The Coral Garden is one of the very best snorkeling spots around Caye Caulker. Visibility is excellent in its shallow waters and you will love its photogenic coral maze teeming with fish. Even if you can only access it with a boat, unlike other neighboring spots you will be free to wander wherever you like once in the water.

How to get there?

Coral Garden is located in the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve and the only way to visit it is to book a guided tour. Most tours leave from Caye Caulker, include several stops in neighboring spots (Caye Caulker Shark Ray Alley, South Channel) and last for about 2 hours. Snorkeling excursions cost about 35$/person, including a 10$ reserve entry fee, for 2-3 stops. Half a dozen excursionists and dive centers share the market. To reach Caye Caulker you have to take a boat from San Pedro (30mn) or Belize City (70mn). It is an easy trip: two companies run about 15 rides a day in each direction.

Coral reef at the Coral Garden, Belize

Water entrance

Enter the water directly from the boat. You guide will show you the area to explore, follow his instructions.

The Coral Gardens snorkeling map, Belize

School of grunt at the Coral Garden, Belize

Exploration

The snorkeling area covers the inner side of the reef. Depth is constant all around (↕2-3m).

Wander as you like through a maze of coral formations separated by narrow strips of sand: this gorgeous waterscape is what makes this spot special. You will love the wide diversity of corals (in addition to common and purple gorgons). Pay attention to fire corals: they concentrate in some areas and can severely burn or cut you. Large schools of friendly grunt rest at the bottom of coral formations, and you will have no trouble spotting and following groups of Bermuda chub roaming in the area. Many species typical of Caribbean reefs can be seen here, such as sergeant major, wrasse, damselfish… If you’re lucky you will also spot some spectacular, but wild, stoplight parrot fish.

Fire coral at the Coral Garden, Belize

Since it is perfectly sheltered from currents and waves by the coral reef, this spot is ideal for beginners. Visibility is also generally excellent here: expect crystal-clear water.

Restaurants and accommodation

The spot is located on the coral reef, opposite to Caye Caulker and about 1km from its shores. You won’t find any restaurants here, but your excursion will most likely include refreshments such as water and fruits.

Species you may spot while snorkeling Coral Gardens
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Permit Trachinotus falcatus  
Bermuda chub Kyphosus sectatrix  
Sergeant major Abudefduf saxatilis  
Scissortail damselfish Chromis atrilobata  
Jewel damselfish Microspathodon chrysurus  
Schoolmaster snapper Lutjanus apodus  
Bluestriped grunt Haemulon sciurus  
Smallmouth grunt Haemulon chrysargyreum  
French grunt Haemulon flavolineatum  
Sailor’s grunt Haemulon parra  
Rainbow parrotfish Scarus guacamaia  
Purple sea fan Gorgonia ventalina  
Queen conch Lobatus gigas  
  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaCaye Caulker Marine Reserve
  • Maximum depth10ft/3m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a boat
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsMarine reserve entrance fee ($10pp.) + tour price (approx. $25pp.)
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.