Alligator Reef Lighthouse
Details: Perfect for snorkellers wanting to get away from shore, this snorkel spot has crystal clear aqua waters and thousands of fish in its waters. Alligator Reef Lighthouse is a tall structure with a beautiful barrier reef below, crawling with fish attracted to its shade. Visibility is excellent here, and you can explore shallow patches swarming with small fish, sea sponges, and fans, or go deeper under the lighthouse where huge schools of fish of snappers, barracuda, and just about all types of fish await.
- If you’re on a boat tour, ask them to take you East to a third snorkel site with more fish species to discover.
Details: A short boat ride away from Islamorada area is this green-tinged reef. You’ll be surrounded by fish from the moment you step into the water, from green eels to huge parrotfish, angelfish, and butterflyfish. If you’re lucky you might even spot a few turtles and eels! There’s also a variety of colourful coral life to discover here with enormous brain corals, star corals, and fire corals as well as your usual urchins, sponges, fans, and rods.
Where: Vaca Key, Marathon
Details: This snorkel spot is made up of six different reef patches, but the most popular sites to explore are The Stake and The Donut. Closer to the barrier reef with crystal clear waters, you’ll find more species varieties here than elsewhere. The Stake is a shallow spot that takes you up close to a huge range of fish, from puddingwife parrotfish to foureye butterflyfish and porkfish. The Donut has less species but a huge variety of beautiful and colourful sponges to discover.
- The Donut is quite a deep snorkel site, about 4.5 – 6 metres in depth. There’s still a lot to enjoy as a snorkeller but it might not be suitable for newbies or young children,
- The water in this reef is tinted green, so if you’re after the blue waters The Keys are famous for, skip this one,
- You’ll find plenty of snorkelling operators and boat tours to take you down to this spot and provide equipment hire.