It's the kind of underwater geology that inspires speculation about aliens creating geometrically perfect anomalies.
The truth is more prosaic. The Belize Blue Hole is a sink a place where, deep in the prehistoric past, what is now the bottom of the sea literally fell away, exposing a then-dry cave system. A thousand feet in diameter, almost exactly circular, and some 400 feet deep, the Blue Hole exacts different reactions from different divers. Novices kick unconsciously with all that watery nothing underneath them and check their depth gauges every 10 seconds, hoping Archimedes was right about the whole displacement and buoyancy thing. More adventurous divers will peek into cave tunnels that branch off in triple-digit depths.
Nobody's sure if Belize's ancient people, the classical Mayans, were the first to say, "@#$&%! I just dropped my knife in that hole." But they certainly made their mark on the nearby mainland. And that's why it's so appropriate that, on Ambergris Caye, Ramon's Village Resort has looked to Belize's Mayan heritage for its inspiration. Sixty-one authentic thatched-roof cabanas set the perfect patch-of-paradise theme. "Rey Ramon," a 12-foot carved rock outcropping, sets a Mayan-mask theme next to the pool. The menu includes local cuisine. Host Ramon Nunez was born in nearby San Pedro and places local authenticity right next to hospitality on his must-do list.
For divers, a major plus is that the largest barrier reef system in the northern hemisphere is just off the beach. Hol Chan marine preserve and the world-famous Shark Ray Alley are also easily dived from Ambergris Caye. And for that last-day-of-the-trip shore day, nearby San Pedro offers shopping and dining in a historic Belizean fishing village, just a five-minute stroll up the beach from Ramon's.