How to Swim with Sharks – Caye Caulker Belize Top Ten

Dragonrider Ashley embarked on a three month long adventure through Central America with Dragon by her side. With nothing but a couple backpacks, passport, and a bit of cash, she and her boyfriend hiked across five countries from Mexico all the way to Costa Rica. Dragon hitched a ride in her bag (when he wasn’t flying, of course). And what better way to rest those tired legs (and wings) than to go for a relaxing swim, right? A swim with sharks.

Welcome to Caye Caulker, Belize. Where you can take a sailboat out on the seas, and make friends with a shark for minor fees. (Or recite more rhymes if you truly please).

How to swim with sharks Adventure Dragon in Caye Caulker Belize
We spent 12 hours getting the wrinkles in Ashley’s shirt just right for this picture. For fashion. Backpacker Fashion.

But sharks aren’t the only creature you’ll meet in the water. The snorkeling tour lasts a full day and is full of many adventures. So here’s a quick guide to the top 10 experiences you’ll have. And info on how you can sign up to make this adventure your own.

1. Sail on Seahawk

To get to where you’ll get eaten by swim with sharks, Blackhawk Sailing Tours will transport you twelve miles from Caye Caulker to the oldest reserve on the Belize Barrier Reef: the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. Established in 1987, the reserve provides snorkelers and divers the best spot to see marine life.

For those who have never experienced sailing (and veterans who already know its charms), the trip to get there is a highlight in itself. The 32 feet long sailboat Seahawk offers beautiful views of the rolling waves and sparkling sea, and you’ll be wined and dined on board. The full day of snorkeling includes lunch, rum punch, fresh fruit, juice, water, and ceviche (marinated fish).

“The couple that runs the tour is super easy going and fun to hang around with. Also, it was a great way to meet other backpackers!”
-Dragonrider Ashley

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize Sailboat tour

2. Notice the Nurses.

First stop: Shark and Ray Alley. Before you ever dive into the water, you’ll encounter hundreds of Nurse Sharks that gather looking for humans to nom on scraps of fishies. A result of years of local fishermen cleaning their catch just inside the reef, the sharks and rays in the area have learned to appear at the faintest sound of approaching snorkeling boats in order to get a tasty treat of discarded fish guts. By the time your boat stops at the destination, the surface of the water will already be bubbling with more Nurses than you can count. Still think you want to swim with sharks?

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize nurse sharks

3. Shake Fins with a Shark

Of course, the best part of the trip happens only if you hop off the boat and dive into the water. Nurse Sharks span an average of four to sex feet in length–as big as a human–but they are pretty tolerant of snorkelers. Docile by nature, they usually swim directly towards divers in the water, so you get plenty of up-close encounters without any aggression. You can even try giving them a nice pat on the back and saying, “Hey buddy, let’s be pals.” Sharks love making new friends.

How to Swim with Sharks Caye Caulker Belize
Nothing to see here, folks. Just Nick and Ash swimming with sharks. No big deal.

And here’s that close-up one more time in case you weren’t paying attention. Do you see his little eye? Look at his eye. Look at it.

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize

4. Study a Stingray

A swim with sharks is only half the fun, though. You also get the chance to buddy up with a stingray! In Stingray Alley, Nick and Ashley had a thoughtful conversation with Sir Stingray the Second, son of Stingray the Brave, Lover of Ocean Grass and Ambassador to the Human World. He says hello.

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize stingrays
Sir Stingray the Second, son of Stingray the Brave, Lover of Ocean Grass and Ambassador to the Human World.

5. Start a Friendship with a Starfish

Ashley even found a starfish. Here’s a pic of them shaking hands. Because that’s what you do when you make a new friend.

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize starfish
Nice to meet you, Mister Starfish. Do you mind if I call you Mister?

6. Mingle with a Moray Eel

It’s a little more difficult to make friends with moray eels. But honestly the little dudes are just so creepy misunderstood. No, they cannot shock you; moray eels are not electric eels. The most popular in this region, the green moray, can grow to eight feet long. And despite their wide jaws, large teeth, and tendency to keep their mouths open–a harmless action that appears quite frightening to many–moray eels are not vicious or ill-tempered. These shy and secretive creatures actually prefer to flee or hide from humans in tiny crevices rather than attack or fight. They typically bite humans only in defense if you do something silly like stick your hands into their burrow. Silly human. Some divers swear moray eels can even be quite friendly. So if one heads right for you, panic calm down and wave a little hello. Just keep your fingers away from their mouths.

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize moray eel

7. See a Sea Turtle

A Loggerhead turtle stopped to chill with Ash and Nick on his way back from 42 Wallaby Way. Typically around 3 feet long, these turtles can weigh two hundred to three hundred pounds and have incredible navigational abilities, allowing them to travel between nesting sites that are hundreds of miles apart.

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize sea turtle

8. Follow the Fishies

I’m not sure where they’re going, but I think they’re in school. (School haha. Now tell us we’re funny). Along with your swim with sharks and stingrays, the tour gives you the chance to see a variety of coral fish, as well as schools of jacks, groupers, snappers, and even barracuda. Have you ever seen this many fish, outside of film and television, swimming in formation before?

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize bluestriped grunt fish
Our favs are these beautiful bluestriped grunt that Ashley found!

9. Relax by the Reef

The Belize Barrier Reef is the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and the second longest reef in the entire world. The day trip includes a guided tour above the corals and into the cut in the reef where more experienced swimmers have the option to swim from one side to the other.

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize 2nd longest reef in the world

10. Traverse a Tunnel

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming….through the reef in an underwater tunnel! How cool is that?

How to swim with sharks Caye Caulker Belize through the reef tunnel

“When you do things like the sail boat tour, it’s not only an amazing experience, but it’s also a great way to meet other travelers and figure out places they have been to and the tips acquired along their journeys.” -Dragonrider Ashley

P.S. — And if you wanna be extra cute while swimming with sharks, do it wearing this epic bathingsuit. I laughed so hard when I saw it, but I am in love. The following link leads to Amazon and is an affiliate link, meaning if you do decide to buy the suit, I get like 50 cents or so commission (at no extra cost to you). If you’re not a fan of affiliate links, feel free to swim on by. But if you do buy this awesomeness, promise me you’ll come back and send me a picture of you wearing it. This suit is too awesome to not have epic photos of it everywhere. EVERYWHERE I say!

View Shark Bite Swimsuit on Amazon


How to Swim with Sharks (and other marine life)

Company: Blackhawk Sailing Tours
Trip: Hol Chan Marine Reserve
Length of Trip: Full Day of Snorkeling
Includes: lunch, alcohol, beverages, park fees, and snorkeling gear
Price: Roughly $55 per person according to Ashley
Phone: 501-607-0323 (Belize)
Website: Blackhawk’s Sailing Tours

Blackhawk Sailing Tours is open year-round for you to swim with sharks in Caye Caulker, Belize. Tell them Adventure Dragon sent you, and we say hello!

Adventure Dragon in Caye Caulker Belize
Dragon demonstrates the fine art of sunbathing in Caye Caulker, Belize. He opted to stay on the boat during the shark swim. To take pictures, of course. Not because he’s afraid of the sharks. Dragons are never afraid, he says. It’s important for him that we tell you that. And thanks for stopping by!

Want more Adventures with Wildlife? We’ve also been Searching for Jaguars in the Belize Jungle and on a Crocodile Cruise in Australia!

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Jillian Michelle
FAIRY DRAGON MOTHER at Adventure Dragon. Artist. Writer. Dreamer. Adventurer. I still believe kindness can change the world. I just want to inspire.


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  1. This reminds me a lot of a trip to Egypt I went on a few years ago. However, sharks over there were not so sociable, so we had to watch them from afar once we’d dove into the water. It’s incredible how close you guys managed to get to them! 😀

  2. What an awesome experience! Belize is one of my favorite countries in the world. I did a sting ray tour in the Cayman Islands, this sort of reminds me of it!

  3. This sounds both amazing and scary at the same time. I would definitely love to go swimming with the sharks in Belize. Good that they are docile creatures and do not attack you. And the water looks just perfect.

  4. It was hard for me to get past the title because I am a total shark a phobe!!!! LOL! So glad I did to learn that not all sharks are the scary monsters of movies like Jaws. Your comment about ‘getting the wrinkles in the shirt just right’ cracked me up! LOL!

    1. Hahaha I’m glad you noticed that! Lol I feel like most people don’t really ever read photo captions, so I never know if people ever actually see some of the ridiculously silly comments that I tend to make (I never take myself too seriously hehe) :p

  5. I approve of all your alliteration 😉 I’ve been wanting some awesome underwater adventures for some time, so I love this inspiration! If I die before swimming with a shark I’ll never forgive myself 😉

  6. whoa that looks intense. I don’t know why i was expecting to see great white sharks haha. I am glad there wasn’t though I may have had a panic attack in my chair.

    Thanks for sharing – Ill keep this in mind for when I visit.

  7. I used to dive a lot but lately I have had lots of issues with my ears which makes it difficult. I did a dive with grey nurse sharks in Byron Bay (NSW Australia) a few years back and it is still one of my favourite dives ever.

  8. Wow these photos look unreal! What an adventure 😉 Although to be honest i’m a bit of a pansy so I think I would’ve stayed on the boat with Dragon lol (not just to take photos but more so cuz I’m a wimp).

  9. Your photos are incredible! A friend of mine is a marine biologist so she studies sharks and told me about how cool they are so now I think sharks are super cool! I like how you scratched out the sharks will nom on you. Hahaha. I want to make friends with them too and the price is perfect!

  10. This brings back great memories! My buddy and I backpacked around Belize years ago with Caye Caulker being the #1 highlight for us. I remember being kind of worried when we got to Shark & Sting Ray Alley. Can’t believe how close we were to these beautiful creatures! Definitely one of the many reasons why people should consider visiting Belize.