Snorkeling Key Largo is a fabulous chance to explore the third longest on the Earth and the only live USA coral reef. The barrier reef snorkeling and diving are featured by an ample marine life, catching wrecks and an underwater statue of Christ.
There aren’t too many natural beaches in Key Largo because of very shallow waters around the keys and almost no waves. Still there are plenty of nice man-made beaches to relax on, so it is easy to combine water sports with beach rest.
Diving and Snorkeling Key Largo Attractions
The best way to snorkel Key Largo is by boat as the most healthy coral reefs are placed at about 1-8 miles distance offshore out of the border of Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.
Hop on a tour boat in Key Largo harbors and nearby docks or John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. Another perfect option is to get on a private charter boat from Key Largo. Such private snorkeling boats very often go to the fantastic places which big tour boats never visit. Some of the private charters accept groups starting from only 6 persons.
One of the top zones for snorkeling in Key Largo is Molasses Reef. This coral reef is famed for being the most visited on the planet. This spot is must seen and is famous for clear waters, large spurs and grooves, giant brain corals and exuberance of Elkhorn corals. Molasses Reef is habitat for rays, Goliath grouper and turtles.
Christ of the Abyss (or Christ of the Deep) is a prominent site for snorkeling and diving Key Largo. The bronze Christ’s statue, which is 9-foot tall, is located in 25 feet depth. As the statue is placed in a canyon, its top is about 10 feet under sea surface and well seen for snorkelers. At Christ’s statue may be encountered barracuda, rays and newlyweds as underwater weddings at the statue are very popular. The statue is situated in the Dry Rocks area.
Spiegel Grove is Key Largo’s newest wreck. This retired 510-foot navy vessel was sunk for purpose in June 2002 to become an artificial coral reef. The shipwreck is located 6 miles offshore in 130-foot depth. Hurricane Dennis put the huge vessel upright. The average depth is 80 feet. This is prominent diving Key Largo site where you can meet barracuda, Goliath grouper, large jacks and other pelagic life.
Benwood Wreck is remains of a 360-foot freighter which settled down in 1942 because of collision with 544-foot Robert C. Tuttle ship. Rumors say German U-boat caused the 2 vessels traveled absolutely blacked out. The average deep is 30 feet. The shipwreck is rich for marine life and lush corals.
Elbow Reef (or Wreck Reef) is excellent dive site which allows to explore lots of old wrecks covered with wonderful corals. Some ship remnants rest in these waters over 100 years. Wreck of the City of Washington which sunk in 1911 is the most intact vessel. Civil War Wreck is beloved by photographers. Tonawanda shipwreck of 300-foot freighter which went aground in 1866. Apart from a huge variety of colorful tropical fish here possible to see Hawksbill and loggerhead turtles. The water is crystal blue thanks to nearby passing Gulf Stream. The average depth is 20 feet.
USCG Duane, which is a 329-foot military vessel, after its decommissioning in 1985 was purposely sunk in 1987. The ship was run aground at 130 feet depth and is a perfect spot for advanced divers. Lots of rooms and decks were left open before sinking to provide divers with the opportunity to explore the ship's interior. Many large fishes such as cobia, amberjack and barracuda are frequently encountered here. The average depth is 95 feet.
USS Bibb built in 1937 formerly was a coast guard cutter and participated in World War II. The ship was sunk in 1987 together with USCG Duane. With average deep of 95 feet and strong local currents this site is recommended for advanced shipwrecks divers only. The wreck is a shelter for Goliath groupers and sharks.
Key Largo Location and Weather
Key Largo is situated in Florida Keys’ North.
The 2 closest international airports are in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. The ride from Miami takes about an hour, from Ft. Lauderdale it is a 2-hour drive. You may take a taxi, rent a car or climb on a shuttle bus from both airports to Key Largo.
Tropical wonderland of Key Largo has warm and sunny days all year round. The temperature range between hot and cold time is small (about 7C). The average winter air temperature is +22C, the average summertime air temperature is +29C. Average water temperature ranges from +21C in the winter time to +31C in the summer.
The Key Largo’s high season is from November to March as it is warm but dry. However for diving and snorkeling Key Largo the best period is the end of spring and summer. The peak of hurricane period is September and October while officially this season is from June to November.