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Last updated on September 30, 2022
Have you always dreamed of swimming with sharks? Then make the short boat ride to Shark Ray Alley, the most popular snorkeling location in Belize. In a few feet of water, you will be surrounded by dozens of nurse sharks and stingrays. Snorkeling tours to this spot, in the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, are almost always combined with a visit to Hol Chan Cut.
Shark Ray Alley can only be reached with boat tours. Most tours, departing from San Pedro (Ambergris Caye), also include a stop at Hol Chan Cut. Morning and afternoon tours are offered almost every day.
It is easy to reach San Pedro from Belize City: several water taxi companies run trips every day in each direction (about 1 hour and 15 minutes).
Water entrance is from boat ladders. You won’t have to look for the sharks and the stingrays for long since they will come up to the surface to see you!
The area has a constant depth (↕5-10ft/1.5-3m) and the seabed features sand and seagrass meadows.
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 humans. Sharks are between 6 and 10 feet long and are frequently seen schooling around the boat.
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 movement. Some stingrays are quite inquisitive but don’t forget they can be harmful if they feel threatened. Here and there, you will also spot horse-eye jack, Bermuda chub, smooth trunkfish, and small barracudas swimming above the seagrass beds.
This is a very popular spot at certain times of day, so watch out for boat traffic and other snorkelers. Sea conditions are generally excellent.
This spot is on the large reef flat facing Ambergris Caye, about 1km from the shore. Most tours include water and fruit cuts.
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.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Reef cut with sharks, turtles, moray eels and schools of fish
Sandy channel edged by mangrove
Free shore access
Shallow coral gardens with many fish
Seagrass meadows with nurse sharks and stingrays
Shallow reef with moray eels, nurse sharks and stingrays
Shallow seagrass beds and coral patches with colorful fish
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