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xyz99 Nov 17th, 2012 11:01 AM

Snorkeling trip on Ambergris
As part of a 2 weeks trip to Belize (our first), we will have 2 full days on Ambergris Caye. We are planning 2 snorkeling trips, and based on what I read, I think most people go to Hol Chan and Shark-Ray Alley, and Mexico Rocks.

What about Blue Hole? Is that a good snorkeling place? Should we swap it with one of the above? When snorkeling, we are more interested in fish (in this case, bigger is better), not necessarily coral. So, which trip do you recommend?

volcanogirl Nov 17th, 2012 02:16 PM

Definitely go to Hol Chan; it's some of the best snorkeling we've ever done. We saw huge fish there as well as smaller colorful tropical fish, nurse sharks, big rays, and sea turtles.

Shark Ray Alley is really just a place where they chum the water and amberjack fish, nurse sharks, and rays all swarm trying to get the food - it doesn't have the beautiful natural feeling that Hol Chan does. We've also done Mexico Rocks - saw a lot of coral, an eel, a lobster and some small fish - much more shallow than Hol Chan. Hol Chan was definitely the stand out for us. I'd love to to the Blue Hole next time we go back, but haven't done it yet.

xyz99 Nov 17th, 2012 02:47 PM

Thanks, VG.
I don't have much interest in Shark Alley (and I am personally against chumming), but from what I read, they are always combining the 2 in one trip...oh well...

I would like to hear from somebody who snorkeled at both Mexico Rocks and Blue Hole, and see how they compare.

volcanogirl Nov 17th, 2012 03:02 PM

I'm not really a fan of chumming either; that part of our trip was very short compared to the Hol Chan portion. You're right that a lot of excursion combine them. We stayed out snorkeling at Hol Chan for a long time, and by the time we got to shark ray alley they had already done the chumming. Our boat refused to do it because they weren't fans of it either. Our Hol Chan portion was guided which was cool because the guide saw a lot of things we would have missed; he'd point to the left and two big turtles would be swimming by. Hopefully someone can chime in about the Blue Hole. Seems like a lot of divers love it there.

xyz99 Nov 17th, 2012 04:27 PM

Do you remember which company you used for Hol Chan? We are staying at Victoria House, too.

volcanogirl Nov 17th, 2012 04:31 PM

VH has excursions right from their own dock so it's really easy. That's who we used. You just go out and tell them where you want to go. There's a cute little dive shack and pier right in front of the hotel. We just booked our tours the day before. I'd recommend wearing a life jacket when you go. They offered them to us and at first I didn't take one, but I grabbed one later, and it was so nice just to be able to float around and relax and take it all in.

xyz99 Nov 17th, 2012 04:58 PM

Great,I'll make sure we take the life vests. We only used life vests once before, when snorkeling off a boat in Virgin Gorda, because the water was pretty choppy. Otherwise, in calm water we don't really need it, but I know what you mean by just "float around and relax and take it all in". 2 1/2 more months of waiting :)

volcanogirl Nov 17th, 2012 07:16 PM

We had a little chop on the water when we went because of storms. At Mexico Rocks it's way more shallow and I had to really concentrate not to kick any coral. They had asked if anyone has trouble swimming, and we said no, so they didn't give us the vests. 2 1/2 months will fly by. You'll love it. We see the Blue Hole from the plane when we fly to Costa Rica. It looks amazing too.

xyz99 Nov 17th, 2012 07:45 PM

Bummer! I don't remember the Blue Hole during our all the flights fly above it?
But we want to go back to CR, so maybe we'll get another chance.

JeanH answered my question on TA - it seems the Blue Hole trip is about $200 per person, I think we'll skip that.

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