Snorkeling & Diving at Hol Chan Marine Reserve – San Pedro, Belize

After spending a few days in San Pedro, Belize – talking to our hotel staff and other travelers – it became obvious that diving and snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve was the thing to do. The dive site was so close to our hotel that we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Boy were we glad we went!

Here I’m getting into the warm water of the Caribbean sea with the help of Dimas – our dive master.

Diving at Hol Chan Marine Reserve

All it took was a ten minute boat ride from the dive shop in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye to Zone A at Hol Chan Marine Reserve. The depth of the water at this point is about 30 ft. But, OMG, it was full of hard coral, sea turtles, fish and sponges – just unbelievably beautiful! I’ll allow these pictures to speak a thousand words…

Less than 5 minutes underwater and I’m super excited seeing the school of master snappers passing by.

It seems like this angel fish didn’t get the memo… He looks a little confused finding the school of grey snappers going in the opposite direction 🙂

Hanging with my fishy friends the white margey (bigger fish), mutton snapper (smaller fish) and southern stringray.

I’m wondering if these school of black margeys are having an important meeting.

A hansome fish, just doing his own thing.

I love scuba diving and yoga

After trying to get Jonah’s attention for over a couple minutes, he finally captured this picture of me in a yoga pose. Not perfect yet, but I’ll keep practicing.

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles

We had to tear ourselves away to head to the second site – Zone B. Our dive master made a quick stop on the way, and what a charming experience that stop turned out to be! We got to snorkel with sea turtles – great big sea turtles that hung around a boat for a good 10 to 15 minutes, socializing with us! Well, I’ve only had a passing sort of acquaintance with them on previous diving and snorkeling trips, but this was absolutely thrilling! Dimas, our guide explained that these turtles were rescued and therefore used to being around people.

Seeing eye to eye with a loggerhead turtle – here he is heading for the surface just inches from me.

Although the sea turtle got most of my attention, there was no way I could ignore this spotted cowfish… His whole demeanor seemed to shout out – look at me!

Snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley

They kept the best for last, apparently. This was our last snorkeling stop, and I certainly wasn’t prepared for Shark Ray Alley! If I’d only had a passing acquaintance with sea turtles, I had none with sharks. Suddenly I found myself right in the middle of about 10 to 15 of them! Our guide started feeding them as soon as we jumped out of the boat, and man, was it  freaky! The sharks seemed quite indifferent to our presence, though. They didn’t seem to bother about our being there.

Here they are… The nurse sharks and fish swimming right next to our boat, and we are swimming away to allow them eat the food Dimas, our dive master, was feeding them.

A closer look of the nurse shark – almost sticking his head out of the water … Dimas had all their attention as he was the one holding the food.

Being Shark RAY Alley,  there were Sting Rays, too around us. The other dive master, Ian, was actually playing with them. What an unusual sight it was, holding a sting ray like it was a baby!

Hol Chan Marine Reserve

Here is Ian, holding the sting ray with both hands… I love the marine life… but I draw the line at touching them.. 🙂

Would I recommend snorkeling and diving at Hol Chan Marine Reserve?

Absolutely! It was one of the coolest snorkeling/diving experiences I’ve ever had – almost as good as diving in Cozumel.

Snorkeling at Hol Chan Marine Reserve

I took this picture on my way out…its almost as though the horse eyed jacks were saying goodbye! (According to Jonah this shot was pure luck). What do you guys think?

 

The Tour Company

Belize Pro Dive Center is a relatively new company, however all the dive masters are pros and have many years of experience to their credit. Reading the amazing reviews in TripAdvisor compelled us to join one of their tours. We were four in all and we had two dive masters to guide us. Dimas, our guide, was very professional and really brought a uniqueness to the whole experience. He was very meticulous in checking our tanks and even writing down the names of fish we would see on our dive! I will unreservedly say they run a top notch diving shop here!

If you would like to learn more about their diving tours, do check out their official website.

Company Information

Name: Belize Pro Dive Center

Website: www.belizeprodivecenter.com

Tour rates begin at: USD 60 per person.

Disclaimer: This article was sponsored by Belize Pro Dive Center, but all my opinions are my own.

 

Carmen Anderson
Hi! I'm Carmen and I'm obsessed with boutique hotels, scuba diving and yoga. When I'm not writing about my travel experiences, I hang out on social media....a little, oh, alright, a LOT! Connect with me if you like traveling, yoga or scuba diving.

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