15 Dec Wonders of Nature: Diving the Great Blue Hole, Belice
Earth continues to show us her most precious places if we know where to look. As long as they will be preserved on our overcrowded planet, we are able to visit them. With love we present a series called Wonders of Nature. Special places in Central and South America that should be on anyones wish list to visit. As long as they are still here..
The Great Blue Hole
Off the coast of caribbean kick backer island Caye Caulker in Belize, you’ll find a big blue hole over 120 meters deep with a diameter of 300 meters. Discovered in 1971 by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, today it still is one of the must see wonders of nature. Caye Caulker is relatively easy to travel to. International flights serve Belize City, where you can take a water taxi to the island. After that, it is another 2 hours on open ocean to reach the Lighthouse Atol and the Great Blue Hole.
Besides traveling by boat from Belize City, another option is to travel from a town called Corozal close to the Mexican border. We arrived by local bus from Chetumal in Mexico to Corozal to pick up our lost bags at the trailerpark. Read more about the story how we lost our luggage in our first week [here]. We spend the night in a fabulous but simple Hotel Seabreeze, drinking Belikan beers with the Welsh owner. If you are ever in this region, spend a night at his place. You will soon find out why. It is awesome! The next morning we flew out with a small airplane to San Pedro, providing access to the Belize Cays. The flight is just as expensive as the 3 hour boat ride, so we opted for the plane. The last part of the trip to Caye Caulker is by boat, another 30 minutes or so before arriving at the pier.
“Slow man, I am gonna give you a speeding ticket for walking too fast!” shouts a local rastafari when we come by in a galop on our way to the hotel. The speed of walking (aka snail) is one of the things that distinguishes islanders from travelers. Logical of course, as Caye Caulkers climate does not allow for running. It seems like we have it in our genes: walking fast. Back home everyone walks fast. Like you have time to lose every step of the way. It is very difficult to purposely walk slow. Try it. You would want to overtake the people in front of you. It seems to be a bit far away for us in our second week of our new digital nomadz lives, but we keep practicing the art of slowing down. Life on the island is peaceful. No cars. Electrical golf carts bring you everywhere you need to go, if you don’t feel like walking. We traveled in the hurricane/ rainy season but the weather is great! Sometimes a bit of rain in the afternoon, but most of the hours in the day are full of sunshine. We came here to dive. Belize is known for its barrier reef that stretches from Mexico to Honduras. In particular visiting the Great Blue Hole is something we have long been waiting to do.
To pay a visit to the Great Blue Hole, the most rewarding way to do that is to dive. You can opt for snorkeling but due to the sheer depth of the hole, you won’t see much. The Great Blue Hole is an advanced dive, requiring an Advanced Open Water license or equivalent. The descent is beautiful and ends at a maximum depth of 42 meters, passing by enormous stalactites that grew over centuries and centuries. Because of the colder temperature in the hole, it is a favorite amongst a variety of shark. Common sight are the reeftip sharks. If you are lucky, you will see a school of hammerhead sharks floating above you with a beautiful rim of the hole against the reflection of the sun. It is a beautiful dive that gives you lots of adrenaline and wonder how this hole came to be.
After the Blue Hole dive we had the luxury to enjoy two more beautiful reef dives with lots of fish and great visibility in turquoise blue waters. The weather quickly deteriorated on the way back to the island of Caye Caulker. We almost froze in cold winds and harsh rains smashing the boat. Just dressed in a simple tshirt and swimsuit, we turned blue by the time we got there. A warm shower and a local beer at the Split, a great bar right at the end of the island where it splits in two. It is become our favorite place on Caye Caulker: meet new people and watch the brilliant sunset over the caribbean. What else you need?