1 Comment

  1. I went to Mahahual for four days in late November 2021 hoping to get at least one good weather day that would allow the boats to go out to Banco Chinchorro. I got my wish and lucked out with perfect weather on the day we went. The snorkeling was superb with very good fish populations. The bottom depth is about 15 feet with coral heads rising to just under the water. Perfect.

    Because there is only one visible distant, small island it is like snorkeling in the middle of the ocean, except with a reef under you. You are inside the atoll so the water is calm, no swell; only wind chop if windy.

    I went out with Amigos del Mar. The group of about 12 people was half snorkelers and half divers. They drop off the snorkelers in a shallow area, then head a couple hundred meters away for the divers to enter. It was a two-tank (two-site) dive, so a two-site snorkel.

    I saw Nurse Sharks at both sites. What was different from other snorkels I have done in the Caribbean is that a) the fish were much bigger, especially the angelfish and b) it is “wilderness snorkeling.” I don’t recall seeing any other boats.

    The only thing I didn’t like was that Amigos del Mar had a “shop policy” that snorkelers could not use weights and had to wear a life jacket. This is a deal breaker for me as I use a spearfisher weight vest for freediving to observe/video fish and to attach all my gear to: noise maker, camera, underwater slate. I had to improvise to figure out how to hold all my stuff in the water without my vest. Very irritating and difficult to freedive without weights.

    I don’t think it is a “park policy” kind of thing, so if you go I would recommend checking out another dive operation that goes out for snorkeling at Banco Chinchorro, like maybe Pepe’s. Maybe they or another shop are snorkeler-with-weights friendly.

    For local, closer-in snorkels you must go by boat, as the shoreline is not conducive to snorkeling. It is lined with fences about 50 meters out from shore to keep the sargassum off the beach, which is lined with restaurants. I went out with GypSea Divers for my local snorkels. The local near-shore boat snorkeling is pretty good but nothing exceptional.

    Mahahual is a cool beach town with a cool vibe. I did not venture over to the cruise ship port area which is a couple kilometers away.

    Side note: Banco Chinchorro is a good one time bucket list kind of snorkel, but since then I have visited Guanaja Island, in the Bay Islands Honduras and I can say it is a quality, similar “wilderness snorkel” where for $100/day I got my own launch and boat captain to take me wherever I wanted with much easier, shorter, calmer boat rides. I stayed at Graham’s Place and used their boat. On Guanaja it is all about the reef and the water. It is rustic.


Leave a Comment