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Hol Chan Marine Reserve Tours and Activities

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25 Reviews
Hol Chan Marine Reserve
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.

The Basics
Hol Chan (or “small channel” in Mayan) is the most popular zone—a 30-foot-deep (9-meter-deep) “cut” in the reef where all sorts of marine life gather, making it like a giant aquarium. You might see coral, angelfish, turtles, hogfish, snapper, and many others. Another top zone is Shark Ray Alley, a shallower area replete with nurse sharks and stingrays. Grass beds and mangrove make up the other zones, and while less-visited, these areas provide unique viewing opportunities—you could even spot some manatees.

Guided sailing and snorkeling tours of Hol Chan Marine Reserve typically include round-trip transportation from hotels in San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Belize City.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is constantly patrolled, and visitors must observe rules such as no touching or standing on coral.
  • Swimming with a guide helps you spot and identify sealife.
  • Hol Chan often experiences strong currents, so be cautious.
  • A large moray eel population inhabits Hol Chan. Don’t touch them—they bite.
  • The reserve is considered a good site for first-time divers.
  • The reserve has an informative visitors center in town with clear displays of Belize’s various marine habitats.

How to Get There
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is located southeast of San Pedro, near the island of Ambergris Caye. Because the reserve is managed by the Belize Fisheries Department, you can access it only through a licensed tour operator.

When to Get There
Belize’s peak tourist season is late November to mid-April. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve can be crowded at times—you may even bump into other snorkelers. Tour operators generally run trips twice a day, in the morning and afternoon.

What to Know About Swimming with Sharks
Shark Ray Alley is home to stingrays as well as nurse sharks, which, for the most part, are harmless to humans. They are slow-moving and docile, but will bite if stepped on or bothered, so refrain from touching them. Tour guides are allowed to feed the sharks from the boat.
Address: Ambergris Caye, Belize
Admission: Varies
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4 Tours and Activities to Experience Hol Chan Marine Reserve

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Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat

star-5
87
Discover Ambergris Caye’s wildlife and coral reefs on this sailing and snorkeling tour to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve and shark ray alley. Swim above bright coral formations in Hol Chan, and watch for the sea turtles, eels and fishes that thrive within the protected area. Slip into the water with the stingrays and nurse sharks at shark ray alley, watch them feed on fresh sardines, then enjoy tropical breezes and a comfortable seat on deck as you return to San Pedro Town.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$68.97
From
US$68.97
Taking safety measures

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat

Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat

star-5
18
Cast off from Ambergris Caye for a full-day sailing and snorkeling trip to Caye Caulker, Hol Chan Marine Park and shark ray alley. Slip off the boat to explore Hol Chan’s renowned reefs, where vibrant fishes, sea turtles and delicate corals thrive within the protected reserve. Swim alongside gentle nurse sharks and stingrays in the shallow water, and encounter Belize’s extraordinary wildlife up-close. Continue to Caye Caulker for a 2-hour sightseeing visit, then sip rum punch and enjoy the afternoon sunshine as you sail back to San Pedro Town.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$128.21
From
US$128.21
Taking safety measures

Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye

Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye

star-4.5
50
Explore the underwater wonders of Belize’s most popular snorkeling sites on this trip to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley. Departing from Ambergris Caye, you'll swim with an amazing variety of fish, sea turtles, stingrays, and nurse sharks among the coral formations of the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$107.34
From
US$107.34
Taking safety measures

Private charter

Private charter

star-5
10
Discover the highlights in the area on your private catamaran! We start the tour with snorkeling at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan has the largest variety of species to be seen in the area and is often compared to an aquarium, while at Shark Ray Alley you get to experience a close encounter with nurse-sharks and stingrays. Watch from the boat or swim with them! On a full day, we serve our famous Belizean buffet lunch on-board. Traditional Belizean dishes like stewed chicken and rice and beans with our Captain’s secret recipe BBQ fish! We then stop at the neighbor island Caye Caulker for approx. 2 hours of free time to explore the island, followed by a relaxed sunset cruise back to San Pedro. You can also choose to return earlier to the boat for one more snorkel stop on our way back. During the sunset cruise a fresh ceviche is served. Open bar featuring local rum drinks like rum punch and "panty rippers" is included all day. Half day tours can be combined with sunset.
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  • 3 to 9 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$1,000.00
per group
From
US$1,000.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Hol Chan Marine Reserve?

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