The Blue Hole located off the coast of Belize in Central America is the largest ocean sinkhole in the world, created by a collapsed underground cavern, hence giving the appearance of a dark blue circle amidst the turquoise sea. The Blue Hole measures 1,000 ft in diameter and 412 feet in depth. It is located approximately 60 miles east from Belize City and in March of 1996 it was declared a World Heritage Site and later declared a National Monument in February of 1999.
Although cruises and snorkeling boats circle the Blue Hole daily, the best way to see it is from the air. Only an aerial view does justice to the vast magnitude and deep colors that make this one of the wonders of the world.
Astrum Helicopters offers tours and adventures over the Blue Hole and other destinations in Belize. My adventure began once we boarded a private helicopter near Hopkins, a small fishing village. Most of their tours meet at the Cisco Base Heliport in Belize City, but hotel pick ups are also available. Starting at the 3 atolls in Belize which are part of the largest Barrier Reef system in the Western Hemisphere, stretching for more than 185 miles along the coast of Belize, we headed southeast of Belize City and enjoyed magnificent views of the blue-green coral reefs. Even from the height of the chopper, water underneath looked crystal clear as if we were snorkeling just above the surface. The view was simply breathtaking and photos don’t do enough justice!
We flew over Turneffe Islands, Island at Snake Pt. and the Northern Bogue, covering a few atolls, 200 mangrove covered cayas, and a diverse exotic aquatic life. We gently moved into the open tranquil Caribbean Sea under sunny skies, heading towards the Lighthouse Reef Atoll, beyond the barrier en route to the Great Blue Hole.
The Blue Hole soared under us surrounded by hard corals that borders it with only two small channels. The dazzling colors of the ocean ranged in every shade of blue. Our experienced pilot circled over the impressive phenomenon a few times, but this was one spectacle I couldn’t take my eyes off.
A smooth ride back took us over a few more islands surrounded by white sandy beach, over Belize City and to the airport. The hour and a half long tour is perhaps one of the most memorable experiences of my lifetime. If you visit Belize and have to pick only one thing to do, my recommendation is to get abroad Astrum Helicopters and tour the Great Blue Hole.