If you love scuba diving, and you are looking for a truly exotic place to explore, try Belize’s Blue Hole. In 1996, this diving wonder was declared a World Heritage, but even before then, it had been a favorite destination of the most adventurous divers.
The Great Blue Hole in Earth’s History
The Great Blue Hole is a visual narrative of the planet’s history. One hundred fifty thousand years ago, this underwater archeological monument was a limestone cave. Then, during the glacial period, the rising waters flooded it and caused the roof of the cave to collapse. This series of events caused the Great Blue Hole to be formed.
The Blue Hole was declared one of the top ten diving sites of the world by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a marine conservation pioneer who co-developed the aqua-lung. It is located 70 miles off the Belize coast, next to the popular Lighthouse Reef. This amazing attraction was named by Ned Middleton, who compared it to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia in his 1988 book, “Ten Years Underwater.”
What Makes the Great Blue Hole so Great
Viewed from above, the entrance of the Great Blue Hole has an almost perfect circular shape over 300 meters across. At its deepest point, it measures 124 meters
The measures over 300 m (984 ft) across and 124 m (407 ft) at its deepest point. Viewed from above, its entrance is a near perfect circle, completely submerged in water. Named one of the “Ten Most Amazing Places in the World” by Discovery Channel, the Great Blue Hole is the biggest among all the blue holes in the world, and its dark blue waters are the natural habitat of an amazing number of wildlife.
For the nature lover, going down this archeological haven can be an extremely religious experience. The caverns of this blue hole have been likened to an underwater Gothic cathedral with dripstone sheets, colossal stalactites, majestic columns, and its intriguing limestone formations.
Aquatic Wildlife in the Great Blue Hole
At the mouth of the hole and its surrounding shallow waters, divers will encounter an interesting variety of aquatic wildlife. At least four kinds of sharks swim around the area along with oversized groupers, angelfish, parrotfish, butterfly fish, and octopus. You are sure to encounter them as you begin your descent. At the deepest part of the hole, Caribbean reef sharks swim around lazily, quite oblivious to the presence of humans.
A Great Dive
Diving enthusiasts can book themselves on day tours to get to Belize’s Great Blue Hole. The trips generally leave at five in the morning from Ambergris Caye, the largest island in Belize. A day tour will provide the eager tourist a chance to snorkel around the mouth of the Great Blue Hole. Only expert divers are able to venture to the bottom of the hole, and this visit to the bottom is limited to eight minutes.
If you have no intention of diving into his blue wonder, it would still be worth your while to take a helicopter ride and view the Great Blue Hole from up in the air. From so many feet above the hole, you will clearly see how dark the waters within it are, and you will see how the sand and limestone formations add to its beauty.
Tour packages for the Great Blue Hole are available for day long trips or several days – depending on how much time you can spare. Lodgings are easy to find at Ambergris Caye, where there is a resort, a hotel, or a lodging house to suit every taste and budget.