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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
Great excursion!
Had a wonderful time! Saw turtles, sting rays, all kinds of fish, and of course sharks! Felt safe the whole time.
Tiffany_M, Dec 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Ambergris Caye

star-5
Full Day of Fun - Go and Enjoy!
Dan_H, Dec 2021
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
Swimming with sharks and tuna, Hol Chan area, and overall the tour guides were excellent and personable (Renee and Dominick aka, "Google")
star-5
Best Snorkel Tour in the Caribbean!!
Yukiko_I, Dec 2021
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
A must-do tour in Belize - Salt Life Eco Tour will make sure your snorkeling trip is a special one! I've snorkeled in 7 different countries in the Caribbean, but this was the best experience so far! The vast marine life seen in the ocean is majestic - Eagle rays, sting rays, sea turtles, nursing sharks, and manatees!! The boat crew and captain will go out of their way to make your trip extra special as well - I ended up taking 2 snorkeling trips with them and loved every moment of it!
star-5
Amazing trip
John_F, Dec 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Very knowledgable guides, relaxing and beautiful trip. Great viewing experience, recommend to all!!!
star-5
Best part of my vacation
S_W, Nov 2021
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
Randy and Corey were amazing. They shared interesting information about the fish, and the island. They took pictures, videos and made sure everyone was comfortable. There were only 4 other people on the boat with me so it felt like we were getting a personal tour. I would recommend them to everyone. They’re great. Oh, and lunch was superb. They should charge more- SW
star-5
Wonderful. Will do again next visit
Madolyn_S, Nov 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
The crew was so helpful! I am 75 and had not snorkeled in 40 years! My 14 year old grand daughter and my daughter all loved every thing about the trip!
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
Perfect bucket list tour!
Dustin_S, Dec 2021
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
The tour guides, Salam and John, were great! It was a long fun day, we even got to see two manatees! Can't recommend enough!
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
A Full Day of Fun & Adventure Snorkeling Tour
Lawrence_B, Jul 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Victor took the time to point out so many different variations of coral. And made sure we saw all the interesting fish that we came across during the guided snorkel tour. Both David and Victor were excellent hosts during the whole tour. We had a great time!
star-5
Hol Chan snorkeling
Alyssa_W, Jan 2020
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Great trip. Sailing was excellent. Great snorkeling and swimming with sharks. Caye caulker was short and sweet. Excellent crew. Clean boat and equipment. Highly recommend
star-5
Beautiful sail
wheatlaurenb, Aug 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
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!

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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