Even if it is not as popular as the « real » Shark Ray Alley, located in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve a few miles north of Caye Caulker, this spot allows you to get up close and personal with nurse sharks and southern stingrays in quite the same way for less money. Located only 5 minutes by boat from Caye Caulker piers, Shark Ray Alley is a not-to-be-missed spot if you stay in this tiny island.

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 other spots (South Channel, The Coral Garden), and leave from Caye Caulker. It takes 5 to 10 minutes to get there by boat and costs $45 per person fot 2-3 spots (including a $10 entrance fee for the reserve). Half-dozen excursion organizers and diving clubs share the market. It is easy to reach Caye Caulker from San Pedro (30min) or Belize City (70min), several water taxi companies running 10 to 20 trip per day in each direction. If you stay in San Pedro, then Ambergris Caye Shark Ray Alley is much nearer.

Snorkeling with nurse sharks at Caye Caulker, Belize

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!

Caye Caulker Shark Ray Alley snorkeling map, Belize

Exploration

The area has a constant sea level (↕4-8ft/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.

Snorkeling with nurse sharks at Caye Caulker, Belize

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, Bermuda chub, smooth trunkfish and small barracudas moving above the seagrass.

Queen conch at Caye Caulker, Belize

This is a very popular spot at certain times of day, so watch out for the boats and the other snorkelers. The water is shallow and generally calm and clear, which makes it an ideal spot for children and beginners who are looking for strong sensations.

Restaurants and accommodation

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

Species you may spot while snorkeling Caye Caulker Shark Ray Alley
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Nurse shark Ginglymostoma cirratum  
Southern stingray Dasyatis americana  
Horse-eye jack Caranx latus  
Bar jack Carangoides ruber  
Great barracuda Sphyraena barracuda  
Live sharksucker Echeneis naucrates  
Smooth trunkfish Lactophrys triqueter  
Queen conch Lobatus gigas  
  • Level required Intermediary
  • Protected areaCaye Caulker Marine Reserve
  • Maximum depth8ft/3m
  • Water entranceFrom a boat
  • Potential DangersStingrays
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsMarine reserve entrance fee (10$ pp.) + snorkeling tour price (approx. 25$ pp.)
  • Restaurants nearbyNo
  • Public toilets & showersNo

MAP Spot

These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.