Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Category
Attraction
Type of Attraction
Aquatic Wonder, Marine Reserve, Nature Reserve
District/Region
Near Ambergris Caye
Share

Description
Highlights
  • Snorkeling & Swimming
  • Corals, Sharks, & Other Marine Life
  • National Park

About Location
Off the southern tip of Ambergris Caye is Belize's oldest marine reserve,the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Hol Chan is Mayan for "little channel." The entire reserve focuses on a cut through the reef (called a quebrada) which is little more than 25 yards (23 m) wide and 30 feet (9 m) deep about 4 miles southeast of San Pedro.

The reserve was formed primarily as a community-based initiative due to concern over the high level of uncontrolled, often destructive fishing and diving activities in the area. Reserve status was also called for by international organizations such as the New York Zoological Society (NYZS) and Peace Corps, due to the unique formation of the channel, the abundant fishery resources (including conch and lobster) and the feasibility of including an interlinked system of coral reef, seagrass and mangrove habitats in this area.

The entire reserve covers approximately three square miles (7.8 sq km)
As translated in Maya as “Little Channel,” the Hol Chan Marine Reserve refers to the deep cut or “quebrada” in the barrier reef off Ambergris Caye. This protected zone encompasses a total of 13,632 acres of marine waters, which includes four (4) zones: 

– Zone A: Coral Reef (640 acres)

– Zone B: Sea Grass Beds (5,376)

– Zone C: Mangroves (6,336)

– Zone D: Shark Ray Alley (1,280)

Located approximately four (4) miles south of San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, this top snorkeling zone is Belize’s first marine reserve legislated in July 1987.

Its popularity has been primarily centered on the schools of friendly docile nurse sharks, silver and colorful fishes. This snorkeler haven is also home to a few endangered species of marine life, such as: Loggerhead Turtle, Green Turtle, Nassau Grouper, Star Coral, Staghorn Coral and Elkhorn Coral.
 
Gold Certified:
No
Whats Nearby
Recommended Hotels
 (3)
Recommended
On San Pedro’s north edge, experience a private paradise at Blue Tang Inn, one of the town’s most charming beachfront inns. Fourteen exquisite suites each offer full kitchens and air ... moreconditioning. Relax by the private pool or rejoice on the third-floor sundeck with inspiring panoramas of the ocean and reef. Set your own schedule for amazing daily activities such as sailing & snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, and numerous inland tours to visit ancient Mayan Ruins and waterfalls.

Each suite has a fully equipped kitchen for your convenience. There's a grocery store 1/2 block away that will deliver! Complimentary Continental breakfast is included daily. 

Our staff is super friendly and will help you book your daily activities. Just ask!
Gold Certified:
Yes
Phone Number:
+501 226 2326
Area:
San Pedro
Region:
Northern Islands
Learn More
Most Popular Tours
$
70
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
 (8)
Provider:
Tuff E Nuff offers the best snorkeling experience at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Come and explore the beauty of Belize's healthy barrier reef ecosystem (no touching), which is also ... morethe world's second largest living barrier reef! At Hol Chan Marine Reserve, there is excellent coral formation with a variety of friendly sea creature including, of course, nurse sharks and stingrays.
Tours & Shuttles
$
660
/ Group
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
The Northern coast of Ambergris Caye has amazing blue waters and beautiful views along the way. The Mexico Rocks Day Sail starts with sailing to Mexico Rocks, that in the end of 2015 ... morebecame a part of the marine reserve, to protect its rich marine life and precious corals. We do our first stop for snorkeling there and then continue to our favorite spot - a shallow area close by the reef, that is just like a natural pool (great for non-swimmers as well)! Here we make a break to relax in the shallow warm water, while the crew prepares our famous Belizean buffet on-board. Traditional Belizean dishes like stewed chicken and rice and beans with our Captain’s secret recipe BBQ fish! After lunch we return South doing a second snorkel stop at Tres Cocos. You can also choose to extend the day with more hours, to include more snorkeling or fishing. 

Open bar featuring local rum drinks like rum punch and "panty rippers" is included all day. 

Either breakfast or ceviche is also included, depending on the schedule you choose. 
$
114
/ Adult
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
 (3)
The All-in-1 is a "best of tour" that includes the most requested by our guests - an Exclusive tour only with Catamaran Belize!... more

We start the tour with snorkeling at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan has the largest variety of species to be seen in the area and is often compared to an aquarium, while at Shark Ray Alley you get to experience a close encounter with nurse-sharks and stingrays. Watch from the boat or swim with them! Then we continue sailing to the neighbor island Caye Caulker, while serving our famous Belizean buffet lunch on-board. Traditional Belizean dishes like stewed chicken and rice and beans with our Captain’s secret recipe BBQ fish! On Caye Caulker, there is approx. 1 hour of free time to stroll around and explore the island, followed by a relaxed sunset cruise back to San Pedro. There is an amazing spot on the way between the islands where you can see the sunset over the water. See Ambergris Caye change into its nocturnal aspect and hopefully, also the first stars!

The schedule for the tour changes through the year depending on the sunset. Open bar featuring local rum drinks like rum punch and "panty rippers" is included all day.
$
990
/ Group
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Discover the highlights in the area on your private catamaran! We start the tour with snorkeling at Hol Chan and Shark Ray Alley. Hol Chan has the largest variety of species to be ... moreseen in the area and is often compared to an aquarium, while at Shark Ray Alley you get to experience a close encounter with nurse-sharks and stingrays. Watch from the boat or swim with them!

We then stop at the neighbor island Caye Caulker for approx. 2 hours of free time to explore the island and lunch at a restaurant of your choice.

After this we make another snorkel stop at the Coral Gardens area.

You can also choose to add our famous Belizean buffet to be served onboard instead, before arriving to Caye Caulker.

Then we can do the stop shorter on Caye Caulker (1 hour approx) and do two snorkel stops on our return.

For groups of 8 guests or less, it is possible to exchange one snorkel stop for reef fishing!

We finish the day with a sunset cruise while we serve you fresh ceviche. Enjoy the sunset over the open water, then watch Ambergris Caye change into its nocturnal aspect and hopefully, also the first stars!

Our crew will serve you a fresh ceviche during the sunset cruise. 
Open bar featuring local rum drinks like rum punch and "panty rippers" is included all day.
$
140
/ Person
Departs From:
Caye Caulker
Provider:
Snorkeling sites: Hol Chan Channel  Shark Ray alley  Chato Turtle area  Manatee Area  Sunken Barge  Viewing Site: Tarpon Hole  Sea Horse
$
75
/ Person
$
75
/ Adult
Departs From:
Caye Caulker
 (1)
Includes: Free GoPro photos/videos, lunch, fruit, lunch, drinks, guide and all park fees This tour is one to remember and will definitely be your most memorable experience in Belize. ... moreIt starts on Caye Caulker at our tour office at 9:00 with a quick briefing on how we'll conduct the tour to keep it eco-friendly and fun, then we load up in the boat and go to a marine reserve that's 32+ years old. Here we will see a wide array of marine life including sharks, rays, beautiful fish and corals. We go to 4 different zones inside the reserve then we go to the shipwreck to look for lost treasure but mostly just sightseeing. Then we go look for the most majestic creature in the area, a manatee/sea cow! We know their favorite hangout areas so we'll go to three different locations in search of them and If we find them, you'll get to snorkel with them and observe their relaxed behavior. The last stops are bonus stops to do some fun sightseeing around the island. The tour ends around 3:00
$
93
25
/ Adult
Departs From:
Caye Caulker
 (2)
Provider:
Hol Chan is one of the oldest marine reserves in Belize. The marine life is healthy and abundant. You will be surrounded by numerous colorful fish and corals, eagle rays, turtles, ... moreeels, barracuda and many more.

We also give to you the option to explore ( Belize's own version of the Titanic) the sunken barge. Nearby when the water temperature is just right you can swim just 10 feet away from a manatee. Stare in amazement as these gentle giants come up for air and look into your eyes with curiosity. 

Once back at Caye Caulker we visit the seahorses and the tarpons that reside on the west side of the island. We also visit an extra surprise resident, but you have to be there to know what it is.

**Price of the ferry from Belize City or San Pedro to tour starting point can be a lot less if guests opt for us to purchase the ferry tickets for them.**
$
75
/ Adult
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Are you interested in experiencing the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, but do not want to get wet? We have a tour just right for you. The entire family will love this trip. Enjoy our Glass ... moreBottom Boat Tour to Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley (Just hope on board, relax and enjoy).

After a 20-minute ride to Hol Chan Marine Reserve, you will see lots of things to see on the way. Once you arrive, you will enjoy all the wonders of the reef such are marine life, coral, sharks, rays and much more. Swimming and Snorkeling are optional at the reserve, which you can enjoy the tropical marine life and coral first hand. Next, the glass bottom boat will take you to the amazing Shark Ray Alley where you can observe sharks and rays from the safety of your glass bottom boat or again you have the option to swim or snorkel with them. But, it’s against the law to touch or hold any marine life while swimming or snorkeling.

Trips depart at the tour dock at 9:00 AM or 2:00 PM and last about 2 1/2 Hours. Requires a minimum of 2 persons or you can pay an additional fee and go with less than the minimum. Bottled Water and Soft Drinks included. Snorkel Gear is optional on this tour.
$
125
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Enjoy a Fun Day at Sea. Snorkel the Largest Barrier Reef.
$
140
/ Person
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
Located 4 miles southeast of San Pedro, 7 minutes from our dock. It’s like snorkeling or diving in your own aquarium. The depth is 30 feet, so both divers and snorkelers can be together ... moreto enjoy colorful tropical fish of all sizes and types along with beautiful coral formation.

Shark ray alley dozens of stingrays and nurse sharks. Be sure to bring your camera along or rent a GoPro in our shop, the natural light makes for epic photos.
$
275
/ Group
Departs From:
San Pedro (Ambergris Caye)
The best snorkel guides are excited to share their underwater world with you. They will ask questions about your swimming and snorkeling experience to ensure you are comfortable in ... morethe water. They will explain the site, what you might see, and ensure you understand the route you will be taking. They look for unusual coral, hard to spot fish, and invertebrates just to see you get excited–they want to talk about what you saw when you’re back on the boat. You will find these guides on our small group tours. Each of our tours is for 1-8 people–we want to give you personalized service and the best experience possible.

Each of our private snorkel tours includes all park fees, taxes, equipment, rum punch, soda, fresh fruit snack, water, and licensed guides.

Our comfortable pontoon boat is expecially suited for older guests, young children, and people with mobility issues. 

Where We Snorkel!
Hol Chan/Shark Ray Alley

Enjoy the sights of the barrier reef during this snorkel tour. During your stop at Hol Chan, you will experience abundant marine life. At Shark Ray Alley you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with nurse sharks, rays, and jacks as they swim around the boat.

Mexico Rocks

A short boat ride north takes you to Mexico Rocks where you will snorkel in a protected area with abundant marine life. Great for beginners but with enough to see to keep the experienced snorkeler engaged.

Tres Cocos

During this tour, you will get the opportunity to snorkel at two sites–Tres Cocos and Tuffy. At Tres Cocos, you will encounter large brain coral, sea fans, and much marine fish. At Tuffy, the marine life is the star of the site.
0 reviews   0 comments
Overall
Scenic
Family Friendly
Interesting