The Inland Blue Hole National Park, is located just off the Hummingbird Highway, 12 miles south of the capital city of Belmopan. It’s literally a 15 minute hike from the parking lot to the (Blue) sinkhole making it very accessible and a popular stop for tours in the area. As you walk down the fairly steep trail towards the sinkhole the first thing you notice is the bright sapphire blue colors piercing through the green foliage. Beams of sunlight penetrate the thick jungle canopy above and reflect off the glass-like surface of the water.
This is the Inland Blue Hole, for which the national park is named. It should not be confused with the Great Blue Hole on Lighthouse Reef Atoll which is popular with divers. The sinkhole was formed by the collapse of an underground limestone cave. The pool itself lays at the bottom of a large depression in the jungle; from ground level it drops around 100 feet to the surface of the water, after which the water depth drops 25 feet into a an underground cave system.
Fed by a tributary of the Cave Branch River, the underground spring water is cold, crystal clear and invigoratingly refreshing! There is a wide shallow sandy area where you can swim and relax surrounded by shear rock walls, hanging vines and lush jungle.
The Blue Hole National Park covers 575 acres of lush jungle to explore. Approximately 200 bird species have been recorded making if popular for bird watching. Wild cats which have been spotted in the park include the Jaguar, Ocelot and Jaguarundi. Other wildlife sightings include the Baird’s Tapir and the Nine-Banded Armadillo. In addition to the Inland Blue Hole, the park also has nature trails and 2 cave systems: Saint Herman’s Cave and Crystal Cave (also called Mountain Cow Cave).
St. Herman Cave - The Herman Cave at Blue Hole National Park has unique geological features that can be found within 575 acres of forest rich with wildlife. The main attractions in this park, namely the St. Herman’s Cave and the Blue Hole, are connected by an underground stream. Visitors can walk 200 yards into the cave entrance unguided or can hire a guide to traverse the cave completely, seeing beautiful speleothems and Mayan artifacts. After a guided tour through St. Herman’s Cave, you can float peacefully back to the entrance of the cave on an inner tube.
The Blue Hole is a cool and refreshing place for an afternoon swim. It was formed by the collapse of an underground limestone cave. In this case, the river running through the original cavern still flows through the cave system, and forms a sapphire-colored pool at the bottom of the cenote. The depression measures about 100 feet deep and 300 feet in diameter, with the actual Blue Hole at the depression’s base having a depth of about 25 feet.
Crystal Cave (aka Mountain Cow Cave) - Is located in the Blue Hole National Park. After a 50 minute hike through the tropical forest to the cave entrance, you will rappel 15 feet into the entrance to the cave. Traverse through the large chambers of the cave, sliding down mud ramps and scrambling along rocks. Your guide will then show you the shimmering formations in the cave, along with artifacts and the skeletal remains. You will witness the remnants of the past while discovering centuries-old fire pits, wall carvings and pottery as well as impressive crystal formations and stalactites and stalagmites.
This tour is challenging, but well worth the effort. After exploring the cave, everyone takes a break to enjoy a hearty Belizean lunch followed by a refreshing swim in the cool natural pool known as the Blue Hole.
The park has 2 entrances off of the Hummingbird Highway. Just 2 miles north of the Inland Blue Hole entrance you’ll find the main entrance to the park that has the Visitor’s Center, camp site, observation tower and trails to Saint Herman’s Cave and Crystal Cave. The Dusky Ant Bird Trail leads your through the jungle from the visitor’s center to the Inland Blue Hole. The park is so accessible that it’s often combined with day tours to the Belize Zoo or cave tubing on the Caves Branch River System.
360 degree view from the observatory tower at the Blue Hole National Park.
Trent S. Turley
My name is Trenton S. Turley, and I am a Belizean citizen who has now been living in the country of Belize for the past 15 years. I am also an environmental activist. Our family moved to Belize, when I was 8 years old. I speak English, Spanish, Kriol and American Sign Language. I have a true love for the eco-system of Belize, with regards to preserving this beautiful countries resources.
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