Located just a short drive out of Belize's Belmopan (the capital city) is the stunning Herman's Blue Hole National Park. For anyone heading to Belize, visiting the national park is a must. Its central attractions are two cave systems and the stunning jungle pool from which the park gets its name. The stunning Inland Blue Pool is just what one needs to cool off from the hot jungle climate.
Belize was part of the Maya territory, and it has many caves that the Maya once thought of as sacred conduits to the underworld. Most people who visit Belize go for the beaches, but there are plenty of inland attractions as well. Belize is full of jungles, forgotten Maya ruins, and scores of caves just waiting to be explored. Uniquely in Central America, Belize is also an English-speaking country.
Belize's Inland Blue Hole In The Tropical Rainforests
The Inland Blue Hole is not to be confused with the famous Great Blue Hole on the coast of Belize. It is situated in a national park covered with rich tropical rainforest (that also includes over 200 species of birds and howler monkeys).
The Inland Blue Hole is sapphire-colored and is also a sinkhole formed in limestone rock. It is around 25 feet (8 meters) deep and is ideal for swimming. The water one sees in the Blue Hole is part of a much greater underground cave system that flows into the Sibun River.
- Depth: 25 Feet or 8 Meters
There are two ways of reaching the Blue Hole. From the park's main entrance, it's a 45-minute hike through the jungle. Alternatively, one can drive further down the highway to another parking lot and hike only around 5 minutes through the rainforest.
The color of the Blue Hole varies depending on when it last rained. If it has just rained, the Blue Hole will turn murkier green.
The Caves Of Blue Hole National Park
The other two main attractions of the Blue Hole National Park are two caves St. Herman's Cave and Crystal Cave.
St. Herman's Cave
St. Herman's Cave has the advantage of being one of the most accessible caves in Belize and one of the few that can be accessed without a tour guide. Visitors can go around a third of a mile into the cave, for they are required to have a guide to go further. To get to the cave, it's a 20-minute walk through the jungle from the main entrance.
- Accessibility: Partially Accessible Without A Tour Guide
- Tip: Take a Guided Tour
Its opening is forested and is 120-foot wide. Descend the concrete steps and see how the cave opens up into a large cathedral. Admire the many stalactites and stalagmite formations all around the cave.
To really explore the cave, take a guided tour so that one can go deeper and see the many old Maya artifacts like spears and pottery.
The other cave is Crystal Cave - this cave is much more challenging and requires a guide. Exploring it involves rappelling equipment and narrow passages. There are skeletal remains of Maya sacrificial victims and various artifacts here.
6-Hour Tour Of The Blue Hole And Cave
While one can visit the Blue Hole by oneself, the caves in the park are best visited with a guided tour. This six-hour tour takes visitors to both the Inland Blue Hole and the St. Herman's Cave. It also includes hiking through the jungle.
On tour, visitors get to swim in the stunning Inland Blue Hole and learn about its history and how the ancient Maya used it. Go for a refreshing swim in the bright blue and clear waters of the sinkhole and relax in the tranquility of the jungle.
The tour guide will also open up the rich history of St. Herman's Cave. One will learn how it was an important spiritual site between around 250 AD and 900 AD. The Maya thought of the caves as portals to the underworld and, therefore, a good place for human sacrifice victims. One will see one just remains of a skeleton on tour.
- Lunch: Picnic Lunch Included
- Duration: 6 Hours
- Days Offered: Every Day
- Start Time: 7.30 am
- Languages: English and Spanish
The tour picks guests up and drops them off at several hotel locations.