One of the things I wanted to do when we started researching Belize was to see the Blue Hole Reef. It’s a circular-shaped reef around a really deep sinkhole, so the water looks super dark blue inside the reef and crystal clear blue outside. The photos I saw were gorgeous! So I started looking for blue hole Belize tours.
I found a snorkeling tour, but it left Caye Caulker at 6am and lasted about 12 hours or longer. That sounded like torture. For only US$10 more, there was an option to take a scenic flight over the reef. No early morning, no long day, and I’d get the aerial views of the reef, which is what I wanted more than snorkeling in it. Decision made, I signed up for the tour, and Andy opted to rent a kayak during the same time.
The pilot took five of us up in a Piper Cherokee, and being by myself, I got to sit up front. This upset one of the other couples a little because the guy had a big fancy camera, and according to his girlfriend, “he really wants to take pictures.”
Yes dear, we ALL want to take pictures, that’s why we’re taking the flight. Everyone got a window, and guess what? Being in the front meant I couldn’t lean over to take pictures out the other window because that would’ve gotten in the way of the pilot. It also meant the few times I could actually see above the dashboard, I got the spinning propeller in my photos.
So while it was fun for me to sit up front, I think it would’ve annoyed the guy who wanted to take thousands of pictures of every nanosecond of the experience.
After the pilot arranged our seating in the plane, he flew us out over several other reefs, and even that view was pretty amazing.
After about 20 minutes, we finally reached the Blue Hole.
He made several loops in both directions above the reef so people on each side of the plane could take pictures. After a few loops, he made the turns even steeper and flew lower. Even knowing the pilot was well trained and does this flight quite often, I still got that nervous flip in my stomach.
When he was finally done with his loops, he flew straight over the reef at about 80 feet above the water, the lowest he flew during our scenic flight. I couldn’t help but panic a bit that we were going to hit the water, but again, I had to remind myself to calm down because he knew what he was doing. But really, I was thinking, STOP! There are no floats on this plane!
Nine years of working in aviation insurance and having so many pilot friends helps me remember to not worry in these situations. Obviously it doesn’t always work, but I try. And it really was fun to fly over the Blue Hole from so many different angles and heights.
Next up we flew a few minutes over to a shipwreck. This cargo ship apparently has been there since the 70s, and it’s too expensive to get the ship out of there, so it adds a little bit of interesting scenery.
Taking the Blue Hole Reef scenic flight
This is definitely something you should add to your Belize itinerary. The scenic flight lasted about one hour or so. It took off and landed at the Caye Caulker Airport. Many travel agencies on the island can book it for you, and I recommend booking as soon as you get to the island. There is a minimum number of people they need to do the flight, so it helps to be flexible about the day.
I paid 400 Belize dollars for my Blue Hole scenic flight, which is just over US$200. I got picked up at my hotel and dropped off again after the flight. It was a little pricey, but totally worth it for those amazing views!
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