“And remember, no touching of wildlife whatsoever when in the water. Now go on, dive in!” As the captain finished his rushed briefing, I fumbled to put on my flippers, my feet dangling off the edge of the boat. I heard more than saw sharp splashes all around me in the water as the rest of our tour group didn’t hesitate to join the dolphins. Yes, dolphins. The magical critters were long gone by the time I unceremoniously dropped into the Caribbean, but the excited chattering amongst our group lasted long after we had left the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve. This was but a taste of the experience on a snorkel tour with Splash Dive Center in Southern Belize.
About Splash Dive IDC
Placencia’s premier dive center offering Instructor Dive Courses (IDC), Splash Dive is spearheaded by the trailblazing Patricia Ramirez, the first woman in Belize to achieve PADI Course Director. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to meet her when you show up for your snorkeling tour at the dive shop in Placencia. If not, her daughter Pamela is just as fabulous—another friendly face you’ll see onsite.
In mid-2021, Splash Dive switched gears from being solely a Tour Operating Dive Center to focusing more on being a Dive Academy, in order to share this incredible skill with more visitors. In Belize, there are only two Course Directors in the country — Patty being one. And as a Gold Standard Certified tour operator in Belize, Splash Dive Center is highly sought after for its tours to snorkel and dives — even before the pandemic.
More than just snorkeling
Upon meeting the guides, you’ll be greeted with the broadest of grins, their suntanned faces welcoming you into what will undoubtedly be the memory of a lifetime. At least, it was for me. While Splash Dive does offer multiple snorkeling and diving trips, a favorite I find myself rebooking is the Silk Cayes Marine Reserve snorkeling tour. It encompasses a trio of miniature islands, with the main one home to nothing but a couple of palm trees, picnic tables, and a restroom, creating real-life Lost vibes. With this island as the snorkeling base, the ranger on-site explains all the dos and don’ts when it comes to interacting with the marine life, a rule Splash Dive’s guides take seriously.
As they lead you through the coral forests and lobster hotels, you’ll notice the care and patience the guides practice while frequently coming up to the surface to talk about a fish or two. So not only will you be enjoying the iridescent scales of a rainbow parrotfish, you’ll get to learn all about its habits, too! Whether you’re a see-as-much-as-you-can snorkeler or a take-everything-in swimmer, the guides go at your own pace.
At the end of the hour-long tour, the guides prepare a scrumptious beach barbecue from scratch as a reward. With the afternoon sun shining upon the pristine-white sandbar, the salt drying on your tanned skin, and the smell of delicious grilling, there’s not much left to want from a snorkeling trip with Splash Dive Center.