Thursday, May 30, 2024

Hol Chan lists requirements to access the marine reserve

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The Hol Chan Marine Reserve management announced on Wednesday, April 13th a set of requirements when accessing the reserve located southeast of Ambergris Caye. The requirements are flexible and accommodate the reserve’s accessibility for tourists and Belizeans during the Easter weekend.

Hol Chan’s Technical Supervisor, Kirah Forman, confirmed the requirements to visit the reserve. One of the mandates to access the marine protected area requires visible dive flags on the vessel. The vessel must be registered with the Hol Chan Marine Reserve following the Belize Port Authority registration. The last rule requires any person conducting a trip to be a licensed tour guide under the Belize Tourism Board ratio/classification 8:1.

Unregistered vessels and access during Easter holidays for Belizeans

If a boat is not registered with the reserve, a one-day pass per guest for $BZ40 can be purchased, and the boat must have a seaworthiness certificate (which allows a vessel to move around) and ID documents of the boat’s owner. Persons wishing to schedule a day pass can contact the Hol Chan management at 614-1676. The day pass can be purchased at Ramon’s Dive Shop located at the iconic Ramon’s Village beach resort on weekends.

Belizeans can enter the marine park at no cost on Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday with proof of citizenship. The Hol Chan Marine Reserve offices, visited daily by tour operators in San Pedro Town and Caye Caulker, will open 8AM to 2PM during the Easter Weekend starting from Thursday, April 14th.

The reserve is one of the most visited marine parks in the country, entertaining snorkelers and scuba divers. It is the oldest marine protected area, established in 1987 under the Fisheries Act in the Laws of Belize. It incorporates the southernmost marine and coastal regions of Ambergris Caye, including the barrier reef, seagrass beds, and the mangrove islands of Boca Chica and Cangrejo Shoals. A zoning plan was developed to ensure sustainable use and guarantee its conservation. The popular marine reserve includes no-take areas and zones that regulate and promote sustainable fishing practices.

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