The variety of dive sites and sheltered conditions within the Lighthouse Atoll and the Half Moon Caye National Monument make this fabulous place much more than just the home of the Great Blue Hole.
There are four atolls outside the Indo-Pacific area, and three of those are found in Belize, the Lighthouse Reef Atoll (LHR) is considered the most mature of these three. It is 72 km (45 miles) from the Belize mainland and has some of the most pristine coral reefs found in the Caribbean.
She is 28 miles (45 km) long and varies in width from 2 to 6 miles (3 to 10km). Within this area are six coral cayes (islands) and two marine reserves.
The Lighthouse Reef Atoll is a protected marine reserve and together with seven other marine reserves, they make the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, (which is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System) and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. Two out of the seven marine reserves in Belize can be found within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll which are The Great Blue Hole and Half Moon Caye.
The other marine reserves in Belize are:
- Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve
- South Water Caye Marine Reserve
- Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve
- Laughing Bird Caye National Park
- Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve.
While there are hundreds of blue holes around the world in places like the Bahamas, Guam, Palau, the Red Sea and Australia, when someone says they want to dive the Blue Hole, it is the Great Blue Hole of Belize that people think of.
While it is not the deepest, the Great Blue Hole of Belize is the largest across and it fits the textbook definition of a blue hole perfectly. Good old Jacques Cousteau even called it one of the best dive sites in the world.
While not taking anything away from the great dives of the Blue Hole, the fact is that most divers come out to dive the site and by past other dive sites that are well worth the visit.
Famous Dive Sites Found in within the Lighthouse Reef Atoll
There are over sixty dive sites within the area of the LHR including a few shipwrecks. Of these sixty, there are fifteen considered “World Renowned” here are what may be considered the top three.
The Blue Hole:
Aerial photographs showing the dark blue circular hole surrounded by light blue water over the shallow reef and the circular fringing reef around it make this the most recognized dive site in the world.
The Blue Hole measures approximately 310 meters across (1,000 feet). The first 15 meters has a sandy slope before it drops mostly vertical to a depth of over 120 meters. The Blue Hole is a dream dive for deep technical divers. However, recreational divers can experience the dive too.
When you plan on diving here, and you should, it is best to prepare yourself and be certified as an AOWD and it helps to become certified as a Deep diver and Nitrox diver as well.
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This article is published by The Scuba Page, the online magazine for Scuba Dive lovers around the world. The Scuba Page is part of RUSHKULT : the online booking platform for adventure sports. Visit the RUSHKULT platform to book your next Scuba Dive training, guided trip and accommodation.