Hol Chan Snorkel

Ragga King and Ragga Prince after they finished their renovations last June.

Raggamuffin Tours ‘original’ full day sailing/ snorkeling adventure to the famous Hol Chan Marine Reserve is unrivaled in quality on the island.   All that have the benefit of enjoying the tour, consider it one of the highlights of Belize – Raggamuffin fashion!!

april photo of the month

The tour commences at 10.30am and returns home between 4.30 – 5.00pm and includes three snorkelling stops – two within the actual reserve itself (the Hol Chan Channel and the Shark and Ray Alley) and our third Coral Gardens.

Green Turtle - © Tony Rath / tonyrath.com / courtesy Oceana

Firstly the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, rightly so, the most popular snorkeling destination in Belize. The words hol chan mean ‘little channel’ in the Maya language and as such it has always been a natural hang out spot for marine life.  It was identified as an abundant area for marine life and so over 35 years ago it became a Reserve. The reserve covers about five square miles and about nine miles North East of Caye Caulker. The channel is about 30 feet deep, and since no fishing is permitted in the reserve, it is rich with sea life of every description . Snorkelers can expect to see abundant angelfish, blue-stripped grunts, schoolmaster snappers and hundreds of other varieties. It is also known for the green moray eels living in tiny caves along the wall.

Nurse Sharks at Shark and Ray Alley

The Shark and Ray Alley is another of our stops within the Hol Chan Marine Reserve, located three miles south of the Park. Locally known as the Aquarium, this spot is known as the shark and stingray city of Belize. This gives the snorkelers a prime opportunity to swim with the harmless Nurse Sharks and Southern Stingrays and the chance to get acquainted. This is a not to be missed spot!

We are passionate about our marine environment and protecting our reef so we stand very strong in ensuring that not only our staff but our customers are not interacting with the marine life in any way whatsoever.  No touching of coral, sharks, rays and fishes is permitted on the tour.  However, with the permission and advice of various marine bodies (Belize Shark Project, Maralliance, Hol Chan Marine Reserve etc etc) we do permit that the sharks and rays are fed sardine during our time at this stop.  Although this does go against our belief that marine life should not be disturbed, we also are part of the fight to quell the great fear of sharks around the world.  Sharks are the marine world’s apex predator and as such they are a pivotal and fundamental part of our reef ecosystem.  The great fear of sharks does not aid marine activists endeavours to create a worldwide ban on fishing of sharks around the world.   By allowing our customers to come face to face with sharks in the Shark and Ray Alley in Belize they are being educated as to their importance in our seas and therefore become part of our fight to save sharks internationally.  We prefer the sharks fed and not dead!


The Coral Gardens are located two and a half miles south west of Shark and Ray Alley. The Belize Reef has such extraordinary clear water that looking through a diving mask brings you into a world of colour. The myriad hues of coral are rainbow like: pale pink, flashy reds, deep purples, flamboyant greens and a multitude of colours in between. Between the months of June to September there are varying chances of snorkeling with manatees which makes this spot extremely special!

May's Photo of the Month

And of course, last but not least – our sail ride home!  This journey takes approximately an hour and a quarter and it is at the most beautiful time of the day – before sunset!!  Passengers are exhilarated by their snorkelling experience and this is just the ‘icing on the cake’ of what all agree is a wonderful tour.  During this period we offer passengers a choice of rum cocktails and fruit cocktails (without alcohol) and the crew will have already prepared shrimp ceviche for the ride home (chips and salsa for any vegetarians).  It is a truly magical end to one of the highlights of Belize!!

The cost of this one day sailing/ snorkeling is $70US per person – $60US for children under 11 years of age –  which includes the Marine Park Entrance Fee, rental of all snorkel gear, a full lunch on board the boat, fruits and water

Hiding Stingray by Monica Todne Haldorsen.


Unfortunately, like all of full day tours, it is not possible for cruise ship passengers to undertake this tour.   The very tight timings that ALL cruise ships give their passengers ie the ship’s docking times are not the hours for which passengers have in the country itself, plus the fact that Caye Caulker is one hour’s journey from Belize City, giving passengers only until 3pm at the latest on the island.  Sorry!