented fins for $2.00. Make sure you treat the new mask before you go or you will be fighting the fog. Rub toothpaste into the lens and let sit overnight and wash off. Gilbert used liquid dishwashing soap on the boat, worked great. Hope this helps.
Diamond, you asked if you could snorkely off the beach. Well, when my friend and I were there in April,we had gone on 3 snorkel trips and loved it and on our last day decided just to take it easy. So, we had these big pink floats we blew up and we put our mask,snorkel and fins on and floated out in front of our hotel, Seven Seas Resort, and put our faces in the water and went "Lazy Girl Snorkeling." It was really fun and we say a sting ray, some conch shells and we took salt water fish food we brought from home and poured that in the water and all these fish came around us. It was so funny. So, there was our experience at snorkeling just off the beach. It was pretty cool, and oh yeah, we saw some brain coral too. And I just bought my mask and snorkel and fins at Target, paid about $40 and they worked great. Our dive master always gave us dishsoap to clean the mask and it worked great, or baby shampoo. I even lent my mask to a lady on the boat because the one she rented was not working and she was suprised how well mine worked since I got it at Target. Hope this info. helps. Punta Rebel Girl
As far as staying in the room..I too only slept there...I go on trips to be outside and spent VERY little time there. Some would prefer the luxury..I don't need it...One plus to staying in the better palces is that that you have Front Desk people to answer all your questions and make suggestions, plan tours...I was lucky..At Coconuts they had a wonderful staff, I found myself hanging out with them from time to time because they were so very sweet. I did like haveing Air Con. in the room as I got sun burned alittle and needed it to sleep. Could have done without it, but it was nice. The rooms there had 2 very comfortable Full size beds, I slept like a baby. Concidering I have some major back issues I woke each day feeling less and less pain. By the time I left, my entire body felt new...alot of that also had to do with 13 dives in 8 days...the constant use of my lower back loosened me up. All in all, the snorkeling is great there, the boat staff, outstanding! Caye Caulker trip was also one many talked about...but watch those rum punches...you will get hammered in a big way...Enjoy!!!
[This message has been edited by Axeman (edited 05-06-2001).]