"Then, as if this moment couldn't get more perfect, there she was. The Blue Hole. I have no words."
What is it:
The Blue Hole is actually a sinkhole in the middle of the ocean that is roughly 1,000 FT across and over 400 FT deep. Jacques Cousteau famously explored this site and declared in one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world. Later, in 2012, the Discovery Channel ranked this wonder to be one the "10 Most Amazing Places on Earth." Originally, the Great Blue Hole was a cave similar to the cenotes found in the Yucatan Peninsula. As the ocean began to rise, the cave filled with water leaving behind limestone stalactites and creating a dark water home to unique marine life.
How to Visit:
If you aren't familiar with the Blue Hole, it is a must on any visit to Belize. Located quite a ways passed the Belize Barrier Reef (the second largest barrier reef in the world), the Blue Hole is accessible by boat or plane. There are several accounts online depicted a rather long and difficult boating adventure to the Blue Hole. If you are looking to scuba dive, there are a few rather pricey helicopter companies that will drop you in the hole, but most choose to access the site via boat. It is important to note that this dive is for experienced divers only. A prerequisite is having logged more than 24 dives.
Unless scuba diving is your goal, it is difficult to really see the Great Blue Hole by sea. Thus, booking a flight is the preferred method to view this wonder of the world. There are several small airlines like AirTropic that provide aerial fly overs out of Belize City, San Juan, and Caye Caulker. These need to be booked in advance particularly during high season as seats can fill up. Most of these small airlines offer two options: a private charter or a shared flight. Of course, it is your preference, but just as a note, even in the shared flights, everyone gets a window seat, and the pilot does several fly overs to insure that everyone gets a great view.
This flight was out of Caye Caulker and in total was only about 1.5 hours. The first leg of the trip is nothing but blue skies and endless ocean. As you come closer to the Blue Hole, there are stunning islands and sand cayes. Even without the Blue Hole destination, the rest of the flight is still worth the ticket investment.
What to Wear:
A great pair of sunglasses is a must like these from Woodzee. This pair is both stylish and functional as they blocked the sun SO well! (See More Images in these shades: here) With the sun beaming through the plane, it can also be quite warm inside the plane, particularly in the front seat, so dress accordingly. A simple light outfit will work perfectly! And bring a hat and sunscreen for a bit more protection!
Tips for Documenting:
The planes are smaller planes and the flight can be a bit bumpier than commercial flights. If you get queasy easily than make sure to be prepared before hand. Definitely bring a good camera that is fully charged. You will be so inspired and wanting to snap shots the entire time. If you plan on videoing the flight, bring a camera stabilizer for the bumps. The windows have a tint on them that can darker the images produced so keep that in mind when documenting. Past that, have a blast documenting this adventure!
Best of Luck!
"This entire experience was far more life changing than I ever could have imagined." Here is my attempt to explain what flying over the great Blue Hole meant to me: READ MORE HERE!