Hol Chan Marine Reserve: One of Lonely Planet’s Best Places to Snorkel

by Khaila Gentle

According to one of the world’s most trusted travel publications, Lonely Planet (LP), the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is one of eight best places to snorkel in the Caribbean. Located near Ambergris Caye, this 6.5 square mile reserve boasts stunning coral formations and is teeming with diverse marine life. One of its main attractions, apart from the reef, is the nearby Shark Ray Alley.

Here, underwater adventure lovers get the chance to swim alongside docile nurse sharks and southern stingrays. It’s the perfect playground for first-timer snorkelers and experts alike. As such, it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the region’s top destinations.

Read below to find out why Lonely Planet says the Hol Chan Marine Reserve is one of the Caribbean’s top snorkel spots.

2. Hol Chan Marine Reserve, Belize

Best for spotting sharks

shark ray alley belize 1 aerial

Would you jump in? Shark Ray Alley by IG

Located on the border with Mexico, Belize’s Hol Chan Marine Reserve covers over 41,700 hectares of land and sea around Ambergris Caye, with habitats ranging from dense mangroves and seagrass meadows to coral reefs.

The Coral Garden is the highlight. There’s an outer reef catching the bigger waves, allowing you to drift over columns of coral in peace as sergeant majors and butterfly fish swim past. Most tours will also visit nearby Shark Ray Alley, where shivers of nurse sharks like to congregate.

Planning tip: Some guides will feed the sharks to attract them to the boat, so double-check with the operator if you don’t want to do this.

Featured Photo courtesy Alaia Belize. Read Lonely Planet’s full list here.

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