Best Place to Scuba Dive: the Great Blue
There are many magnificent dive
sites on the planet, just waiting to be explored. From Australia's Great
Barrier Reef to Gansbaai in South Africa, from Maaya Thila in the Maldives to
the Straits of Gubal in Egypt, divers can experience an amazing variety of
underwater adventures. However, if veteran scuba divers had to pick just one
country for a dive vacation, the choice would be clear: Belize. This Central
American jewel has a range of experiences, including the spectacular Great Blue Hole.
The Belize Advantage
Unlike many other diving
destinations, Belize is close to home for Canadians and Americans; the country
is located just south of Mexico. A visa isn't required for tourists and
travelling time is very short from most North American cities, perhaps just
long enough to watch an in-flight movie!
Belize was once a British
colony and its official language is English, which most residents speak
fluently. Tourism is one of the country's major industries and ecotourism is
well established. The fact that Belizeans are known for their warmth and
easygoing hospitality is an added bonus for tourists. The unit of money is the
Belizean dollar, but American dollars are widely accepted. There are also many
types of food available, from local rice and bean dishes to fine dining, with a
wide range of familiar and exotic foods in between. Accommodation is available
for every budget, including economy hotels and exclusive island resorts. Since
diving is a big part of the tourist trade, diving packages of all types abound.
The Great Blue Hole
Belize's coastline is the
world's second-largest barrier reef boasting 185 miles of
type of dive experience can be found in Belize, from gently sloping ocean floor
dives for beginners to the holy grail of scuba diving: the Great Blue Hole.
Consistently named as one of
the top dive sites of all time, the Great Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef is the
world's biggest limestone sinkhole. Perfectly circular, approximately 1000 feet
wide, and 412 feet deep, the Great Blue Hole can be seen from space. Charles
Darwin first made the site famous and later Jacques Cousteau and his Calypso crew did much to popularize the
spot. This pupil in the turquoise eye of the ocean offers advanced divers a once-in-a-lifetime
Diving the Great Blue Hole is usually
a day trip beginning early in the morning and lasting about 12 hours, during
which you will make three dives. The destination is a three-hour boat ride from
Divers will find coral only at
the top of the hole, as lack of sunlight prevents coral growth further down.
Fish are not plentiful for the same reason. However, at about 130 feet, bull,
blacktip, and reef sharks are sighted frequently.
A sandy ledge slopes from near
the surface down to about 50 feet. From there it's straight down a vertical
wall to about 110 feet, and into the cave, where huge stalagmites and
stalactites begin to appear. These formations are thousands of years old,
dating back to the last ice age. The atmosphere has been likened to that of a
If you are a diving enthusiast,
you will want to experience the magic of the Great Blue Hole. Book your Belize
scuba dive vacation today!