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The Great Blue Hole Belize: 16 Detailed Facts With Tips

Expansive aerial view showcasing the Great Blue Hole and its surrounding turquoise waters.


Have you ever seen pictures of a giant blue hole in the ocean? That’s the Great Blue Hole in Belize which is an amazing place that people love to visit. The first time I saw it, I couldn’t believe how big and blue it was because it looked like a giant swimming pool in real life.

Today, I’ll share 16 real facts about the Great Blue Hole Belize. You’ll learn how it was made, what lives there, why so many people want to see it, and more.

16 Facts About The Great Blue Hole Belize

The Great Blue Hole is a beautiful and mysterious natural wonder that many people from all over the world make this gem one of their top travel destinations. It’s more than 150,000 years old and is truly one-of-a-kind, home to all sorts of colorful sea creatures. Let’s learn more about this amazing place.

1. Mother Nature Made It Over 150,000 Years Ago

The Great Blue Hole has a long story. It didn’t just show up one day! Let’s go back in time and find out how it was made.

How Did Belize Great Blue Hole Started?

150,000 years ago, a big cave started to form. This cave was made of limestone, which is a type of rock. Over many years, nature slowly turned this cave into something really special.

Think of a big room underground with a rocky ceiling and walls. That’s kind of what this limestone cave was like. But how did it turn into the big blue hole we see now?

The Ice Ages

The story of the Great Blue Hole is tied to the ice ages. An ice age is when a lot of the world is covered in ice.

During this time, there were periods when the ice would grow and times when it would melt. When there was a lot of ice, the sea level was lower. But when the ice melted, the sea level would rise.

These changes in the sea level affected the shape of the limestone cave. It’s like how a sandcastle changes shape when the waves come in and out.

The Cave Goes Under

Many years later, as the ice melted and the sea level rose, water started to fill up the limestone cave. But the roof of the cave couldn’t handle all that water pressing down on it.

Eventually, it broke apart! When the roof fell in, it made a huge hole in the ground. And that’s how the Great Blue Hole was born.

2. It’s Really, Really Big!

The Great Blue Hole is so big, it’ll make your jaw drop. When you look at the Great Blue Hole from above, you’ll see that it’s a perfect circle. That’s rare for a sinkhole, especially one this big.

To give you an idea, imagine a circle that’s as wide as three football fields. That’s about how wide the Great Blue Hole is and there aren’t many other sinkholes that can compare.

How Deep and Wide is The Great Blue Hole in Belize?

The Great Blue Hole is not only wide but also very deep which goes down 407 feet or 124 meters. That’s like stacking 27 giraffes on top of each other!

Because it’s so deep, diving in the Great Blue Hole is a special adventure. Divers can explore underwater caves and see all sorts of cool sea creatures. But we’ll talk more about that later.

The depth also means that the Great Blue Hole is home to some animals that like to live in deep water. It’s a unique place that supports many different types of life.

It Covers a Huge Area

The surface of the Great Blue Hole covers about 68,796 square meters or 17 acres. Because it’s so large, the Great Blue Hole is easy to spot from the air. Pilots and people flying over the area can’t miss it.

The large size also means there’s plenty of room for boats and divers to explore. Lots of groups can visit the Great Blue Hole at the same time without feeling crowded.

3. You Can Find It Near the Lighthouse Reef

Rustic lighthouse near the vibrant Lighthouse Reef Atoll by the Great Blue Hole.

The Great Blue Hole isn’t just floating out in the middle of nowhere. It’s actually part of a special area called the Lighthouse Reef Atoll.

The Great Blue Hole is Not Far from Belize City

If you want to see the Great Blue Hole, you’ll start your trip in Belize City. The hole is about 43 miles away from the city.

To get there, you have a couple of choices:

  • You can take a boat tour that will take you right to the Great Blue Hole. These tours usually last a whole day and include stops for snorkeling or diving.
  • If you want to get there faster, you can take a small plane from Belize City to the area near the Great Blue Hole. Then, you’ll get on a boat to reach the hole itself.

Part of the Lighthouse Reef

The Great Blue Hole is like a big, blue gem in the middle of the Lighthouse Reef. The reef is shaped like a ring around the hole.

The Lighthouse Reef is special because it’s one of the best examples of a reef like this in the Caribbean Sea. It’s home to many different kinds of sea life, like colorful fish, sea turtles, and even sharks.

The Great Blue Hole is just one part of this big underwater world. Its deep waters are a unique place that goes well with the shallower waters around it.

Together, the Great Blue Hole and the Lighthouse Reef make an underwater wonderland that’s both beautiful and important for the health of the ocean.

4. Jacques Cousteau Made the Great Blue Hole Famous

Have you ever heard of Jacques Cousteau? He was a famous ocean explorer who visited the Great Blue Hole in 1971. His visit helped make this wonder of nature famous around the world.

What Happened to the 1971 Trip?

In 1971, Jacques Cousteau and his crew sailed to the Great Blue Hole on a ship called the Calypso because they wanted to explore this mysterious underwater world.

Cousteau was already well-known for his adventures under the sea and his TV shows. So, when he and his crew explored the Great Blue Hole, people all over the world were excited to see what they would find.

The Calypso had all sorts of fancy diving gear and underwater cameras. This let Cousteau and his crew get a close look at the hole and share what they found with the world.

What They Found

During their trip, Cousteau and his crew made some exciting discoveries. One of the most interesting things they found was stalactites.

Stalactites are pointy rocks that hang from the ceiling of a cave. They’re made by water dripping and leaving behind bits of minerals over a long time.

Finding stalactites in the Great Blue Hole was a big deal because it proved that the hole was once a dry cave. This fits with the idea that the hole was made during the ice ages when sea levels were much lower.

Cousteau and his crew also measured how deep the Great Blue Hole was. They found it was about 410 feet deep. That was a little different from what we know now (407 feet), but it was still an impressive find for the time.

Making It Famous

After his trip, Jacques Cousteau said the Great Blue Hole was one of the top five scuba diving spots in the world. That was a big deal coming from such a famous explorer.

When Cousteau said this, it put the Great Blue Hole on the map for divers and tourists from all over the world.

The trip also got scientists excited about the Great Blue Hole. They wanted to learn more about how it was formed and the creatures that call it home.

5. Submarines Went There in 2018 to Learn More

Fast forward to 2018, and the Great Blue Hole was still keeping secrets. In December of that year, a team of explorers set out to map the hole and make new discoveries.

The 2018 Mapping Trip

The 2018 trip was led by Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, and a rich man named Richard Branson. They wanted to make a detailed 3-D map of the Great Blue Hole and learn more about what it was like inside.

To do this, they used two submarines with special mapping tools. These submarines could go deeper and stay underwater longer than human divers.

The submarines used a tool called sonar to scan the walls and floor of the Great Blue Hole. Sonar uses sound waves to make pictures of things underwater.

By using sonar, the trip team was able to make a very detailed map of what the inside of the hole looked like. This map showed new information about how deep it was, what shape it was, and what kind of rocks were inside.

They Found Missing Divers

During their exploration, the submarine team made a sad discovery. They found the bodies of two divers who had gone missing in the Great Blue Hole.

Diving in the hole can be dangerous, especially for divers who don’t have a lot of experience. Finding the missing divers showed how important it is to be safe and have the right training before trying to explore the Great Blue Hole.

A Stinky Layer

Another interesting thing the 2018 trip found was a layer of stinky gas at about 300 feet down in the hole.

This gas is called hydrogen sulfide. It smells like rotten eggs. It’s made when tiny living things break down dead plants and animals in water that don’t have a lot of oxygen.

Finding hydrogen sulfide in the Great Blue Hole is important because it affects what kinds of creatures can live there. Below the stinky layer, the water doesn’t have oxygen.

Very few creatures can live where there’s no oxygen, so the deepest parts of the Great Blue Hole don’t have much life. This makes the lively upper parts of the hole very different from the spooky, lifeless depths.

The 2018 trip gave us new clues about how complex and sometimes dangerous the Great Blue Hole is. It also showed us that there’s still a lot to learn about this incredible natural wonder.

6. It’s Part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Stunning aerial view highlighting the circular formation of the Great Blue Hole.

The Great Blue Hole isn’t just a cool place to visit in Belize. It’s also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But what does that mean?

The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

UNESCO is a big group that works with the United Nations. They pick places around the world that are important because of their culture or nature.

In 1996, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This system includes the Great Blue Hole and a bunch of other coral reefs, islands, and atolls along the coast of Belize.

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second biggest barrier reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It’s home to an amazing variety of sea life, including hundreds of kinds of fish, coral, and other ocean creatures.

It Became a World Heritage Site in 1996

In 1996, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, including the Great Blue Hole, was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This was a big moment for Belize and for protecting oceans all over the world.

Being part of a World Heritage Site means that the Great Blue Hole and the reef around it are seen as places of “outstanding universal value.” This means there’s a responsibility to protect and preserve these natural wonders for people in the future.

It also means that the Great Blue Hole and the Belize Barrier Reef are advertised as places tourists from all over the world should visit.

However, more tourism can also put stress on the delicate ecosystems in the ocean. People visiting the Great Blue Hole and the Belize Barrier Reef need to be responsible tourists and follow rules for protecting these natural wonders.

The fact that the Great Blue Hole is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site shows that it’s not just a cool place to visit, but an important part of the world’s natural heritage.

7. You Can See the Great Blue Hole from Space

When you think of the Great Blue Hole, you might imagine what it looks like from a boat or from underwater. But did you know you can also see it from space?

It Shows Up in Satellite Pictures

The Great Blue Hole is so big and so blue that you can see it from satellites way up in space. In pictures taken by NASA from these satellites, the hole looks like a dark blue circle with lighter blue water around it.

You can see the Great Blue Hole so clearly from space because it’s so deep. The deeper the water, the darker blue it looks from above. So, the deep blue of the hole stands out against the lighter turquoise of the shallow reef around it.

Pictures of the Great Blue Hole from satellites aren’t just cool to look at. They also help scientists keep an eye on the hole. By looking at these pictures, researchers can see if the shape, color, or the ecosystem around the hole changes over time.

Why It Looks Different from the Water Around It

This difference in color is because of the difference in depth between the hole and the reef around it. The Great Blue Hole is over 400 feet deep, but the water around it is much shallower, usually ranging from just a few feet deep to maybe 30 feet deep.

As sunlight shines down into the water, it gets absorbed and bounces around differently depending on how deep the water is. In shallow water, more light bounces back up, making the bright turquoise color that you usually see in tropical reefs.

But as the water gets deeper, more of the reds and yellows in the sunlight get absorbed. Only the blue light can reach the depths.

That’s why the Great Blue Hole looks so dark and blue compared to the lighter water around it. It’s a stark visual reminder of just how deep the hole is and the powerful natural forces that made it over thousands of years.

8. The Great Blue Hole is Home to Many Sea Creatures

The Great Blue Hole isn’t just a big, empty hole in the ocean. It’s actually home to many different types of fish, sharks, and other sea animals.

Sharks Everywhere!

If you’re brave enough to dive into the Great Blue Hole, you might come face to face with some sharks. But don’t worry, they’re not the scary, man-eating kind you see in movies. The sharks that live here are mostly gentle giants.

  • Nurse sharks: Big and slow-moving, they often rest on the bottom of the hole.
  • Caribbean reef sharks: Smaller and more active than nurse sharks, they are easy to spot.
  • Bull sharks: Big and tough-looking, but they usually don’t bother divers.
  • Blacktip sharks: Named for the black tips on their fins, they are fast swimmers and interesting to watch.

It’s Not Just Sharks!

Sharks aren’t the only awesome things living in the Great Blue Hole. There are also some really big fish called giant groupers. They can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh over 600 pounds.

The hole is also home to many bright, tropical fish. You might see angelfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, and more. They love swimming around the coral that grows on the walls of the hole.

Speaking of coral, the Great Blue Hole has some cool coral formations. There are big, brain-shaped corals and delicate, branching corals. They come in all sorts of colors, from bright red to deep purple.

Why It’s Important for Sea Life

Each creature in the Great Blue Hole plays a role in keeping the underwater ecosystem healthy. For example, sharks are like the cleanup crew of the reef. They eat weak or sick fish, helping to keep the fish populations strong and healthy.

So, when we protect special places like the Great Blue Hole, we’re not just saving a pretty spot for divers to explore. We’re also helping to take care of the health of our oceans.

9. It’s a World-Class Spot for Divers

Colorful coral reef teeming with marine life within the Great Blue Hole.

If you love scuba diving, the Great Blue Hole should definitely be on your bucket list! It’s one of the most famous and exciting dive spots in the world.

It’s Not for Beginners!

Diving in the Great Blue Hole is an incredible experience, but it’s not for everyone. Because the hole is so deep and has underwater caves, it can be dangerous for divers who don’t have a lot of experience.

To dive in the Great Blue Hole, you need to have special training like the Deep Diver Specialty course or complete your PADI® Advanced Open Water certification. Most dive shops require that you have at least 24 dives under your belt before they take you to the hole.

This might seem like a lot, but it’s important for your safety. The deep water and tight spaces in the hole can be tricky to navigate, even for skilled divers. It’s best to have plenty of practice before you try it.

What a Dive in the Blue Hole is Like

If you’re an experienced diver and you’ve met the training requirements, diving in the Great Blue Hole is an adventure you’ll never forget. Here’s what it’s like:

  • You start your dive by jumping off the boat and into the deep blue water. As you descend, you follow the wall of the hole down, down, down into the darkness. The water is clear but it gets darker the deeper you go.
  • At about 130 feet deep, you reach a giant underwater cave. This is where you can see incredible stalactites hanging from what used to be the ceiling of the cave. Some of these rock formations are up to 30 feet long!
  • As you explore the hole, keep your eyes open for sharks, fish, and coral. The water is so clear that you can see these creatures swimming all around you.
  • After about 8 minutes at the deepest part, it’s time to slowly make your way back up to the surface. As you ascend, you get to watch the blue water around you slowly get lighter and brighter.

Always Follow the Rules and Listen to Your Guide

Before you dive, your guide will go over all the important safety information with you. They’ll tell you how deep you’ll go, how long you’ll stay down, and what to do in an emergency.

During the dive, your guide will be with you the whole time. They’re there to make sure everyone stays safe and has a good time. If they tell you to do something, like come up to the surface or stay close to the group, you must do it right away.

Remember, your guide is an expert on diving in the Great Blue Hole. They know the risks and how to keep you safe. Trust their judgment and follow their lead, even if it means missing out on something cool.

10. You Can Snorkel There Too!

Not a diver? No worries! You can still experience the wonder of the Great Blue Hole by snorkeling.

Snorkeling Tours are a Great Option

If you’re not ready to take the plunge into the deep waters of the Great Blue Hole, snorkeling is a fantastic alternative. Many of the tour companies that offer diving trips to the hole also have snorkeling options.

On a snorkeling tour, you’ll get to see the Great Blue Hole from the surface. You can peer down into the deep blue water and imagine the caves and creatures that lie beneath. It’s a cool way to appreciate the size and beauty of the hole without having to go too deep.

Snorkeling tours also usually include stops at the coral reefs around the hole. Here, the water is shallower and clearer, perfect for spotting colorful fish and coral formations. You might even see a turtle or a friendly shark!

The Best Spots for Snorkeling

One of the best places for snorkeling in the Great Blue Hole is the coral reef that surrounds the hole called the Lighthouse Reef Atoll which is home to some of the healthiest and most beautiful coral in Belize.

Another popular snorkeling spot near the Great Blue Hole is Half Moon Caye Wall. This is a long, underwater wall that’s covered in colorful coral and sponges.

It’s a little deeper than the reef around the hole, but the water is still super clear. It’s a great place to see bigger fish like groupers and snappers.

11. There are Lots of Beautiful Islands and Places Nearby

The Great Blue Hole is awesome, but it’s not the only cool thing to see in the area. There are lots of beautiful islands and other attractions in Belize that are worth checking out.

Ambergris Caye

One of the most popular places to visit near the Great Blue Hole is Ambergris Caye. This is the largest island in Belize, and it’s a real tropical paradise.

Ambergris Caye is famous for its long stretches of white sandy beaches. The water here is a beautiful turquoise color, and it’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing in the sun.

The island is also a top spot for scuba diving. The Belize Barrier Reef runs right along the eastern side of the island, so there are tons of great dive sites to explore. You can see colorful coral, tropical fish, sharks, and even shipwrecks!

Ambergris Caye is located in the northern part of Belize, so it’s pretty far from the Great Blue Hole. But many tour companies offer trips that combine a visit to the hole with a few days of relaxing on the island.

Caye Caulker

If you’re looking for a more low-key island experience, Caye Caulker is the perfect spot. This small island is located just south of Ambergris Caye, and it has a completely different vibe.

Caye Caulker is known for its relaxed, laid-back atmosphere. The island’s motto is “Go Slow,” and that’s exactly what you’ll want to do here. There are no cars on the island, so everyone gets around by foot, bike, or golf cart.

The island has a cute little village with colorful houses, funky shops, and delicious seafood restaurants. You can spend your days here lounging on the beach, swimming in the warm water, or exploring the mangrove forests.

Like Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker is also a great base for diving and snorkeling trips. It’s a bit closer to the Great Blue Hole, so the boat rides are shorter. Plus, the reef around the island is home to some really cool stuff, like manatees and sea horses!

The Turneffe Islands

If you want to get away from it all, the Turneffe Islands are the place to go. This group of small, uninhabited islands is located about 30 miles east of Belize City, right next to the Great Blue Hole.

The Turneffe Islands are known for their untouched natural beauty. The islands are covered in dense mangrove forests, and the waters around them are crystal-clear.

These islands are a popular spot for fishing, especially fly fishing. The shallow waters around the islands are home to bonefish, permit, and tarpon, which are some of the most prized catches for anglers.

The Turneffe Islands are also a great place for diving and snorkeling. The reef here is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, and it’s home to an incredible variety of marine life. You can see everything from tiny seahorses to huge loggerhead turtles.

If you’re into eco-adventures, the Turneffe Islands have a lot to offer. You can go kayaking through the mangroves, take a bird-watching tour, or even visit a remote research station.

The only way to get to the Turneffe Islands is by boat, and there are just a handful of small resorts on the islands. It’s definitely a more remote and adventurous option, but it’s worth it if you want to experience a truly unspoiled piece of paradise.

12. It’s Got a Cool History

Ancient human remains discovered in the depths of the Great Blue Hole Belize.

The Great Blue Hole isn’t just a natural wonder. It also has a really interesting history that involves some famous explorers and scientists.

Early Explorations

We don’t know exactly when people first discovered the Great Blue Hole, but we do know that the ancient Mayans knew about it. They lived in the area around the hole for thousands of years, and they probably explored it by diving down and collecting fresh water.

In the 1800s, when Europeans started coming to Belize, they began to explore and map the coastline and the islands. Sure, they saw the Great Blue Hole, but they didn’t know much about it.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that people started to study the hole and try to understand how it was formed. In the 1950s and 60s, some British and American scientists started mapping the hole and studying its geology.

What Charles Darwin Said About the Great Blue Hole

Did you know that Charles Darwin, the famous scientist who came up with the theory of evolution, visited the Belize Barrier Reef? It’s true!

In 1842, when Darwin was just 33 years old, he took a trip around the world on a ship called the HMS Beagle. When the ship stopped in Belize, Darwin had a chance to explore the reef.

He was blown away by what he saw. In his notes, Darwin wrote that the Belize reef was the “most remarkable reef in the West Indies.” He was amazed by the size of the reef and the diversity of life he found there.

Of course, Darwin didn’t dive down into the Great Blue Hole but he did recognize that the reef around the hole was a very special place. His visit to Belize was brief, but it left a big impression on him.

13. It’s Famous Because of Some Interesting Documentaries

The Great Blue Hole is really famous, and a big reason for that is because of some cool documentaries that have been made about it.

Jacques Cousteau’s Documentary

In 1971, when Cousteau and his team visited the hole, they made a film about it as part of his popular TV series, “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.”

In the documentary, Cousteau and his divers explored the hole and showed viewers the amazing stalactites and marine life inside. They also talked about how the hole was formed and why it’s such a special place.

The Discovery Channel’s Top 10 List

Back in 2012, the Discovery Channel named the Great Blue Hole as one of the “10 Most Amazing Places on Earth.” They made a special TV show about it and everything!

Being on this list was a really big deal for the Great Blue Hole. It meant that one of the most popular science channels in the world thought it was one of the coolest places on the planet.

After the Discovery Channel show aired, even more people learned about the Great Blue Hole and wanted to visit it. It became an even bigger tourist destination and a bucket-list item for a lot of divers, nature lovers, and travelers in general.

14. It Was Named by a Famous Diver

The Great Blue Hole is a pretty cool name, but did you know that it was actually named by a famous diver? Here’s the story.

Who Named the Great Blue Hole in Belize?

The person who gave the Great Blue Hole its name was a British diver named Ned Middleton. Middleton spent a lot of time diving in Belize in the 1970s and 80s, and he fell in love with the Blue Hole.

In his book “Ten Years Underwater,” which was published in 1988, Middleton wrote about his experiences diving in the Blue Hole and exploring its depths. He was so impressed by the place that he decided it needed an epic name.

Middleton wrote that if Australia could have the “Great Barrier Reef,” then Belize could have the “Great Blue Hole.” He thought this name would help put the Blue Hole on the same level as other world-famous natural wonders.

Why “Great Blue Hole”?

So why did Middleton choose the name “Great Blue Hole”? Well, it pretty much sums up everything that makes this place special!

First of all, the word “Great” describes how big and impressive the hole is. It’s not just any old hole in the ground – it’s a massive, deep, and unique formation.

The word “Blue” obviously comes from the hole’s incredible blue color. When you see it from above, it’s this deep, dark blue that really stands out against the lighter turquoise waters around it.

And of course, “Hole” is a simple but accurate way to describe what it is – a big, circular hole in the middle of the ocean!

Put it all together, and you’ve got a name that’s simple, descriptive, and memorable. It’s no wonder that Middleton’s name for the Great Blue Hole has stuck around for so long and become so famous.

15. It’s Not the Only Blue Hole Out There

A mesmerizing in-land blue hole surrounded by dense, lush greenery.

The Great Blue Hole Belize is definitely the most famous blue hole in the world, but there are other blue holes out there.

Are there Other Blue Holes in Belize?

Believe it or not, there’s another blue hole right in Belize, but this one is on land! It’s called the Inland Blue Hole, and it’s part of a big cave system called the St. Herman’s Cave.

The Inland Blue Hole is a lot smaller than the Great Blue Hole – it’s only about 25 feet or 7.6 meters deep. It’s basically a big, deep pool of bright blue water that’s surrounded by lush jungle.

You can swim in the Inland Blue Hole, which is pretty neat. The water is always nice and cool, and it’s a great spot to take a dip after hiking through the jungle.

What are other Blue Holes Around the World?

The Great Blue Hole and the Inland Blue Hole aren’t the only blue holes in the world. In fact, there are blue holes scattered all over the place!

One of the most famous is Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas. This one is actually the deepest blue hole in the world – it goes down over 600 feet or 183 meters! It’s a popular spot for free diving competitions, where divers see how deep they can go in a single breath.

Another one is the Blue Hole of Dahab in Egypt. This one is a lot smaller – only about 100 feet or 30 meters deep – but it’s famous for its incredible coral formations and the bright blue color of its water.

There are also blue holes in places like Australia, Malta, and even the US state of Florida. Each one is unique and has its own special features and history.

16. It’s Similar to Formations Called Cenotes

The Great Blue Hole is a really unique formation, but it’s not the only one of its kind in the world. It’s actually similar to formations called cenotes that are found in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

What are Cenotes?

Cenotes (pronounced “seh-NO-tays”) are natural sinkholes that form when limestone bedrock collapses, exposing groundwater underneath. They’re basically big holes in the ground that are filled with fresh water.

Many cenotes are connected to extensive underwater cave systems, just like the Great Blue Hole. They can be incredibly deep and are often favorite spots for divers to explore.

The word “cenote” actually comes from the Mayan word “dzonot,” which means “well.” The ancient Mayans used cenotes as sources of fresh water and places for religious ceremonies.

How are Cenotes and the Great Blue Hole Similar?

The Great Blue Hole and Cenotes have a lot in common. They’re both formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock, and they both feature deep, clear water and extensive underwater cave systems.

In fact, the Great Blue Hole could be considered a type of marine cenote. The main difference is that it’s now part of the ocean, while most cenotes are inland and filled with fresh water.

But the processes that formed them are very similar. Both involved the gradual dissolution of limestone by water, the formation of caves, and the eventual collapse of those caves to form deep, water-filled holes.

When is the Best Time to Visit the Great Blue Hole in Belize?

If you’re planning to visit the Great Blue Hole, you’ll want to go when the weather is just right. The best time is usually from April to June, during Belize’s dry season.

In these months, you can expect sunny skies, calm seas, and great visibility in the water. It’s the perfect weather condition for diving, snorkeling, and taking in the beauty of the Blue Hole.

Belize has a tropical climate, which means it’s warm year-round. But there are some seasonal differences to keep in mind:

  • The dry season (December to May) has less rain and humidity.
  • The wet season (June to November) has more frequent showers, especially in the afternoons.

But don’t worry – even in the wet season, there’s plenty of sunshine between the showers!

When is the Tourist Seasons in Belize?

Tourist viewing the expansive Great Blue Hole Belize from an airplane window.

The peak tourist season in Belize aligns with the dry season, especially around the holidays (December to April). This is when you’ll find the most crowds and the highest prices.

If you visit during this time, you’ll have great weather but also more company. Be sure to book your tours and accommodations well in advance.

The shoulder season (May to November) can be a great time to visit. You’ll find lower prices and fewer crowds, but you might have to deal with a few more showers.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Peak Season (December to April): Best weather, most crowds, highest prices
  • Shoulder Season (May to November): Fewer crowds, lower prices, more chance of rain

No matter when you visit, the Great Blue Hole is an incredible sight. But if you have flexibility, consider the shoulder season for a more laid-back and budget-friendly trip.

How to Get to The Great Blue Hole in Belize?

The Great Blue Hole is located about 43 miles from the mainland and is accessible by boat or helicopter from one of the barrier islands. Most visitors choose a boat tour from Belize City or the nearby islands, as it offers the best balance of convenience and cost.

To reach the Great Blue Hole, you’ll first need to get to Belize, typically by flying into Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport (BZE) in Belize City. From there, several options are available:

By Boat Tour

  • Departing from Belize City or nearby islands such as Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker.
  • This is the most popular method.
  • Tours typically include transportation, diving or snorkeling gear, and lunch.
  • The boat journey can take between 2.5 and 4 hours, depending on your departure point.

By Flying to Turneffe Atoll

  • This is the nearest island to the Blue Hole.
  • From Turneffe Atoll, a shorter boat ride will take you to the Blue Hole.
  • Though this option is pricier, it saves travel time.

By Private Charter for Experienced Divers

  • Experienced divers can arrange a private charter for direct access to the Blue Hole.
  • This is the most flexible and expensive option.

Can you swim in the Great Blue Hole in Belize?

Swimming in the Great Blue Hole isn’t the best idea. It’s really deep (over 400 feet!) and the water gets pretty chilly once you dive down. Plus, all the neat stuff to see is way down at the bottom. Snorkeling around the edges is cool, but to truly experience the Blue Hole, you gotta dive deep!

Where is the world’s deadliest dive site?

The Blue Hole in Egypt’s Red Sea takes the cake for the world’s deadliest dive spot. It’s nicknamed the “Diver’s Cemetery” because so many people have died there – we’re talking over 100 recorded deaths as of 2024! The tricky depths and complex cave system make it super dangerous, even for experienced divers.

Is the Great Blue Hole toxic?

The Great Blue Hole itself isn’t toxic, but there’s some funky stuff going on deep down. The water at the bottom doesn’t move much, so there’s not a lot of oxygen. This creates a unique environment where special bacteria thrive by feeding on toxic sulfur compounds. While it’s not great for most sea critters, these bacteria have taught us a ton about underwater microbes!

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