The Coolest Way To See The Blue Hole in Belize? Spoiler: It’s Not On A Boat

by Gisselle Hernandez
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Belize has slowly but steadily been climbing coveted acclaimed lists in the past several years. Perhaps a good percentage of that well-deserved attention could be attributed to being home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Barrier Reef System. Belize’s Barrier Reef easily rivals that of Australia. Yet, you needn’t be whisked halfway across the world to enjoy the eclectic marine life bucket list-ers dream of seeing in the flesh. With more than 180 miles of reef stretching beyond the Caribbean Sea, it’s no wonder the Barrier Reef is considered a World Heritage Site. Its existence is even more astonishing when we tie in the fact that it was almost on the brink of destruction. But back in 2018, the tiny Central American country accomplished the Herculean task of leading it to be removed from UNESCO’s Danger List. Since then, travelers and residents alike flock to the underwater marvels. Not least of which is the world-renowned Great Blue Hole.

Speak to any avid diver and they’d hail the Great Blue Hole as an unmissable activity when in Belize. They wouldn’t be wrong, of course. With Caribbean Reef Sharks roaming by and enormous stalactites along the walls of the giant sinkhole, it sounds like a must-do experience for sure. However, I’d like to argue there’s perhaps an even better way to enjoy the cobalt-colored cenote that doesn’t require you to be a moderate or professional diver: a flyover tour with a local airline like Maya Island Air.

Making a Dream A Reality with Maya Island Air

Belize’s pride-and-joy sits around 65 miles away from Placencia. However, when on a tiny 11-seater Cessna, you’re only in the sky for about an hour before you can spot the illustrious landmark. A Blue Hole flyover tour may seem unattainable or perhaps garish at first, but it’s 100% worth it. Local airline operator Maya Island Air makes it extremely easy to experience the once-in-a-lifetime journey. Their weekly flight schedule includes Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10:30 a.m. Tip: You and a handful of your closest friends can share the moment together by easily splitting the cost of the tour. No need for convincing once they hear of all the magnificent attractions that await them.

More than a blue marvel

What makes a Blue Hole Flyover experience worth it is the many mini-marvels you’ll spot along the way. The white-capped waves below make way for beautiful shades of turquoise, outlining the reef. A wayward ship whose history only labeled it as an ocean freighter wreck is easily visible. Tiny islands pockmark the undulating waves, and the Turneffe Atoll yawns into a green expanse. The experience also includes flying over the stunning Lighthouse Reef and the infamous Shark Ray Alley.

Seeing the landmark from above

Once your eyes feast on the 407-foot deep sinkhole, you’ll never be the same. The small aircraft makes it easy for each passenger to have an uninterrupted view of the Great Blue Hole. The pilot doesn’t hold back, pulling tricks in the air to make sure you admire the wonder from all angles imaginable. Upon request, an adventurous pilot may get as close as 100 feet above the Blue Hole, all while flying the aircraft on its side. Talk about the skill!

By the time you take a sinful amount of selfies – no judgment here – we’re sure you’ll be itching to get back on the tiny airplane the next time you’re in Belize. And we wouldn’t blame you, either. 

Header image courtesy Duarte Dellarole. Book your Blue Hole flyover tour with Maya Island Air here.

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