How to choose the right mask can seem like a simple thing but it usually ends up being a little more complicated than you might think. This short video takes you through all the important aspects of what makes for a good mask. SPOILER ALERT: It’s not how cool it looks!

Video Key Points

  • Spending more on a mask doesn’t mean it will fit any better…it just means you spent more money.
  • Unless you can return your items, ordering online is not recommended since you can not see how the mask fits.
  • Make sure you can feel no air entering as you inhale through your nose
  • Man Beard?

Snorkeling in current can be a truly exciting and rewarding experience. Drifting with the current as you soar over fields of reef can not only be exhilarating, but what is better than floating along while the world underneath passes you by delivering you an endless array of marine life with no heavy swimming involved? 

manta rays feeding on the surface

Current is what moves all the ocean’s nutrients around which provide food for the coals and smaller fish and bring in larger fish and pelagics. Mantas for example, will generally be found in areas where the water is pushed though narrow passages and channels as this is where plankton and other “manta food” is in heavy concentration and all they have to do is casually swim against the current as the food comes rushing into their mouths. 

All this being said, as snorkelers we need to be aware of current and what it’s doing throughout or snorkel session to prevent things like drifting too far and maintaining energy levels. 

Snorkeler floating above coral reef

Drift Snorkeling 

Drift snorkeling can be an absolute blast, but don’t forget about your snorkel buddy/group, or where you started from if you are snorkeling from shore—you may be in for a long walk back to your resort. The best way to do a proper drift snorkel is with a boat who will drift along side you so can continue to drift without having to worry about where you started, and just climb aboard when your tired or the reef drops off so you can take the boat back to the beginning of the site for round two! 

Conserving Energy

Unless you do all your snorkeling in ponds and pools you will undoubtedly find yourself  in a bit of current at some point in your snorkel ventures. While drift snorkeling can be amazing, sometimes it’s not practical. So, what do we do when we find ourselves in current we don’t want to be in? Well, the best thing you can do is steadily—not frantically—swim perpendicular to the current in the general direction of your ultimate destination. Slow and steady wins the race as they say. Just keep a steady pace and keep breathing as if you were just going for a jog. 


It’s a good idea to pay attention to topographic features either underwater or on land as they have a huge impact on the currents flow rate and direction. Bays and lagoons will have less current even if it’s really pumping just out side for example. Ridges and little fingers of rock that stick out into the sea will also provide shelter once on the down current side—the same way a building or wall provides protection from a strong wind. Also, if you find yourself drifting faster than you want, swim a bit closer to land as the shallow reef  can slow down the current significantly. 

Belize is home to some truly world class reefs resulting in some really exceptional snorkeling, even when compared to the places like Indonesia. With the second longest barrier reef in the world spanning over 190 miles-nearly the entire length of the county-one could spend years exploring the area and still just be scratching the surface. The Belize Barrier Reef System includes seven marine reserves, four-hundred and fifty cays, and three atolls. With all of this in mind it can be a bit overwhelming knowing just where to go for a snorkeling holiday in Belize. So, to narrow things down a bit we’ve put together a few locations where we like to spend our time during our snorkeling safari’s in Belize. 

Before we get in to the where, we should probably talk about the how first. Since the barrier reef is technically accessible from the mainland via speed boat, it is possible to do a land based snorkel holiday where you would load up into a speed boat and head out
every morning and return in the afternoon. However, there are a few downsides to snorkeling Belize’s barrier reef in this fashion, the first being the amount of time spent traveling to and from the reef—a lot of which may be quite bumpy from the waves. Another reason we advise against this type of snorkeling trip is you will be confided to the area that the resort is able to access with their boats. What we suggest as a much more conferrable alternative and allows you to travel much further along the barrier reef and maximizes your time spent snorkeling— is the liveaboard option. Why not wake up every morning with a three-sixty view of the ocean and enjoy the freedom only a liveaboard can offer of being able to snorkel the best of Belize’s snorkeling sites whenever you choose. 

Belize snorkeling liveaboard

Turneffe Atoll

Two snorkelers float above sea fans in the Caribbean

Turneffe is the largest atoll in the offshore reefs of Belize—stretching over thirty miles long and ten miles wide. Given it’s impressive size and the diversity of snorkeling sites, the Turneffe atoll could easily be the only atoll to visit while never snorkeling the same reef twice. This particular atoll is unique from the other two as it is has over two-hundred cayes which are covered with mangroves. And where we have mangroves, we have some very unique creatures who use this labyrinth of arching roots as a nursery. Everything from juvenile species of sharks and rays to the highly unique archer fish are among the mangrove’s inhabitants. Further offshore though you can expect to find stunning reefscapes with a mixture of hard coral, sponges, and layers of sea fans where eagle rays, reef sharks, turtles, and schools of jacks and snapper roam. 

Glover’s Reef 

Soft coral and sea fans in caribbean

Glover’s reef is another massive atoll running twenty miles long and nearly eight miles across, and like Turneffe could be snorkeled for weeks while continuously offering up something new. Glover’s reef is hosts one of the greatest diversity of reef types in the western Caribbean and is also one of the last known spawning grounds for the endangered Nassau grouper, and since 2002 it has been protected as a special marine preserve. Speaking of protection—because of the shape of the atoll—most of the sites are protection from wind or waves leaving you to peacefully paddle along the surface and enjoying the stunning coral displays below. 

Belize is quickly emerging as the go to place for divers and snorkelers alike. To many people’s surprise, Belize is home to the second longest barrier reef in the world which runs over 190 miles along the countries coastline and hosts over 65 different species of coral and 500 species of fish. Where larger marine life is concerned, Belize is home to 350 species of sharks, and as snorkelers we should expect to encounter black tip reef sharks, nurse sharks, and if we are lucky the odd whale shark. Mantas and manatee are also among the big and beautiful residents of the barrier reef. Taking all of this into account it’s not hard to see why Belize’s barrier reef system was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.

aerial view of belize barrier reef

Like most coastal-tropical destinations around the world there is a wet and dry season, and as you may have already guessed—the dry season is the best time to visit. Typically the rainy season starts around May and finishes up around January leaving December to April as the best moths to snorkel Belize’s barrier reef. 

The marine life is not the only highlight of Belize, the country also boast acres and acres of pristine jungles who’s dense tropical vegetation is home to howler monkeys, toucans, and even jaguars, among many other rare terrestrial species. If it historical sites that peak your interests then an exploratory trek through ancient Mayan ruins should do the trick. 

GoPro cameras have become probably the most popular camera for snorkeling, and for a number or solid reasons. Their small size is perfect for traveling, not to mention all GoPro’s from the Hero 5 on are waterproof to certain depths without a housing. That being said, it’s wise to use a housing for added security. Even though the GoPro’s are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand they pack a serious punch where image quality is concerned-both in the film and photo department as they offer 4K footage and a solid 12 megapixel photo with RAW format capabilities. However, despite all of these stellar specs and intuitive design—I see a lot of people struggling with their GoPro cameras in a variety of areas. So, to hopefully alleviate some of these camera issues to make your snorkeling experience better, I’ve put together a quick list of the most common problems I see with simple remedies.  Here we go. 

I never edit my footage because I always have too much

If you’re one of those people who strap the GoPro on your wrist and swim around with your arm constantly extended like Mega man while the camera records the entirety of the snorkel session…herein lies your problem. It’s a good idea to fall into the habit of pressing record only when you want to film something. Just by doing this you will then have a series of short clips which are easy to scroll though so you can find the exact moment you are looking for, rather than scrubbing through hours of dizzying footage. 

Everything I film looks so small and far away

All GoPro’s are equipped with a very wide fish eye lens which causes this effect. This is a good thing though as a really wide lens is the best for underwater imaging, so long as we keep one simple thing in mind. Get closer! We need to get close to our subjects-as close a physically possible without damaging the reef or bothering the subject. This will improve the overall clarity of your image as we are now shooting though less water while filling the frame with the subject. The GoPro lens is best for large subjects like turtles-mantas-and reefcapes. Shy subjects who prefer to keep their distance are not ideal subjects to concentrate on, take a mental photo and move on. 

The colors keep changing when I’m filming

This is a white balance issue and is a result of the Auto White Balance (AWB) trying to figure out what white balance setting is best for the constantly changing light underwater. The best thing to do is to turn off the AWB so it’s set to a single color temperature. 

My red filter makes everything looks super red and turns the water purple.

The reason for this is because you are using a red filter that is too strong, or too red. We use stronger red filters when we go deeper to compensate for the lack of red. However, since we are snorkeling and our subjects in the shallows we need just a bit of red. Switching to a lighter shade of red—something that will work up to five meters or fifteen feet in depth—will alleviate any unappealing colors and bring out the natural colors of our subjects.

My videos and photos are always very shaky and blurry.

To create more steady videos and sharp photos takes a bit of practice, and possibly some simple accessories. As snorkelers we are constantly being moved around by the waves on the surface—no matter how flat the water may seem so we need to be extra aware of this. When you see something you want to film or photograph try to duck dive down a bit, even a meter will make a huge difference. Another thing that will help will be to ditch the selfie stick and mount your camera on a tray with a single or double handle. After all, when is the last time we saw a professional camera operator using a selfie stick in the field?