Key Largo Snorkeling

Colorful Sergean-Majors congregate on a Key Largo Reef
Colorful Sergeant-Majors Congregate on a Key Largo Reef

Key Largo Snorkeling is the best. The abundance of off-shore protected coral reefs with clear, shallow waters make Key Largo--arguably, I suppose--the nation's top spot for snorkeling.

There's Nothing Second Class About Snorkeling
Snorkeling is such a convenient, easy activity when compared to SCUBA diving.

While I've enjoyed many SCUBA dives on wrecks and reefs over the years, and plan to continue doing so, snorkeling definitely has its advantages:

  • First, the risk factor is greatly reduced.

  • Second, you don't have to schlepp heavy tanks and weight belts around.

  • Third, you don't have to contend with regulators, dive computers, buoyancy compensators, and so forth.

Just strap on your mask, snorkel, and fins and away you go.

So, if you don't SCUBA--and even if you do--don't get the idea that snorkeling is second-class diving.

In Key Largo, there's so much to see and do just a few feet under those beautiful turquoise waters, you won't feel deprived breathing air from a snorkel instead of from a tank.

The Clear Turquoise Waters of Key Largo
The Clear Turquoise Waters of Key Largo

The Best Views are in the First 33 Feet
Besides, the best underwater views are found in the first 33 feet. Because of the way water acts on light, colors fade out as you go deeper. So, expect more colors in the shallower depths.

Things to Do While Snorkeling
Snorkelers often enjoy identifying tropical fish on the reef, in the same way birdwatchers like to identify birds. There are so many fish to see, and after a while you can become quite knowledgeable in reef-fish identification. Hand-held plastic cards with fish pictures on them are a great way to learn to identify species not already familiar to you.

Other snorkelers like to photograph what they see. The art of photography is fun, but it's not as easy as the pros make it look. And that's especially true when you're upside down 10 feet under the salt water, and your chest is crying for more air. But what better trophy to bring back from a protected reef than one or two lucky shots that turned out just right.

There's Lots of Good Snorkeling Here
Key Largo is loaded with good snorkeling spots:

  • The Carysfort Light

  • Christ of the Abyss

  • Molasses Reef

  • Pickles Reef

  • City of Washington wreck

  • French Reef

  • Elbow Reef

  • Grecian Rocks

...to name a few.

Snorkel Boats
Many Keys visitors enjoy a Key Largo snorkeling adventure with one of the numerous dive operations on the island who carry snorkelers out to the reefs. Boats go out several times a day to varying locations.

If it's important to you, check with the dive boat to see which reef or location they're going to. Wind and sea conditions can determine the best snorkel spot for the day.

Most snorkel trips last anywhere from two and a half to five hours, and include at least an hour and a half of snorkeling time. The rest of the time is spent going out to the reefs and back again.

We enjoyed a summer reef-snorkeling trip aboard the Sundiver III. The crew was friendly, knowledgeable, and they showed us a good time.

We also enjoyed an altogether memorable Key Largo snorkeling trip one beautiful, clear summer afternoon to North Grecian Rocks, Banana Reef, and Christ of the Abyss on board the Keys Diver.

Return from Key Largo Snorkeling to Key Largo Sunsets



Welcome to Key Largo

A View of John Pennekamp Beach

Christ of the Abyss

SCUBA diver on a Key Largo Reef

Sign warning we play Jimmy Buffet music

A quaint Key Largo cottage

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