Long ago, before technology ushered in this “information age,” we used to read stories, do research in libraries, and look up encyclopedias to find out about the supposed Wonders of the World.
One of those Natural Wonders is right here in Belize… the Great Blue Hole, given its name by author and diver Ned Middleton.
So…what exactly is this Blue Hole?
Studies have shown that it was a cave system that collapsed in the last ice age and has always been the source of much discussion, both awe-inspiring, exotic and mysterious. This marine treasure is almost perfectly circular, with a circumference of 984 ft. and 410 ft. deep. It is located 62 miles from the mainland in the center of Lighthouse Reef.
The great naturalist and evolutionary pioneer, Charles Darwin, explored Belize’s reef in 1842.
Back in 1971, French explorer Jacques Cousteau, also known as the “father of diving”, featured the Great Blue Hole on a television program called “The Undersea World/Secrets of the Sunken Caves”. It is even visible from Space, although undersea divers’ limit is only 130 ft. Under inky blue-black waters, one can behold caverns with columns of stalactites, drip stone sheets of limestone, all carved by erosion over the past 153,000 years. It is home to Reef Sharks and Black Groupers. So, a thirty-minute dive down is truly traveling back in time.
Deemed a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Great Blue Hole’s reputation is now solidified, attracting not only scuba divers, but also environmentally conscious, and travelers from around the world.
Looking for more adventure?
Along the way, a stop-over at Half Moon Caye is an added bonus. Known as Belize’s first protected area, the snorkeling and diving are second to none and it is home to red-footed boobie birds, as well as a nesting ground for turtles.
From the air, the Atolls, the Reef, and the Great Blue Hole are a mesmerizing sight. Accessible on Maya Island Air, you can bear witness to the turquoise waters suddenly giving way to a circle of deepest navy, fringed by a necklace of coral formation.
From below, approaching this cobalt wonder is a bit more eerie and awe-inspiring. You may choose to snorkel or dive like a modern-day explorer in these iconic waters.
Today the Great Blue Hole is one of the top ten destinations on the planet.
Written by: Nelita Castillo