While the celebrated German philosopher Friendrich Nietsche theorised that "if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into thee," Jacques Cousteau seemed more inclined to just dive straight on in, with a film crew in tow to boot. Back in the early 70s, the much-celebrated French oceanographer and pioneer of diving jumped off the Calypso's deck into the dark, blue waters to dive the Blue Hole in Belize, and the eerie dive site has drawn intrepid divers ever since. The site is located on Lighthouse Reef, halfway along the Belize Barrier, and as far as holes go, it's a mighty impressive one - over 900ft in diameter and more than 100m deep. Oh, and it's full of sharks too. Read on for our guide to planning a day trip to dive the Blue Hole…
Belize’s Blue Hole
Before we dive in, let's get to know this bucket-list dive site a little better. Belize's Blue Hole is a marine sinkhole, similar to the cenotes in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, that was formed by the collapse of an underground cave system thousands of years ago. Almost perfectly circular, this UNESCO-protected site makes for an interesting dive, and drone flyers can spend the surface interval trying to snap the perfect aerial shot. A day trip to dive the Blue Hole in Belize is a must for any advanced diver in the area, and the site's central position makes it accessible from many of Belize's coral islands and coconut-lined cayes.
Day Trips from The Northern Cayes
A short distance from the Mexican border, Ambergris Caye is the largest island in Belize, and divers can enjoy access to the Belize Barrier Reef, Hol Chan Marine Reserve and the Great Blue Hole. Day trips to dive the Blue Hole require an early start, but the three-dive trips also take in dives at Half Moon Caye and Long Caye before returning to shore in time for sunset cocktails. You will need recent dive experience and an advanced licence to dive the Blue Hole, as the maximum depth is close to 40m and the enclosed nature of the site, with a few circling sharks, means it's not ideal for the novice diver.
Day Trips from The Outer Atolls
Turneffe Island's more central position along the Belizean coastline means trips to dive the Blue Hole require a little less travel time than from the northern cayes. The island is the biggest of Belize's three atolls - the other two being Glover's Reef and Lighthouse Reef - and journey time to the Blue Hole takes around one-and-a-half hours. When not heading out to dive the Blue Hole, you can also explore the many sites around Turneffe and Glover's, which include famous sites such as The Elbow and the deep canyons and tunnels at The Chimney.
Day Trips from Southern Belize
If you fancy seeing some big fish as well as a big blue hole, the islands and cayes nearer the southern end of Belize's coastline may be your best bet. As well as allowing you to dive the Blue Hole on a day trip, you'll also be near the best whale shark spots. Whale sharks can be seen moving along the Yucatan Peninsula's Caribbean coastline, and between March and June each year, they're attracted by snapper spawning aggregations near to Gladden Spit.