This post was written by Sydney Zanella, the writer and creator of Watch Out Falling Coconuts. Be sure to check out her page on places such as Mexico, Belize and Thailand. Below she covers the amazing experience of flying over the Great Blue Hole in Belize, how to best do it and the cost.
This dark blue marine hole sinking right in the middle of the Lighthouse Reef is by far the Top 1 Must See in Belize. 70 km from the coast, the site was first explored by Jacques Cousteau in 1971 and have been an iconic diving spot ever since. Experiencing this natural beauty is fascinating and not only for advanced scuba divers, nowadays you can book a scenic flight over the hole that depart from the Belizean islands of Ambergris or Caye Caulker. When it comes to a trip of a lifetime, flying over the Great Blue Hole of Belize should definitely be on your bucket list!
Here is why…
WHAT IS THE GREAT BLUE HOLE?
Located in the Caribbean Sea, it is the largest underwater cave in the world and UNESCO heritage site protected by the Belize Barrier Reef. The incredible and massive hole has a circular shape of 318 meters with a underneath drop of 120 meters into the deep ocean. The mysterious phenomenon took place over 150 000 years ago, noticeable by his stalactites and stalagmites formations, the cavern was originally formed above sea levels and flooded over time after the glacial period. It is home to a variety of marine life and offers some of the most beautiful natural aerial views.
HOW TO BOOK YOUR MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE
Intrigued by this natural wonder? You can book a flying tour departing from San Pedro in Ambergris Caye or from the smaller island Caye Caulker. There are several airlines that fly over the hole on a regular schedule, here are some of the companies which you can book with:
I can only recommend Maya Air which is the Airline we flew with. The flight was for sure the highlight of our trip in Belize and probably the highlight of all the destinations we’ve been so far.
You can check the schedules and book your tour by clicking on the above link, tickets are priced at $215 US per person for a normal seat or $245 for the co-pilot experience, it is a cost but it worth every penny.
Booking months in advance is not needed, I wanted to wait until last minute to ensure the weather to be perfect. What a shame it would be to spend so much money and end up flying in bad conditions. I booked my tickets two days before departure and we were only 4 passengers in the plane.
The small air craft can seat up to 11 people with windows for each person to enjoy the magnificent views over the reef.
WHAT TO EXPECT WITH MAYA AIR
The flight duration to the unique site is one hour including landing and take off which are really quick, not like your usual flight journey. The island Airport of San Pedro is really small and there is no need to be there more than 30 minutes before departure for boarding.
We went on a clear and sunny day and the whole flight was really smooth, we were even surprised how stable the little plane was upon take off. The first view above San Pedro was amazing and it was just the beginning! Soon we could start noticing the turquoise blue shapes in the water and the Turneffe Atoll. Here we were, flying over the second largest Great Barrier Reef in the world.
After about 15 minutes in the air we heard the captain announcement, we were approaching the Great Blue Hole. The excitement was there, I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing the majestic hole for real, it was just unbelievable, the water around it was sparkling clear like a travel magazine.
The captain made several circles in high altitudes, three on each sides to ensure every passenger gets a great view and enough time to take the best pictures. We though that would be it but no, we started to go lower and lower and circled again a few times on each side very close to the sea level which was really impressive.
After a few loops we made our way back to San Pedro with more spectacular views and my lucky boyfriend even spotted three dolphins, what a magical time!
In one word: W O W !
Since we’ve seen the Blue Hole I can’t stop thinking and dreaming about it. Belize is an incredible country that will leave you mesmerised…