Swim in a beautiful sapphire-coloured pool, trek through the jungle & explore a natural cave at St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park – it’s the perfect day trip from San Ignacio!
No this is not THE Blue Hole – that giant sinkhole is off the coast of Belize.
This Blue Hole is inland, located 19 km south of Belmopan. Exploring it is a lot less expensive & you don’t need any diving experience whatsoever.
The 575-acre St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park refers to a cave & a pool, connected by an underground stream.
The entrance to St Herman’s Cave can be reached via a short trail from the visitor centre. Bring a torch light because from here, you head into the cave in complete darkness.
Walk on steps cut by the Maya, following an underground river for 200 metres. That’s as far as you can go independently – to go any further you need to take a guide.
We didn’t do a tour as we only reached the cave just before closing time, but apparently it is quite impressive. With a guide, you can explore St Herman’s Cave completely, seeing beautiful limestone formations & Mayan artifacts along the way, before floating back to the entrance on a tube.
The Blue Hole is on the side of the park. It’s linked with St Herman’s Cave by a mosquito-friendly, jungle trail – trekking takes 45 minutes (wear repellent!) or if you have a car, drive between the 2 sites for 1 minute on the Hummingbird Highway.
The Blue Hole is a cenote that was created from the collapse of an underground limestone cave. It measures 100m in diameter & 33m deep.
Visit the cave first & then jump into the pool for a cool, refreshing & well-earned dip.
St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park also offers hiking trails, bird watching & a lookout tower.
Entrance fee: BZ$8.00 / US$4.00 (for access to both sites)
Opening hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
DIY Tips to Visiting St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park
We visited the park in transit between San Ignacio & Dangriga, with our backpacks. There’s nothing to see or do in Dangriga but we were forced to stay the night.
There are two entrances to the National Park – one is near St Herman’s Cave & the other is near the Blue Hole. We got off the bus at the Blue Hole entrance & then had to walk through the jungle trail with our backpacks to St Herman’s Cave.
We definitely don’t recommend doing it this way.
Blue Hole National Park is best visited as a day trip from Belmopan or San Ignacio, so you are free to enjoy the day without the hassle & worry of your bags.
For more information on San Ignacio, see our post San Ignacio Budget Travel Guide & Tour Prices.
If you must visit in transit, start the day early so you have enough time to visit both sites – keep in mind that you have to take 2 buses to take + waiting time. Get off the bus at the visitor centre at the main entrance near St Herman’s Cave & leave your bags there. Visit the cave first, then the Blue Hole, before returning back to the visitor centre to pick up your bags. You could try hitchhiking on the road to save you time & energy between the 2 sites.
Crystal Cave Tours to St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park
Tour agencies offer adventure tours to Crystal Cave, also located in the St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. Tours are challenging & involve rappelling & exploring huge caverns decorated with crystalline formations.
Tours to Crystal Cave cost approximately BZ$200 / US$100.
Photo courtesy of MayaWalk Tours.
How to Get to St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park
To reach the Blue Hole National Park from San Ignacio, you must first take a bus to Belmopan.
Then take another bus heading south on the Hummingbird Highway, such as to Dangriga or Punta Gorda. Buses are sometimes only once an hour & fill-up fast – make sure you line-up & grab a seat. No standing is allowed on the buses departing the station so if you’re not lucky, you may have to wait another hour for the next bus.
Ask the driver to drop you off at either the cave or pool entrance to St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park. It’s about 20-35 minutes by bus from Belmopan.
To get out of the park, wait on the Hummingbird Highway for any passing bus.
We caught one to Dangriga at 4:50 pm for BZ$5.00 / US$2.50.
Where to Stay in Dangriga
We don’t recommend visiting or spending the night in Dangriga. There’s nothing to see or do & no budget accommodation.
The cheapest place we found was Ruthie’s Cabanas – a simple cabana with private bathroom, television & outdoor deck cost BZ$55.00 / US$27.50 (negotiated down from BZ$65.00).
The room was acceptable but shabby for the price.
In a Nutshell
St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park: BZ$8.00 / US$4.00
Website: Belize Audubon Society
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*** The Final Word – St Herman’s Blue Hole National Park isn’t a must-see attraction but it makes a nice day trip from Belmopan or San Ignacio ***
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Accessible DIY travel to more distant locations via multiple connections or longer forms of public transport
Visited in July 2016