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Adventure Time: St. Herman's Blue Hole National Park

By 9/2/2022 5 minutes  (1)

Finally we went on this trip. For the longest time we have been discussing this trip to St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. The weather was great for outdoor activities and we couldn't take the chance to stay in after the past few days of rain. St. Herman’s Blue Hole is both a natural wonder and a national park. Located just off the Hummingbird Highway near Belmopan City, the journey there was an adventure in itself. We took the bus from San Ignacio, Cayo all the way to the attraction that is southeast of the City of Belmopan. We waited patiently for the bus to arrive at San Ignacio’s bus terminal.

Forgetting that it was the weekend, we were puzzled as to why there were no buses arriving yet. For those who travel Belize or would want to experience traveling in Belize via bus, here’s a little tip: On Sundays, buses run at each terminal every hour instead of every half-an-hour. Having slipped our minds; we were late for the bus and had to wait about forty minutes for the next bus to Belmopan. When a Shaw bus arrived, it was already packed with people who had caught it along the way. Derrick, Maria and I had to stand in the middle isle of the bus for a while before we got the chance to sit – well, Maria got a seat by the village of Georgeville and Derrick and I stood all the way to Belmopan. Looking around the bus, there were many different faces of many different cultures, each of which were trying to get to their destination, minding their own business. I turned back to face the front of the bus, stuck in my own thoughts while the bus shook and halted at every speed bump and bus stop.

Getting to Belmopan took about an hour. We then got off the Shaw bus to get on a bus that was travelling to Punta Gorda. Luckily, this time, we managed to get seats on the way to St. Herman’s Blue Hole. Arriving at the park, we kicked the gravel on the highway, stretching our legs. "Finally!" Maria exclaimed. We walked to the park through a little trail that's been paved with white dirt. Reaching the entrance of the national park, we paid our $2 BZD (local price) entrance fee and walked to a little information center. This was a help center that held information about the history and preservation of the blue hole. Having read the information, we were eager to see the blue hole. Even though I was born in Belize, I had never visited St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park; and so, I was excited to finally see this popular attraction in person.

Exiting the help center, we met a series of steps that travelled down a steep hill. The concrete steps were cold from the coolness of the surrounding trees and forests. Arriving at the bottom of the hill, we were met with a majestic pool of crystal blue water. Calm and clean, the blue hole was surely a sight to be amazed by. “Woah,” I said under my breath. Immediately, Derrick started to snap pictures of the scenery. A little over twenty to thirty pictures, he decided to pass the camera to Maria so he could take a dip into the water. He just couldn’t help himself. I continue to admire the beauty that Mother Nature has blessed Belize with. Surrounded by lush rainforests is sinkhole filled with blue water. Clear as day, the water was clean enough to drink. Derrick was enjoying his swim. “Shucks, it’s cooler than I had expected!” Derrick yelled from the water. Continuing his swim, Maria took over his job as our photographer.

We stayed at the blue hole for about thirty minutes before leaving. After climbing up the staircase, we decided to hike the trail to the national park headquarters instead of going through the highway again. Before we started the hike, we decided to ask for directions to make sure we weren’t going the wrong way. The gatekeeper at the entrance directed us to the headquarters with lefts, rights and hand gestures. “How long is this walk?” I asked him. “It’s about a forty-five minute hike up the trail,” he responded. We all thought that he was exaggerating about the time to get there – he wasn’t joking. Indeed, it took us about forty-five minutes or more to get there. We kept walking and walking along the trail. With the bright sun beating down on us, it was definitely a workout that will last me until 2019. Consider my 2018 goal of working out accomplished. Along the way, we were able to spot a few birds swooping from tree branch to tree branch, chirping to their fellow bird-mates. As serene as it was, we couldn’t help but feel nervous about walking through this forest-like trail, fearing that a jaguar could pop out of the bushes and pounce on us.

Finally getting to the headquarters, we entered into a building that was twice as big as the help center in the last location. It was help center number two, with more information, artifacts and paintings, carefully placed at each location for viewing. I was intrigued with the model of the blue hole that they had. Derrick continued to take pictures of the museum. Having walked all around the headquarters, we decided to take a stroll into the cave. Another tip: Take along a flashlight. The deeper we went into the cave, the darker it got. I don’t know how we couldn’t realize that at the moment; but, we were ecstatic about exploring the cave that we forgot about flashlights.

At the opening of the cave, we met some visitors that were finishing up their cave tubing tour. Visitors could walk up to two hundred feet into the cave without a tour guide. Since we couldn’t see after walking ten minutes inside the cave, we decided to turn back to the exit. After three hours of hiking, swimming and exploring, we were ready to leave and head back home. Another day, another adventure completed. Surely, this is another one to put in our 2018 memories. What will you do in Belize? See St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park now, because seeing is Belizing!

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INLAND BLUE HOLE BIRDWATCHING Belize is a birdwatcher’s paradise! As many as 587 birds have been recorded in Belize and, of these, approximately 20 percent are migrants from North ... moreAmerica. Every year new species are being documented. Eight new records were accepted in 2007, including the Crested Caracara, Canada Goose, and Spot-breasted Oriole. For those interested in exploring the diversity and beauty of the avifauna of the diverse habitats MayaWalk expert birdwatching guides will point out tiny iridescent hummingbirds, impressive raptors, and various migratory and endemic songbirds. One of the best places to go on a Belize birding tour is St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park, a beautiful protected area along the scenic Hummingbird Highway.

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The original name of the site is unknown, but its modern name derives from a Maya term that means “Stone Woman.” First rediscovered in 1892, many visitors to the site reported seeing a ghostly woman who was reported to haunt the structure known as “El Castillo” (The Castle).

Still the second-largest manmade structure in the country, El Castillo measures 130 feet (40 meters) tall. Built as a temple pyramid, El Castillo is located in the exact center of the town.

Today, Xunantunich is located approximately one mile from the Guatemalan border. During its heyday during the Classic Period of the Maya civilization (around 600-700 AD), Xunanutinch competed with nearby cities, including Naranjo, Caracol, and Tikal (which lies just a few miles over the border in Guatemala).

Inland Blue Hole

Not to be confused with the Blue Hole that lies on the offshore reef, the Inland Blue Hole is located in the St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park near the capital of Belize, Belmopan.

First designated a national park in 1986, St. Herman’s is managed by the Belize Audobon Society as it sits in the middle of one of the most ecologically diverse areas of the country. Over 200 species of birds have been recorded in the area, including the red-legged honeycreeper and the piratic flycatcher. There is also a wide selection of wildlife in the park, including three big cat species.

The Inland Blue Hole itself is a natural phenomenon formed thousands of years ago when a cave collapsed. Today, the Inland Blue Hole is filled with spring-fed water that is naturally a brilliant shade of blue. A perfect area for enjoying a picnic or respite from the heat, the Inland Blue Hole’s refreshing waters offer swimmers a great way to cool off on a hot day.

Other nearby attractions in the park include two caves, St. Herman’s Cave and the Crystal Cave. The water from the Inland Blue Hole flows directly into St. Herman’s Cave, located approximately one mile away.
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Angela Wu

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what time blue hole will be open