This marine reserve offers some of the best snorkeling spots in Belize


There’s a reason why Belize is a vacation staple. For starters, it’s a great place to sample the fascinating culture, history and tradition of the Caribbean. For this, the Atitlan region, in addition to the famous Tikal, is a destination of choice. Of course, the area around Lake Atitlan is also known for its Mayan ruins which attract tourists in droves, which is what Tikal is even more famous for. This is in addition to the magical views around the areas surrounded by steep hills and overhanging cliffs. And then there is San Ignacio.


But one side of Belize is its greatest attraction; its best and brightest. And without a doubt, it is the cays and beaches that line the coastline of this small Central American country. This is where Belize magically tilts the vacation scale. In this article, we reveal to you the best snorkeling destination in Belize. And to take your breath away is the famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Here’s why.

Here’s Why Hol Chan Marine Reserve Offers the Best Snorkeling in Belize

Here’s what vacationers need to know. Of the best snorkeling destinations on the planet, Belize ranks among the best. Of course, there’s Australia—because of the Great Barrier Reef—and Brazil and Hawaii. However, for those who have experienced it, Belize deserves as much bragging rights as its peers. And for a reason. We know that the Great Barrier Reef is the largest in the world. But second in size is the Belize Barrier Reef. Besides being the second largest coral reef, the Belize Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in both the Western Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere. And here’s why it matters.

Coral reefs provide protective barriers along the shores of the oceans. Subsequently, they make the ocean waters around them calm and tranquil, dream conditions for snorkeling. Apart from this, the presence of coral reefs ensures the abundance of aquatic life. For snorkelers, there is nothing more enjoyable than seeing this colorful underwater seascape in close-up style, an experience that is magically enhanced by the tranquil movement of the waters. For those who have visited Hol Chan Marine Reserve, its calm, clear waters are just the perfect ingredients for excellent snorkeling.

Related: Tropical snorkeling: tips to remember and not to do.

On top of that, the Hol Chan Marine Reserve features an abundance of aquatic life ranging from sharks – especially in the “Shark and Ray” alley – to round manatees, excited sea turtles and many colorful tropical fish. And no, swimming with sharks is not a dance with death. In fact, sharks are generally as harmless as puppies, even though they are some of the scariest in the world, with the exception, of course, of the Great White. Luckily, the nurse sharks in the “Shark and Ray” alley are shy recluses who prefer to just swim away in the presence of snorkelers or snorkelers. Another reason why Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the best snorkeling spot in Belize is its location. Whether staying on Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, the trip to Hol Chan is an easy day trip.

How to Maximize Your Snorkeling Experience in Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Although one can enjoy wandering alone underwater, it is always a good idea to be accompanied by a guide. Some sections of the ocean cross fast-flowing channels. For those who are not experts, these spots can be a bit risky. But it’s not just for security reasons. The guides know where to have the best snorkeling experience and where to see the strange animals that usually lurk at the bottom of the ocean. Sometimes the difference between a good snorkeling experience and a great one comes down to a guide.

Of course, with such famous attractions, people can gather in large numbers. As a result, Hol Chan can be crowded at times. The key to escaping the crowds is to go on a weekday. Again, whether you’re going on a crowded day, the guides can direct vacationers to less crowded places for the best experience because they know the park inside out.

Here’s what you need to know about Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Maya for “little channel,” Hol Chan Marine Reserve spans 4,448 acres of mangrove forests, dense seagrass beds, and colorful coral reefs. It is not only the oldest marine reserve in Belize, but also the most popular snorkeling spot in the country. This reserve is delimited in several zones which can go up to eight. Each area has its own rules that divers must follow.

Related: A study has revealed the best snorkeling destinations in the world.

  • Where is Hol Chan Reserve located? The Hol Chan Marine is located approximately 3-4 miles off the coast of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker on the southeast side of San Pedro.

Finally, the best way for vacationers to experience snorkeling in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is to use a licensed tour operator and book in advance. These operators charge between $84 and $110. That’s it. For those who love colorful underwater views and swimming with sharks and other marine life, the Hol Chan Marine offers a thrilling out-of-this-world experience.


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