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Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

MD
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Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

I'm going to be in Key West this week for 3 days and am wondering what people recommend as the best snorkeling trip. There are a few things that I'm looking for in a snorkel trip.

I'm a pretty seasoned snorkeler with my own gear and I like to snorkel where I can see a lot of things and aren't afraid to swim down 20 feet or so in the water to check out things down there. It doesn't HAVE to be in a 3-4 foot reef or something, although I do like seeing reeflife up close as well.

I would also like to see big fish. I've never been to the Keys, but there seems to be some awesome predatorial fish down there that I wouldn't see in other tropical places, like baracuda's and sharks. It would also be REALLY awesome to see dolphins in the water while snorkeling, as I've never seen one while snorkeling, although i've done a "swimming with the dolphins" excursion before in Cancun.

I'm also looking for a trip that is simply snorkeling - I'm not interested in kayaking or anything.

Many of the snorkel trips I've been on outside of the USA had open bars on them as well, do they have any of these in Key West?

I am also planning on taking a sea plane most likely to Dry Tortugas one of the days, and I've heard there is great snorkeling out there as well from the shore, so I'm looking for other tours other than this.

I've heard about the Danger and Echo tours, but the Danger one seemed to only have Kayak adventures, and I couldn't tell about the alcohol situation on the boat too.

So anyone have any other suggestions or recommend anything specific that might fit some of the wants I'm looking for?

On a side note, we're going to be in Marathon for 3 nights as well after Key West, so if there are any snorkel places up there that people recommend I'd definitely like to hear about them as well.

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Florida Keys, FL
Pjk
New Jersey
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1. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

The best chance of seeing anything large is to go out to the reef about 7 miles south of Key West but what you see will depend on the conditions and what you are lucky enough to spot while snorkeling. Almost all of the single-snorkel trips will give you about 50 minnutes in the water, so there's no guarentee of what you will encounter.

For a single morning or afternoon snorkel look at the Floridays ---> http://floridays.org/ It's a little more expensive because it takes a limited number of people, 3 dozen or less. They serve beer and wine and some of the awfulish margeritas out of a big plastic bag.

There is also the Appledore V which does a five hour sail out to the reef. This also includes lunch and better drinks. ---> www.keywestsebago.com/ship/appledore-v/

Pjk

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Key West
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Pretoria, South...
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2. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

Sounds like you need to learn to scuba dive!

MD
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3. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

I have scuba dove one time and want to do it more often for sure. I was hesitant because I have asthma though, but I went and saw specialists before I went and they gave me the OK to go and do it. It was tons of fun and I want to do it more, but my wife was a little freaked out from it and she prefers to snorkel. Additionally, the fun of having some booze out while swimming around with the fish on a snorkel trip is also a lot of fun :)

Pjk
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4. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

No-one will let you have a drink until you're finished snorkeling or diving.

Pjk

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5. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

Most dive boat operators also offer snorkelling trips. Try Captains Corner, Lost Reef or Southpoint Divers. Leave the drinking until you are through going in the water. Check the boat policy on alcohol. They likely won't mind a can of beer on board responsibly.

MD
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6. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

Ah okay, that is one thing I wasn't sure about since pretty much all of my snorkeling trips have been out of the country, and they all have let us drink before and after dropping into the water. Diving on the other hand though, that was a different story.

I did some snorkeling trips in Maui and I can't remember how the alcohol situation was on those.

Toledo, Ohio
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7. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

Maybe try a trip to Looe Key Marine Santuary, there are trips out of Big Pine Key, a 25-30 min drive. Not sure if any boats in Key West go there. I'm coming down this week as well, gonna snorkel there for the same reasons you talked about, as well as in KW. Good luck, and please let us know how it turned out!

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Big Pine Key
Big Pine Key
Florida Keys, FL
Key West
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8. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

I'm also a seasoned snorkeler and would also suggest you make sure to go to Looe Key while you're up in Marathon. There are several boats in Big Pine Key, as well as the boat that goes out from Bahia Honda State Park, which you should visit, especially if the conditions are right and the tide isn't going out.

Looe Key is the most productive spot out at the reef and the only place I've ever seen reef sharks (nurse sharks don't really count!) and a HUGE goliath grouper.

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Bahia Honda has great beach snorkeling, when conditions are good. J. Pennekamp State Park, up in Key Largo is also good, with a deep water area that I once saw a huge school of jacks in, about this time of year. The good thing is that if the beach diving isn't good there's always a boat out to the reef!

You can't snorkel with the wild dolphins in the Sanctuary off Key West, as they might kill a person who invaded their turf, but I've heard an occasional report of someone who saw one while snorkeling. But it's very rare.

If you like dolphins take the combo dolphin/ snorkel tours offered by several outfits, like Sunset Watersports or Fury in Key West. And most boats will offer you beer after the diving.

At the reefs throughout the Keys most likely you can see sea turtles, tarpon, barracuda, sting rays of all sizes, lobsters, morays, tons of reef fish, etc. etc.

Edited: 17 September 2013, 00:58
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9. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

We've enjoued Sebago out to the Reef and also Dolphin Echo to see dolphins. but the snorkeling isnt at the reef.

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Sebago Key West
Sebago Key West
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Key West, FL
Pjk
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10. Re: Best snorkeling trip in Key West?

FWIW The Javacat will be out of the water until Oct 1.

Pjk