May 7th 2014 by Oscar Castaneda for Balaam Eco Adventures
Two hours flight from the US, a short 15 minutes domestic flight and you arrive in Tropical San Pedro Ambergris, Caye recently named this year as the # 1 Island in the world by over a million reviews on trip Advisory. The first thing you need to do once you arrive is go slow……. Many tourists visit this little Island off the coast of Belize and immediately fall in love with it’s lifestyle, people, sunny days, white sandy beaches, seafood and a plethora of Belize Adventure Tours and excursions to do.
The country is so tiny that you can be climbing a Maya Ruin in San Ignacio (border with Guatemala) in the morning, Cave Tubing in the evening and enjoying a delectable meal over a glass of wine at dinner on your porch, the pier, your resort restaurant or in downtown San Pedro at Elvis Kitchen or other restaurants with great dinning experiences.
The most spectacular snorkeling awaits you at Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Shark Ray Alley just off the Great Barrier Reef close to San Pedro Ambergris, Caye (pronounced as Key by the locals). This tour leaves at 9am or at 2pm and is a half day tour leaving you lots of time to relax and enjoy of your Belize Vacation Package. Over 160 species of fish have been identified at Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley along with nearly 40 species of corals, 5 sponges, 8 algaes, 2 seagrasses, 3 marine mammals and 3 species of sea turtle.
Many people have have snorkeled all over the world – in Hawaii, The Bahamas, Fiji and more and nothing compares to the incredible diversity and beauty of Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Shark Ray Alley is also a very intense experience as you come face to face with harmless Nurse Sharks, sting rays and horse eyed jacks!! Incredible!
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef as you see prestine coral reefs, Manta Rays, Star fish, a myriad of tropical species of fishes, friendly Nurse Sharks, and enjoy the marine wildlife. Never snorkeled before? No worries as this tour is for both amateurs and experts alike.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve & Shark Ray Alley are the most popular diving and snorkeling sites in all of Belize. This is due to the close proximity of San Pedro the large amount of fish life found at Hol Chan Marine Reserve is accessible by snorkelers and beginning divers. The diversity of marine life encountered throughout the 4 zones of the park and the excitement and novelty of swimming with large numbers of nurse sharks and sting rays makes this a must do tour.
Due to the protected status of Hol Chan Marine Reserve the fish populations have exploded. In waters as shallow as 5 feet large schools of jacks, groupers, snappers and barracuda abound. Healthy stands of corals and seagrass abound in shallow water which is perfect for the beginner snorkeler. The more experienced swimmer can swim experiencing shallow reefs, drop offs over the steep sides, seagrass and sand beds in the middle of the channel.
Shark Ray Alley is a recently discovered snorkel and dive site which has been selected as one of the seven best "animal dives" in the Caribbean according to SKIN DIVER MAGAZINE. When the dive operators of San Pedro found out about this, "Shark-Ray Alley" quickly became a very popular dive and snorkeling site. The sharks and rays hear the dive boats approaching and begin to school in anticipation. When you arrive you will see the surface with Nurse Sharks and sting ray wings.
These creatures have a great tolerance for divers and snorkelers. The rays have a 'wing-span' of two to four feet and swim directly towards the divers and snorkelers. Others swim in circles around the divers and snorkelers. These docile Nurse Sharks average four to six feet in length than the sting rays.
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