What snorkel tour did you use to go to Looe Key? I’ve had trouble finding them. I only seem to find Looe Key Resort and Dive Center which seems to only offer a whole day tour and it’s mostly for divers but they seem to also allow snorkelers. Did you use them and how was it for snorkelers? I didn’t know if a whole day was too long too. Thanks for any information.
We leave Wednesday for two weeks in the Florida Keys. We’ll also rent a boat out of Marathon to go to some of the snorkeling spots near there. Any other information or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much.
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Galen & Nicole – Apr 24, 2010 – Looe Key Snorkel Trip
Yes, you do want to take the Looe Key Resort and Dive Center trip. It is from 10am to 3pm. And you need that much time to really experience snorkeling Looe Key. They take you to three different snorkel spots on the reef, each a bit different. And if you don’t feel like being in the water that long just hang out on the boat a bit. One benefit of their trip is that they are located the closest to the reef, so you get a shorter boat ride and you get as much time in the water as you want (no rushing you out after a short snorkel).
And yes, it is excellent for snorkelers. We only had two divers and a bunch of snorkelers on our trip.
Make sure and reserve your Looe Key trip.
There is another company that runs out to Looe Key. It leaves from Bahia Honda State Park. It costs a bit less, but you have a much longer boat ride and much less time in the water (they only go to two spots).
One thing we would recommend is to bring your own lunch and lots of water. They will offer to sell you a little lunch, but it is just hot dogs.
Finally, we also looked into renting a boat. The problem is that there are some crazy shallow waters and some heavy fines. It is kind of tricky. But if you feel comfortable with it all go for it. Maybe the boat rental company will provide a good GPS system with routes?
OK. Have a great time and please come back and tell us how it all went. We love seeing pictures!
Karen Signell – May 26, 2013 – Big Pine Small Boat Suggestion
We’ve snorkeled for many decades in the Pacific and Atlantic, and we’ve found comparatively good snorkeling out of Big Pine in Florida to Looe Key. It is a healthy reef with purple fans and live coral and closeups of fish like parrotfish, angelfish, and even spotted rays.
Big Pine is half an hour drive from Key West. We go out with Innerspace on the Atlantic side of the highway below the traffic lights. It’s a small operation run by Chris and John who were especially accommodating to us. They take just six persons on their small boat docked behind their store. There’s a morning and an afternoon trip, both with two snorkel spots, for about 45 minutes each. The boat trip is about half an hour to the reef.
I’m 78 and found that the boat smacks the waves and jars my seat, but it’s not too bad. I wondered about the vertical ladder back into the the boat, but Captain Rick offered his hand, and I managed quite easily. The water is comfortably in the 80’s in spring and summer, though this May 2013 we used light wetsuits for the unseasonably cool 77 degree water you’d expect in January.
Patrick Ellis – Apr 12, 2016 – Innerspace out of business
I’m just researching our Keys trip, but I just want to report that regretfully Innerspace, recommended above (and many other places), has gone out of business.
galbatron – Mar 21, 2017 – Big Fish at Looe Key
First five minutes into snorkeling at Looe Key, a very large stingray swam right into my line of sight and made a u-turn so I could see both sides and the long tail.
10 minutes later a gigantic light colored Hammerhead Shark swam into the reef and scared me half to death. He just swam a large circle and off he went, probably looking for that stingray for lunch.
Best snorkeling trip ever.
Pam Thomas – Feb 22, 2018 – Boat Trip to Snorkel Looe Key
Last week four of us took the afternoon (12:45 pm) dive/snorkel trip out of the Looe Key Dive Center on Ramrod Key. It was excellent. We had about six divers and a dozen snorkelers on the trip, and we all felt lucky because it has been so windy no boats had gone out the past seven days.
We stopped at two spots on the reef, which is about seven miles out into the ocean (it was choppy, but no one got seasick). We were the only boat out there. Both spots were shallow enough to be perfect for snorkeling. (We all are experienced snorkelers, doing bareboat charters in the Caribbean regularly).
We saw a ton of fish, including quite big ones, at the first site. Some people saw a ray, others saw five foot (perhaps) bonefish, and big parrotfish. My favorites were a big Midnight Parrotfish and a large black and gold-flecked angelfish with beautiful yellow eyes. Just exquisite. Lots of purple fan coral.
The second spot had a bit less fish but healthier coral, including pale green emerging brain coral.
The boat operators, who were friendly and professional, said the visibility wasn’t as good as it usually is because of the winds, but we rated it pretty good. Everything was closeup, really. Note that there is also a morning trip that begins around 9am.
One warning if you are sensitive to stings: I was stung by jellyfish larvae (we believe) which is prevalent at this time of year, but none of my friends were stung. The marks didn’t appear until the next day but were quite itchy. I was wearing a one-piece swimsuit and the larvae were trapped in there, apparently; I read later that a wetsuit can prevent this (the dive center had those available).
We also spent the night at the dive center’s hotel, which has to be one of the best deals in the Keys. They’re rebuilding their tiki hut from Irma damage, and there’s a good restaurant across the street.
Looking forward to trying the other middle Keys spots; thanks to this site for alerting us to the best Keys spots! I am looking forward to trying the ones out of Islamorada and Marathon.
Pam Thomas – Mar 20, 2022 – Looe Key Snorkeling Is Still Great!
I wrote one of the reviews above of the snorkel trips from Looe Key Reef Resort several years ago. I was there again this weekend (and I’ve been snorkeling with them several times in the past few years) and I am updating here.
The snorkel boat still goes out morning and afternoon for several hours and the reef is in good shape. They take you to different parts depending on the weather conditions. We went to two spots on an afternoon last week, and the weather was calm and perfect (after a week of winds all over south Florida when boats were hardly going out even for fishing).
We saw a ton of fish, including two sharks and a bright green moray eel swimming in all its glory, both firsts for me. Also a giant grouper. And large schools of big blue tangs and of course sergeant majors. The purple fan coral is plentiful, but a wide variety of other coral is also growing, which is heartening. Turtles were spotted on their morning tour. Our tour lasted from 12:45 to 5, though the first almost half hour is spent getting equipment and getting on the boat.
The simple hotel is still one of the best deals in the Keys, about a half hour from Key West. But I would advise booking well ahead.