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The 6 Best Key Largo Snorkeling Tours

Key Largo, the northernmost and longest of the Florida Keys, is a top destination for divers and snorkelers alike. Bordered by Florida Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, the self-titled Dive Capital of the World is home to the first undersea park in the U.S., John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. This subaquatic treasure features 70 nautical square miles of sparkling turquoise waters and the shallow-water living coral reefs of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary – the only living coral barrier reef in North America and the third-largest living coral reef in the world. These protected and vibrant reefs are home to an abundance of marine life: more than 6,000 species.

One of the most notable attractions when diving or snorkeling in Key Largo is the nearly 9-foot tall, 4,500-pound bronze sculpture known as Christ of the Abyss. It sits deep in the waters of John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The statue is the third in a series. The other two lie in the waters of the Italian Riviera and on land at a port in Grenada to honor those who lost their lives at sea. Florida’s statue has been submerged since 1965.

After consulting both expert opinion and traveler sentiment, U.S. News identified the following snorkeling tours as the best available. In addition to vibrant reefs, shipwrecks and statues, snorkelers could see angelfish, parrotfish, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays and dolphins, among other marine life.

Note: Wearing sunscreen is encouraged, but you must wear reef-safe sunscreen that is not made with harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Sundiver Snorkeling Tours – Shallow Reef Snorkel Tour

Price: Adults from $60; kids from $50
Duration: 2.5 hours

If you’re traveling with kids or first-time snorkelers, consider this tour. Sundiver offers daily, 2 1/2-hour tours to the reefs at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The 9 a.m. trip features a visit to the Christ of the Abyss statue, while the noon and 3 p.m. tours provide views of an abundance of marine life, including tropical fish and possibly sea turtles, lobsters, starfish and rays. A sunset and snorkel reef adventure is also available seasonally and sets sail at 5:30 p.m.

Prices for all tours start at $60 for ages 13 years and older and are $50 for children 12 and younger. Riders of all ages – who are not swimming or snorkeling – can come on board for about $50 per person. Anyone younger than 18 that plans to snorkel must be accompanied by an adult. Prices include a mask, fins and a snorkeling vest. Reviewers praise the knowledgeable, friendly crew, as well as the well-equipped boat. Travelers also describe the reef as beautiful, and report seeing lots of fish. The company also offers private snorkel charters.

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park – Snorkeling Tours

Price: Adults from $39; kids from $35
Duration: 2.5 hours

If you have your own snorkel equipment, or just want to be able to explore John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park without instruction from a guide, consider signing up for one of the official tours operated by the park. After a short boat ride, you’ll be given a brief snorkel lesson at the reef before having time to explore the waters on your own. Note that crew members do not act as guides and the boat stays moored for the duration of your time at the reef. The 2 1/2-hour excursion departs several times a day in the morning and afternoon and features up to 1 1/2 hours of water time.

Prices for the trip start at $38.95 for adults and $35 for ages 17 and younger. Equipment rental is an additional fee. Personal in-water guides are available for an additional fee per snorkeler for a maximum of six. Patrons describe the experience as incredible and praise the crew and the reasonable prices. Scuba diving and glass-bottom boat tours are also available.

Snorkel Key Largo

Price: Adults from $60; kids from $55
Duration: 2.5 hours

Snorkel Key Largo’s three daily trips take snorkelers to several patch reefs in the shallow waters of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and Islamorada. The company offers a 2 1/2-hour 9 a.m. departure, a four-hour excursion at 12:30 p.m. and a 2 1/2-hour sunset trip at 5 p.m. The two shorter trips go to one location with one hour of water time. The midday tour stops at two sites and features two hours of snorkel time. All three tours operate daily and include snorkel instruction, gear and a safety vest. Tour-takers praise the captain and crew for their expertise and approachability. They also say that it’s an excellent experience for families, highlighting the abundance of marine life and the relaxing ambiance.

Prices start at $60 for adults and $55 for children 10 years old and younger for the morning trip. Fees increase about $10 per person for the midday and sunset excursions.

Islander Girl Snorkel & Tours

Price: Adults from $59; kids from $48
Duration: 2 hours

The snorkel sites visited on this two-hour tour can change daily, based on the captain’s evaluation of which reefs promise the best visibility and conditions. Sites visited may include the Hens and Chickens reef, Cheeca Rocks and Pleasure Reef, among others. Reviewers applaud the crew for their friendly, attentive attitudes. They also the crew is especially skilled at working with kids.

Tours are generally offered daily as early as 9 a.m. and as late as 3 p.m., though exact availability may vary by month. Ticket prices start at about $59 for adults and $48 for kids ages 3 to 12. Tickets cover use of snorkel equipment, water, towels, rum punch, snacks, soft drinks and a guide. The company also offers sandbar swims at the Islamorada Sandbar, as well as sunset cruises.

Pirates Cove Watersports

Price: From $65
Duration: 4 hours

If you’re looking for a half-day snorkel adventure, consider this four-hour tour operated by Pirate Cove Watersports. Along the tour, you’ll make stops at two separate locations with time to explore the sea life underwater. Travelers praise the fun, energetic crew and appreciate the short boat ride to the snorkeling site. Reviewers also describe this tour as great for first-time snorkelers.

Trips are generally offered daily at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tickets start at $65 per snorkeler or boat rider and $95 per scuba diver. If you’re not interested in a snorkeling or scuba tour, consider the company’s boat tours or sunset cruises.

Silent World Dive Center – M/V Calypso – Two Reef Snorkel Tour

Price: From $70
Duration: 3.5 hours

In 2022, Silent World Diver Center debuted its new 51-foot Corinthian catamaran exclusively for snorkeling trips to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. During the 3.5-hour tours aboard the Calypso, you’ll visit two reef sites, including the famous Christ of the Abyss (conditions permitting). Reviewers appreciate the small group size of the tour and report seeing lots of fish and coral. They also applaud the fun, professional crew.

Tickets start at $70 per person, and include the use of snorkeling equipment. Tours depart daily at 8:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The company also offers scuba diving trips.

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Bernard Greenhall
Bernard Greenhall

Bernard is a sports and physical education expert with years of experience. He's passionate about promoting health and wellness through physical activity, and he's worked with athletes and non-athletes alike to help them achieve their fitness goals. Bernard holds a degree in Physical Education and is dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and research in his field.

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