Directly on the Hummingbird Highway, between Belmopan and Dangriga, is one of my favorite national parks in Belize and probably the easiest one to reach. St. Herman’s Blue Hole National Park requires no detour to visit- its right on the highway! This park offers visitors a small display in the information center, hiking trails, changing rooms and toilets, picnic tables, cave tours and tubing, and the picturesque cenote that is its namesake. St Hermans is the perfect stop on a road trip or a great destination in itself. From Placencia you can make a day of the pretty drive to and from the park and partake in a tour of the cave and swim in the cenote.
Cave Tubing Tours
I had friends visiting us in Placencia and I wanted to take them on the scenic Hummingbird Highway to St Hermans one day to see the cave and cenote. We hadn’t made reservations ahead of time but it was no problem to simply show up at the park and hire a guide for tubing (2 person minimum). The cost is $50 per person (usd for foreigners or bzd for locals) and includes your standard park fee. If you don’t tube you can always self-guide to the cave’s entrance and walk the path 200 yards inside on your own for a nominal charge (I believe the regular park fee is $2 for Belizeans and $10 for Foreign visitors, flashlight rental available from the ranger station for $5bzd).
Don a helmet, headlamp, and shoes you don’t mind getting wet, then grab your tube and head for the cave. Your guide will lead you along the dry path in to the cave about 200 yards then you’ll enter the water and trek upstream a bit further. The river dead ends at a rock wall that is theorized to be the result of a long-ago collapse. Float with the flow back out to the jungle. The slow current will carry you out in about 30 minutes during which time your guide (we had the informative and friendly Pedro from Upside-down Tours) will point out interesting features of the cave and give an overview of the ancient Maya’s history in Belize and use of caves in sacred ceremonies.
The Blue Hole
Belize’s other Blue Hole. This one is a fresh water cenote surrounded by lush forest and filled with funny little fish that nibble at your legs as you wade in the crisp, cool water. After tubing we turned in our gear and bid farewell to our guide for the short drive to the other side of the park (there’s a nature trail connecting the two you could also take if you wished). This side has changing rooms and more toilets before the path that leads you to the cenote. If the conditions are right and it hasn’t been exceedingly rainy then the water should appear a hauntingly beautiful, luminous blue hue.
The water is cold and clean. I like to bring goggles and a towel when I visit. Even if you don’t swim you should stop in for some photos and perhaps soak your feet for a few minutes (and see if those funny little fish give them a nibble).
I’m so glad we stopped in a tried the cave tubing. It is not as long or impressive a cave tubing tour as Jaguar Paw but for my friends that had never experienced anything like it before, it did not disappoint. If you’re short on time or want an easy make-your-own-adventure-tour day then I think this is a great option. On an exertion scale, this tour is very easy and would be appropriate for families with young children or mature travelers with minimal endurance) I’m planning a return visit to take the Crystal Cave tour with Pedro (this one does require advanced booking, takes a bit longer, and is more physically challenging). To schedule this or any number of other inland tours with Pedro directly you can reach him on Whatsapp +501 621-9741