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 a checkmark off your list. This is a technical dive and it is important to know the Belize Blue Hole diving requirements. Read on as we share helpful information on this popular dive site.

Belize Blue Hole diving requirements

Blue Hole Diving Logistics

The Blue Hole is about a 2-hour boat trip from Ambergris Caye, one way. The journey can be longer if seas are rough. There is a minimum number of 10-12 divers that must be on each trip in order for the excursion to happen on a given day. 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, impossible.

Belize Blue Hole diving requirements

The Diving Skills Needed for the Blue Hole

The dive is to 130’ with a length of about 25 minutes due to the depth. You will need at least an Open Water or Advanced Open Water diving certification for this dive. Divers must be very comfortable in their gear, have excellent buoyancy control and be able to equalize easily. Good physical health is also required. Ahead of the Blue Hole excursion, divers practice these skills on a shallower dive with the divemaster. Read all about the best dive sites in Belize, here. Due to the Belize Blue Hole diving requirements, it is the divemaster who makes the call on 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.

Belize Blue Hole diving requirements

Choosing a Reputable Dive Shop

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. The first step in choosing your trip provider is to check that they are a certified tour operator with the BTB.

Belize Blue Hole diving requirements

Diving Belize's Great Blue Hole

Trips to the Blue Hole leave early and arrive at the first site after the two-hour boat ride to Lighthouse Reef. The Blue Hole includes a descent to 130' for about 25 minutes at depth. As the site is a sunken cenote, there is very little light and stalactite cave formations are present. Sharks are a common sight, with little other marine life due to the depth. 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 dictate the other two dive sites, common ones are the Half Moon Caye Wall and the Aquarium. Both are teeming 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.

Belize Blue Hole diving requirements

Maya Air plane
Photo credit by Maya Island Air.

Great Blue Hole Aerial Tour

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 from above, as shown in photos. 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 tours are in the afternoon when skies tend to be the clearest and are one-hour long. It takes you over the Blue Hole, Turneffe Atoll, an ocean freighter wreck, and the Lighthouse Reef. See the Belize Barrier Reef as you've never seen it before.

Fly over Blue Hole
Photo Credit by Maya Island Air.

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 a unique site, and knowing the Belize Blue Hole diving requirements can make for a more enjoyable trip. Coming in with the right expectations can make all the difference. We hope that the information shared here serves as a starting point for your own Great Blue Hole adventure. See you out there!