Shark watching at Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize

Réserve marine Hol Chan, Belize

Are you visiting Belize and would like to go diving to admire the sharks? Hol Chan Marine Reserve is the place to be, a true underwater paradise.

Sharks are probably the underwater species that intrigue us most, while also scaring us! But did you know that it’s actually possible to swim with certain species of shark? Today, we’re heading for the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in Belize, for an incredible experience!

Hol Chan reserve in Belize

La réserve marine de Hol Chan au Belize

Photo credit: Flickr –

This world-renowned biodiversity reserve is often a must-see for ocean lovers. Here, you don’t have to dive to discover an incredible variety of fish species, corals, turtles, manatees, rays and even… sharks.

It was created in 1987 by the Belizean government, thanks in particular to the large community of sharks and a few manatees that live in its depths. It is a totally natural area, located off the coast of the islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker. The Hol Chan Nature Reserve comprises four protected zones, including mangroves, coral reefs and, above all, an area where nurse sharks live side by side!

Nurse sharks at Hol Chan

Requins nourrice

Photo credit: Flickr – Captain DJ

The only species of shark found in Belize’s waters is the nurse shark, which poses absolutely no threat to humans. They feed mainly on the seabed, notably on shrimps, small fish and coral.

The nurse shark has a small dorsal fin and can reach a length of three meters in adulthood. It moves mainly in packs. It’s a slow-moving shark that can spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping! So there’s no problem visiting Hol Chan Reserve, and your safety won’t be compromised.

How to swim with sharks in Hol Chan?

Belize, nager avec des requins

During your stay in Belize, you’ll notice that many agencies offer boat or sailboat trips to discover the Hol Chan reserve. There are half-day and full-day trips available.

These activities depart from all the tourist islands of Belize, and you can easily book yours the day before directly on site. In the morning, you’ll set off by boat to explore Belize’s turquoise waters, stopping off at several snorkeling spots, and if you’re lucky, seeing manatees, turtles, rays and sharks, all in the same day!

A day trip of this kind costs around US$100, including snorkeling equipment and lunch on board. The Hol Chan reserve and the waters of Belize are a must for anyone wishing to discover the diversity of the seabed in a respectful way! There are no imprisoned animals here, and you can observe them in their natural environment.

Main photo credit: Wikimedia – avas