Belize’s most popular emblem is the holy grail of diving. Recognized as one of the world’s top dive sites and a World Heritage Site along with the Belize Barrier Reef, the stunning, deep blue circular sinkhole is located on Lighthouse Reef atoll, one of three atolls in the Caribbean, all of which are in Belize. About 1,000 feet in diameter and with a depth of over 400 feet, the Blue Hole is a geographic phenomenon unlike any other. The once-dry and above sea-level cave collapsed centuries ago, creating a site where divers can swim through gigantic stalactite and stalagmite formations and all along a cave wall, starting at about 100 feet, submerged since the Ice Age. Jacques Cousteau is said to have sailed to the hole in 1971 to study the Hole’s formations, eventually revealing the site’s wonders.
An impressive school of Caribbean reef sharks circle the Hole at 120 feet deep and even lower, making it a more exhilarating experience, besides giving divers the impression of being in a seemingly bottomless pit. Diving the Blue Hole requires absolute buoyancy control and intermediate to advanced skills. Because of the depth of up to 130 feet, the dive at that level is only eight minutes long yet worth every moment. Most tours to the Blue Hole are easier done from San Pedro, Caye Caulker or Belize City and the journey is about a two-hour boat ride one way.