Strapped in my seat behind the captain with massive headphones protecting my ears, I began to prepare myself for takeoff. The sound of the blades above my head started as a faint whirring sound that rapidly became a scream as they sliced through the air faster and faster.
I waited for the liftoff I’d become accustomed to on countless airplane rides – that gradually intensifying horizontal thrust into the clouds – but instead, I felt a distinctly different sensation, a vertical upward pull as we elevated directly off the ground. The six-seater helicopter rose with ease and within seconds I was high in the sky, dwarfing the city below.
Suddenly I was a video game character with superpowers, suspended over the rest of the world, floating with unbelievable ease. I was soaring above the colorful Las Vegas strip set amidst an endless desert. As the copper whizzed through the air, the pilot’s voice broke the static noise in my ears as he began to narrate my tour.
My first helicopter ride over Las Vegas was an unforgettable experience – choppering, I discovered, is one of the most invigorating ways to defy gravity!
If you’re wondering what to do on vacation in Belize, a helicopter ride over the turquoise Caribbean is one way to get your daily dose of adventure. And scores of other thrilling activities in Belize – scuba diving, snorkeling, caving, jungle hiking, sea kayaking, wildlife-spotting – let you experience this spectacular destination from all different angles.
You can strap on your scuba gear and descend into the depths of Belize’s Great Blue Hole… or you can strap into a helicopter seat and experience its depth and beauty within the context of the bright blue Caribbean from high above the water. Better yet? Do both, and gain an intimate understanding of this famous limestone sinkhole.
As you soar through the air over the Caribbean, the Great Blue Hole will slowly come into view, allowing you to discover a near-perfect circle of indigo, an anomaly in a sea of turquoise. The surrounding coral reef looks as if it exploded forth from the blue abyss. The view from the chopper is a breathtaking sight that few get to experience in their lifetime – don’t close your eyes for a second!
Choosing your Chopper
Of a handful of helicopter tour operators in Belize, Astrum Helicopter is the most trusted and widely-used. Recommended by the Belize Tourism Board, Astrum Helicopters have been used by NBC’s Today Show, The Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic – to name a few. Astrum Helicopter offers personalized helicopter tours, charters and transfers throughout Belize. With over 30 years of aviation experience, the pilots and management team of Astrum ensure the safest and most reliable service on their Bell 206 B3 jet ranger helicopters.
Astrum’s Blue Hole and Turneffe Islands tour takes you over clusters of colorful rooftops in Belize City, over the Turneffe Islands, their soft shorelines appearing as an airbrushed composition of white sand, bottle-green mangroves, melting into aquamarine blue bounded by reefs and sand islands as you approach the Great Blue Hole. Check out the mangroves that cover Belize’s 200-plus cayes, and keep your eyes open for diverse aquatic life – you may even spot dolphins!
Your tour continues over the Caribbean Sea to reach Lighthouse Reef Atoll, beyond the Belize Barrier Reef. 60 miles outside Belize City, you’ll come upon the massive limestone sinkhole that is the famous Great Blue Hole. The impressive size (1000 feet in diameter) and deep blue color will hypnotize you – suspended in time and space, you’ll have a moment to marvel at this geological wonder before the chopper starts heading back to Belize City, gliding over pristine Long Caye on your return.