Shark Ray Alley
While you might picture a scene fromJaws, swimming among the nurse sharks in this area of the reserve is safe as well as thrilling. For the most part, the sharks are harmless to humans, and are familiar with encountering boatloads of tourists. (But don’t touch, because they’ll bite if stepped on or bothered.) Tour guides are allowed to feed the sharks from aboard the boat.
Guided tours typically combine a visit to Shark Ray Alley with Hol Chan, the reserve’s most popular zone. There, you’ll be able to spot coral and marine life like angelfish, turtles, and snapper.
Things to Know Before You Go
You can watch the activity from the boat, if you’re not interested in swimming.
Besides stingrays and sharks, be on the lookout for huge elkhorn coral.
The waters at Shark Ray Alley are ideal for beginners.
Take a waterproof camera.
How to Get There
Accessible only through licensed tour operators, Shark Ray Alley is located just southeast of San Pedro, near the island of Ambergris Caye. Tours depart from San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Belize City, and normally include round-trip transportation from area hotels.
When to Get There
Shark Ray Alley is a top attraction, so be mindful of other boats and snorkelers, especially during Belize’s peak tourist season (late November to mid-April). Tour operators generally offer morning and afternoon departures. Some travelers prefer to head out in the morning, since afternoon weather can be unpredictable.
Part of the smaller Caye Caulker Marine Reserve, Coral Gardens features an array of colorful coral formations that are easily explored thanks to the relatively shallow water (up to 13 feet, or 4 meters, deep). You’ll also see schools of fish, including grunt and Bermuda chub. Because the area is sheltered from currents and waves, it’s good for beginners—plus the visibility is considered excellent.
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