Categories
Destination Guides Top Travel Posts Travel

Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize

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.

One of the highlights of our dive trip: Lunch on a deserted island close to the Blue Hole of Belize
Beautiful spot to have a break between your dives…

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.

Working on my laptop with ocean view on Belize's Caye Caulker
Enjoying a cup of coffee in one of the island’s restaurants…

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

How to choose the right dive company for diving at the Blue Hole in Belize
‘Frenchie’s’ is a locally run business with a great crew and equipment.

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…

Our day trip to the Blue Hole started with a beautiful sunrise
You will be rewarded for getting up at 5am…

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.

Morning ride to the Blue Hole with the captain on our speed boat
Our Captain was smart enough to cover himself up against the wind of our speed boat…

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.

Diving the Big Hole of Belize part one
Exhausted and a bit tired, but absolutely happy after our first dive in the Blue Hole.

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.

Lunch break during the dive trip to the Blue Hole of Belize
Arriving in paradise…

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…

 

Lunchbreak on paradise island

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!!! ūüėÄ

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!

 

By Julia Jerg

Julia is the founder and chief editor of Jey Jetter, a site that showcases the option of working remotely and travel as much as you like. Julia is a former PR/marketing consultant who turned into a remote working social media manager, travel writer and public speaker living location independently since 2011. She has been to 86 countries on all 6 continents and lived in several different countries for more than six months. Her laptop is her office and the label 'digital nomad' fits best to describe her lifestyle. On this site, she writes about personal freedom, remote work and her passion for travelling.

8 replies on “Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize”

Thanks for your comment, Stephanie! Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience, but it’s really also a bit of luck in diving…Hopefully next time it’ll be better! And yes, if you get the chance, go and check out Belize, it’s amazing there! ūüėÄ

Hi Jey, glad you had a great time going to the blue depths of Belize’s best known attraction. While I did not scuba dive there, I nevertheless stayed on Caye Caulker and also Ambergris Caye – on the latter in Hostel La Vista. Reading your post I had the feeling you’re saying that this hostel as well as Pedro’s Inn are on Caye Caulker – however they are both in San Pedro. Maybe you could specify this in the text to prevent confusion. All the best wishes for the coming adventures! H

Hi my dear, thanks so much! Can I hire you as my proof reader!!!??? ūüėÄ Seriously, that was really helpful…I got them confused! Glad you made it safe back home and that you had a good time! Really sad that we didn’t get the chance to meet up, but hopefully this summer in Europe, we’ll be there from June onwards… Would be great to catch up! Speak soon, take care xx

Hey Susan, the water is really stunningly blue and crystal clear!! And you know what, I was not nervous, sharks are actually not so much interested in Scuba divers, it always amazes me how shy they are… We make too many bubbles and look probably weird with our tanks. ūüėÄ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *