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Around 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) south of the shores of Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the most-visited snorkeling and diving area in Belize. Part of the Belize Barrier Reef, the reserve covers about 3 square miles (7.7 square kilometers) and is divided into zones according to marine habitat.
San Pedro Town is Ambergris Caye's main and only town. This is where the bulk of the island’s eateries, shops, nightlife, and businesses are located. The beach here is a sandy sidewalk at best, but the water and views are still beautiful, and numerous docks dotting the shoreline provide ample swimming opportunities. It also serves as a popular departure spot for dive trips.
Part of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Shark Ray Alley is home to a multitude of 6-foot (1.8-meter) nurse sharks and stingrays with 4-foot (1.2-meter) wingspans. Over the years, fishers went to the site to clean out their catch—eventually, nurse sharks and stingrays started gathering in search of the boats and their daily treats.
Recognized as one of the world’s top diving sites, and part of the Belize Barrier Reef UNESCO World Heritage Site, this stunning, deep blue circular sinkhole is located on the Lighthouse Reef atoll. About 1,000 feet (305 meters) in diameter over 400 feet (122 meters) deep, the Great Blue Hole is a unique geographic phenomenon.
Located on the northernmost tip of Ambergris Caye, Bacalar Chico is said to be one of the most pristine reserves in Belize. In addition to being a protected marine reserve since 1996, the biodiverse park is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the Belize Barrier Reef. It’s an ideal getaway for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.
Coral Gardens is part of the Caye Caulker Marine Reserve and is packed with unusual and colorful coral formations that can easily be explored thanks to the shallow depths of up to 13 feet (4 meters). Schools of fish such as angel fish, tree worms, and parrotfish can be seen here, adding to the overall beauty and uniqueness of the coral.