Belize's Great Blue Hole
Have you ever questioned why the Blue Hole exists or why it is such a big deal? There are several blue hole’s in the world, but Belize has the largest one. If you’re considering visiting Belize, you may want to know more about the Great Blue Hole before arriving. Here’s some background information on the Great Blue Hole in Belize.
How deep is it?
The Great Blue Hole is 300 meters (984 feet) in diameter, the largest Blue Hole in the world. It measures 124 meters (407 feet) in depth and is a nearly perfectly circular body of water. It is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, where you find world-class diving and snorkeling.
The Formation of Belize Great Blue Hole
The Blue Hole was originally formed as a limestone cave during the last glacial period, a time when sea levels were much lower. As the ocean began to rise, the cave system flooded. It eventually collapsed creating a “vertical cave” in the ocean. There are left over stalactites from the cave. Analysis of stalactites found in the Great Blue Hole shows that formation took place between 15,000 and 153,000 years ago. It is insane to dive and see stalactites over 100 feet below the sea level, since they are formed by dripping water.
How It Got "Great" Added to the Name
After spending 6 months in Belize, British diver and author, Nate Middleton, came up with the name of The Great Blue Hole. Impressed with this natural feature, he wrote in his book “Ten Years Underwater” that if Australia could have ‘The Great Barrier Reef’ then Belize could equally have ‘The Great Blue Hole’. Why not?
Dive the Blue Hole (or snorkel)
To dive the Blue Hole in Belize, you need experience. You must have an Open Water PADI certification. If you haven’t dove in awhile (like the last six months) you need to schedule refresher dives before joining the Blue Hole dive trip. Belize dive shops take you down the Blue Hole to a max depth of 130 ft. This is quite a jump for some people.
The trip starts at 5:30 AM and the Blue Hole is about a 2-hour boat ride away from Ambergris Caye. This goes outside the reef where water and swells are choppier than inside the reef. It takes a minimum of 10-12 divers to sign up for a tour to go out. So if you visit, sign up for your Great Blue Hole dive trip early on in the trip for encase there aren’t enough people signed up or the weather is bad.
World-wide Recognition of Great Blue Hole
Belize’s Blue Hole is such a spectacular place that has been recognized world-wide.
- The wonder became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
- The Discovery Channel placed the Great Blue Hole in Belize at number one on its list of ‘The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth’.
- In 1971, explorer and oceanographer, Jacques Cousteau from France, publicized the Great Blue Hole as one of the best scuba sites in the world.
- In April 2012 Bill Gates, among the richest men in the world, visited the Belize’s Blue Hole in Belize with his family.
So, if you’re making a trip to Belize be sure to mark this world wonder off your bucket list! Schedule a dive , snorkel, or do a fly over of Belize’s Great Blue Hole!