Liveaboard Diving in Hol Chan
What to expect on a Hol Chan Liveaboard
Liveaboards to Hol Chan Marine Reserve offer divers the chance to explore one of Belize's most popular dive areas. Located just south of Ambergris Caye, Hol Chan is divided into four zones and covering approximately 18km/sq of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests. Since its establishment as a protected area in 1987, marine life at this Belize dive site has flourished here and with its unique habitat, spectacular coral formations and close proximity to the cayes liveaboard diving to Hol Chan is highly recommended.
Hol Chan Marine Reserve Underwater
Over 160 species of fish have been recorded in the reserve, along with 40 types of coral, 5 species of sponge, 2 sea grasses, 3 species of sea turtles and 2 dolphin species and the west Indian manatee. The mangrove forests act as nurseries for fish species such as gray snappers, angelfish and seahorses. The seagrass beds harbour parrotfish, turtles and even the odd Manatee. The reserves unparalleled aquatic eco-system is teeming with marine life.
Dive Sites Of Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Meaning 'little channel' in Mayan, the reserve focuses on a break in the reef known as Hol Chan Cut (23m wide and 9m deep). Starting at 8ft (1.5m) and sloping down to a maximum of 25ft, coral and marine life adapted to strong currents flourish here. Elkhorn, Staghorn, Finger, Star and Brain Coral provide rich habitat for marine life and gorgonian sea fans and sponges shelter fairy basslets, hogfish and crabs. The common morays, jacks, groupers, snappers, barracudas roam the waters with even some lucky sightings of spotted eagle rays and other pelagics. This is also a very popular night dive spot.
Eagle Ray Canyons (Pillar Corals) has recently become known for regular sightings of graceful spotted Eagle Rays as they drift through in the blue or over the reefs with the tidal currents. In addition to the eagle rays, lush canyon formations with depths up to 80 feet, see the likes of nurse sharks, snappers and the usual congregation of juveniles.
Shark Ray Alley, located south of Hol-Chan Marine reserve, although not technically a dive site due to its shallow nature (8ft of water), is renowned for snorkelling with nurse sharks and stingrays. Over the years, congregations of these animals were drawn to the area, attracted by Fishermen's scraps.
Top Tips For Divers
Liveaboard diving at Hol Chan Marine Reserve is year-round. The water is calmer in May with great visibility and water temperature stays around 80F (27C) throughout the year. Be aware of strong outgoing currents within the channel and do not attempt to explore any caves without an experienced qualified guide. Although a common practice at Shark Ray Alley, fish feeding is not encouraged. Reserve entrance fees may be applicable if not included in Liveaboard fees.
Getting To Hol Chan Marine Reserve
A liveaboard to Hol Chan Marine Reserve is easily reached from San Pedro or Caye Caulker but is included in your Belize Liveaboard itinerary, which departs from the Radisson Ft. George dock, located in the heart of downtown Belize City. If you are landing at Belize City International Airport (BZE), transfer is usually provided to and from the yachts.
Hol Chan Diving Reviews
- 9.2 Superb
- 7 Verified Reviews