Spot

Shark Ray Alley


Have you always dreamed of swimming with sharks? Then set off for Shark Ray Alley, the most popular snorkeling destination in Belize. In a few meters of water, you will swim in the midst of dozens of completely harmless nurse sharks and impressive southern stingrays. Excursions to this spot, in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, are almost always combined with a visit to Hol Chan Cut.
How to get there?

Shark Ray Alley can only be visited in organized excursions, but you will be free to swim on your own once you are there. Most excursions (2 hours 30 minutes), include a stop at Hol Chan Cut, and leave from San Pedro (Ambergris Caye). It takes 5 to 10 minutes to get there by boat and costs $45 per person (including a $10 entrance fee for the reserve). A dozen excursion organizers and diving clubs share the market and offer morning and afternoon departures every day. It is easy to reach San Pedro from Belize City: several water taxi companies run 10 to 20 trip per day in each direction (about 1 hour 15 minutes).

Water entrance

You enter the water directly from the boat. You won’t have to look for the sharks and the stingrays for long, since they will come up to see you!

Aerial view


Exploration

The area has a constant sea level (↕5-10ft/1.5-3m) and the seabed is entirely made up of sand and seagrass.

Nurse sharks and stingrays are the main attractions of the spot. Shark feeding has been common for many years (and some excursion organizers still do so), and has made the sharks familiar with a human presence. While shark feeding is controversial, the spot remains a unique place to watch these superb creatures close up (some sharks are between 6 and 10 feet long), with some sharks swimming in shoals of ten or so.

Snorkeling Report Shark Ray Alley Belize
School of nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley

As soon as the boat arrives, the stingrays and sharks are attracted by the noise of the engine and swim toward the boat. Get into the water as soon as possible to make the most of the sight. You only need to put your head under the water to see the sharks and stingrays coming and going between the boats. You can easily get close to them, but they will swim away if you make any sudden gestures. Some stingrays are quite “tactile”, but don’t forget that they have a stinger that can inflict serious injuries.



Here and there, you will also see Horse-eye jack, bar jack and Bermuda chubs moving above the seagrass.

This is a very popular spot at certain times of day, so watch out for the boats and the other snorkelers. Sea conditions are generally good (few currents or waves) and are adapted to beginners who are looking for strong sensations.

Restaurants & accommodation

This spot is on a coral reef facing Ambergris Caye, about 1 mile from the shore. Most excursions include water and fruit as refreshments.

Snorkeling Report gives the most precise tips possible about the snorkeling spots and potential dangers, but each one of us is responsible for our own safety in the water. For more information, take a look at the snorkeling safety page. If you want to add extra information or make any corrections to the spot descriptions, please contact us.

Spot’s weather forecasts (°C)

Spot tips

  • Type of spot
  • Level of difficulty
    Beginner
  • Protected area
  • Maximum depth
    6ft (2m)
  • Water entrance
    Easy, from a boat
  • Potential Dangers
    Stingrays
  • Lifeguard
    No
  • Visitor numbers
    Very high
  • Access costs
    Marine reserve entrance fee ($10 pp.) + excursion price (approx. $35 pp.)
  • Restaurants nearby
    No
  • Public toilets & showers
    No

Spot map

Spot photos

Underwater spot photos

Species you may spot while snorkeling Shark Ray Alley

Common name Scientific name Abundance Fishbase Wikipedia
Southern stingray
Dasyatis americana
Nurse shark
Ginglymostoma cirratum
Horse-eye jack
Caranx latus
Bar jack
Carangoides ruber
Mahogany snapper
Lutjanus mahogoni
Live sharksucker
Echeneis naucrates
You encountered a specie at this spot that is not listed here?
  • Veronica

    Amazing place

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  • spothunter

    This spot as most of place in Belieze is amazing for snorkeling or diving while feeling like a Robinson Cruzoe. Nobody around since Belize is still preserved from mass tourism water full of fishes. do not hesitate, worth to see

  • Pam

    I am going to be visiting Panama in Dec. And wanted help as to the best place to snorkel. Do I need to get a tour package for transport. We have our own snorkel and flying into Panama City do most of you rent jeeps and drive or use public transportation. As you can see I am clueless and looking for help. Thanks

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