There's honestly nothing like The Great Blue Hole in Belize. Whether you're a diver or just a curious traveler, it certainly is an attention grabber. The Great Blue Hole is one of those stunning, yet unnerving places that make us shudder as well as want to visit.
The giant marine sinkhole lies at the center of Lighthouse Reef, an atoll 70 km from Belize City. According to Calahpech, the otherworldly location was created more than 10,000 years ago after the end of the last Ice Age. In recent years, it's become a major tourist attraction which has been a reason why it's been put at risk. Luckily, UNESCO removed the Belize reefs from the endangered list as it made a comeback, attracting many more tourists. So, let's explore if visiting Belize's Great Blue Hole lives up to expectations and what to plan for.
10 You Have To Be An Experienced Diver, This Isn't For Newbies
There are many spots in Belize that are incredibly dangerous as well as spots that are favorites among tourists, The Great Blue Hole happens to be both. According to ChalibaMarvillas, this is precisely why The Great Blue Hole is for experienced divers only. Divers need to have completed at least 24 dives to be allowed to explore the hole due to the cavernous areas found in the nearly perfect circular body of water. The shallow waters of the atoll's lagoon quickly give way to the flooded cave that descends into the deep darkness below.
9 Flying Above It Is Absolutely Extraordinary But Very Pricey
Flying above the Great Blue Hole and the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System is a scenic addition to your Bucket list. But snagging a small charter plane or a helicopter can cost a pretty penny. According to TheBlondeAbroad, flights can range between $400 to a whopping $2,500, and it's not like you're up in the air for that long. However, if you can afford it, there's no doubt you'll be seeing some of the most gorgeous colors found on Earth.
8 There's A Lack of Marine Life In The Hole, But It's Still Worth Diving
Many people want to know what it's really like diving in the Great Blue Hole in Belize, and the truth is that it's a truly unique location. However, it's a dive site that really doesn't have a ton of marine life or coral. Diving in the Blue Hole in Belize is really about enjoying the deep cavernous space, as well as the thousands of stalactites and stalagmites that start about 130ft below sea level. It's definitely not about taking photos with fishies.
7 However, There Is The Occasional Shark In The Blue Hole
We know we said that there's a serious lack of marine life inside the Great Blue Hole in Belize, and that's true. But occasionally, you may see a shark. According to Coastal Living, some sea life may venture into the Hole. Among the sharks that have been spotted within are blacktips, bull sharks, and hammerhead sharks. Additionally, Pederson's shrimp, neon gobies, angelfish, and purple sea fans tend to dwell within. But to see them, you have to be lucky.
6 The Blue Hole Dive Is All About The Stalagmites
At about 90 feet down into the Great Blue Hole, the wall of the collapsed limestone cave cuts back about 25 to 30 feet and massive stalagmites and stalactites overwhelm the divers. According to one user on TripAdvisor, diving with these monstrous formations is "like nothing else." Due to the layers of different temperatures of waters, divers are likely to have thermocline and get a little narced. This is one of the reasons why being an experienced diver is essential for this trip, especially if you're going to make it down to where the stalagmites are.
5 The Lighthouse Reef Nearby Is WAY Better For Marine Life
While the Great Blue Hole may not have a ton of marine life, the atoll that its part of certainly does. You just have to go a little outside of the hole to get to Lighthouse Reef which is filled with gorgeous creatures, according to Coastal Living. The are is dense with coral and marine life, which may actually mean that this is the best part of the whole diving experience despite the Hole being the more famous attraction.
4 We Know What's At The Bottom Of The Hole Thanks To Sir Richard Branson... But It's Not As Exciting As It Sounds
Thanks to Sir Richard Branson, owner of Virgin, we know exactly what's at the bottom of the Blue Hole. According to CNN, the billionaire businessman, philanthropist, and owner of Necker Island joined a mission to map the bottom of the hole. At the bottom of the 400-foot deep cavern is billowy silt. But Branson, as well as ocean conservationist and filmmaker Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, and Aquatica Submarines' chief pilot Erika Bergman, also found the bones of lost divers as well as other marine life.
3 Trips To The Blue Hole Have To Be Booked And Leave From A Few Hotels
Belize tourists who are interesting in diving or snorkeling around the Great Blue Hole have to be prepared to book their adventure through a hotel. According to Coastal Living, hotel beaches and docks are where the excursions leave from as well. Trained hotel staff, as well as partnering tour companies, guide tourists to the location and keep them safe while there. Many groups leave from the hotels on the Turneffe Islands, Long Caye, Ambergris Caye, and even Belize City. Prices for these tours depend on the company and hotel.
2 There Are Actually Two Blue Holes In Belize... So, Don't Get Confused
Surprise, surprise, there are actually two Great Blue Holes in Belize. According to Coastal Living, both holes go by the same name for the exact same reasons. The only difference is that one of the holes is actually on land. It's about two miles from St. Herman's Cave and is part of the still-intact cave system with an underground river bear Belmopan, Belize. The sapphire pool, which is surrounded by lush tropical greenery, is also worth visiting if you're checking out the more famous location.
1 Expect A Bumpy Boat Ride... Stay Home If You Can't Handle It
Another tip for tourists planning on visiting Belize's Great Blue Hole is to prepare for a very bumpy boat ride. According to Coastal Living, as well as multiple reviews on TripAdvisor, the 3 to 4 hour trip from the islands to the Hole and atoll is very turbulent. This is due to the fact that there's no protection from the open ocean from the islands to the reefs. It's easy to get seasick, so making the proper preparations to avoid this is key.