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In Memory of:

Ms. Marilyn Bull

Co Founder of the Belize Independence Project. Leaving a lifetime of sharing and caring.

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Stann Creek District

Placencia

Dangriga

Tobacco Caye

Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary & Jaguar Reserve

Belize Tourism

The Great Blue Hole

Lamanai

St. John's Cathedral,
Belize City

Belize District

Cayo District

Corozal District

Orange Walk District

Toledo District


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The Great Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef, BelizeThe Great Blue Hole is a large underwater sinkhole off the coast of Belize. It lies near the center of Lighthouse Reef, a small atoll 43 mi from the mainland and Belize City. The hole is circular in shape, over 984 ft across and metres 407 ft deep. It has formed during several episodes of Quaternary glaciation when sea levels were much lower.

This site was made famous by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who declared it one of the top ten scuba diving sites in the world. In 1971, he brought his ship, the Calypso, to the hole to chart its depths. Investigations by this expedition confirmed the hole's origin as typical karst limestone formations, formed before rises in sea level in at least four stages, leaving ledges at depths of 69, 161 and 299 ft. Stalactites were retrieved from submerged caves, confirming their previous formation above sea level. Some of these stalactites were also off-vertical by 5° in a consistent orientation, thus indicating that there had also been some past geological shift and tilting of the underlying plateau, followed by a long period in the current plane.

This is a popular spot amongst recreational scuba divers, who are lured by the opportunity to dive in crystal-clear water and meet several species of fish, including giant groupers, nurse sharks and several types of reef sharks such as the Caribbean reef shark and the Blacktip shark. Other species of sharks, like the bull shark and hammerheads, have been reported there, but are not regular sightings. Usually, dive trips to the Great Blue Hole are full-day trips, which include one dive in the Blue Hole and two further dives in nearby reefs. Recently diving is also offered from the island Long Caye in the Lighthouse Reef only a couple of miles away from the Great Blue Hole.