Caye Caulker & Hol Chan Marine Reserve Snorkeling Tour

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Go Slow in Caye Caulker

This small tropical island has no paved streets and a serious laid back vibe. You get here via water taxi from Belize City or Ambergris Caye, which is a place I recommend you skip altogether. I came to Caye Caulker based on backpacker’s recommendations on finding paradise, and they were right.

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Chilling in the hammock on our AirBnB cabana

I came here to push myself out of my comfort zone. When I travel I like to stick to big cities where I can visit museums, eat fusion food, and soak in the culture. I usually do not like rural places. I was worried I’d regret spending three days on an island with nothing to do.

I completely fell in love with this place. It just had a way of grabbing me and pulling me into relaxation mode. Instead of running around, desperately trying to cram everything in, we just sat around in the hammock or on a pier sipping Panty Rippers (the local cocktail of pineapple juice and coconut rum). We did nothing, but it wasn’t boring. Also, even though there were a lot of backpackers, it didn’t have the same overdeveloped and tourist ghetto vibe that Ambergris had.

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The Lazy Lizard – the main hangout on the island

While on Caye Caulker we booked a snorkel tour to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve through Ragamuffin Tours. Hol Chan is Mayan for “little channel”. There is no fishing allowed in the reserve, so there is an abundance of vibrant marine life.

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Sting Ray

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Shark Ray Alley

The first stop on the tour was Shark Ray Alley. This place is over run with sting rays, nurse sharks, and various fish. When I first jumped in the water I was blown away by the beauty of this place. I was also insanely giddy to be amongst so many sting rays, which are my favorite marine animals.

The water is shallow enough for you to stand if you don’t want to swim around. There are pictures on Trip Advisor of people taking pictures holding sting rays and sharks above the water. This is now illegal, not to mention just cruel, so don’t touch the animals.

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You’re guaranteed to see turtles, sting rays, and fish on the tour

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Hanging with my sting ray buddy

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Nurse sharks swarming the chum

After a lunch of seafood curry and rice, the next stop is Coral Gardens. This amazing reef is home to various fish, moray eels, sharks, and turtles. In all honesty, it ruined aquariums for me. It was just so much more fun to see all these animals in their natural environment rather than through a glass tank, surrounded by shrieking children.

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Coral Gardens

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School of Fish in Coral Gardens

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Turtle munching on sea grass

If you’re lucky, you might even see manatees during the summer months. Seeing manatees was the cherry on the cake. They are so adorable!

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Manatees!

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Enjoying the ride back to Caye Caulker sipping rum punch

At the end of the day, we sailed back to Caye Caulker while watching the sunset and nibbling on ceviche.

I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed this tour. The snorkeling was incredible, and Ragamuffin executed the tour perfectly. The staff were friendly and the food was superb. If you’re in Belize, Caye Caulker deserves a few days of your time.

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