Top Ten Central America Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Swim with the Sharks: Belize
By Ron Mader & Richard Mahler

At first glace, intentionally jumping into shark-infested waters might not seem the smartest thing to do. But at Hol Chan Marine Reserve, the country's first and best underwater park, the sharks and rays there are so habituated to humans that they're totally harmless. The reserve itself protects the area in and around a natural break in Belize's barrier reef, where the tidal flow of water and marine life creates a spectacular show. Hol Chan is less than a half-hour powerboat ride from the village of San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, from which many local guides make daily scheduled trips to the reserve. Expect to pay $15 (half-day) to $35 (full-day) for snorkeling, $20 (half-day) to $50 (full-day) for diving excursions. Just don't watch Jaws before you go.


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