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Five Awesome Blue Hole Dive Sites

Big, blue and ready for you
By Sascha Zuger | Updated On October 27, 2021
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Five Awesome Blue Hole Dive Sites

In a crazy ever-changing world, sometimes the best way to ground yourself is to get deep. These diving destinations will make you feel connected to the core.

Dean’s Blue Hole — 660+ feet

Long Island, Bahamas

Dean's Blue Hole

Dean's Blue Hole off Long Island B

The world’s second-deepest blue hole is a favorite for international freediving competitions. The installed swim platform and descent line in the middle of the hole gives divers the full “journey to the center of the earth” experience. This protected turquoise bay deepens to blue, is only 100 to 120 feet across on top, and is hugged by craggy rock bluffs popular for cliff jumping. The hole is a bottom-heavy hourglass, with the cavern below the 60-foot-deep lip broadening to beyond 300 feet wide. While sea life isn’t a draw, descending to 80 to 90 feet offers an incredible view of underwater “sandfalls”. Even a handful of visitors walking on the beach create a chain reaction and push the super fine white sand grains over the edge of the underwater lip creating cascades that catch the light as they drizzle into the depths.

Surface Stops: This sleepy island is a charmer, a stay at idyllic Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort offers luxe digs and an endless white sand beach, with unforgettable full service daytrips to a private sand bar. Tiny tiki-hut Max Conch Bar is a must-stop— strong rum punch accents the homemade fish stew, cracked conch and conch salad prepared by owner Gary as you watch.

Great Blue Hole — 410 feet

Lighthouse Reef, Belize

Great Blue Hole Belize

Belize's Great Blue Hole was one of the favorite dive sites of Jacques Cousteau. Korteling

A nod from Jacques Cousteau is pretty impressive, and though his designation of top-five-in-the-world might not hold, descending into the glowing blue depths has kept this 1000-foot-wide spot top of many divers’ hit list. Midnight parrotfish, Caribbean reef sharks, turtles and the occasional hammerhead or stocky bull shark might be spotted along the way. A coral-covered shelf at 40 feet slopes down to the deeper, darker waters where sharks often circle. Most come for the hole itself, superman’ing over the endless blue of the marine sinkhole, or the massive stalactite-filled cave, (at 130 feet feet so keep your buddy close and prep for a hit of narcosis). Before you know it, thanks to the depth killing your bottom time, you’ll be drifting up to the light along with tendrils of tiny bubbles from other dive groups.

Surface Stops: The airy cottages of Blackbird Caye, a PADI Five Star Dive Resort, are the perfect post-hole retreat, with screened-in hammocks overlooking a glowing white stretch of sand. Close proximity to 70 of Turneffe Atoll’s best dive sites with paddleboard, kayaks and bird watching tours for down days, the resort prides its all-inclusive raves to fresh caught local fish and Belizean produce.

Blue Hole — 393 feet

Dahab, Egypt

Red Sea Blue Hole

The Blue Hole in the Red Sea is a not-so-simple shore dive.

Despite the dubious nickname of “Diver’s Cemetery”, this blue hole continues to draw divers. The fault for tragedy generally lies not in any inherent risk of the site itself. The estimate of lost divers numbers in the hundreds, with most cases arising from those trying to push their limits without trimix training or safety protocols to deal with the inevitable narcosis that kicks in while trying to swim below the arch. At 184 feet, the wall opens into a short 80-foot-long tunnel or archway out to the Red Sea. While a glorious sight, divers need to listen to local dive shops who are happy to properly train those determined to experience “the arch” and not be lulled into a sense of complacency by its appearance as a deceptively simple looking shore dive.

Surface Stop: Though once a quiet Bedouin fishing village, Dahab now bustles with a mix of backpackers, boho travelers and divers heading to one of the best spots in the Sinai Peninsula. Ras Abu Galum Protectorate offers overnight Bedouin camp stays beneath the stars. Bonus points for joining a camel safari to reach its stunning scenery.

The Lost Blue Hole — 200+ feet

Nassau, Bahamas

Lost Blue Hole divers

Silky sharks rise to meet divers at the edge of the Lost Blue Hole.

David Benz

Dropping into the hole from sandy grassbeds, a careful perusal could score macro sighting of seahorse, blennies, nudibranchs and half-buried rays. Coral heads with the usual snappers and grunts lead to ledges where loggerhead and nurse sharks might loiter. In a departure from the traditionally desolate blue void, life doesn’t end at the lip. This site—which drops to over 200 feet—is surrounded by walls filled with juvenile fish, crabs and shrimp. Each summer, this blue hole dive adds a serious punch of excitement as circling blacknose sharks arrive in the scores to mate. While other blue hole dives are possible in this part of the Bahamas, their tidal nature with downward pull can make them a risky bet for a safe and enjoyable dive.

Surface Stops: New Providence Island, aka Nassau, is home to endless shipwrecks— many of which can be snorkeled. For additional dive days, James Bond fans can recreate their favorite scenes from Thunderball and Never Say Never Again with Stuart Cove’s PADI Five Star excursions to the movie’s famous wrecks.

Deep Dive Dubai — 200 feet

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Is it a natural blue hole? Decidedly not. Is it mind-bewilderingly fantastic and the perfect solution for divers who crave the blue hole experience, but need a controlled and completely safe environment to comfortably explore such a phenomenon? Yup. Deep Dive Dubai is the world’s deepest pool, a manmade “blue hole” whose depths reveal a modern, post-apocalyptic-vibe underwater cityscape ringing the 200-foot eerie abyss. Unlike the emptiness of many blue holes, there is no end to interactive fun (weighted underwater billiards, art galleries, chess and video games) to add to that profound sense of sinking to the center of the Earth. PADI Deep Diver and tech courses on trimix and decompression are available. An onsite hyperbaric chamber and medic safety officers ensures the only thing you have to worry about is prematurely sinking the eight ball.

Surface Stop: When in Dubai, it can be best to just give in to the over-the-top madness. The Palace Downtown, adjacent to Vegas-style light and fountain show at the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world with biggest mall in the world), or the stately elegant Oberoi overlooking said tower offer royal room options with views of the incredible skyscape.

Want to go on a Blue Hole adventure? Get ready with a PADI Deep Diver course!