9 Days Snorkeling the Beautiful Reefs of Belize, Combined With a Freediving Workshop
February 21 – March 1, 2025
This Belize resort snorkeling and freediving workshop trip is a great opportunity to explore some of the best snorkel reefs in the Caribbean, while also improving your shallow freediving skills.
You will be based at the beautiful Turneffe Island Resort, which is located on remote Turneffe Atoll. Turneffe Atoll has been a protected marine reserve since 2012, and is located on the second largest barrier reef in the world. It is a great location for your freediving workshop training.
Two times each day your snorkeling group will venture out by boat to explore the abundant coral reefs and sea life that surround this area, and one day you will take a trip to the famous Great Blue Hole and Lighthouse Reef Atoll. Also included will be a day tour of a Mayan archeological site on the mainland.
Imagine being able to effortlessly and safely dive up to 15 feet deep on your snorkeling adventures. Developing this skill will allow you to confidently take a quick dip under the surface, to get a closer view of colorful reefs and sea life. You can check under ledges to see what interesting fish, octopus, and lobster are sheltering, or even pick up a piece of equipment you dropped.
Shallow freediving is also one of the best ways to improve your snorkeling photography by getting closer to fish and corals. The colors will be much improved because there will be less water between you and your subject, and it gives you more framing options, with blue water backgrounds.
This trip will be focused on learning shallow freediving. The focus will be on making easy shallow dives 5-15 feet deep (1.5-4.5m), with a maximum depth of 26 feet (8m).
This shallow freediving workshop will be taught by one of the world’s leading freediving instructors, Emma Farrell, and her assistant.
This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts at running amazing snorkel excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world. A guide from Ben’s team (Emma and her assistant) will be with your group for the duration of your trip.
Where Is Turneffe Atoll and the Resort?
Belize is on the Caribbean coast of northern Central America, just south of Mexico, with Guatemala neighboring to the west.
You will fly to Philip Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City. Many airlines run direct flights from east and west coast hubs in the USA. From Europe you would need to fly first to the USA, Mexico, or Guatemala. Canadians near Toronto can fly direct.
You will be met at the airport in Belize City and then transferred to the Radisson Fort George Hotel in Belize City for a one night stay. That evening you will have dinner with your group and your tour guides and freediving instructors.
The following morning you will enjoy a tour of the ancient Mayan archeological site, Altun Ha (pictured below). After your tour, you will be transferred by boat to Turneffe Island Resort on Turneffe Atoll, approximately 2 hours.
You will spend seven nights at the resort, each day venturing out by boat to close-by snorkeling spots. One of those days, weather permitting, you will visit the Great Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef Atoll.
After your stay on Turneffe Atoll, you be transferred back to Belize City. You will be taken to the airport for your trip home, or the Radisson to wait for your flight. You may also extend your stay in Belize, with the help of Ben and his team if you desire.
Who Is Your Shallow Freediving Instructor?
Emma Farrell is one of the world’s leading freediving instructors and the author of One Breath: A Reflection on Freediving. She has been teaching since 2003 and is a multi-agency freediving instructor trainer, having taught programs through RAID, SSI, and AIDA. As a founding member of the AIDA Education Commission, Emma has written courses that are taught internationally, as well as her own specialty freediving and breathing courses.
Her work with gold medal-winning Olympic and Paralympic athletes over the last decade has resulted in her unique Breathing Optimization program, which has helped people across the globe improve their breathing, lung function, and health, no matter their age, physical condition, or ability.
An accomplished educator and public speaker, Emma has appeared many times on television and in print media, as well as acting as a consultant on short and feature films and documentaries.
What Will the Shallow Freediving Instruction Be Like?
There will be three to four snorkel sessions each day, many focused on freediving instruction. Everyone will be required to attend the initial “Introduction to Freediving” talk and the first in-water session. The group will be split into smaller groups of four so that everyone gets personal support and instruction.
After the initial safety classes are attended, you can then choose to focus on as much of the freediving instruction as you like, or you can choose to snorkel more if you prefer.
For the first session, the focus will be on correct breathing, weighting, and safety for freediving and for taking photos underwater and exploring the reefs. Emma will look at each individual’s equalization, body positioning, finning, duck diving, and technique. Correct breathing both before and after the dive will be taught as well as techniques for relaxation in the water. The instructors will also try to discover what each participant would like to work on improving throughout the week. All sessions will take place in shallow waters of up to six meters.
Everyone who is interested in learning more can have at least two additional sessions with Emma to work on achieving their goals as set out in the first session above. In addition, throughout the week, Emma will offer master classes on breathing optimization and stretching, equalization, and sinus massage, and will also do a talk on freediving for interested parties.
Galen’s Personal Experience With Emma’s Teaching
Right before COVID hit, I (Galen) was on a liveaboard trip in the Cayman Islands with Emma. I received instruction from her, and found her to be very skilled and helpful, and I quickly improved my freediving skills.
I had been shallow freediving without instruction for many years, so was full of bad habits. She was very patient with me though. Through her instruction on the boat I learned so much about how to properly use weights, relaxing, diving posture and technique, and how to breathe. I also feel so much more informed about what you should not do that is dangerous, most of which I had done in the past.
In a very short period Emma helped me greatly improve my freediving skills. I get under easier, and use much less energy and air, and I feel much more confident about the right way to do things. She teaches a recovery breath once you reach the surface that is remarkable, and could save your life.
Below is a video Emma took of me after some of her instruction (I made it black and white and added the music). There are still things to be improved for sure. But the big improvement is just how relaxed and comfortable I now feel on shallow dives.
What Is the Snorkeling on Turneffe Atoll Like?
Turneffe Atoll is surrounded by deep oceanic waters. It is the largest atoll in Belize and is considered to have the most biologically diverse reef there. The land and seascape consist of a network of reef flats, creeks, and lagoons dotted by more than 150 mangrove islands and higher cayes.
Large expanses of seagrass habitat in the shallows provide important refuge for reef fish, critters, and a variety of marine life.
The reefs are adorned with hard and soft corals in abundance – huge gorgonian fans and elephant ear sponges sway in gentle currents, fish life ranges from large groupers, tarpons, jacks, and reef sharks to schools of colorful angel and butterfly fish.
Twice a day you will venture out by smaller boat to visit close-by reefs. After a short 5-15 minute boat ride you will snorkel for 60 to 90 minutes. You will return for lunch between snorkeling adventures.
And for the longer day trip out to the Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef Atoll you will be in a larger covered boat. You will snorkel the Blue Hole, stop for lunch at Half Moon Caye, have another snorkel, and then stop at Long Caye for a third snorkeling opportunity. A very full day!
All the boats have comfortable ladders to make getting back in the boat easy.
What Is Turneffe Island Resort Like?
Turneffe Island Resort is located on the south end of Turneffe Atoll, on its own private island. It is ideally located for exploring what is arguably one of the best snorkeling areas in the Caribbean. And when you are not out on the water the resort is a wonderful place to relax, enjoy fantastic food, get a massage, and to watch sunsets from. There is a wide beach, a pool, a bar for evening cocktails, and a day spa.
The deluxe and superior rooms and private villas offer direct beach access and private screened porches. The rooms are air-conditioned and also have ceiling fans. The bathrooms have both private screened outdoor showers and normal indoor ones.
Tasty food is going to be part of this great experience, thanks to Turneffe Island Resort’s five-star culinary experience. Their skilled chefs can handle most all dietary requirements.
Optional Land Exploration Extensions
This trip does include a day adventure exploring a Mayan ruin. But Ben and his team can also help you extend your adventure by booking a land extension to see more of what Belize has to offer topside. They can arrange tours of the cities, excursions to different Mayan ruins, visits to the Actun Tunichil Muknalthe Cave, tubing rides through the jungle, or a canopy tour through the treetops. If you prefer a helicopter ride over the famous Blue Hole or wish to spend time in the Cockscomb Basin looking for jaguars and other wildlife, just let them know. The range of extension options includes accommodation and transfers.
Trip Details and How to Sign Up
This is a small group charter and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
February 21 – March 1, 2025 – Available.
$5950 US per person (twin/double share) in a Deluxe Room
$6150 US per person (twin/double share) in a Superior Room
$6650 US per person (twin/double share) in a Private Villa
Single Supplement on Request
The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. At 12 months before departure there is a $600 US per person interim deposit, and at six months there is another $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.
- Round-trip airport and resort transfers
- 1 night stay at Radisson Fort George Hotel Belize City with full board (all meals)
- Belize Mainland Mayan Tour
- 7 nights accommodation and full board (all meals) at the Turneffe Island Resort
- 12 snorkel boat sessions at Turneffe Atoll, including 1 day snorkel trip to the Blue Hole and Lighthouse Atoll
- Complimentary activities include kayaks, paddle boards, pool and Hobie Cat
- Complimentary WiFi (satellite-based, slow, depends on the weather)
- Guide and freediving instructors from Ben’s Team
- Mask, snorkel, fin rental
- Services of local snorkel guides
- International flights
- Park fee ($100 US per person)
- Travel and health insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
- Spa services
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How to Sign Up or Learn More?
Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
More About Ben and Our Partnership
Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.
From our experience going on two of his snorkeling trips we found them very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.
All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. These are premium trips including nearly everything you will need, accommodation, meals, transportation, and more.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips.