The Great Blue Hole is the world’s largest natural formation of its kind, and it is part of the larger Barrier Reef Reserve System in Belize. It is a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and is ranked as a top scuba diving site in the world. Its fame has stemmed from its beautiful waters, stunning size and grandeur, and its fantastic variety of marine life.

The Great Blue Hole has been described by NASA as “surrounded by darker, deeper ocean waters, with coral atolls that often glow in vibrant hues of turquoise, teal, peacock blue, or aquamarine. Belize’s Lighthouse Reef Atoll fits this description, with its shallow waters covering light-colored coral: the combination of water and pale corals creates varying shades of blue-green.

Within this small sea of light colors, however, lies a giant circle of deep blue”. Their description of the beauty cannot do it justice enough though. It is an incredible site and is renowned for a reason. It is an amazing destination to take in all that mother nature has to offer, and there are numerous adventures awaiting you to discover. So, to showcase the wonders within this natural spectacle of planet Earth, here are a batch of incredible pictures that make us want to visit, along with others that make us shudder.#

Updated by Lauren Feather, February 19, 2022: The Great Blue Hole never loses its allure as one of the world's most jaw-dropping natural attractions. Showing exactly what Mother Nature can do when left to do what she does best, the hole attracts adventurers from all corners of the globe to discover her unquivering talents. As more people visit the majestic wonder, more photos appear, and as scientists continue to study the hole and its features, even more fascinating facts are learned - both that make us shudder, while on the other hand, give us the desire to visit this truly spectacular place. This why we've included many more mind-boggling facts and photos of the Great Blue Hole that will hopefully inspire readers to visit, or raise their hairs!

29 Want To Visit: Set Amongst Belize's Turquoise Waters

The Great Blue Hole is located about 100 kilometers off of the coast of Belize, in the Caribbean Sea. According to CN traveller, it is one of the world’s most iconic sites in Central America. The site garners international attention for its beautiful waters and for its majesty.

Although Belize is a tiny piece of land south of Mexico and east of Guatemala, World Adventure Divers states that tourists continue to flock to Belize for its beautiful coastlines and to see this natural wonder. Arriving by speedboat or plane, everyone can appreciate the Great Blue Hole.

28 Makes Us Shudder: Try Not To Think About What Awaits Below

Caves Branch states that the drop off is what makes the Great Blue Hole so exciting. The depth creates a darkness, so many of the divers feel as though they are descending into a mythical underworld.

As people have been unable to explore the bottom before, no one knows what is beneath on the sea floor. Many assume there will be a build-up of silt from over the years, however no one knows what marine life might be living down there. As you dive deeper, try not to think about what is below you!

Related: The Best Destinations To Book In Belize (Depending On Your Vacation Needs)

27 Want To Visit: Over 1000 Feet Wide

After a two-hour journey on a bumpy speedboat from the Belize coastline, you arrive at the Great Blue Hole in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. According to CN Traveler, the Great Blue Hole measures around 305 meters or around 1000 feet across and is a breathtaking site upon arrival.

Revered for its size and grandeur, many marvel at how perfectly circular the hole is. It is the world’s largest natural formation of its kind according to UNESCO. The water here is calm due to the surrounding circular reef, making it a perfect site to explore.

26 Makes Us Shudder: Inky Darkness In The Deep Blue Water

Hopefully you aren’t afraid of the dark! Due to the depth of the sinkhole, sunlight is unable to reach the floor of the hole which gives the area an inky blue darkness.

Recently, Glyn Collinson, a NASA scientist explored the Great Blue Hole and stated that it was the “deepest, deep blue hole imaginable; a chasm that fell away deep into the deep, dark blue’ stated Belize.com. Visibility is minimal which provides a sense of isolation, so if you want to explore the area, make sure to bring a light!

25 Makes Us Shudder: Skydive Into The Depths

Did you know you can skydive into the Great Blue Hole? It has been done and there is ample photo evidence. Sometimes regular diving isn’t a thrill enough and skydiving adds more excitement. It has been done before, and many videos have surfaced on the internet of individuals and groups skydiving into the depths of the Great Blue Hole.

As if it didn’t already have enough intrigue and interest around it. This makes for an epic photo opportunity and has created even more interest in the destination.

Related: These Are The Best Places In The World To Go Skydiving

24 Want To Visit: Perfect Place For A Close Interaction With Marine Life

Many divers like to dive to see beautiful colourful marine life, however, the Great Blue Hole is the home to more interesting and unique creatures. Swimming around through the surrounding coral, you can find many different types thriving. Coral such as Elkhorn and Brain Corals have grown in the shallower portions. There you can find denizens, Pederson’s shrimp, neon gobies, angelfish, groupers and purple sea fans.

It provides a perfect up close and personal interaction with marine life, while observing all of the beauty surrounding you.

Related: Wondering Where To Visit In Belize? Consider These Gorgeous Places First

23 Makes Us Shudder: Experienced Divers Only

There are many scuba diving operators that offer excursions to explore the Great Blue Hole. However, due to its tricky conditions and unnerving depths, only divers with sufficient experience are permitted to dive it. The hole is open on the surface - which isn't a problem for newbie divers - but the issue is the extensive cave system housed within that demands skill and experience to navigate. As such, only divers with at least 24 logged dives are allowed to descend.

Related: Become A Dive Pro: The World's Best Places To Get Your Divemaster Certification

22 Makes Us Shudder: Hope You Aren't Afraid Of Sharks Though

Swimming amongst all of that beautiful coral, marine life and ancient geographic formations, are many different types of more intimidating animals. There are multiple types of shark brimming in the area. Species such as the Caribbean Reef shark, bull sharks, black tip sharks, giant groupers, nurse sharks and hammerhead sharks can all be found navigating through the waters.

It is a perfect and rich habitat for a variety of marine life and adds interest to the area. Hopefully you aren’t afraid of sharks though, because you are likely to see one visiting the area!

21 Want To Visit: Top Site To Scuba Dive In The World

According to the World Adventure Divers, once you start scuba diving, you hear very quickly about the Great Blue Hole. As its popularity and interest has grown, it has become a world-class destination for diving due to this sinkhole, marine life and atolls.

It has been proclaimed as a top 10 dive spot in the world by many, and it upholds its reputation to this day. Sources such as the Discovery Channel and Scuba Travel Magazine all declare it was one of the best.

20 Makes Us Shudder: A Massive Sinkhole In The Caribbean Sea

The Great Blue Hole is an enormous submarine sinkhole in the Caribbean Sea. The hole is circular and is almost 125 meters or 410 feet deep. The Curiosity states that this is taller than the world’s tallest tree and wider than three football fields across. Thousands of years ago, the Great Blue Hole was actually a dry on-land cave system, which we know by the mineral dripping which only forms in on-land cave ceilings.

Eventually, sea levels rose and caused this system to collapse and the sea filled in the hole left behind.

Related: This Is The Best Month To Visit Belize, And It's The Perfect Time To Plan A Vacation

19 Want To Visit: Discover Ancient Seascapes Many Thousands Of Years Old

The Great Blue Hole is estimated to be around 150,000 years old, formed by a long geological process that produced this natural marvel. Experts believe it began being formed about 153,000 years ago, and finished off in the shape it is today approximately 15,000 years ago.

18 Makes Us Shudder: A Giant, Ominous Cave Awaits

The Great Blue Hole is a sinkhole that was created by a ‘karst cave system’ according to the CN Traveler. According to Cahalpech, scientists believe that these structures were formed in a dry cavern above sea level during the glacial periods, but after thousands of years of erosion, the soft rock inside collapsed. However, much of these cave structures still remain visible today.

This essentially formed a massive vertical cave, which includes a limestone shelf about 40 feet below the surface and many smaller cave areas throughout.

17 Want To Visit: Diving Without A Tank

Thanks to its imposing bottomless allure and mighty depths, the Great Blue Hole has become a bucket-list worthy for free-divers all around the globe. Freediving is different to scuba diving; it involves descending and swimming deep without any tanks or breathing apparatus, and is an incredibly liberating experience with a whole host of therapeutic and enjoyable benefits.

Though it does require plenty of training and practice, anybody who can swim is able to try the sport and become a skilled free-diver (but perhaps starting out somewhere a little less challenging - like shallower pools and reefs - are better for beginners instead of the Great Blue Hole). Furthermore, many of the world's most experienced, award-winning free diving enthusiasts make their way to the hole every year to enjoy the thrilling experiences it effortlessly provides.

Related: 10 Most Dangerous Spots In Belize (10 Tourist Favorites)

16 Want To Visit: Surrounded By The Lighthouse Reef

The Great Blue Hole is near the centre of the Lighthouse Reef in the Caribbean Sea. This ancient sea structure might have begun developing over 70 million years ago, and might have originated on top of giant fault blocks rather than subsiding volcanoes. Most likely, limestone covered ridges settled into steps offshore which provided platforms for coral growth.

After the last Ice Age, the sea level began to rise and the coral growth expanded. This created the outer waters and shallow inside lagoon. This island of coral garners much attention annually from divers and scientists alike.

15 Makes Us Shudder: Rock Formations From The Last Ice Age

As mentioned before, the geology of the area indicates that The Great Blue Hole can be dated all the way back to the Ice Age. According to Cahalpech, water used to filter through the rocks, however millions of years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, the waters rose due to the polar ice-caps and led the caverns to be engulfed by the sea.

These forces caused this chasm to collapse onto itself and create the sinkhole that we see today. The rock formations show evidence of this, adding interest to the area.

Related: The Best Beaches In The Caribbean, Ranked

14 Make Us Shudder: The Ever-Changing Earth That We Have No Control Over

It's both fascinating and fearful that the Great Blue Hole was once situated inland. Scientists analysing the hole's features discovered that it was originally a cave on land before it became flooded due to rising sea levels over time. Whilst this naturally occurring phenomenon does take an exceptionally long time to affect the land and sea, it does induce chills, because as mere humans, we have no control over it. Mother Nature will do what she does no matter what we do, and we just have to suck it up and accept it. Many of our future islands and cities may be underwater some day, as evidenced by the Great Blue Hole and its dramatic change in circumstances over the millennia.

Related: Want to Learn to Scuba Dive? Here Are The Best Places For Beginners To Take The Plunge

13 Makes Us Shudder: Only A Small Portion Has Been Explored

Much of the cave area remains unexplored. Most divers can only get 40 meters or 130 feet below the surface. More than half of the cave area has not been explored in depth. IFLScience stated that a new study is being conducted in December 2018 to construct a real-life model of the sinkhole and to collect information on the water quality.

The first part of the expedition aired on the Discovery Channel, however, the research will continue. One the team is Richard Branson and Jacques Cousteau’s son, Fabien Cousteau.

12 Want To Visit: Interesting Cave System To Explore

Even the most experienced divers will find the Great Blue Hole interesting. Cahalpech states that starting at the surface, divers enter a steeply walled entrance and descend to find remnants of the rock formations and cave system from the Ice Age. Much of the cave system was destroyed during the collapse of the sinkhole, however the structure remains.

Divers enjoy negotiating their way around and exploring through the rock formations, enjoying little light as they make their descent. Many are awestruck as they take in the ancient structures.

Related: Caribbean Islands: A Guide To Each Major Destination (So You Can Choose Easily)

11 Want To Visit: Incredible Stalactites To See

Many divers are particularly interested in the underwater stalactites and stalagmites, which were formed during the last glacial period. Some of these stalactites and stalagmites measure up to 12 meters or 40 feet in length, according to Belize.com. Cahalpech states that the first formations can be seen as you begin your descent, and divers enjoy exploring the overhangs and giant stalagmites.

If you are able to dive even further, it is possible to explore bedrock ledges and underwater dunes! Farther than that, divers find a limestone shelf, however any farther descent leads into the unknown.

10 Want To Visit: The Atolls In Belize Are A Rare Sight In The Western Hemisphere

The Belize Atolls are an anomaly in the Caribbean. There is nothing else in the Western Hemisphere that resembles a true coral atoll according to Belize.com other than perhaps the Chinchorro Reef off of Mexico’s southern coastline in the Yucatan Peninsula.

According to geologists, they are even more rare and unusual because the origin of their formation does not seem to mimic or mirror that of the atolls that can be found in the Pacific Ocean, where rings of coral are found more frequently. Also as more coral continues to die off globally, this preserved reef becomes increasingly more special.

Related: Underwater Experiences That Must Been Seen To Be Believed, And Not All Require Scuba Gear