May 24, 2012

Trip of a lifetime: The Blue Hole by boat and from the sky

Belize is a small country boarded by Mexico in the north and Guatemala in the East. Small but very varied. Off shore there are coral sand and mangrove islands rising off the ocean floor and a majestic barrier reef.  Starting at the coast, lowland savannahs and lagoons are fed by crystal clear rivers that drain the basins and valleys of the majestic Maya Mountains.

One of the place not to miss while visiting Belize is the Barrier Reef which is the longest of the Western Hemisphere with 296 kilometers (185 miles). And just outside from the Barrier Reef is one of the most famous worldwide diving spot, the Blue Hole.

A World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Blue Hole is a submarine sinkhole at 70 km from the mainland and forms a perfect O. 300 meters large and 124 meters deeps, people come from all over the world to dive it.

To get there by boat, it takes 3 hours from Ambergris Caye so trips leave as early as 6 am. It's a long trip which can be very bumpy if the sea is agitated (better not have sea sickness!) but it's worth if you love diving. 
Entering the Blue Hole

The Blue Hole (darker blue)

If you have the money (or have the chance to have clients who can pay it!), you can go to see the Blue Hole by helicopter. One funny fact, there is only one helicopter in Belize for tourism. So this is not an experience everybody can have, probably one of a life time! Leaving from San Pedro Ambergris, it takes 1h30 return trip. On the way you can see the different Islands forming the Lighthouse Reef. You will see the great Blue Hole surrounded by hard corals that borders it with only two small channels. As you go across this spectacular hole, you will be dazzled by its impressive size and color.

On the way to the Blue Hole

On top of the Blue Hole

The Blue Hole, a perfect O

After flying over the Blue Hole, you will pass over Long Caye on the west side of the atoll to enjoy the ambiance of Mother Nature's best kept secrets. Your flight now takes a turn to the west as you pass again over the Turneffe Islands where you will be able to see once again one of the few islands with white sandy beach. Finally, it's off back to the deep blue sea as you head back to San Pedro.

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