Belize’s Great Blue Hole: Inside Lighthouse Reef
Lighthouse Reef is 43 miles from Belize City. Inside this small atoll is a wonder that was ranked as one of “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth” by the Discovery Channel in 2012. . This is the Great Blue Hole, one of the most visited tourist sites in the country.
It is a giant marine sinkhole that is circular in shape, 1,043 feet in diameter and 407 feet deep. Scientists believe that it dates back over 10,000 years ago to the last glacial period. At that time, sea levels were much lower and it was a formed as limestone cave. As sea levels rose, the cave flooded. Today it’s an almost perfect circle filled with deeply sapphire water which contrasts with the surrounding turquoise waters. It’s part of the Belize Barrier Reef, which is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Nowadays this has become one of the top spots visited by recreational scuba divers who are drawn to its uniqueness and beauty. In the crystal clear waters they can hope to find schools of midnight parrotfish as well as Caribbean reef sharks and many other species. Due to its proximity to Ambergris Caye, there are many scuba companies in San Pedro that offer full day and half day trips to dive and snorkel the Great Blue Hole. That name was actually coined by the British diver and author Ned Middleton. As he explained in his book, “Ten Years Underwater”, during his 6 months living in Belize, he decided that this unique feature deserved as much recognition as the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
Despite how special and beautiful The Great Blue Hole is, the site was not well known outside of Central America until the great Jacques Cousteau bought his ship, the Calypso to investigate it in 1971. He charted its depths and declared it to be one of the world’s top five scuba spots. This seal of approval brought tourists flocking to dive the Great Blue Hole. Recently, Fabien Cousteau, his grandson and Sir Richard Branson filmed a two-hour special for the Discovery Channel titled Discover Live: Into the Blue Hole . Sir Richard called it an “eerily beautiful and magnificent” space.
As you can see, for a scuba diver, Ambergris Caye is one of the best places to live as it’s so close to the Belize Barrier Reef and the Great Blue Hole. It’s also a wonderful place to retire or to own a second home. If you are intrigued by the idea of living here, you should check out Salt Life Belize . It is the premier community on the island for people wanting a slice of paradise.