Visiting the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Ambergris Caye

Visiting the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Ambergris Caye

If you’re in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye you’re close to one of Belize’s best-known marine reserves. This tiny stretch of water is filled with amazing natural beauty.

What’s Special About Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Hol Chan is the oldest marine reserve in Belize. It began as a community effort to protect the Hol Chan or “little channel” of water just outside Ambergris Caye. It is officially known as a quebrada or a cut through the reef. It is about 25 yards wide and 30 feet deep.

Thirty years ago, the channel was overfished, dirty and depleted. The people of the area knew that if things continued, all the sea life in the channel would die. Therefore, they closed off human interaction in the “little channel.” This allowed fish stocks to grow and made the waters safe for sea mammals, coral, seagrass, mangroves and fish.

A Community Effort Pays Off

In 1987, the government of Belize recognized Hol Chan as an official state reserve. Only fishermen with a special license can fish for conch and lobster in the waters that are now teeming with marine life.

Today, this community-led effort is one of Belize’s top attractions. It is a snorkeler’s dream where you can spot fish and sea life of all kinds. Swim through the seagrass beds where you’ll see vast plains of softly waving seagrass with manta rays and other fish swimming in and out of the blades. Snorkel through the coral reefs to spot amazing numbers of brightly colored fish.

Swim With Sharks

Shark Ray Alley is the most popular area. Swimmers and snorkelers here are likely to see rays, nurse sharks and whale sharks.

Visitors have reported seeing leopard rays, conch fish, manta rays, loggerhead turtles, moray eels, nurse sharks, angelfish, barracudas and grouper fish.

Where Is It Located?

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is just a few miles southwest of San Pedro. It is a 15-minute boat ride from Ambergris Caye.

Since it is a protected area, you can only visit the reserve with a specially licensed tour guide. These expert guides can show you the best places to swim, dive and snorkel.

Enjoy the Sea at Salt Life Belize

Belize has many protected areas and marine reserves that preserve the natural beauty of this gorgeous country. If you want to see vivid, tropical marine life at its finest, take a short trip from San Pedro to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. If you’re interested in living, retiring, and buying a property in Belize, contact Salt Life Belize today.

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