The Great Blue Hole
Belize’s Premier Dive Destination
The Blue Hole is probably the most famous natural attraction in Belize, having gained notoriety in the 1960’s as part of Jacque Cousteau’s program on the wonders of scuba diving in Belize. It is located about 35 miles offshore of Belize City, at Lighthouse Reef, which is one of Belize’s atolls. This atoll contains 4 islands, although the local name for island is “caye”.
[photo credit at top of page: Belize Tourism Board]
The Blue Hole is actually a cenote, or sinkhole, formed when the area was an island and above sea level. As part of the limestone bedrock that underlies most of Belize, this area was honeycombed with caves. When a cave finally erodes out near the land surface, it will collapse, forming a sinkhole. These type of formations are also common in places like Florida.
Diving at Lighthouse Reef
The sinkhole now known as the Blue Hole currently lies just below the surface of the water inside the lagoon of Lighthouse Reef. It has become world famous for the coral formations that now cover its surface ring and walls, which descend to over 400 feet in depth and access numerous underwater caves. The azure colors of the shallow waters of the lagoon dramatically contrast to the deep blue hues of the sinkhole, creating an amazingly beautiful sight. From the air the Blue Hole is an incredibly beautiful and dramatic natural wonder, and as such it has been featured on almost all of Belize’s promotional ventures.
The scuba diving into the great Blue Hole is spectacular and has become the most sought after diving experience in the country. Multiple dive outfitters offer dives to the site, and either come out for day trips from Belize City or Ambergris Caye, or conduct dives from live aboard dive boats. Unfortunately this has led to crowded conditions at the Blue Hole, so one can expect to see lots of other divers while diving at this natural wonder.