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Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Caribena Street, Ambergris Caye, Belize

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.

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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
$68.97 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Beautiful sail
There are many tours out to Hol Chan, but this one goes more slowly and is far more relaxing. We had a lovely sail out and a great snorkel. Larger groups meant lovely chats but a little less flexibility. Would still recommend!
wheatlaurenb, Aug 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Ambergris Caye

star-5
Something on your bucket list to check off!
Ariel_M, Aug 2021
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
This was an incredible experience and you would hard-pressed to find more kind, responsible, super cool people to help guide you through this marine reserve. You will not go wrong booking this trip with Nauti Tours. Randy was amazing. He was so funny and we had a beautiful day! It was EASY, not stressful and beautiful. Please book these guys!
star-5
Amazing snorkel
Lauren_W, Aug 2021
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
What an amazing trip! This was our second snorkel or the trip and Jordan and Danny made it a great experience. The reef is in great shape and Jordan made sure to point out many creatures we would have otherwise missed. We saw turtles, nurse sharks, rays and an octopus and had plenty of time to explore.
star-5
Best snorkel tour I’ve done!
lyndseysaunders25, Jul 2021
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
I had the best time on this snorkel trip! CJ, Kyle, and Siede from Amigos Del Mar made the trip memorable and a lot of fun. At the first stop you get a guided snorkel which was awesome. Siede pointed out many types of fish and coral. Additionally we saw sea turtles, manatees, stingrays, and sharks. At the second stop we were able to swim closely with the nurse sharks! Totally worth the money. It was the best 3-4 hours I spent on San Pedro!
star-5
10/10 Recommend
Luke, Jul 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Amazing snorkeling location. Best I’ve ever been to, in fact. The boat was lovey, the crew polite (& quiet), and the sailing very relaxing.
star-5
Must do!
Andrea_A, Jul 2021
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
We had an awesome time! John and Charles were great, very knowledgeable and fun! We saw so much more than I expected and had plenty of time to enjoy all of the variety of each stop. Thanks so much!
star-5
Awesome snorkeling!!
Pamela_H, Jul 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Snorkeling was awesome. Guides were fantastic. Exceeded all of our expectations! Would definitely do this tour again.
star-4
Great experience overall
Mark_M, Jun 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
The captain and dive guide were great. The sailboat was awesome too. Highly recommend this excursion.
star-5
Best snorkel trip EVER!
Mike_M, Jun 2021
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
I have snorkeled all over (Hawaii, Cozumel, Cancun, USVI, Aruba) and hands down, this was the best snorkel trip ever! Saw a manatee, tons of coral, fish, rays, & nurse sharks. Our guide, Salam, was incredible w his narration and putting us in the best spots. Do this trip!!!
star-5
A Worthwhile Marine Adventure
Kristin, Jul 2021
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
One of the most amazing experiences of our lives! We would highly recommend this tour. While snorkeling the Marine Reserve we had the opportunity to see a manatee, sea turtles, sharks, rays, a lobster, a Morey eel, and more fish and corals than we could count!
star-5
Amazing experience
Christopher_H, Jun 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
This experience was amazing. The crew was so friendly and helpful and attentive. The snorkeling was full of sights and close to the coast. The side trip to Caye Caulker was wonderful. My wife and I took our two daughters, 5 and 9, and they had a great time as well. Really can’t say enough about this experience and how it was just perfect in every way. A day we will always remember.
star-5
Snorkeling fun
Ngan_H, Jun 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Had an amazing day! Saw sting rays, manatees, turtles, nurse sharks, lots of fish! My friends and I loved David! He gave us great recommendations for food and things to do. He’s so passionate about his country and it shows!
star-4
Knowledgeable guides and great tour
chris_e, Apr 2021
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
Lot of background info from guides. Explaining what we will see and describing the wildlife. Was somewhat disappointed in the lack of colorful coral, but that’s not the guides’ fault. Extra add-on feeding tarpon (awesome) and birds(neat). Guides did a good job leading us in the water and pointing out turtles, rays, etc

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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