Snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

+ For our first full day at Caye Caulker, we had to go snorkeling at the Hol Chan Marine Reserve!

After researching on TripAdvisor, I settled on Carlos tours. We walked to his little shop and put our names down on a piece of paper taped to the door. The next morning, we rode our bicycles and met him as well as the rest of our snorkel group.

After a 30 minute boat ride with the wind whipping around us and the sun glaring down over the mildly choppy waters,  we arrived at the entrance of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

Now, normally when you snorkel – people wear life vests even though the salt level in the ocean is so high, we can easily float in the water (Also the reason why scuba divers wear weights around their waist).

Apparently, this was not the case with Carlos and his tours!  We were free to snorkel without a life vest! I liked it because I didn’t have to worry about a bulky life vest but some people on the boat did go into panic mode and ended up using a floaty device to help them swim around.

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkelingAfter our first stop, we stopped by the town of San Pedro on the island of Ambergris Caye for lunch! We did a quick stroll down the beach side where we docked and picked a particular laidback place at the end of the walk.

You order off this huge chalkboard they have in the back of the restaurant and then the server brings your food out to you. We chose to eat outside right out on the beach in the sand under tall palm trees growing coconuts! I devoured my lobster burger with french fries and Belikin beer (the local beer) and waited to digest a moment before returning to our boat.

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

+ As for the snorkeling itself – AMAZING!!!

Schools of pink and yellow fish. A particular school of silver and yellow fish just swarmed around us – great photo opportunity. The fish loved Carlos. They would swim in groups all around him and allow him to take the most amazing photos! He was like the fish whisperer.

We spotted a beautiful green eel although he didn’t look too keen to see us. 🙂 We also caught glimpses of turtles gliding by like old elegant sea gods and spotted Eagle Rays gliding along the bottom of the sea floor.

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

Carlos used a long thin stick to poke and prod certain sea life animals into coming out of their hiding places. We saw a huge dungeness crab skitter by!

On our second stop, we stopped by famous Shark Ray Alley and the guides pulled out the bait! Once the bait was out, there was a TON of nurse sharks! They just came right up to the boat snipping and snapping away at the bait.

Carlos instructed us to watch our fingers and not reach out and touch them unless he was around to hold the shark properly!

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

I think the snorkeling in Belize is the best I’ve ever done yet! Look for Carlos Tours on Caye Caulker if you ever visit  and you must! He doesn’t have a website and just relies on word of mouth for his clientele. 🙂

If you’re a planning your next trip, check out my services at Up & Explore where my expertise will ensure you have the perfect dream vacation.

belize hol chan marine reserve snorkeling

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