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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
$84.00 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Snorkel with Sharks!
Awesome snorkeling experience. Guides were informative and entertaining. We loved snorkeling with the sharks and seeing all the fish!
skye_h, Jul 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Ambergris Caye

star-4
Shorten voyage
Marcia_H, Jul 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
We were split into two groups and I was in the group of 5. It rained the whole tour but the captain made it fun and we saw a lot. The places we snokled was magnificent and Hol Chan Marine Reserve took my breath away. By lunch it’s was cold and the trip became unbearably cold and raining and the water was rough, the other passengers wanted to abort do the captain complied. We can not control Mother Nature.
star-5
Amazing adventure on and in the water
Mandy_d, Aug 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
Thanks for the great experience!! We had a wonderful trip with our kids in the age of 17, 14 and 11 years old. The guides were very nice and took all the time for check inn till the end. We have seen some amazing animals like manatees, stingrays, barracudas, turtles, nurse sharks and a lemon shark. The trip was well organised and the guides did their upmost best!! Thans again for the great experience Familie de Vos The Netherlands 31/07/2022
star-5
Awesome tour
Nathan_M, Jul 2022
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
Amazing experience with wonderful guides. The group was small, the lunch was delicious (get the BBQ chicken), and the sharks were unbelievable. I would 100% do this again.
star-5
Wonderful day, take your camera
April_E, Jun 2022
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
Great tour. We had a boat and guides to ourselves as a large group. The guides were worth a nice tip. They made sure everyone had a great day. We arrived back and got an email reminding us exactly what we had seen. In the 2nd largest barrier reef this trip is remarkable. The only part disappointing was I thought we were getting pro pictures and I only have a picture of my youngest so maybe remember your own camera, because they aren't pros. Wonderful day.
star-5
Barrier Reef and Sharks
Marla_D, Jun 2022
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
Amazing company! They offered me a pickup from my area and return. The crew were amazing, and the experience is one to have.
star-5
Lifetime dream!
tracy_l, Jun 2022
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
I would leave 20 stars if I could! Absolutely phenomenal day! The sailing was great! The crew is fabulous! Huge shout out to David and Edwin! We went to Hol Chan and just seconds after getting in the water 2 incredible dolphins came to play all around us! The most amazing experience! We saw a young green sea turtle and so much life in the reserve! The snorkeling with nurse sharks and watching them. Smooth sailing back with rum punch to end an unbelievable trip! Absolutely a must do your!!!
star-5
Incredible experience!
Raley_M, May 2022
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
One of the most amazing experiences ever! David and Eric were extremely kind, helpful, funny, and informative. The sailboat was beautiful and created a relaxing experience on the way to the snorkeling sites. Hol Chan was absolutely beautiful and Shark Ray Alley was extremely cool. I would take this excursion again in a heartbeat!
star-5
Can't beat this tour
Daniel_E, Jul 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
Renny and Ativa were wonderful leads and hosts. Renny was great in pointing out cool fish and sea life that I wouldn't have noticed. It was a long tour and we got SO much snorkeling in. Plus they emailed videos and pictures of the trip to each of us afterwards! Loved the snorkeling and would definitely go with them again.
star-5
Unfortunately the weather...
KEZIA_S, May 2022
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
Unfortunately the weather impeaded our trip. However the customer service WAS EXCELLENT to help us rearrange as appropriate thank you Thyra
star-5
Non-stop fun!
Barbara_R, Feb 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
The full day with Salt Life Eco Tours was non-stop fun. With two expert guides, we snorkeled a Conch shell site, swim with Nurse sharks, sea turtles and rays, explored the Belize Barrier Reef at stunning Hol Chan Marine Reserve, snorkeled a sunken barge, teased the Tarpon and hunted for sea horses. Lunch was served onboard and fresh Conch cerviche and rum punches finished the day. Well done!
star-5
Wonderful experience highly recommend
Karen_C, Apr 2022
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Great hosts/crew (David and Victor). Very organized, friendly, knowledgable, and caring. Saw so much marine life, including rays, sharks, sea turtles, coral, eels, and so many kinds of fish! Excellent experience, highly recommend.
star-5
Our Tour Guides were the best!
Eve_B, Jun 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
This was exactly what it was listed as. We saw harmless sharks, rays, manatee. They made sure everyone on the tour saw the animals. We got to dive and pick a conch. They made a conch ceviche and we all ate it. I would definitely do this again. They both swim like fish.
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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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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the nearest attractions to Hol Chan Marine Reserve?
A:
Attractions near Hol Chan Marine Reserve:
Q:
What else should I know about attractions in Ambergris Caye?
A:
As well as visiting the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: