The Great Blue Hole

Belize City, Belize

And here we go – down into the deep blue sea, at the Great Blue Hole, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most remarkable underwater kingdoms the world has to offer. I didn’t get a change to visit the stalagmites and stalactites deep down in the hole – I’m not quite ready to go that deep as a diver – but I was able to explore much of what the hole has to offer. Even burgeoning divers like me can get down with their crew and explore a world they never knew existed. GoPro Hero3+ Silver | Aperture f/2.8 | ISO-100 | Shutter 1/610 sec.

More Recommendations

The Great Blue Hole, Redux

Prior to my visit to the Great Blue Hole, I had no idea that the reef extended all the way to the surface in some places – which means that even those averse to diving to great depths can experience the wonder and majesty of this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. I spent a good bit of time snorkeling the coral ringing the hole, and came face to face with all manner of incredible creatures, including turtles, rays, barracuda, and more. My dive and snorkel guides from the Blackbird Caye Resort were great resources on coral and fish identification trips, and made sure that I sink too deep without a tank on my back – ha! Photo Finish: GoPro Hero3+ Silver | SPL Water Housings GP4 5″ Dome Port | Aperture f/2.8 | ISO-100 | Shutter 1/440 sec.

Dive the Great Blue Hole

Part of the Lighthouse Reef System, the famed Great Blue Hole is one of the most well known and photographed dive sites in the world. It is a large submarine cave about 45 miles off the coast of Belize, 1,000 feet across and over 400 feet deep, featuring stalactites and the occasional bull shark sighting. Jacques Cousteau’s name is frequently used in connection with the Great Blue Hole and he was one of its earlier explorers, visiting for the first time in the ’60s and again in 1972 when he returned with his research ship, the Calypso. The deepest depths of the Blue Hole are reserved only for experienced, certified divers who must still be accompanied by a dive master. However, snorkeling in the area around the Blue Hole is also available. Dive companies make daily trips from Ambergris Caye. Aqua Scuba Center offers complete packages beginning at $275.

Aerial Tour of the Great Blue Hole

An hour and a half long helicopter tour over the Blue Hole is perhaps one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime. If you visit Belize and have to pick only one thing to do, my recommendation is to get aboard Astrum Helicopters and tour the Great Blue Hole.

More From AFAR