8 Day Trip Exploring the Stunning Reefs of Belize While Improving Your Snorkeling Skills
February 17-24, 2024
What a wonderful opportunity to join this very unique snorkeling liveaboard trip, exploring the beautiful reefs of the outer atolls of Belize, while also improving your shallow freediving snorkeling skills.
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.
And when you are not getting freediving instruction there will be lots of opportunity for snorkeling the beautiful reefs of the outer atolls of Belize, from your luxurious 138 foot Belize Aggressor IV yacht, exclusively chartered for your group of 18 snorkelers.
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 excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world. They have now run numerous liveaboard snorkeling trips to Belize with many satisfied snorkelers. Your freediving instructor is your guide from Ben’s team will be with you for the duration of your trip.
Belize is an ideal snorkeling destination. The 500 mile long barrier reef and outer atolls play host to an assortment of marine life of all shapes and sizes. The reefs start right at the surface and in most cases gradually slope down to an eventual wall. They are healthy with a mixture of hard corals and layer upon layer of gorgeous purple sea fans and other soft corals. Marine life is in abundance with everything from neon colored sponges, to lobster colonies, to groups of Spotted Eagle Rays and nurse sharks cruising over the reef. You won’t have to deal with much current in these gorgeous Caribbean turquoise waters.
There are many options available to extend your trip with interesting historical, landscape, and cultural excursions, including to Belize’s Mayan ruins and cave tubing rides through the jungle. An afternoon tour of the Altun Ha Mayan ruin is included in your trip. Read more below.
Where Is Belize and Its Outer Atolls?
Belize is on the Caribbean coast in 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 on Saturday at the airport in Belize City and transferred to the Radisson Fort George Hotel to wait until 3pm, when you will board the Aggressor.
Your yacht will then head out for the next seven nights, exploring the three off-shore atolls, Turneffe, Lighthouse Reef which is home to the famous Blue Hole, and Glover’s Reef. Weather conditions will dictate the exact route.
There will be 3-4 snorkel sessions each day, with many focused on freediving, and some night snorkeling opportunities.
On one day, it may be possible to visit Half Moon Caye, where you will have lunch under the tall palms and then enjoy a little walk along the beach to view the nesting area for the Red-footed Boobies and Magnificent Frigatebirds.
On Friday, you will head back to Belize City after some morning snorkeling. You will be met there by a local guide who will take you to Altun Ha, the largest Mayan ruin in Belize (photo below), an hour north of Belize City. Then, after dinner in town with your group, you will spend your last night on the Aggressor yacht.
After an early breakfast on Saturday you will be transferred to the airport or hotel if you are staying in Belize.
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 main focus for the first session is relaxation, safety, and discovering 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.
Watch This Short Belize Snorkeling Highlight Video
Enjoy watching the video below to get a sense of how much fun you will have on the liveaboard, and what underwater life you may get to see.
What Is The Belize Aggressor IV Liveaboard Like?
The Belize Aggressor IV is a 138 foot yacht with a wide 26 foot beam. Accommodations include eight Deluxe Staterooms with one king bed or two twin beds and two Master Staterooms with one queen bed. All staterooms have private bathrooms, showers, and air-conditioning.
All meals aboard are included. There will be both continental and hot breakfasts in the mornings, a mid-morning snack, buffet style lunch, an afternoon snack, and a plated three course dinner. The onboard menu features chef-prepared international and Creole inspired cuisine catering for all dietary requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free etc), as well as offering complimentary soft drinks, beer and wine. All guests are welcome to bring a bottle of their favorite liquor if they choose to.
As well as a spacious lounge, the ship has a large sun deck, bar, grill, and internet service available through a satellite system. At night the lounge offers the option of movies and games. A small library of books for exchange is also maintained onboard.
Most of the snorkel excursions are made from the deck at the rear of the yacht. But some snorkel sites will require transport on a small inflatable tender equipped with a ladder (pictured below). The boat’s large gear up area features a hot fresh water shower for use after your snorkel sessions.
Optional Land Exploration Extensions
Ben and his team can help you extend your adventure by booking a land extension to see some of what Belize has to offer topside. They can arrange tours of the cities, excursions to Belize’s 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 17-24, 2024
$4,645 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Master Cabin Upgrade: $200 US per person
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.
- Return airport transfers
- 7 nights accommodation and full board (all meals and snacks)
- Complimentary beer, wine, and soft drinks on board the Belize Aggressor IV
- Services of local snorkel guides and boat skiff for multiple snorkeling excursions each day
- Accompanied by a group tour leader freediving instructor
- Freediving instruction as outlined above
- Guided tour to Altun Ha Mayan ruins and final dinner together
- International flights and visas
- Snorkel equipment
- Travel insurance
- Port and park fees $110 US per person
- Fuel surcharge $150 US per person
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 one of his snorkeling trips we found it 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. And for where they visit, and how packed they are with experiences, they are affordable.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.