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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.

Snorkeling with nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley, Belize
Nurse sharks can easily be spotted from the boat.

How to get to Shark Ray Alley snorkeling spot?

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).

Shark Ray Alley snorkeling map, Belize

Water entrance for snorkeling Shark Ray Alley

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!

Shark Ray Alley snorkeling tips and recommendations

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.

Snorkeling with nurse sharks at Shark Ray Alley, Belize
Shark Ray Alley is a fantastic spot to closely encounter nurse sharks.

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.

Snorkeling with stingray at Shark Ray Alley, Belize
Sharks are not the only attraction of this spot: many stingrays, some of them very inquisitive, also gather around the boats.

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.

Restaurants & accommodation nearby

This spot is on the large reef flat facing Ambergris Caye, about 1km from the shore. Most tours include water and fruit cuts.


  • Level required Intermediate
  • Protected areaHol Chan Marine Reserve
  • Maximum depth6ft/2m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a boat
  • Potential DangersStingrays
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsMarine reserve entrance fee ($10 pp.) + tour price (from $35 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.