The Great Blue Hole of Belize has earned a reputation as one of the world’s top diving spots. Scuba divers as well as those hoping to see amazing sea life and beautiful coral formations are attracted to the area. The Great Blue Hole gets its name because the center of the formation is the rich blue color most associated with this variety of sinkhole. Here we’ll give you ideas for places to stay when you visit Blue Hole Belize, and show you some ways you can get there.
What You Can See Diving at the Great Blue Hole
The Blue Hole Belize is a natural sinkhole formed during the ice age when caves were formed. These caves eventually filled with water due to glacier movements. The Blue Hole Belize measures over 350 feet deep, and is over 980 feet wide. When you plan a dive at the Blue Hole Belize, you should plan on making it at least a full day trip. Here are a sampling of sights you’ll see along the way:
– At 40 Feet
Here you’ll encounter a limestone shelf that encircles the Blue Hole. You normally stop here briefly to let your body adjust to the depth, especially when you dive from any one of the local dive boats.
– At 60 Feet
Here you may begin to see one of nature’s most efficient predators, sharks, as you come upon their fascinating profiles. On a good day for sightings, you may see as many as 15 or 20 of them.
– At 100 Feet
Here you’ll witness fascinating stalactites and stalagmites formed thousands of years ago and be in awe of their majestic formations
– At about 132 Feet
This point will normally be the maximum point of your dive, and it’s where your instructor will have you level off and explore the area at this depth for a short time before ascending. You may feel effects of an occurrence known as Nitrogen Narcosis, a lightheaded and floating feeling. This is primarily the reason that most limits for recreational diving are set at about 130 feet. Going down any further should only be attempted by expert divers with extensive cave and deep-sea diving experience.
When diving, it’s crucial to always heed the advice of diving instructors or dive masters, and to be paired with a diving buddy as well. Deeper cave diving is better off attempted by those with diving experience. As you descend, the water becomes clearer and the panoramic scenery is a sight to behold.
Marine Life and Coral Formations You May See
The interesting marine life most often seen at the Great Blue Hole include several species of sharks, including Tigerhead sharks, Caribbean Reef sharks and Hammerhead sharks, Parrotfish, groupers, angelfish, shrimp, butterfly fish and neon gobies. The marine life you’ll see often depends on the depth you’re currently at during your dive. You may also observe stalactites and interesting coral formations, including purple Seafans and Elkhorn coral.
Another Smaller Blue Hole
There is another smaller blue hole located nearby just off the Hummingbird Highway which is called an inland sinkhole. It is located in the St. Herman’s Cave area, and is a part of a national park. This blue hole is also located about 12 miles south of a small city called Belmopan. It is basically more of a swimming hole and includes features like a parking area and a small flight of stairs taking you to the refreshing, freshwater pool. Swimmers of all abilities are able to enjoy this attraction.
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
Another popular place to visit in the southern area of Belize is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary with its wild Jaguars and stunning waterfalls. River tubing is popular here, along with forest exploration. Wildlife enthusiasts will especially enjoy this wildlife sanctuary, established to help protect and preserve the wildlife of Belize.
Some of the Best Places to Stay Near the Great Blue Hole in Belize
Belize features a host of attractive beach resorts for visitors to enjoy. Choose from natural accommodations that range from thatched huts, to luxury hotels. The choice depends on your preferences. Ambergris Caye, in a tourist town called San Pedro, is one popular place to stay. Some of the best accommodations include:
– Belizian Shores Resort – With an outdoor pool, swim up bar and stunning condo suites, this is one popular resort near Blue Hole Belize.
– Belizean Dreams Resort – This resort is more modern featuring many popular amenities and it is close to the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
– Matachica Beach Resort – Thatched and colorful huts, this resort offers privacy and many enticing amenities
– Blackbird Caye Resort – Located on the Turneffe Atoll, only about 25 minutes from Belize City, this resort is highly rated and comes recommended for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Overlooking sparkling blue lagoons, this resort offers premiere amenities and seaside charm.
Getting to the Great Blue Hole Belize
From several American cities, Houston, Miami and New Orleans more specifically, it is about a two hour flight to get to Belize’s International Airport. The International Airport is called the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport.
From the airport, it takes another short domestic flight to actually reach the Blue Hole Belize. Depending on which of the Caye’s you plan to stay on, like Caye Caulker or Ambergris Caye, it is a short boat ride from there to the blue hole attraction. Boat trips, along with escorted diving services to the Blue Hole Belize can be found through several dive shops, including the Amigos Del Mar and Belize Dive Connection.
The unique charm of the Blue Hole Belize area continues to draw water sports enthusiasts, those who love nature and animal sanctuaries, and those who are fascinated by authentic South American History, including Mayan history. Jungle explorers are also attracted to the area for the wealth of interesting trekking and exploration opportunities. Travelers can choose to stay at any one of these fine resorts for a premiere Belize experience.
Images taken from depositphotos.com.