Once a traditional fishing ground, back when San Pedro was a sleepy village of a few hundred people, Hol Chan Marine Reserve (www.holchanbelize.org , US$12.50 pp) is now the most popular dive and snorkel site in Belize, with tens of thousands of visitors each year. The site is four miles south of San Pedro, but in town, they have a small visitors center on Caribena Street with information on the reserve. Nearly all tour operators on Ambergris  and Caye Caulker  offer trips to the Hol Chan cut and Shark Ray Alley.
Once you visit, you’ll quickly understand the popularity of the reserve—and why it is important to help preserve it. Please follow the simple reef etiquette guidelines  to help lessen the impact humans have on these fragile ecosystems.
Established as a marine park in 1987, which banned fishing, the site boasts an amazing diversity of species. The reserve focuses its energy on creating a sustainable link between tourism and conservation, protecting the coral reef while allowing visitors to experience and learn about the marine life living there.
The Hol Chan Marine Reserve vistirs center is on Caribena Street in the center of town and features an interactive display, information on the reserve, and details of the various zones of the reserve.
Some guides think the more daring poses they strike with the rays, the bigger tip they’ll get. Please note that officially, it is illegal to feed or touch the fish! Even if your guide tells you differently, and even if you see other groups fondling the nurse sharks and rays—this is against the reserve rules and regulations and against all normal protocol for interacting with wildlife.
That said, San Pedro fishers and tour guides have been feeding the animals in this spot every day for over 15 years, so some argue that an exception should be made, or that there is some educational benefit to interacting with the animals. What do you think?