Chances are, you’ve heard of the Blue Hole and you’re wondering how best to see it on your trip to Belize. In this blog post, I’m telling you exactly how you can fly over the Blue Hole Belize for the most epic experience of your entire Belize vacation!
I recently spent a week on Caye Caulker and an absolute highlight was our scenic Blue Hole flight tour with Tropic Air. You can also take the same flight from Ambergis Caye (don’t worry, all the details are below!).
Read on for some personal advice that will make planning your Blue Hole flight a lot easier!
Why Visit the Great Blue Hole in Belize?
First of all, what is this so called “Great Blue Hole” and why is it worth seeing when you visit Belize?
The Blue Hole is a marine sinkhole of epic proportions: 410 feet (125 meters) deep and 984 feet (300 meters) across. It’s believed to be the largest ocean sinkhole in the entire world and it’s even visible from outer space!
The Blue Hole is located in the Lighthouse Reef atoll, just 60 miles off the coast of Belize, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as named in the top five scuba diving locations in the world.
Glyn Collinson, a NASA scientist, described the Belize Blue Hole perfectly:
It was the deepest, deep blue hole imaginable; A chasm that fell away deep into the deep, dark blue. It had been forged out of solid rock as caverns, hundreds of thousands of years ago during the last ice age. For eons, water filtered through the rock and into these great stone cathedrals, breeding multicolored stalactites and stalagmites. Then, one by one they collapsed in on each other, creating a chasm four hundred feet deep.Glyn Collinson
How to Fly Over the Blue Hole Belize
Obviously, the Blue Hole is a bucket list-worthy sight. But how do you get to the Blue Hole? The two main ways to get to the Blue Hole are either by boat for scuba diving, or a scenic flight.
I do not scuba dive, nor do I personally think seeing the Blue Hole by boat would be worth it for the cost. From sea level, the Blue Hole just looks like a long expanse of dark ocean… not that exciting, right?
The best view of the Blue Hole is definitely aerial, where you can look down at the clear waters and colorful coral reefs, and really see the entirety of that deep blue hole!
Luckily, there are Blue Hole scenic flights that regularly depart from Caye Caulker, Ambergis Caye, and even Belize City. Keep reading for all the details!
Choosing Your Blue Hole Flight Tour Company
There are two main companies that fly over the Blue Hole Belize: Maya Island Air and Tropic Air.
Both companies have departures from San Pedro (on Ambergis Caye), Caye Caulker, and Belize City.
Maya Island Air departs on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday around 10/10:30am and prices start at $240.
Tropic Air departs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and also Sundays (San Pedro and Caye Caulker only), around 11am, and prices start at $259.
Overall, Tropic Air has really incredible reviews based on their service and dependability. They have 11-person planes (or 3-person for private tours!) and guarantee that every person gets a window seat. They also guarantee to do multiple laps around the Blue Hole, on each side of the plane, so everybody gets a great views.
We chose Tropic Air and I have no regrets! Read more about my experience with them below.
How to Buy Your Blue Hole Flight Tickets
You want to be sure to buy your Blue Hole flight tickets well ahead of time. As I mentioned, the plane only fits 11 people maximum. The same plane picks up passengers in both Caye Caulker and San Pedro, so tickets will sell out.
You can purchase tickets directly on the Tropic Air website. Click the tab that says “book now” and choose your departure date. Be sure to select one-way!
How Big is the Blue Hole Tour Plane?
If you’re thinking about booking a Blue Hole scenic flight, then you may be wondering about the size of the plane – especially if you have any fear of flying.
As I mentioned, the plane fits 11 people and everyone gets a window seat. This is the kind of plane you’d call a “puddle jumper” where I’m from!
As you can see in the photo below, it’s quite small. However, don’t let this scare you. I flew on quite a few planes this size during my year in Latin America, and I always felt really secure.
What It’s Like to Fly Over the Blue Hole Belize
Want to know what it’s actually like to fly over the Blue Hole in Belize… and if it’s worth it? Read about my experience below!
1. Orientation and Boarding the Plane
The morning of our flight, we walked to the airport on Caye Caulker. Once there, the signs to the Tropic Air terminal were really easy to find! We walked into the terminal room where we checked in, and got our (very luxury looking) boarding passes.
Before our flight, we also had a presentation from a Tropic Air representative! He showed us a short movie, and then showed us a map of the area our flight would take us through.
It was such a nice touch to have this little orientation before the flight, so we knew what to expect. I think everyone definitely felt like VIPs!
2. How to Choose the Best Seats on Your Blue Hole Flight
A little before 11am, our plane arrived on the tarmac and we all walked out to board! Now, there are NO assigned seats on the flight and this is both a good and bad thing.
While everyone gets a window seat on the flight, I don’t think every window seat is created equal. If you’re a photographer, avoid the seats right under the wings because it’s hard to avoid the wings and their support bar in photos. The seats directly behind the captain and the back two rows are the best, in my opinion. If you’re really lucky, you may even be able to sit in the co-pilot seat!
Another thing to note is that since there aren’t assigned seats, you may not get to sit next to the person you’re traveling with! Unfortunately, Dan and I didn’t get to sit next to one another which was a bummer. It’s quite loud during the flight, and difficult to communicate if you’re not in the same row, so keep this in mind if you have a travel buddy.
Also, if you’re departing from Caye Caulker like us, know that the passengers from San Pedro will already be on board so there are already limited seats available.
My #1 tip is to try to be in the front of the line to board the plane. This will give you the best chance of getting a great seat for the flight (first row or back two!). Remember, it doesn’t matter which side of the plane you sit on because the pilot will do loops of the Blue Hole for each side!
3. Flight to the Blue Hole
We flew out to the Blue Hole and I was glued to my window the whole time! Looking out at the shades of turquoise ocean, small islands dotted with palms or dense forests, and the changing colors of the reefs, was just incredible.
Honestly, I lost track of time as I was so engrossed by the views, but I think it took about 20 minutes to get out to the Blue Hole. My advice is to just soak it all up and enjoy the views every step of the way!
4. First Blue Hole Sighting
I’ll never forget that first sight of the Blue Hole! I’d seen sooo many photos of this landmark, and I’d honestly considered whether it would be worth it to fly all the way out to it when I could easily just look up a photo of it on Google.
Well let me tell you, in that first glimpse I knew the Blue Hole scenic flight was worth it!
There’s really nothing like seeing the majesty of the ocean’s largest sink hole in person. It was truly the definition of “epic,” and felt like a very special, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
5. Laps Around the Blue Hole
As we flew around the Blue Hole, I tried to absorb the magic of the moment. Of course I took tons of photos, but I also spent time just gazing out the window at this incredible sight, trying to memorize the experience.
And honestly, that was the awesome thing about flying with Tropic Air. Our pilot did multiple loops around the Blue Hole on each side of the plane, so everyone got an equal opportunity to see the Blue Hole.
During our orientation, they said the pilot would do two laps on each side. Well, I counted and we actually did six laps… on each side! I kept thinking it would be the last lap but then we’d go again! It was such a treat.
Of course, I can’t guarantee how many laps your pilot will do, but I have read reviews from other people who flew on Tropic Air, that their pilot does many laps. It probably depends on weather, timing, and other factors, but it’s nice to know that they’re really trying to give you the best experience, and not just the bare minimum.
6. Ship Wreck Sighting
I’m not going to lie, I felt sad as we finished our final lap around the Blue Hole and started making our way back.
But… my sadness didn’t last for long because we saw some amazing sights on our return journey. Starting with this massive shipwreck. We did a loop of the shipwreck on each side of the plane, and I loved photographing this.
7. Flight Back to Caye Caulker (or Ambergis Caye)
After viewing the ship wreck, we continued our flight back to Caye Caulker. Along the way we again flew over Turneffe Atoll (a very beautiful caye with dense forest), and the Belize Barrier Reef.
I can’t say for sure, but I’m also pretty sure I saw some dolphins leaping in the sea below us!
Final Thoughts on the Blue Hole Flight: Is it Worth It?
The Blue Hole scenic flight lasts about 1 hour but that hour is absolutely packed. I wasn’t bored for a second. I also really appreciated that we had a generous number of laps of the Blue Hole.
For me, flying over the Blue Hole was an absolute highlight of my time in Belize, and actually all of Central America.
The one thing that I think could lead to dissatisfaction, is your seating on the plane. I had an amazing view at the back of the plane, however Dan had a seat under the wing, and all his views and photos had a support bar in them. It was also too bad we couldn’t sit next to each other.
As long as you board early, though, you should be able to avoid those issues – we were the last to board and so got the last seats. (That’s why I write these blog posts after all – to give you the insider travel tips!). Also, if you’re not a photographer then the support bar doesn’t matter as much!
All in all, I really recommend you book with Tropic Air to fly over the Blue Hole Belize. It’s a truly special experience that you can’t have anywhere else in the world except Belize!
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Note: Our Blue Hole flight tour was provided to us complimentary by Tropic Air in exchange an honest review article. As always, all opinions are my own.