Blue Hole, Belize
The Great Blue Hole is a limestone sinkhole and part of the Lighthouse Reef. The hole itself is around 300 m wide and 120 m deep. The site became famous when Jacques Cousteau included it in his top ten most favorite dive sites.
What to see: Blue Hole, some stalactites and stalagmites at 42 m, not much marine life except sometimes a Carribean reef shark and very rarely hammerheads or bull sharks.
Diving: Boat diving, in a massive blue hole along a wall where no sea floor is visible, short and deep dive. Most operations will do three dives at Lighthouse Reef, the other two are reef dives.
Level: They do take entry-level divers to dive the Blue Hole. Yet it is advisable to have an advanced open water certification and some experience too, best even a deep specialty. Some shops only take people with more than 24 logged dives.
Safety at Blue Hole: Some shops take inexperienced advanced certified divers down to 42 m and open water certified divers quite deep too (around 30 m when I was there). This is not safe practice. Ask your shop about their safety practices and make sure they do not take you deeper than your training allows you to go. Rent a dive computer if you don’t have your own.
Who should go there: Divers who want to tick off a blue hole from their bucket list or enjoy ambiance diving at steep rocky walls
How to get there: Flight to Belize City and ferry (1 1/2 hours) to Caye Caulker / bus to Placencia (3 hours) / flight (15 min) or ferry (3 hours) to Ambergris Caye. Boat ride to the Blue Hole from Caye Caulker takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours, from Ambergris Caye or Placencia Caye 2 to 3 hours.
Where to stay: A variety of accommodation is available in Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker and Placencia.
There is also one resort (Huracan Diving) located on Long Caye at Lighthouse Reef. Turnette Flats is close by. Both offer packages for accommodation and diving which include transfer from Belize International Airport.
Where to dive:
In Caye Caulker: Belize Diving Services or Frenchies Diving
In Ambergris Caye: Belize Pro Dive Center, Ambergris Divers, Ecologic Divers, Island Divers, Bottom Time Dive Shop, Belize Diving Adventures, Aqua Scuba Belize, Portofino Beach Resort, Costa Blue Resort and Ramons Village Resort
In Placencia: Seahorse Dive Shop or Splash Dive Center.
Or a resort close to the Blue Hole: Huracan Diving and Turnette Flats
Rates: Day trip with 3 dives including breakfast and lunch cost around USD 260 to 320. A 3-day all-inclusive package at the resorts costs just over USD 1000.
Climate: 25-27°C in winter, 27-30°C in summer, rainy season June to October
Water temperature: Down to 26°C in winter, up to 30°C in summer
Visibility: Mostly amazing, on a perfect day it can be up to 60 m
Season: All year round
I stayed on Caye Caulker for some days exploring different dive sites around the area. I was not too impressed by the Blue Hole. It did look incredible from the boat but underwater it is „just a wall“ and some stalactites and stalagmites. The dive is basically a quick decent to 42 m to swim around the formations for a few minutes and then the ascent. We did see a Carribean reef shark passing by as well.
I enjoyed the other dives around the area way more with good visibility, colorful reefs and loads of small fish. Another dive day we encountered dozens of nurse sharks on a single dive.