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Ambergris Caye with Hol Chan Marine Park and the vibrant town San Pedro is the most popular tourist diving destination for Belize.
|lars, © Author: Lars Hemel
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Ambergris Caye is the most northern caye of Belize with San Pedro Town as an attractive and easygoing town. Extreme sports such as parasailing and jet skiing but also glass bottomed boat tours, banana rides, hydro sliding and horseback riding tours are easily booked. It has a casual atmosphere where sandals and shorts will be sufficient to walk along the towns sandy unpaved main streets. There are restaurants, excellent nightlife and accommodations in all price classes. Its northern condos and house rentals are often farther apart and can be reached by water taxi service. San Pedro was once a prominent fishing village but nowadays souvenir shops and tourist activities have far exceeded in importance. Its main attractions is visiting Hol Chan Marine Reserve (little channel in Mayan language) in between Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye.
Ambergris Caye is located parallel to the barrier reef for its complete length of forty miles, creating many different dive sites at less than a mile from shore. South of the caye you will find Hol Chan Marine Reserve; a protected area, five square mile large that offers some of the best shallow diving, snorkeling and macro photography in Belizean waters. This buoy-marked area focuses on a cut in the reef of only thirty yards wide and thirty feet deep separating the reserve into four zones. You will find brilliant drop-offs and coral formations in the west, some sand flats and sea grass areas in the middle and lush mangroves east of the preserve. Recently zone D has been added that includes the region of Shark Ray Alley and all its inhabitants. Its vibrant waters offer natural channels that traverse the reef crest to the open water beyond. Keep an eye out for spotted eagle rays in the sand, stingrays and nurse sharks often resting on the seabed or amongst the gullies, canyons and grottoes. The cracks and nooks are often filled with stone crabs, lobsters and red-banded coral shrimp. Reef fish are common and the east part of Hol Chan Marine Reserve is known for its thousands of juvenile fish and perfect snorkeling. Larger animals that can be spotted are dolphins, reef sharks, whale sharks and manta rays. Coral species such as pillar, golden, boulder and fleshy coral are prolific and colorful. Other underwater sights are wavering sea fans and sea rods while strands of staghorn and elkhorn coral can even been seen above the surface. It is touristic no-suit diving in some of the clearest waters in the world.
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