What you need to know about diving Belize’s Great Blue Hole

Belize’s Great Blue Hole attracts thousands of visitors every year.  It is often found on Top 10 Dive lists, bucket lists, etc. due to its stunning formations and features.  While it is an experience you won’t soon forget, there is more to diving the Blue Hole than just a checkmark off your list.  This is a technical dive and does have its own set of requirements.  Read on as we share helpful information on this popular dive site.

Belize Blue Hole

The Blue Hole is about a 2-hour boat trip from Ambergris Caye, one way.  The journey can be longer if seas are rough.  Due to this distance, there is a minimum number of divers that must be on each trip in order for the excursion to happen on a given day.  The minimum number is usually 10-12 divers.  If there are not enough divers, the trip may be canceled.  Weather also plays a large role in the possibility of diving this site.  Rough seas can make the boat ride to Lighthouse Reef, where the Blue Hole is located, impossible.

Blue Hole

The dive is to 130’ with the dive being about 25 minutes due to the depth.  Divers must be very comfortable in their gear, have excellent buoyancy control and be able to equalize easily.  All of these skills are tested out prior to the Blue Hole day trip by doing a shallower dive with the dive master.  Ultimately, it is the dive master who makes the call as to whether each diver is a good candidate to dive the Blue Hole.  The dive master’s judgment is final and is always based on the safety of the individual and the group.

Diving Blue Hole

The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) recently released new Scuba Diving Standards.  According to the BTB, this document “Contains minimum requirements for tour operators, tour guides, boat captains and all other parties related to scuba diving. In addition, it addresses equipment, health and safety requirements, requirements for operation, management of emergencies, guest to guide ratios and requirements for boats/vessels used for scuba diving.”  All dive trips must follow the standards outlined by the BTB.

Blue Hole Corals

After the first stop at the Blue Hole, there are two other dive sites and a lunch stop on Half Moon Caye.  While weather and tide conditions will dictate the other two dive sites, common ones are the Half Moon Caye Wall and the Aquarium.  Both are teaming with marine life and often are highlights of the day’s diving, providing a great contrast to the stark landscape found at the Blue Hole.

Boat Blue Hole

The Blue Hole is one of the most well-known features of Belize, famous in its own right.  Many have found it to be a great addition to their dive plan while staying on Ambergris Caye.  It is unique and impressive and knowing the requirements of this dive beforehand can be a crucial factor in your enjoyment.

Maya Air plane
Photo credit by Maya Island Air.

But!  There is more than one way to see the Blue Hole.  Take to the skies with Maya Island Air on an aerial tour of the Blue Hole.  It’s the only way to see the iconic formation like you see in the photos, from above.  This can be a great pre-dive excursion, you’ll be itching to explore underwater after you’ve seen it from the air.  It’s also a terrific way to share the grandeur of the Blue Hole with friends or family that don’t dive.  The tour is typically scheduled in the afternoon when skies tend to be the clearest and is one-hour long.  It takes you over the Blue Hole, Turneffe Atoll, an ocean freighter wreck and the Lighthouse Reef.

Fly over Blue Hole
Photo Credit by Maya Island Air.

Coming in with the right expectations can make all the difference.  We hope that the information shared here does just that for you.  See you out there!