45 Photos

Hol Chan
Belize's Pook's Hill, Ambergris & Hamanasi

On top of the Xunantunich ruinsOn top of the Xunantunich ruins (Jonathan Brunger)
We had the opportunity to change accommodations to visit the Tides Resort which is located on the north end of San Pedro. I liked the area where Tides was located, and this is a great locally-owned and operated (I have been told it is the only locally-owned hotel that is located on the beach). It is not as fancy as Xanadu, but it is clean, comfortable, and safe. The staff was very nice and welcoming, and they arranged an afternoon snorkeling trip to Hol Chan and Shark Alley, two of Belize’s premier sites.

We had a great guide who was an older gentleman who grew up on the caye, and he had a great perspective having seen the development and changes over the year. Despite having done this same trip probably 1,000 times, his enthusiasm really showed, and he led us on a phenomenal excursion. Hol Chan is a protected marine reserve that is located where there is a break in the reef, allowing the cool water to flow behind the reef. There are many fish species that come to this area to feed, and we had a great time swimming around the reserve. We were fortunate to see a sea turtle.

We had heard so much about Shark Alley, and it was weird putting on the gear and dropping into an area where we would expect to swim around sharks. The sharks were certainly there, but they are nurse sharks that seemed to keep their distance from us since we weren't using bait to attract them. The highlight for me was the rays, both stingrays and eagle rays. We followed a school of stingrays, watching their graceful movements as they skimmed the bottom. What a day!

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