We decided not to skip the next destination, against many people’s advice. ‘Belize is too expensive for what it has to offer’, they said. But being a passionate Scuba Diver and stubborn on top of that, we went anyways. We simply couldn’t resist, and there was no way that my traveller soul would have ever rested in peace without having experienced one of the highlights of that place: diving the Blue Hole of Belize. To be fair, it is an extremely expensive country compared to its neighbours. You spend about double on most things. Coming from Mexico, it was sometimes a bit painful to have such a brutal increase. Here are our tips to help you turn your trip into an unforgettable memory.
Where to stay when diving the ‘Blue Hole’ of Belize
We opted for Caye Caulker because the larger island, Caye Ambergris, sounded too crowded, touristy and expensive for our taste. If you compare the costs of the dive trips, there actually is not a big difference between islands. Both Caye Ambergris and Caulker offer day-trips to the ‘Blue Hole’ for similar deals. Caye Caulker is a bit more laid back than it’s bigger sister Ambergris. There are no cars on the island, people sell their arts and handicrafts on the street, you hear music but you can also enjoy peaceful tranquility if you stay away from the small town centre.
There are not many budget accommodation options on the island: Yumas House Belize, Dirty Mcnasty’s Hostel and the Blue Wave Guesthouse. But these few options are likely to be booked. When we arrived, the hostels were all full and we had to stay in one of the mid-range hotels. Ouch! So, make sure you do your research well before your trip… Once you’ve decided to go, it’s easy to not regret it, either way it’s a fantastic island and connecting it with your dive at the Great Blue Hole will make it one trip you’ll never forget.
Choosing a Dive Company for your Trip to the Great Blue Hole of Belize
When you walk the streets of Caye Caulker, you get the impression that there are a LOT of dive companies on the island. But actually there are only three dive shops that take you onto a Day-trip to the ‘Blue Hole’: Belize Diving Services, Frenchie’s Diving Services and Big Fish Dive Centre. All the other small shops that try to sell you their spots, refer you later on to one of these three companies. So, if you don’t want pay a commission on top of the regular price and see directly who you are going with, go straight to one of the above.
It all starts with a beautiful sunrise…
Yes, it is painful and really way too early for being on a paradise island in holiday mood. But right from the start, your efforts will pay off. We met at 5:30am at Frenchie’s Dive shop in order to get ready to hop on the boat. They gave us a light breakfast and coffee to wake up and had us double-check our gear that we tried on the day before. At 6am we were on the ocean towards the Blue Hole. It is around 110km away on the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, which means a 2 hour boat ride from Caye Caulker. Enough time to enjoy the view and get even more excited for the upcoming adventure.
The first Dive at the Blue Hole
I lost my underwater camera back on my dive trip in Cancun. So, poor us, we’ll have the duty to memorise the underwater world till the end of our days. To break it down, here is how the dive at the Blue Hole was: it is a deep dive where we went down to 40 metres. Dropping into the deep while there is nothing but darkness below you is definitely one of the best parts of this dive. Once you hit 40 metres, you’re level with caves and stalagmites on your left. To your right, you see dark blue and sometimes a shark swimming past. It’s an incredible feeling to imagine that you are inside an almost perfect circular cave with 124 metres of depth and a diameter of 305 metres.
Quickly after that amazing 35-minute dive, the captain took us to a small island about 20 minutes from the Blue Hole. The people on the boat who did not go diving and just came to go snorkelling got off the boat and waited while we went on our second dive at the ‘Half Moon Wall’. This dive and also the third dive at the ‘Aquarium’ are very different to the first one at the Blue Hole. We saw a lot more fish and coral life on these last two dives, but compared with the Blue Hole they are just ‘normal’ dives you could find in other places of the world. Not that I did not like them, as I actually prefer coral reefs over caves and love seeing fish/turtles/sharks etc but I am glad to see what it’s like to dive in the Blue Hole.
With only 12 people on board and a very laid-back crew, we had a great time. But the setting they chose for our lunch break helped to give this day-trip a five star rating (if I could give one). Spending our surface time between dive number two and three on a little island close to the Lighthouse Atoll was the perfect combination of that magical dive in the Blue Hole. Here are some pictures that speak for themselves…
Dolphins surprised us on our way back to Caye Caulker
Sometimes life is full of surprises and gives you something great and unexpected just when you thought it couldn’t get any better. I was dozing away after three exciting dives and being softly rocked by the boat, when I heard the captain scream: DOLPHINS!!! Everyone jumped up and it’s the classical reaction that all want to see what’s on the side of the boat where everyone is staring. It’s funny that gravity was with us in that moment, but I can’t blame my fellow passengers, it was really amazing to be greeted by at 50 dolphins who were jumping joyfully out of the water next to us…A perfect end to a perfect day!!! 😀
Have you been diving at the Great Blue Hole? What do you think, is it worth going??? Thanks ahead for sharing, liking and your comments!