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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
Great experience!
Amazing experience, highly recommend taking the sailboat vs motor boat, made it all the better! Our crew was amazing and knowledgeable!
Allison_P, May 2022

Recent reviews from experiences in Ambergris Caye

star-5
Worth every penny!
Angelica_B, May 2022
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
The operator was fantastic! They take more than enough photos for everyone and email at end. Food was great. Waters were warm. Seen more than we honestly expected to see.
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
Must do Sail
Kimberly_P, May 2022
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
The crew was amazing! They took us on a beautiful sail and truly reminded my boyfriend and I that this was our experience and they were there to make it great in any way possible! When we did the snorkeling the crew was very animated and knowledgeable of trying to find a variety of wildlife! I saw a manatee, sharks, turtle, barracuda and eagle ray with so many other colorful fish! It was probably the top highlight on my trip! Thank you captain and staff for one heck of a time!!!!
star-5
Awesome
Richard_C, Apr 2022
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Swimming with sharks the crew is awesomeThe food was very goodThe snorkeling was beautiful plenty of fish beautiful coral the crew was very knowledgeable answering questions serving us drinks making sure we had a good time we had a good time they have a good time it was awesome
star-5
Knowledgeable Guides
Bobbi_M, Apr 2022
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
The tour was fun, the water was crystal clear and there was plenty of fish, turtles, and sharks to see. Our guides ( Chris and Santiago ) were full of information and easy going.
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
Great tour team
Jennifer_L, Apr 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
Hol Chan is a beautiful place with many sea turtles and fish. We saw rays and nurse sharks also. This company met us at the ferry dock. Our guides were Adyvah and Charles. They were both very friendly and extremely knowledgable. Adyvah was especially eco conscious and very committed to keeping the reef intact and preserving the wildlife. They are a good team. The lunch was good and we even had fresh conch ceviche. I would recommend them to anyone wanting to visit the reef.
star-5
Great!
Petr_S, Mar 2022
Hol Chan Full-Day Bucket List Snorkeling and Marine Life Tour
Great experience with awesome crew. We totally enjoyed that. We could swim with lots of harmless sharks, rays and turtles as well as with many colorful fishes and corals. Unluckily we didn’t see a manatee but it just cannot workout everytime:)
star-5
Pick this tour!
Sally_S, Mar 2022
Belize Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley Snorkel Tour - Ambergris Caye
This was an amazing experience! Our guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. Our tour group saw nurse sharks, eagle rays, and so many types of fish. Soup and Bird are the best guides available in San Pedro!
star-5
Experience of a lifetime!
Lisa_S, Apr 2022
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel Tour on the 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
Beautiful tour with very knowledgeable guides. This was our first time snorkeling and the guides were so helpful and accommodating. We saw so many different fish, a turtle, nurse sharks, and a manta ray. Such a memorable experience!
star-5
Fantastic tour!
Jessica_C, Mar 2022
All inclusive Snorkeling at Hol Chan
I 100% recommend this tour- the snorkeling was amazing and Randy and Ash were the best guides! If you’re trying to decide on which tour to do, just purchase this one- you won’t regret it!
star-5
Amazing experience
Itunu_F, Dec 2021
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkel and Caye Caulker Tour 40' Sirena Azul Sailboat
It was amazing! It was my first time snorkeling. They were patient with me. Definitely recommend for everyone.

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?
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: