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Belize: Snorkeling and Coral Reef Ecology

Guided snorkeling in Turneffe Atoll with a trip to the world famous Great Blue Hole.

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  • Explore the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the Western Hemisphere, and visit the legendary Great Blue Hole.
  • Gain special insight into reef ecology and learn about our marine research as you are guided by our expert naturalist.
  • Stay in beachfront cabanas on the eastern edge of Turneffe Atoll.

Explore the exquisite maze of coral reefs and turquoise waters of Turneffe Atoll, and visit the world famous Great Blue Hole on this land-based snorkel expedition. This expedition is one of the best ways for non-divers to discover Belize's spectacular coral reef systems.

Our trip begins with a 90-minute boat ride from Belize City to the eastern side of Turneffe Atoll. We stay at Turneffe Flats Lodge, which offers comfortable beachside air-conditioned cabanas, each with an open porch to the sea, or at Blackbird Caye Resort, also featuring comfortable beachside cabanas. Turneffe Atoll is exceptional for its warm shallow water, which gives snorkelers easy access to an extraordinary underwater paradise. Magnificently adorned with huge yellow tube sponges and myriad tropical fish, the reef offers unmatched snorkeling opportunities.

Snorkeling sites include the coral rich reefs of The Canyons, Calabash Cut, and Soldier's Caye reef. Over 25 species of birds are found around the islands including the magificent osprey, and we often spot dolphins en route to our snorkeling sites. Participants in this program will benefit from our decades of experience guiding travel programs in Belize, and gain special insight into the local ecology through the findings of our long-term research efforts.

Trip Dates & Cost

2015: November 14–21. $2,990 per person + park fees.*

2016: Dates to be announced. Contact us to inquire.

* Trip prices do not include international airfare.


Garv Hoefler has a master's in biology and has led volunteer research and natural history expeditions on all the continents, in nearly 50 countries, and in 7 U.S. states covering sea birds, coral reefs, marine mammals, sea turtles, land birds, humpback whales, snorkeling, gray whales, hiking, and general explorations to discover local flora and fauna. Garv served as Oceanic Society's field program manager for several years, and now works with Oceanic Society on a seasonal basis.

Samantha Whitcraft holds a bachelor in Natural Sciences from Harvard University and earned her master of Marine Affairs and Policy at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. As a conservation biologist, she has worked with National Geographic, WildAid and local communities to research and develop sustainable ecotourism and "citizen science." A resident of Florida, her fieldwork has taken her to the Amazon, Kiribati, the Bahamas, Fiji, and the Galapagos.

Izzy Szczepaniak holds a M.S. from San Francisco State University and is a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences. He has conducted research on harbor porpoises in the Gulf of the Farallones for 35 years, and on humpback whales in California and Costa Rica. He has worked as a naturalist for Oceanic Society since 1983, guiding both Bay Area whale watching programs and international expeditions.


Day 1: Belize City - Turneffe Atoll
Arrive to Belize City and transfer to Turneffe Atoll by boat (approx. 90 minutes)

Day 2-7: Turneffe Atoll
Enjoy guided beach and boat snorkeling and natural history exploration, including a visit to Lighthouse Reef and the Great Blue Hole.

Day 8: Belize City - Home
Transfer to Belize City, fly home


Travelers stay in comfortable cabanas at Turneffe Flats or Blackbird Caye Dive Resort. Our naturalist will guide you on daily excursions to snorkel the amazing coral reefs and mangroves of Turneffe Atoll. A day trip to Lighthouse Reef features a snorkel at the Blue Hole and a visit to Half Moon Caye, home to colony of 4,000+ Red-footed Boobies and one of Belize's largest protected areas.

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