San Pedro, Belize: Your Dream Island

I fell in love with San Pedro

Warm wind carried on the sea, he called to me

Te dijo te amo

I prayed that the days would last

They went so fast…

If you’ve ever heard Madonna’s song “La Isla Bonita”, you know that Belize’s San Pedro Island holds the power to bewitch those who visit it to the point where they never wish to leave.

Perhaps you’ve heard the familiar chorus many times, but you didn’t realize that Madonna’s “pretty island” is actually a really place. What’s more– it’s worth a visit! (or two…)

Read on to find out just what makes this lovely island so special and song-worthy:

san pedro belize

It truly is “wild and free”

As Madonna’s lyrics suggest, San Pedro is a tropical paradise where visitors go to explore the wild untouched Caribbean reefs and escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

It has the white sandy beaches you’ve often seen in magazines (or in your dreams), and that “island breeze” that makes the palm trees sway as lazy ocean waves roll ashore.

Tropical the island breeze

All of nature wild and free

This is where I long to be

La isla bonita…

There’s plenty to do there!

This dream island has no shortage of amazing activities to enjoy with your family and friends (or even by yourself!) Here’s a list of some of the top things to do in San Pedro, Belize:

1. Visit the Great Blue Hole

This should be on the top of your list of things to do in San Pedro, Belize.  This well-known and incredibly gorgeous sinkhole was made famous by Jacques Cousteau in the 1970s.

You can snorkel in the coral reef around the Great Blue Hole’s rim, or take a deep dive in its navy-blue depths. However, this diving spot is best enjoyed by experienced divers, due to the underwater cave’s depth and complexity.

Taking a boat out to the Great Blue Hole isn’t the only way to catch a glimpse of its beauty, however. Flying overhead is arguably the best way to see it, since a bird’s-eye view will allow you to see its nearly perfect circular shape, and the contrast of its dark blue hue with the surrounding turquoise Caribbean Sea.

You can book a helicopter, plane, or even a hot-air balloon tour to see Belize’s Great Blue Hole from the air. 

2. Snorkel in Hol Chan Marine Reserve

The Hol Chan Marine Reserve is part of the Belize Barrier Reef, which is one of the world’s largest barrier reefs. In fact, it’s second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Check out Shark Ray Alley to catch a glimpse of huge sea turtles, nurse sharks and giant stingrays. This is one snorkeling experience you’ll never forget.

You’ll also see plenty of colorful coral, but remember– it’s for admiring, not touching! (That goes for all marine life as well). Few sites in the world are as replete with coral as Belize’s Barrier Reef, so it’s incredibly important to protect it.

The Caribbean is lucky to be host to some of the world’s most beautiful scuba diving and snorkeling sites. In fact, Bonaire, a little-known island, is famous for its beautiful snorkeling havens.

3. Bask on Secret Beach

Ok, the secret is out! You can find one of the best beaches in the Caribbean right here on San Pedro, Belize. In fact, Secret Beach looks like a vision from a dream: soft, white sand, crystal-clear blue water, and tranquil waters. It’s the perfect place for a calm swim.

Stretch out your beach towel and bask on this now not-so-secret beach in the morning, if you want to have it all to yourself.

People say you can even spot Leonardo DiCaprio’s private island from Secret Beach. There’s no reason to be jealous, though– you can rent your very own private island  off the coast of Belize, too!

san pedro belize

4. Book a Catamaran and cruise through the reef

Charter your own private boat, or grab a spot with a group. Either way, this is one of the best ways to enjoy Belize’s Barrier Reef. Plenty of tours are available from San Pedro island.

As you sail away and feel the ocean breezes cool your cheeks under the blazing sun, you’ll realize that San Pedro, Belize is truly where you long to be!

5. Explore amazing Mayan ruins

The Yucatan Peninsula may have the monopoly on quantity of Mayan ruins, but San Pedro, Belize has one of the most fascinating sites. The Marco Gonzalez archaeological site offers some unspoiled, untouched, and still unexplored areas. 

In fact, you may even catch a glimpse of archeologists unearthing new finds in their ongoing archeological digs, since the site is still being studied.

Although there aren’t any towering pyramids, there are certain things in Marco Gonzalez that you won’t find in most Mayan ruin sites: shards of ancient pottery, conch shells, and other artifacts. Since the site is around 2,000 years old, the fact that so many findings are so well-preserved is absolutely amazing.

san pedro belize

6. Visit the Belizean Arts Gallery

The Belizean Arts Gallery on Barrier Reef Drive in San Pedro, Belize is both a museum and art gallery featuring handicrafts, beaded items, and fine art by local artists. It’s the perfect place to find a souvenir to take home with you. They sell an eclectic assortment of purses, paintings, wooden masks, blankets, jewelry, and even carvings in black stone.

This is not your run-of-the-mill tourist trap stocked with plastic baubles from China. At the Belizean Arts Gallery, you’ll find gifts for loved ones (and yourself!) that you’ll truly cherish for years to come!

san pedro belize

San Pedro, Belize: Make your dream a reality

Don’t limit your knowledge of San Pedro to a catchy song and a few informative articles. This island is more than worth a trip, and won’t be easily forgotten.

Make your dream a reality by visiting Belize and staying in a beachfront apartment or private villa. Skip the overbooked hotels and find a secret place where you can experience Belize the way it was meant to be: wild and free.

Category : Experience
Tags : #Belize, #BelizeActivities, #GreatBlueHole, #LaIslaBonita, #MadonnaLaIslaBonita, #SanPedro, #SanPedroIsland, #WhatToDoInSanPedroBelize

Originally posted on : Keycaribe Magazine
Source link : San Pedro, Belize: Your Dream Island

All About the Great Blue Hole of Belize

Named the largest sea hole in the entire world, the Belize Blue Hole, or the Great Blue Hole as it is often called, is a natural attraction that you simply must see to believe. 

What secrets is the Great Blue Hole hiding within its mysterious navy blue depths? Let’s do a “deep-dive” into all the facts about this natural wonder in beautiful Belize.

What is the Great Blue Hole?

This incredible anomaly is actually classified as a giant marine sinkhole.  Scientists believe it was formed during the Quaternary glaciation, also known as the Quaternary Ice Age, between 153,000 to 15,000 years ago. During this time, sea levels were much lower than they are today.

How was the Great Blue Hole formed?

Essentially, the hole is a massive cave, complete with stalactites (scientists used these formations to date the cave). This type of formation can only occur above sea level on dry land. When the sea rose, the hole filled with water, thus become the Great Blue Hole that we can see today.

The hole appears to be nearly perfectly circular in shape, and measures 1,043 feet (318 m) across. It is 407 feet (124 m) deep.

Belize atoll Great blue hole

Where is it located?

Belize’s Blue Hole lies just off the coast of Belize almost in the center of Lighthouse Reef, an atoll in the easternmost part of the Belize Barrier Reef. This means it is about 43 miles (70 kilometers) from Belize City on the mainland.

The Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world. The largest one is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

 What makes the Belize Blue Hole famous?

Besides being breathtakingly beautiful, and the largest sea hole in the world, this blue masterpiece was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). That means it’s protected by international treaties.

In addition, it was made famous by none other than Jacques Cousteau, a renowned explorer who made an expedition to the hole in 1971. He proclaimed it to be one of the top five scuba diving sites in the entire world! However, before Cousteau “discovered” the hole, only local Belizean fisherman knew of its existence, keeping its beauty a secret for centuries.

 How did it get its name?

British diver Ned Middleton coined the name “Great Blue Hole” in his 1988 book Ten Years Underwater. However, this natural wonder is also known as the Belize Blue Hole.

diving Great Blue Hole

 Can you swim in the Great Blue Hole?

This diving site is for experienced divers only. This is because the hole is very deep and complex to navigate. Most divers go with a group and an experienced Dive Master.

However, it is possible to snorkel around the rim, which is shallow enough and features coral close to the surface.

If you do decide to go, be prepared to pay a boat/tour fee and spend around 3 hours or more on a boat to reach the site. You’ll need to take safety precautions and go with a knowledgeable guide. Nonetheless, this is one experience you must check off your bucket list.

 What’s inside the Belize Blue Hole?

Let’s take a dive!

First, you’ll see a sandy limestone rim around the hole. This wall is covered with coral until about 18 feet down. Then, it the wall becomes softer sand as you descend into the deep, dark abyss. Around 60 feet, you may see some Caribbean Reef Sharks!

At about 100 feet deep, you appear to be surrounded by cave-like formations. This is where you’ll see giant stalactites hanging over your head. There is not a large variety of marine life living in the hole, simply because the caves walls and ceilings prevent sunlight from filtering in. In fact, at its deepest places, the water in the hole becomes anoxic, which means there isn’t enough oxygen for creatures to survive on.

However, many divers have spotted Hammerhead or Bull Sharks in the hole’s crystal clear waters.

Great Blue Hole

 Other ways to see and explore the hole

You don’t have to go diving, snorkeling, or diving to see this masterpiece at its finest. You can soar above it in a helicopter or airplane tour!

In addition, you can book fantastic hot-air balloon tours to get a bird’s-eye view at a slower pace! Check out a few of the most popular and top-rated tours here.

Fun Facts about Belize’s Great Blue Hole

  • It took the #1 spot on Discovery Channel’s list of the 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth in 2012.
  • It is visible from space! It’s easy to spot because of its location within Belize’s Barrier Reef, and its unique circular shape.
  • The most popular time for tourists to visit the hole is between 9 am and 11 am.
  • It contains both fresh and marine waters.
  • It was featured in Jacques Cousteau’s television series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau.”
  • Bill Gates (inventor of Microsoft) once visited the site with his family, in 2012.
  • Cave formations like tunnels, stalactites, columns, and dripstone sheets are present in the hole, evidence that it was once a dry cavern above sea level.
  • Visiting boats are only allowed to anchor in certain places, because they have caused damage to the coral reef surrounding the hole in the past.
  • Belize, the country near which the Great Blue Hole is located, is a lesser-known tourist destination with acres of unexplored jungle. As home to only around 400,000 people, Belize is the least densely-populated country in Central America. It is the only English-speaking Central American country, and is about the size of the US state of Massachusetts.

Ready to check Belize and its fabulous Great Blue Hole off your list of dream vacation destinations? Be sure to check out our amazing list of the top things to do in Belize before you go. 

Where to stay in Belize

Looking for somewhere to stay while exploring the Great Blue Hole of Belize? Make sure you find the perfect place to relax while you take in the splendor of this amazing Caribbean country.

Try a private Belize resort or reserve a secret, secluded island so you can enjoy a truly peaceful Caribbean vacation.

Category : Travel
Tags : #AboutBelize, #ActivitiesInBelize, #Belize, #BelizeAdventures, #BelizeBlueHole, #BelizeCaves, #BelizeFacts, #BelizeReef, #BelizeTours, #CaribbeanSea, #GreatBlueHole

Originally posted on : Keycaribe Magazine
Source link : All About the Great Blue Hole of Belize