Belize, a country just off the eastern coast of Central America, has a lot to boast about. From the Caribbean Sea shorelines, dense jungles, low-lying islands, and Mayan ruins, Belize is an incredible tourist destination.
What makes this country even more unique is that it’s home to the one and only Great Blue Hole, a giant marine sinkhole just off the coast. Located in the center of the Lighthouse Reef, the hole is 1,042 feet wide, 407 feet deep, and an amazing scuba diving location. What’s more fascinating is that The Great Blue hole is a product of glacial events that can be traced back to more than 150,000 years ago.
A Caribbean Treasure
Made famous by Jacques Cousteau in 1971, The Great Blue Hole is home to a dazzling array of colored waters, ranging from peacock blue, aquamarine, and turquoise. Cousteau himself was so astonished by its beauty he named The Great Blue Hole one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world.
The Great Blue Hole, considered to be the Earth’s largest and most magnificent marine sinkhole, is one part of the larger Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System. The reef system has been dubbed a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Deep within The Great Blue Hole, stalactites have formed over several millennia and are found within remarkable underwater caves. However, these caves weren’t always under water. Analysis from the stalactites shows that they were originally formed above the ocean at many different times. Stalactite formations took place 153,000; 66,000; 60,000; and 15,000 years ago, creating an amazingly beautiful world wonder.
The stalactites in The Great Blue Hole reveal something else phenomenal. Some of the formations were discovered to be consistently off-vertical by 5 degrees. This tilt indicates the stalactites were formed sometime before the Earth experienced a geological shift and the underlying plateau had been titled.
In layman’s terms, this means that not only had the sea level risen above The Great Blue Hole, but the land below the sea had also shifted, creating an incredibly unique underwater masterpiece.
A Scuba Diver’s Dream
Many tourists are drawn to Belize and The Great Blue Hole because of their unparalleled scuba diving opportunities. Home to tropical species such as Midnight Parrotfish, Caribbean reef sharks, butterfly fish, Hammerhead sharks, and sea turtles, exploring the underwater caves of The Great Blue Hole is a one-of-a-kind experience.
However, if you’re interested in diving into The Great Blue Hole, make sure you take the necessary precautions. Not everyone can make their way into the hole. In order to qualify, divers must have logged more than 24 dives, proving they possess more than beginner-level diving skills.
The Great Blue Hole has also been a destination for skydivers. Jumpers in tandem or flying solo have chosen the hole as their landing destination after flying through the air for 12,000 feet.
While pictures of The Great Blue Hole are awe-spiring, see this world wonder for yourself to fully grasp all its beauty.