Sinkholes are kind of eerie. But, they’re also quite awesome. Some sinkholes result in mass destruction while others have become incredible travel destinations for diving, swimming, and exploration. Looking for something out of the ordinary on your next trip? Check out these 6 stunning sinkholes from around the world.
The Great Blue Hole
What’s 1,000 feet wide and 400 feet deep? The wondrous Big Blue Hole located off the coast of Belize—that’s what. What used to exist as a limestone cave system in the last ice age is now flooded, courtesy of rising sea levels. Jacques-Yves Cousteau visited this azure abyss in 1971 and declared it as one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world. Today, it is a recognized World Heritage Site.
Cenote Ik Kil
In Spanish, Cenote Ik Kil translates to “natural well,” and it is undoubtedly, one of the purtiest wells Mother Nature ever constructed. Travel to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and take in the beauty of this 90-foot deep hole. Steep limestone walls are engulfed in lush tropical vegetation, leading down to turquoise waters that are perfect for a relaxing dip. The sinkhole is sacred to the Mayans, who once used it for ritual sacrifices.
This big boy, located in Mexico, takes the cake for being the largest water filled sinkhole in the world- so much so that for a long time it was considered to be bottomless. We know better now after NASA sent a robot down into the dark in 1997 and established that it bottoms out at 1,112 feet. Mysterious and beautiful, the blue green waters are highly mineralized and warm as bathwater at 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alabama is home to one hell of a sinkhole—one of the most photographed sinkholes in the world because of its unique beauty. Neversink Pit is 40 feet wide at the top, 100 feet at the bottom and 162 feet from the ground. The limestone walls are bathed in sunlight as waterfalls trickle over the rare endangered ferns that speckle the immense hole. No wonder it’s highly photographed!
Way back in good ol’ prehistoric times a massive limestone cavern collapsed, resulting in an epic sinkhole measuring at 365 feet wide and 55 feet deep. Today, 1.4 million gallons of water flow through from underground springs, and the highly carbonated waters cannot support fish—but is it a sight to behold. Monetzuma Well is located in Arizona’s Montezuma National Monument Park, a round, sparkling emerald nestled within the dusty, sand packed desert landscape.
Located in Williston, Florida, Devil’s Den is a Sunshine State secret and a wonderful dive and snorkel site. Crystal clear springs are embedded underneath a massive, prehistoric rock shelf with ferns and vines draping down from the top of the sinkhole into the 72-degree waters below. Visitors can take in the curious rock formations, stalactites and fossil beds. On a cold winter morning, it’s not unusual to see steam rising up from the ground like a smoking volcano- hence the name Devil’s Den.
Courtney is a full-time writer covering soccer, travel and the outdoors. You can find her scouting out hole in the wall joints for the perfect carnitas taco, jumping in the ocean under the light of a full moon or exploring the beautiful Florida wilderness and documenting her adventures in her blog, www.localtravelgal.wordpress.com.