If you’re a diver, then you understand the lure of deep abysses in the sea. Even if you’re not, sea holes are pretty intriguing and worth taking diving classes just to explore. Belize has one of the most intriguing dive sites in the world.
Marine sinkholes or cenotes are actually very common in this area of Central America. Located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Belize City, the Great Blue Hole is one of the deepest sea holes in the world. Its depth, abundance of sea life and odd underwater rock formations make it a popular diving destination. Even for those who choose to marvel at it from afar, the Great Blue Hole is a remarkable site you’ll be happy you saw on your Belize vacation.
The Deepest Dive
The Great Blue Hole has an eerie, beckoning beauty when viewed from above. It’s a nearly perfect circular expanse of sapphire water near the center of a bright atoll called Lighthouse Reef, surrounded by turquoise-blue waters. Its measured depth of 407 feet (124 meters) and width of 980 feet (300 meters) marks this giant marine sinkhole as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and nominee for the eighth natural wonder of the world. It’s located about 60 miles off the coast of Belize City and accessible by boat or charter flight.
What to See at Belize’s Great Blue Hole
The Great Blue Hole isn’t impressive just because of its depth, but also because of its enormous, ancient underwater stalactites and stalagmites, some of which reach lengths of up to 40 feet (12 meters). It’s also home to myriad strange sea creatures, such as neon gobies, blacktip sharks, purple sea fans and Pederson’s shrimp. The coral diversity is also striking with both elkhorn and brain corals. You will definitely see marine wildlife like you haven’t seen before.
You must be open water certified to dive here. Submerging divers meet a steeply-walled entrance with good visibility until about 200 feet (61 meters) deep. Only the most experienced divers reach the seafloor, where visibility is difficult but worth the descent!
If you’d rather view this stunning natural wonder from above, book a charter flight or parasailing.
Where to Stay Near the Blue Hole
Plan a full day for your visit to the Great Blue Hole. Tours are offered from any of Belize’s coastal tourist communities, like Caye Caulker, San Pedro and Placencia. Packages include one dive in the Blue Hole and a dive at the spectacular Half Moon Wall. For a place to lounge and relax before your big journey, consider Ramon’s Village Resort in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Styled after the Tahitian huts on Bora Bora, this sanctuary is nestled within colorful flora and offers luxurious amenities, like the excellent on-site restaurant, Pineapples on the Beach. With about 50 dive sites within 20 miles proximity, divers are spoiled for choice here—even though many will wait for one unforgettable dive into the second deepest blue hole on earth!