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There’s a lot of dispute as to whether Key Largo or Key West is the better snorkel spot. There’s only one way to find out – visit them both! Key Largo is a healthy reef with lots of marine life to discover. It’s only accessible by boat, with most of the snorkelling reef sites around John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
You’ll have the option to either take a private charter which means you’ll be able to choose where to go, or go with a snorkelling boat company. If you choose the latter, keep in mind you might not have a choice in where to go as they’ll take you to the best place depending on the conditions that day! That said, you’ll be able to rent equipment, have bathrooms on board, and all other kinds of handy perks.
Fish in Key Largo:
Corals in Key Largo:
Where: Dry Rocks
Details: A must-see snorkel site that’s probably also Key Largo’s main attraction, Christ of the Abyss is a huge bronze statue of Jesus nestled in one of the grooves of a patch reef. The area itself is known as Dry Rocks, a patch reef with unique topography and soft & hard corals. Here you can expect to snorkel with barracuda, rays, and all the other sea life of The Keys.
Where: 102601 Overseas Highway
Details: This enormous underwater park is Key Largo’s most popular snorkeling spot, and is beautiful for more than just its underwater life. There are nice beaches to explore as well as plenty of walks amongst mangroves and lush greenery. This is the only spot in Key Largo where you’ll be able to snorkel from shore, but don’t expect to find many corals here. There’ll be fish, lots of seagrass, and a shipwreck to explore, but this spot doesn’t offer the same diversity and rich marine life as the offshore reefs.
Where: 9.5 km off the coast
Details: One of the world’s most visited reefs, this snorkel site sits right on the edge of the barrier reef with lots of sea life, crystal clear waters, and huge brain corals! This snorkel site is one of the highlights of Key Largo, with a wide variety of fish, turtles, and rays, and colourful coral.
Where: Mosquito Bank area
Details: If you want to snorkel in Key Largo away from all the boats, you can find more privacy and a healthier reef to explore in these shallow waters. There aren’t as many fish here as in other places in Key Largo, but you’ll still find barracuda, angelfish, parrotfish, blue tangs, and more amongst all the beautiful hard and soft corals and a variety of different sponges.