Seen from outer space, Belize has only one easily identifiable landmark: the Great Blue Hole, sometimes known as the Belize Blue Hole. But you don’t need to be in orbit around the planet to appreciate that the Great Blue Hole is one of the world’s most beautiful and enduring mysteries.
In a recent article published by Travel + Leisure magazine, one of the most popular and esteemed travel publications in the world, the Great Blue Hole of Belize was described as a “portal to another world.” Measuring some 1,000 feet across, the Great Blue Hole is a perfectly circular body of water encircled by the Lighthouse Reef Atoll just a few miles offshore from the mainland of Belize.
What draws drivers from around the world to this naturally occurring phenomenon is not an abundance of colorful marine life or even the coral that makes up the atoll but what lies deep beneath the eerily dark blue waters. More than 100,000 years ago, the rising waters of the Caribbean flooded a vast cave system replete with gigantic stalactites and stalagmites.
Well-known to the ancient Maya, the Great Blue Hole only came to the world’s attention in 1971 when famed French marine biologists and explorer Jacques Cousteau declared it to be one of his top 10 favorite dive sites in the world. The underwater world of spooky passages and twisting tunnels make the Great Blue Hole a true challenge for even the most experienced of divers.
So interesting and mysterious is the Great Blue Hole that many visitors plan their Belize vacations around it. Although Travel + Leisure assured its readers that it is not, in fact, a portal to another dimension, many experienced divers feel like no Belize travel vacation is complete without one visit to this mysterious site.
Indeed, National Geographic sent a two-person team to Belize last month in order to photograph and write about all of the great dive spots in the country, including, of course, the Great Blue Hole, which will be featured in a new dive guidebook scheduled to reach bookstores in 2020.
If you’re interested in diving in Belize at sites like the Great Blue Hole of Belize, be sure to book your vacation with Chabil Mar. If you’re not sure where to stay in Belize, Chabil Mar is a Belize resort located right on the beach just a few miles from the reef.