Emerald Forest Snorkeling
The 5th most popular snorkel dive spot in Belize.
Tuesday 7 February 2017 06:21 GMT
Southeast of Belize City off the coast of Dangriga, there are a half-dozen prime snorkeling dive sites within the Glovers Reef Marine Reserve. On the west side of Glovers Reef atoll, the snorkeling at Emerald Forest is known for its spur-and-groove coral reefs. The reefs at Emerald Forest are very popular with underwater photographers since there are large elkhorn coral formations with some trunks approaching 1 foot in diameter. While the water depth ranges from 15 to 70 feet deep, the water depth over the top of the reef structures comes within a foot of the surface. The visibility is typically 50 feet. The reef is known to be very active with marine life. It is located just over 7 miles from the light on the northeast point of Glovers.
The infrequently visisted Glovers Reef is the southernmost atoll in Belize waters. It is roughly 20 miles long and 7.5 miles wide, and located about 30 miles off the coast from Dangriga. The Glovers Reef Marine Reserve encompasses the entire atoll, and the atoll has an 80 square mile lagoon with over 700 coral-covered reefs. While snorkeling within the Glovers Reef Marine Reserve, you may encounter turtles, sharks and rays. In addition, from March to June, Glovers Atoll is a popular jumping off point to snorkel with migrating whale sharks. The Wildlife Conservation Society operates a research station on Middle Caye, and visitors can stay at the rustic Slick Rock eco-resort on Long Caye.
To reach the snorkeling in Belize by air, fly into Belize City International Airport (BZE) which is located west of Belize City. Since there are few hotels near the airport and the airport is pretty far from the sketchy Belize City, you will want to arrive as early in the day as possible to meet your connection. There are two small inter-island airlines that serve many other destinations off-shore of Belize. Note, even if you reserve a specific inter-island flight at a specific time, only after you check-in with the inter-island carrier are you really assigned to an actual flight at an actual time. Most of the snorkelers visiting the Emerald Forest are staying at one of the accommodations within Glovers Reef. To reach these remote accomodations, most use the once a week boats from Sittee River Village or Dangriga. There are charter boats available from Placencia or Belize City but you usually have to book the entire boat. When heading out to Glovers Reef, the boats need to leave early enough in the day to pass through the reefs (no later than 2pm). On the depature from Glovers, most boats leave really early morning in order to connect with flights.
Overall, Emerald Forest is the 5th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 44 snorkeling dives in Belize. Several of the better snorkeling spots are nearby Emerald Forest including Split Reefs, Baking Swash Reef, Glovers Reef Lagoon, Long Caye Wall, Bevs Garden and Long Caye Lagoon.