At St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park (SHBHNP) there are 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.
For a more extreme adventure, visit Mountain Cow Cave (also known as Crystal Cave). A guided exploration into this spectacular cave system will take you through huge caverns adorned with crystalline formations. Mayan shamans and priests once journeyed into this underworld known as Xibalba, to perform sacred rituals.
The History of St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park
As far back as 1965, the site’s cave was recognized for its tourism potential. Part of the site was proposed as a National Park by James A. Waight in 1968 and the entire site was proposed as a National Park by FAO (1978).
The Government of Belize having acquired part of the site in the 1960s and the remainder in the 1970s, declared it as Blue Hole National Park on November 23, 1986.
In 1988, funds from the MacArthur Foundation were used to construct a retaining wall to prevent erosion around the concrete stairway and a trail way was made from Blue Hole to the opening of St. Herman’s Cave. The visitor center was opened on May 8th, 1996.
To avoid confusion with the Blue Hole Natural Monument (at sea), the park’s name was changed to St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park in 2005.
St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park is located twelve miles southeast of Belmopan on the right side of the beautiful Hummingbird Highway. The park has two entrance areas with parking. At the St. Herman’s Cave entrance, you will find a picnic area, visitor center, gift shop, and trail heads. The second entrance provides easy access to the Blue Hole, a picnic area, restrooms, changing rooms as well as other trails. Buses traveling on the Hummingbird Highway can stop to allow visitors to get off at either entrance.
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