Raggamuffin has been operating the best snorkel tours from Caye Caulker to Belize’s famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve off the coast of San Pedro for years. Everyone meets at 10am on the beach, which is a wonderful opportunity to sleep in compared to the 5am wake-up-call required when diving The Blue Hole. When I arrived I had my face fitted for my snorkel mask and grabbed a set of flippers that fit my feet snug and tight. I hopped on the boat with ten other tourists and we set sail north in the direction of San Pedro.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the most popular snorkeling destination in Belize. The words hol chan mean ‘little channel’ in the Maya language and therefore the location is a natural hang out spot for marine life. The reserve covers about five square miles and about nine miles North East of Caye Caulker. The channel is about 30 feet deep, and since no fishing is permitted in the reserve, it is rich with sea life of every description . Snorkelers can expect to see abundant angelfish, blue-stripped grunts, schoolmaster snappers and hundreds of other varieties. It is also known for the green moray eels living in tiny caves along the wall.
We visited amazing Shark and Ray Alley, located three miles south of the Park. Locally known as the Aquarium, this spot is known as the shark and stingray city of Belize. We were given a prime opportunity to swim with Nurse Sharks and Southern Stingrays which had me a bit nervous. There were literally hundreds of fish, sharks and stingrays in the water around me. At one point I saw a shark swimming directly beneath me while a stingray swooped over my head. Jaw clenched.
Another great stop was at Coral Gardens, located two and a half miles south west of Shark and Ray Alley. The Belize Reef has such extraordinary clear water that looking through a diving mask brings you into a world of colour. The myriad hues of coral are rainbow like: pale pink, flashy reds, deep purples, flamboyant greens and a multitude of colours in between. Between the months of June to September there are varying chances of snorkeling with manatees which makes this spot extremely special!
On the sail back we enjoyed nachos with shrimp ceviche and “all you can drink rum and punch” which had everyone zig zagging off the dock when we arrived back in Caye Caulker. Raggamuffin does a great job offering tourists a fun day at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Their tour should not be missed. Their day tour is good fun in the sun!