Snorkeling Glover’s Reef – Best Shallow Reefs in Belize

Snorkeling Glover’s Reef was one of the highlights on our snorkel tour of Belize. It is not easy to get to, but as you will see in the underwater pictures we took below, we loved it.

Glover’s is an atoll reef that is very shallow within, and outside the ocean drops away quickly to over 2000 feet. The maximum depth within the atoll is around 50 feet, with most areas being much less.

And what makes it a snorkeler’s heaven is that there are about 800 patch reefs within the atoll.

Snorkeling Glover's Reef - Hogfish on reef
Map of where Glover's reef is in Belize

Glover’s Reef Atoll is considered the most remote of the three major atolls off the coast of Belize. While Lighthouse Reef may be the farthest out, Glover’s is farther away from more populated areas and has less traffic venturing out to it.

This atoll is also a World Heritage Site, which means it is listed by the International World Heritage Program of UNESCO, and can receive funding and special protections. It is also a Marine Reserve of Belize.

How to Visit Glover’s Reef

Most people who visit Glover’s Reef tend to stay at one of the little resorts or camping locations on a few different cayes. We were fortunate to charter a sailing catamaran out of Ambergris Caye, and made a point to sail out to Glover’s for a few days of snorkeling.

We have a partner who is offering a liveaboard boat snorkeling trip that visits both Glover’s Reef and Turneffe Atolls. This is a nice option for snorkeling Glover’s Reef.

While there, we stopped in at the Glover’s Atoll Resort on Northeast Caye (pictured below) and had a nice walk around the small palm filled island.

Northeast Caye - Glover's Reef - Belize

Snorkeling Glover’s Reef – What’s It Like?

Snorkeler cleaning mask behind catamaran in Belize

We snorkeled both the outside of the west edge of the atoll, and a handful of patch reefs inside. And it was all fantastic.

The waters within are almost always calm because of the protection of the reef. We were anchored in 20-30 knot winds, and the waves did not pick up much.

The reef is particularly healthy here. There is an abundance of fish life, healthy corals of types you don’t see commonly elsewhere (like Pillar Coral), tons of interesting shapes and colors of sponges, and lots of alga.

The picture below is of the very narrow and shallow reef cut on the west side called Swash Channel.

We snorkeled the stunning waters outside of the reef here, and then very carefully made our way in the boat through this tiny and shallow cut in the reef, with lots of current, to the inside of the atoll.

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Swash Channel - Glover's Reef

What We Saw

One of the interesting things we got to see on the outside of the atoll when snorkeling Glover’s Reef was the large Pillar Corals you can see below.

Large Pillar Coral on Glover's Reef
More Pillar Coral seen on Glover's Reef

Blurry Fish, Rotten Colors, Garbage Pictures

That does not look like what I saw! See our snorkeling camera pages for tips on selecting a good snorkeling camera, and how to use it for great pictures.

So enjoy some more pictures of what we saw at the different patch reefs while snorkeling Glover’s Reef. In the first picture we found a huge Caribbean Spiny Lobster hiding under a small coral ledge, followed by a few fish shots.

Lobster hiding under a coral covered rock on Glover's Reef in Belize
Smooth Trunkfish on Glover's Reef
Banded Butterflyfish on Glover's Reef
Schoolmaster and Yellowtail Snappers on Glover's Reef Belize

We found a lot of beautiful algae, corals, sponges and other sea life. It was very dense.

White Scroll Algae
Sea Rods, hard coral, and algae, Glover's Reef Belize
Green Vase Sponge on Glover's Reef
Yellow algae on Glover's Reef

We found some nice star corals in different areas.

Star coral polyps on Glover's Reef

And here are just a few more pictures. There were good fish numbers in most areas including huge schools of Blue Tang, and lots of barracuda hanging out.

Two barracuda over Glover's Reef Belize
Fairy Basselet over Star corals on Glover's Reef
Brain Coral with a small fish Belize
Colorful soft and hard corals on Glovers Reef
Purple Sea Fans and other corals on Glover's Reef

So if you have the chance to get out and do some Glover’s Reef snorkeling, it is very easy to recommend, and we would definitely go back. You could easily spend weeks snorkeling there.

More Belize Snorkeling Tips