Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize

Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize is an excellent dive spot in the country, offering guests a diving experience that is considered as comparable to diving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.


Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize is located approximately 6.4 kilometers or about 4 miles off the southern section of San Pedro Ambergris Caye. It is part of the Gulf of Honduras.

Getting There

A day trip from San Pedro is the best way to reach the Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize. There are boats for hire right in San Pedro and even in Caye Caulker and these usually run two times per day; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

You can also find dive operators in Belize City which can take you to the dive sites in the marine reserve.

What to See and Do

For the water lover, snorkeling and diving are two of the best things that you can do while visiting Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize.

Being a protected area where fishing is strictly prohibited, you can find hundreds of various colorful fishes down the waters of the reserve.

From hawkfish to reef squirrel fish, spotted eagle ray to peacock flounder, bull shark, black tip shark, various butterflyfishes, dolphins and porcupinefish are only some of the beautiful fishes that you are most likely to encounter while diving or snorkeling here.

There are likewise various hard corals and sponges that you can view underwater. Sea turtles are also known to swim by snorkelers and divers.

Brief History

Hol Chan translates to “little channel” and is the oldest reserve of its kind in the country. The reserve covers an area of approximately 3 sq. mi. or roughly about 7.8 square kilometers.

The marine reserve was established to address concerns about destructive and uncontrolled fishing activities as well as uncontrolled diving.

Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize is grouped into four categories: Zone A also known as The Reef; Zone B which is known as Seagrass Beds; Zone C which covers mangroves and Zone D covering the Shark Ray Alley.

The marine reserve was established on the 2nd of May in the year 1987 and covered Zones A through C. Zone D was later added on August 31 in the year 1999.


Boat rides from San Pedro and Caye Caulker are approximately $12.50 for each person. Diving and snorkeling for half a day is pegged at around BZ$40 per person while a full day’s dive is between BZ$100 and BZ$110.

Entry fees to visit Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize are at $5.00 per person.

Other Information

The best time to visit Hol Chan Marine Reserve – Belize is during the month of May when the water is much calmer and visibility is generally better.