Skydiving above the Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is a natural wonder than stands on its own. One of the foremost experts of marine life, aquatics and the life of the sea, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, came to Belize on his vessel, the Calypso in 1971, and he mapped  the Blue Hole and made various studies and observations of this natural landmark. Jacques Cousteau who had been around the world many times over, consequently named the Great Blue Hole, as one of the Top Ten Diving Sites In The Whole World.

The Great Blue Hole, also known as, Belize Blue Hole, is located about 43 miles (70 km) from the mainland, amidst the low waters of the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, toward the middle of the barrier reef that spans the entire length of the country of Belize. A trip to the great blue hole is an experience you will never forget. The water in Belize is beautiful and when you come onto land the Belizean rain forest is a natural garden with rivers, lagoons, caves, and to top it off the grand, Mayan ruins. Everyday, Belizean tour guides take adventurous tourists and nature lovers to witness the natural and awesome beauty of the Belize Barrier Reef, the atolls, the Blue Hole, the coral reefs and the cayes.

There is diving, and then, there is Diving! Many can say they dived the Great Blue Hole but only a few can say, I sky dived into the Blue Hole. I found this video by video-photographer, Bruno Brokken of folks flying like fearless birds over the Great Blue Hole. It’s awesome.

For more info about skydiving into the blue hole contact: Rich Grimm tsunamiskydivers@gmail.com or visit skydivebelize.com

Bruno Brokken’s website
USGS notes on The Great Blue Hole of Belize

Slider

Slider1

Fishing In Belize

Fishing In Belize

Surrounded by Guatemala on the west and south, Mexico on the north and The Caribbean Sea on the east Belize, the second smallest country of Central America, attracts thousands of tourists every year who come here in search of adventure. Most of the 240 miles coastline is protected and offers the best to fishermen and adventure seekers. The reef and coastal flats are considered to be some of the best sport fishing spots of the western hemisphere. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest reef in the world. It houses 70 coral species and 500 species of fish.

If you are looking out for an enchanting unique vacation, Belize is the right place for you. With fast flowing rivers, gorgeous limestone caves, thick rain forests, surging waterfalls, magical Maya ruins, fishing, snorkeling and diving spots and long stretches of white sand beaches you have got a lot to discover in this paradise.

Fishing in Belize is an extraordinary experience for those who love to relax while experiencing the nature’s beauty. If you are planning to go fishing in Belize during your vacation there are a few things you need to know.

License

As per the Belizean law, tourists and nonresidents must apply and own a fishing license before fishing in Belizean waters. Licenses are available for a day, a week or a month. If you just want to see what it’s like to go fishing, you can apply for a license that allows you to fish for a day. If you want to make it a value buy, apply for a weekly or monthly license. Remember that it is mandatory to hold a license; the consequences of not having one will burn a hole in your pocket. You will have to shell out $500 in fines or spend 6 months in the prison. So you see how it can spoil your vacation.

Reefs- a Hot Destination for Fishermen

The reefs of Belize are one of the most sought after destinations for the local fishermen and the residents. The fishes found in these reefs are rainbow runners, tarpon, barracuda, triggerfish, grouper, cobia and bonefish. If you wish to get a glimpse of bigger game fishes, go beyond the reefs. Bigger fish, such as marlin, blue / black-fin tuna, pompano, bonito, albacore, mackerel, sailfish and wahoo thrive in the deep waters of these reefs and hence, you need to venture into the depths of the reefs. Popular fishing spots in these reefs are Glover’s reef, Turneffe Islands, and Lighthouse Atolls.

Fly Fishing

More than 200 miles of the Caribbean coast are perfect for fly fishing. You get to fish snook, permit, bonefish and tarpon on this stretch. Though the license allows you to catch fish, you must release permit, bonefish and tarpon immediately after catching them without causing them harm in any way. This is a mandatory requirement as per the catch-and-release laws of the country.

Catch-and-release Law

Fishing is no doubt a very interesting hobby for the tourists who visit Belize. Your vacation is incomplete if you do not go fishing in Belize. However, do not dream of taking the catch from your fishing adventures back home, as the law does not permit you to do so. You must release tarpon, bonefish and permit immediately after you catch them. This law is enforced in order to protect these species from becoming extinct.

The Great Blue Hole

Do not forget to include a visit to the Great Blue Hole in your vacations. It is one of the most praised natural wonders existing on earth. This is a large sea-hole; probably the largest in the world. It is about 300 meters wide and 125 meters deep. The Great Blue Hole was created about 65,000 years ago due to an increase in the sea level. It is almost circular in shape. It attracts many scuba divers who are on the lookout for rare sea species.

Best Time

Throughout the year, you can find a variety of species along the reef, the best time for fishing in Belize is from May to July. the sun is out for many hours, and the cold fronts stop passing through local waters during these months. If you have a guide to assist you, he or she will tell you about the species found during those months and how to enjoy a better fishing experience.

If you are planning on going fishing in Belize, you can either bring your own fishing equipment or rent it. If you are staying in a hotel or an inn, you might be able to get fishing equipment from it or have them arrange for you to get some. For assistance on the water, you can hire a fishing guide who is trained, licensed and aware of the government’s policies. You can also book vacations to Belize that include fishing and other sport options online or through travel agents.

Belize Barrier Reef

The Barrier reef of Belize is one of the most spectacular in the world, with it being the longest in the Western hemisphere and the second longest in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The whole reef is a staggering one hundred and eighty miles in length and the reef runs along Central America. The reef can be enjoyed in many ways; this includes diving in the great blue hole, fishing or just sight-seeing. Whatever you choose to do the experience will not leave you disappointed because the region is one of sheer beauty. The reef itself need two things to help it survive, it requires solar energy and chemical nutrients. Nutrients flow into the sea from plant and animals from nearby rivers and creeks, the nutrients are then broken down into chemical nutrients by bacteria and this enables the reef to thrive and grow.

The Barrier Reef of Belize

The Belize barrier reef has many features; these include barrier reefs, the great blue hole, fringing reefs, Mangrove cays, sand cays, lagoons and estuaries and this makes it even more so spectacular. The reef has a trio of coral atolls which are the Glovers reef, the Lighthouse reef, and the Turneffe Islands. The coral atolls are so special because they are so uncommon outside the Pacific Ocean and this is why the Belize government and people of Belize strive to conserve the Barrier reef of Belize.

One of the most amazing phenomenon’s in the Belize barrier reef is the great blue hole and this is truly a spectacular sight. Many people in Belize believed that the great blue hole should have been one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The barrier reef has been in the world heritage system since 1996 and in 2006 it was listed in the world heritage site of in- danger. The great blue hole is situated around sixty miles from the mainland and the rising of this great blue hole can be traced back a staggering 15,000 years to an early ice age. The great blue hole is a circular sinkhole in the limestone, inside the overall depth of the water is 410 feet deep and the circle is around a quarter of a mile. If you are visiting this barrier reef as a diver then this dive would be top of the list.

From 300 BCE to 900CE the Mayan community would fish in the reef and they traded near it. In 1842 Charles Darwin said it was the most remarkable reef in the West Indies, since this its popularity has grown, many people from all over the world visit it and will surely continue to do so. The lengths of unspoilt land are spectacular and although the reef is on the world heritage site in- danger list the government and people do much to conserve the Great Barrier Reef.

The barrier reef of Belize is home to many different plants and species and amazingly there are sixty different species of coral. There are in excess of five hundred species of fish and the reef is home to a plethora of spectacular sea life. These can include whale sharks, dolphins, seahorses, crabs, starfish, manatees, turtles and many species of birds; you may even see the American crocodile. The barrier reef is home to many endangered species so preserving these is very important. The spectacular whale shark can be seen but they are more likely to be spotted during their season which runs from April through to June; even then you may not see one as they tend to feed at night. Other shark species can be spotted and they include Nurse Sharks, Hammerheads and even Oceanic White Tip sharks.

The barrier reef of Belize and the great blue hole is such a popular tourist destination but unfortunately it is being affected by constant human visitation. The Coral life is hugely affected simply because people want to pick them which is prohibited or divers stand on them by accident. Environmental factors also play a part and scientists believe that due to the rise in water temperature the corals have experienced what is known as bleaching. This causes the corals to turn white and eventually the coral dies. Although this is still not clear the global climate does play a major factor in conservation on the barrier reef in Belize.

The Great Blue Hole In Belize

The Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole is a name that ignites much intrigue. The majority of the world’s population has never heard of the great blue hole before. Located approximately forty miles from Belize City, this geographical landmark is part of the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. The blue hole is a popular diving site which is actually a submarine sinkhole.

This sinkhole has an impressive depth of 410 feet. Over the course of time, water levels are prone to change, as with any natural body of water. Natural sedimentation is a big part of this change. Of course, it will take years for a remarkable difference in depth to occur. Currently, different depth measurements are usually arrived at due to human error.

Scuba divers enjoy this spot as it offers crystal clear water as well as variation of aquatic life. Several types of sharks frequent this location, including Caribbean Reef sharks and Nurse sharks. Jacques Cousteau, the television personality, visited in 1971 to chart the depths and admire the location himself.

In 1997 the Great Blue Hole of Belize became a World Heritage site. This natural wonder is protected by the Belize Audoban Society and is also a Belize National Monument. Locals believe it should be included as one of the seven wonders of the world. Contrary to many oceans and bays, the bottom of the hole is not home to bottom dwellers. The presence of hydrogen sulfide prevents creatures from making the floor their home.

The Great Blue Hole Of Belize measures 984 feet across; the world’s largest natural formation of this type. It was originally formed many years ago during the Ice Age. Man can not duplicate it’s intricacy. Trying to duplicate such a natural formation, creating a replica of sorts, would fall short. This is something people need to travel to themselves in order to fully understand the beauty and allure.

The Great Blue Hole Of Belize is a travel destination for many scuba-divers. It offers wonderful scenery and excellent swimming conditions. This is but one of many breathtaking sites in the world. Outside of being physically pleasing to the eye, there is also some history attached to this sinkhole.

Located in the middle of Lighthouse Reef Atoll, The Great Blue Hole Of Belize was originally formed when sea levels were much lower. It was actually part of a cave system. The caves were flooded with water and therefore formed The Great Blue Hole Of Belize. Historians agree that this area once acted as a fishing community for the Mayan’s long ago.

Human diet was considerably different when the Mayan’s inhabited the area. Today people have the luxury of visiting on technologically advanced boats with the comfort of modern-day foods. It is a true example of the present meeting the past when viewed from a historical aspect.

Under-water cameras are able to capture amazing imagery. This makes it possible for scientists, students, and admirers to learn more about this amazing natural geographical formation. Various photographs of the exterior are available through many resources for individuals who are only able to admire The Great Blue Hole Of Belize from afar.

Deep-sea adventures can be a thrilling adventure. Not everyone is a great swimmer and fewer still are divers. The vast majority of the population will only come to know this area through photographs, books, or Internet sites. People who are fortunate enough to visit this location in person always leave with a lasting memory and a story or two to share with friends.

The Great Blue Hole Of Belize is something of great importance to many people. However, not everyone knows about it. People who live quite a distance away are not focused on it and therefore it’s meaning can diminish. The same can be said for all natural wonders.

The blue hole of Belize is generally not a place young children would appreciate. Young adults and older adults stare in awe. It is very easy to become caught up in daily routines, placing importance on insignificant things. When a day-trip or small vacation is planned for The Great Hole Of Belize, annoyances of daily life melt away. There are many beautiful landscapes the world-over; however, The Great Blue Hole Of Belize tops the list for locals and divers.

Scuba Diving in Belize

Scuba Diving in Belize

Scuba diving is a popular form of diving whereby the diver carries their own breathing apparatus in order to dive deep. This sport has become more popular and it has progressed over the years, nowadays this type of diving allows the scuba diver freedom to explore the ocean at their leisure. There are many beautiful places throughout the world where one can scuba dive and one of the most popular places in Belize is the Great Blue Hole, this can only be described as a magnificent phenomenon. Many have enjoyed Scuba Diving in Belize.

Belize is one of the smallest countries in Central America; the Belize barrier reef is so popular that it comes a close second to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. There are so many different reef types in Belize and all are exciting places to explore, the barrier reef meanders over one hundred and eighty five miles, it lies sixteen miles from the mainland and less than a mile offshore from Ambergris Caye.

There are so many places to go scuba diving in Belize. Divers are inspired by the unspoilt surroundings and the captivating reefs. Most sites are easy to access and many are just a short boat ride from the shore. Although now a little overcrowded the main place to scuba dive is the Hol Chan marine reserve, here you can expect to see schools of stingray and nurse sharks. Scuba diving is very popular in this area and there are many scheduled dives throughout the day and night. Conservation is an important concern to the government and the residents, hence no fishing is allowed and the coral cannot be removed. The region has great preservation laws and this is important, diving is enhanced as there is simply so much sea life to view. Scuba divers can expect to dive from forty to one hundred feet deep.

There are many great places to go Scuba Diving In Belize. Without a doubt one of best places to scuba dive in Belize is the Great Blue Hole which can be located at lighthouse reef which is approximately sixty miles from the mainland. Although it is further to travel there are many daily boat trips and The Great Blue Hole is definitely one area not to be missed. The area is spectacular and the large sinkhole that lies in the centre of the reef spans in excess of a quarter of a mile wide. The great blue hole is four hundred and ten feet deep and the place is named so because of the dark blue water that swirls deep inside. Many scuba divers refer to the area as` Blue Holes` and it is thought that it formed many years ago as part of a cave system when the sea levels were much lower.

If you are looking to spot a magnificent whale shark then you may consider visiting Gladden Spit which is in Southern Belize. Sightings of the whale shark are very common there, especially from late March through until June. This is a highly conserved area that is visited by scuba divers and those who love natural beauty and sea life, diving and snorkeling is also highly regulated within the region. Boat trips are limited to specific times of day and the amount of boats allowed in the area at any one time are also limited. Diving is restricted in this area but these waters are home to the magnificent whale shark.

No one should pass up on the opportunity of Scuba diving in Belize. If diving is your passion then there are so many reefs and sights to visit. The area consists of unspoilt land that affords spectacular vistas and the region is well conserved by the people and government of Belize. Scuba divers will find that the water temperature and visibility is good all year round. A diving experience at the great blue hole is one that will never be forgotten; expect to see many different species of fish as well as an array of coral. Sharks inhabit the waters and visitors can expect to see the whale shark, the Hammerhead shark, the Caribbean reef shark and at certain times of the year the Oceanic White Tip shark can be seen, in addition to this divers may see Stingray, Barracuda, Manta Ray and the Spotted Eagle Ray.

Belize A Perfect Vacation Destination.

Why Is Belize A Perfect Vacation Destination?

Anyone who has visited this small Central American destination will be able to answer the question of why is Belize a perfect vacation destination? For such a small country, there is plenty to see and do, and Belize boasts some of the world’s best diving spots, friendly and welcoming people and some of the most spectacular Mayan ruins on the Yucatan peninsula. In addition, Belize is one of the safest and most stable of the Central American countries, English is widely spoken and the local cuisine is delicious – a blend of Caribbean, Spanish and African influences, with an emphasis on fresh seafood.

The country is also easy to reach from just about anywhere in the US. There are direct flights from several cities, including Miami, Houston, Atlanta and Dallas; flying time from Miami is just two hours. Although you could spend weeks enjoying the range of outdoor activities available in Belize, you can also sample the country as part of a cruise. Over a million cruise ship passengers disembark at Belize City every year, to enjoy a variety of excursions from the capital. The country’s climate is similar to that of southern Florida and the warm winter months provide a great excuse to escape from the cold American winter.

Belize has become one of the world’s major destinations for diving and snorkeling, and many divers spend their time around the Belize Barrier Reef; only the Great Barrier Reef in Australia is larger. However, there are plenty of other exciting places to explore the ocean, which appeal to experts and beginners alike. As the name suggests, Shark-Ray Alley is one of the best places to see sharks and stingrays, while Gladden Spit is the perfect place to see whale sharks, which feed and gather close to the surface. Ambergris Caye is also a popular spot for diving and relaxing on the beach, although the area also has some of the best nightlife and bars in Belize.

Many divers will tell you that the best diving spot is the Great Blue Hole, a huge natural sinkhole located about 60 miles off the coast. If you dive here, you can expect to see various species of sharks and tropical fish, as well as enjoy the beautiful coral formations and the crystal clear waters. The hole, which was formed thousands of years ago during the last ice age, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and divers can enjoy it at their own pace, or join one of the many dive excursions that take in the Great Blue Hole.

However, Belize offers much more for lovers of the outdoors than just diving, and the country is the perfect vacation destination for anyone wanting to enjoy horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, bird watching, sailing and exploring the country’s network of caves. Many US tour operators offer organized adventure tours, which are a convenient and affordable way to enjoy everything Belize has to offer. Most of these tours have the advantage of allowing you to travel with like minded people in small groups, and benefit from the advice of an expert tour guide. For anyone concerned about the environment, Belize is a well known eco-tourism destination, and nature-friendly lodges offer an opportunity to get away from it all and enjoy wildlife and bird watching.

Centuries ago, the Mayans occupied this corner of the Yucatan Peninsula and left behind some impressive monuments. Altun Ha is easy to reach from the capital, Belize City and features two large central squares, and dozens of tombs and temples, many of which are still being excavated. Caracol is the largest Mayan site in the country and is the site of over 100 tombs, as well as the country’s tallest man made structure, the main pyramid standing almost 140 feet high. Lamanai is considered to be one of the most picturesque of the ruins, and features three large and distinctive pyramids. You can easily visit the ruins on your own, or as part of an organized tour.

Spectacular diving, Mayan ruins, a wide variety of outdoor activities, great beaches and delicious food, and a safe and welcoming country; it is easy to answer the question of why is Belize a perfect vacation destination?

Photos

Photos of the Great Blue Hole