DO: ‘Hol Chan Snorkel’ with Raggamuffin Tours, Belize

TOUR: Hol Chan Snorkel
OPERATOR: Raggamuffin Tours
DURATION: 1 day (10:30am start, 4:30-5pm finish)
DESTINATIONS: Hol Chan Marine Reserve
COST: $70USD per person; $60USD for children under 11
($80USD per person during Christmas/New Year period)
START: Caye Caulker, Belize
END: Caye Caulker, Belize
STYLE: Nature, Adventure
AGE: All ages
RUNS: All year round except October

www.raggamuffintours.com

General information
The name ‘Hol chan’ is Mayan for ‘little channel’, although the reserve itself is approximately 7.8km² and is located in the Caribbean Sea. It is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second largest coral reef in the world. The reserve consists of four zones:
Zone A – The Reef
Zone B – The Seagrass Beds
Zone C – The Mangroves
Zone D – Shark Ray Alley

The experience
The entire day is spent on a sailing boat, with a group of about 15 people (great fun if you’ve got a group). The tour is done on a sailing boat and there are are two captains per boat – we had Captain Shane and Captain Vito, who were knowledgable and made the entire trip’s atmosphere very fun. The ship is equipped with a basic toilet, as well as a sound-system which will blast Reggae music all day to ensure you get your full Caribbean experience.

The day starts in the morning when you’re fitted with your snorkel gear before heading off. You make various stops at locations where different marine life are known to be and you can snorkel close by – we saw sharks, sting rays, coral, turtles, eels, and lots of species of fish. The water is also crystal clear (I didn’t visit any other places with this much clarity in Central America), so if you prefer to snorkel on the surface, you will still get to see everything. A captain jumps in with you while the other minds the boat and helps you spot different species accompanied with a brief explanation about them. As you’re sailing between snorkel locations, you get to enjoy the sun and music. Lunch and rum cocktails are also provided. The overall day is fun and relaxing (very Caribbean), whilst getting up close and person with a lot of different marine life species, and getting to know the locals (the captains).

Value for money
The price is $70USD per person, or $60USD for children under 11. During Christmas and the New Year period, it jumps up to $70USD. It might seem like a lot, but the overall experience was one of my favourites from my time in Central America.
The cost includes:
– snorkel gear
– seasickness pills (if you need them)
– marine park entrance fee
– fruit
– lunch (I got the seafood option with coconut rice)
– water and sodas
– rum cocktails (a generous amount)
– ceviche (made on the boat while you watch)
I would highly recommend this to everyone who makes a trip to Belize, especially those travelling in groups.

Tips
– Eat breakfast early in the morning to fuel up for a big day
– Take sea sickness tablets if there’s even a slight chance you will get sick (Raggamuffin provides some)

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