Located in Central America, Belize is bordered to the south and west by Guatemala. To the north by Mexico, and to the east by the beautiful Caribbean Sea. This diverse country has various cultures and languages and yet the lowest population density in Central America.
Coupled with that is the fact that Belize is well known for its extreme biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems. Along the coastline, you will find many mangrove swamps, while to the south and inland it is hilly.
Not to mention that the Belize barrier reef is the largest in the northern hemisphere and the second biggest in the world. But that’s not the only reason why you should visit Belize. For us, it’s to go scuba diving at the Belize Blue Hole.
The great blue hole is a circular shape and over 300 meters (984 feet) across in length. How deep is the Great Blue Hole? Well… it’s around 400 feet deep (125meters).
When sea levels were much lower, several episodes of quaternary glaciation formed the deep hole during the last great ice age. Several layers of stalactites formed as part of a cave system, estimated around 153,000, 66,000, and 15,000 years ago.
Now part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System The Great Blue Hole is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the same region, you will also find onshore caves and collapsed sinkholes, known as cenotes.
Although the mainland cenotes are often linked to underwater cave systems, explorations of the Belize Blue Hole don’t suggest the same. A fact that makes this flooded cave even more mysterious it was also previously ranked number one of “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth” by the Discovery Channel.
The Belize Great Blue Hole
What Is The Great Blue Hole? Situated off of the coast of Belize, lies a giant submarine sinkhole, known as The Great Blue Hole. It is located in the center of the Lighthouse Reef atoll, 70 km (43 miles) away from the mainland and Belize City.
Being a part of the Mesoamerica biodiversity hotspot, it features wildlife reserves, jungles, a large variety of fauna, and flora. Along with having the biggest cave system in Central America. Some bespoke species that can be found include the mahogany tree, the toucan, tapirs, and the black orchid.
It was declared a World Heritage Site back in 1996 by UNESCO and is now part of seven protected areas which are:
Blue Hole Monument, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, and Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve.
Scuba Diving The Blue Hole Belize
Depth: 65 ft
Visibility: 60 ft
Dive Level: Advanced
Best For: Only experienced divers, shark, geological formations
Being ranked the sixth-best dive site in the world, it is Belize’s most famous dive location. Although the country is also home to some other world-class diving locations, there really is nothing quite as impressive. The unique circular formation is outlined by coral reefs and inhabited by sharks.
Although considered a bucket list dive site, you should be aware that this dive is for advanced and experienced divers only. It is recommended that a diver should have more than 24 dives logged.
Blue Hole Belize tours can be arranged and are usually full-day trips. These are organized by the coastal tourist communities.
With warm bath-like temperature water, the visibility is very good for Blue Hole dives, ranging at about 30 meters, and allows you to get a great view of a reef full of vibrant colors.
The waters very rarely drop below 75°F. Upon descending into the deep, cool water will begin to shimmer and waver as you pass the “halocline” – an invisible line that divides the salty top from its freshwater depths at about 50 ft deep.
Enormous tuna and other pelagics can be seen to use it to clean themselves. Descending further into the depths of the dark blue, 80 ft down, you will uncover the ancient caverns to explore the stalactites and stalagmites. The deepest part lies at a depth of 400 ft deep.
Blue Hole dives can be a very worthy experience, but it is very important to remember the dangers of this type of dive. Even under the supervision of an experienced Dive Master, it is still dangerous. It is advised that divers get some specific training before attempting dives to such depths.
Sadly, the Blue Hole has a deadly reputation with an estimation of 30 fatalities per year, which is why it is known as one of the most dangerous dive sites on the planet. No surprise that beginners are highly discouraged from going in.
Although it is believed to be one of the largest reefs in the world, it is by far not even close to being the world’s deepest. There is a blue hole even deeper than Belize’s, believed to have been dug by Satan himself – Dean’s Blue Hole.
Dean’s Blue hole is located near a Town called Clarence in the Bahamas. It drops into a 663-foot underwater cave, which is deep enough to be able to submerge the Washington Monument or even Seattle’s Space Needle.
Us divers absolutely love it, the locals not so much. Not even enough to dip in a toe. Locals actually believe that this spectacular site was created by Satan himself who dug it out and now lurks in its depths waiting to pick out unwary swimmers.
Although this location is not ideal for colorful reef lovers, crystal clear waters and a vast variety of pelagics and corals can still be seen. Nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, and bull sharks are some of the creatures you might meet.
Recreational divers are lured here to be able to dive with juvenile fish species including the colorful midnight parrotfish and giant groupers. Besides the tropical fish, some also say they spotted hammerhead sharks.
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
Even if you are not a diver, then you can still go snorkeling s it is also a world-class snorkeling location that can be experienced year-round.
If you want to go Belize Blue Hole diving then consider the weather. June to November is known to be a rainy season, however, showers are normally short and the visibility offshore is not generally affected.
Although the rainy season can sometimes run into the month of December, the risk of large-scale flooding is very low. However, after major storms, small pockets of localized flooding may be possible.
It is also worth mentioning that the months of March, October, and November are known to be windy months. Hurricane season normally runs from June to November. Therefore, during hurricane season, it is advised that you monitor updates. Either from the local authorities or the media sources before traveling to or around the area.
Full-day excursions, blue hole snorkeling, and diving services can be arranged from Belize City or Lighthouse Reef. The day trips normally consist of one dive in the Blue Hole and two additional dives in the nearby reefs.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your next scuba diving vacation today.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Scuba divers from all over the world flock to Belize and the world’s largest natural formation of coral reefs. Here are a few final things you need to know about this dive destination.
What’s at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole Belize?
Researchers did not discover what lies at the bottom of the Great Blue Hole of Belize until 2018. The exploratory Aquatica submarine then found stalactites, indicating a dry cave system that dates back to the ice age.
Can you swim in the Great Blue Hole in Belize?
The Great Blue Hole is one of the main attractions in Belize but swimming in it is only safe for experienced divers. Even then, most experienced divers stay at a depth that is close to the surface.
Why is the Blue Hole so dangerous?
The dangers of the Belize Blue Hole mainly lay in the sheer depth that divers can reach. Sadly, some divers make bad decisions, either being tempted further down than they should go or resurfacing too quickly. This dive should only be attempted by very advanced and experienced divers.
I believe that you will find Belize is a world class destination for both vacationing and scuba diving. The Great Blue Hole is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with remarkable coral reefs that you don’t want to miss out on.