Diving the Blue Hole

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
9
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
1
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
8
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
5
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
8
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
9
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
77 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
North America
country
Belize
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 300
Time of year visited
June
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
52nd/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 20% SUMMARY RATING: World Class

Summary

Diving the Blue Hole is one of those bucket list items for scuba divers and regularly appears in the top 10 dive sites in the world

Yet it also comes with mixed reviews, mainly because the dive itself is a very different experience to what people may expect from seeing the aerial photos – which are from an aeroplane!  And the shortness of the dive, which is only around 8mins before ascent due to the 40m / 130ft depth.  The 2 hour boat ride there and back over very bumpy seas also doesn’t help

All that being said though, I’d really recommend the whole day to the Blue Hole.  Not only do you have the uniqueness of the dive, with its stalactites and haunting feeling as you look up at the sheer wall above with deep blue below, but you also for the remainder of the day get to explore Half Moon Caye Island within Lighthouse Reef and dive in the crystal clear waters of 2 shallower dives

If in this part of the world and you’re a diver, its a must

highlights

#1 Diving the world famous Blue Hole to see the overhanging stalactites and to gaze into the deep blue below

#2 Wandering along the gorgeous beaches of Half Moon Caye Island within Lighthouse Reef

#3 Getting up close with the Caribbean Reef Sharks that stealthily come up to you in the Blue Hole

#4 Some of the beautiful shallower dives that you'll do later in the day around Lighthouse Reef

#5 Checking out the bird colony on Half Moon Caye Island, with its Red Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds

Travel Tips

  • I went with Frenchie’s Diving Services in Caye Caulker and they were great.  It was around US$300 (which included the US$40 park entrance fee and equipment rental).  They only went something something like twice a week, so best check out the timings beforehand and potentially go with another dive shop if your timings don’t work.  Starts around 530am and get back at 4pm.  Rough itinerary is get equipment etc sorted; 2 hours on the boat to the Blue Hole; dive the Blue Hole; 1 shallower dive; lunch on the Half Moon Caye island and time to explore; 1 final shallow dive; 2 hour boat trip back to Caye Caulker
  • The 2 hour boat ride to the Blue Hole really can be quite bumpy at times as it is completely open water from Caye Caulker until you get to the shelter of the reef.  Probably one of the bumpier boat trips I’ve been on, so be prepared
  • Half Moon Caye is well worth an explore – you’ll have an hour and a half, so plenty of time.  Head west along the beach and a few paths on the north side of the island (the one you land on) where you’ll see some gorgeous beaches, marine iguanas and a bird colony of Frigate Birds and Red Footed Boobies just before the far point
  • The dives we did on the day were:
    • #1 Blue Hole (40m)
    • #2 Half Moon Wall (18m) reef dive
    • #3 The Aquarium (18m) reef dive
  • Caye Caulker is a super chilled out little beach town with some great dives nearby.  Be sure to give yourself at least a day there for soaking up the wonderful atmosphere by the beach bars, or taking in some of the dives in particular with the Nurse Sharks.  For more details and tips – see the travel entry for Chilling Drinking Diving in Caye Caulker

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone