You want to know what attracted me to Belize in the first place? A picture I saw in a travel magazine of the Great Blue Hole! I’m not a diver (my husband is), but there was something about that shot that drew me to it. It didn’t take long to convince the whole family that Belize should be our next adventure!
What exactly is the Blue Hole?
The Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of the Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the mainland of Belize City.
The hole is circular in shape, over 300 metres (984 ft.) across and 125 metres (410 ft.) deep. It is the world’s largest natural formation of its kind. It is part of the larger Barrier Reef Reserve System, a World Heritage Site. The sinkhole originally formed as a limestone cave during the last glacial period, a time when sea levels were much lower. As the ocean began to rise, the cave system flooded and eventually collapsed, creating a “vertical cave” in the water.
This is the reason why the site is popular among divers. It is a full-day trip, that usually consists of one dive in the Blue Hole and two additional dives in nearby reefs. The marine life in these areas includes nurse sharks, giant groupers, and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark.
How did we visit the Blue Hole?
My husband was a little upset that he would get to dive in the blue hole, but that we would have to stay behind. It is 40 meters deep so you need an Advanced Open Water license in order to dive there. The only option for us was to join him but simply snorkel in the area. However is an over 2 hour boat ride, not very practical with 3 kids. Luckily I found out that there were private charter planes that flew over the Blue Hole. It was going to be pricy (ranges from $175 to $200 a person) but totally worth it!
Unfortunately my husband’s diving experience in the Blue Hole was cancelled, due to bad weather. Fortunately we had booked the flight for the last day of our vacation, so the 5 of us got to fly over the amazing Blue Hole!
The scenic flight
We booked our flight for 10 am from San Pedro airport. I had spent days talking about it and preparing our kids for this awesome experience. Once we finally got to the airport the kids were very excited to be on the tiny plane.
After a few minutes their excitement disappeared, they couldn’t understand why it was so loud! Luca, since he is smaller, couldn’t even reach the window to look outside, so he started yelling. However once I freed him from the straps and simply held on to him (the pilot was ok with that), he was in pure amazement by all the blue he was seeing outside. I don’t remember the last time I have seen him stay still for such a long period of time!
The flight is about 1 hour-long. Once you get to the Blue Hole the pilot circles over it many times in both directions. I was getting dizzy by all the circling! Once we reached it, the kids got over their noise frustration and started snapping pictures like crazy. They were fascinated by what they were seeing, I guess the terrible noise wasn’t a bother anymore! On the way back actually the noise helped them all fall asleep! Of course the flight is all about the Blue Hole, however flying over the beautiful blue water, the barrier reef, some atolls, was just as magical.
What can I say about this adventure in the air?
It was expensive, but soooooooooooo worth it! It is indescribable in words and I fear also the photos don’t really give justice to the beauty of nature that we witnessed. The colors, the vastness of the water, the barrier reef and that perfect blue circle. Being up in the air gave us the opportunity to take all this in (also if with a little noise) and admire all this beauty. I felt like a tiny ant compared to this big blue ocean. All I wanted to do was jump in!
If you do go to Belize, this should be without any doubt something to put on your bucket list!
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Information for flying over the Blue Hole
Phone: +(501) 226-0462
Cell: +(501) 621-0529
Hours: open 8-6 daily 365 days a year
This is the company we booked and were very happy with, but there are more options as well.