Ultimate Guide to Blue Grotto, Florida (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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Blue Grotto, one of the deepest cavern springs in Florida, has 100 ft of clear waters open to divers of all skill levels. The cavern springs are kept in near-perfect pristine condition, and the most popular spot is the underwater cavern full of fossils and aquatic life.
The crystal-clear water of Blue Grotto is an excellent place to scuba or cave-dive. The underwater scenery is simply magical and will surely satisfy your adventurous side. The entry costs are kept low to become a perfect day trip for any individual, group of friends, or family. The site is privately owned, and it has its scuba shop, picnic shelter, cabins, swimming pool, and great camping facilities.
History of Blue Grotto
Before we know how Blue Grotto was created, we must understand what a sinkhole is. The sinkholes occur when the unstable rock and soil collapse on the top or beside an underground river. Any water that surfaces would eventually go underground.
Blue Grotto is a perfect example of a sinkhole. To be more technically precise, it is an offset sinkhole as it was formed adjacent to the underground river. There is no central debris cone but a bottom that slopes towards the underground river.
There is reasonable evidence to suggest that Blue Grotto Diver Resorts is over a circular area of unstable rock and soil, and the underground river that formed this Grotto has grazed the NW edge of this circle. The most exciting part of this Grotto is that only the spring side of the sinkhole has collapsed and has become exposed to air, but the siphon side is still fully underground.
Geological Cave Formations
In combination with the spring water, the limestone formations have created many interesting geological features. The Cave at Blue Grotto is one such example, and it is unique as it has been kept close to its natural state. The rock formations are fragile, and an undisturbed layer of silt covers each surface. A few cave divers might find these ugly, but it looks beautiful since the silt is largely untouched.
The open water basin has lots of aquatic life, and divers will encounter lots of curious fishes and Virgil the Turtle, the Grotto’s favorite resident. Virgil is a female turtle who is very friendly and approaches the divers and sniffs their fingers, probably looking for a handout.
Is Blue Grotto Haunted?
Blue Grotto is a popular spot for divers and is famous for its large underwater cave. It is not haunted and, on the contrary, it receives many tourists every year.
How Big is Blue Grotto?
The cavern’s mouth has a width of 80 ft and has a depth of 100 ft.
Blue Grotto Tours
Blue Grotto is a clear spring water cavern and a popular dive site in Florida. The dive site is divided into the Cavern and the Cave. The Cavern is the most popular of the two as open water divers can easily enter the mouth of this gigantic sinkhole. One can explore up to 30m in crystal-clear waters. There are platforms, a diving bell at 30 ft, and a small swim through at the bottom.
The cave is one of the newer sections, and it runs horizontally in the opposite direction from the cavern. It has a large room almost the size of a football field. The first thing that the divers will notice inside the cavern are various scratches on the wall. It is now punishable by the law, and you should never try to add to it.
When you dive down 30 ft, you will come across an air bell that allows the divers to take off their regulators and breathe in a usual fashion. There are lights here to illuminate the cavern, which offers the divers a 360-degree view of the surroundings.
You can continue your descent and travel down a large 90-degree sloping shaft. When you reach a depth of 50 ft, divers will find a crescent-shaped cavern. The walls are covered with fossils, and you will witness good aquatic life here. However, you should enter this part of the cavern only if you can maintain good buoyancy and always adhere to the guidelines provided to you. The cavern floor will end at a depth of 100 ft.
The rule says that only an Open Water certification is enough to enter the Blue Grotto. However, such certified divers are only allowed to dive up to 60 ft, but it reaches 100 ft. So, if you want to enjoy and experience the entire cave system, you should be an Advanced Open Water certificate holder or Cavern Certified.
Blue Grotto is the simplest and most beginner-friendly dive site in Florida. But if you feel a bit nervous at any point in time, you should never hesitate to hire the services of an onsite divemaster for an extra USD 30 only.
Tour Prices and Discounts
What are the charges to dive here? Here are the charges –
- Daytime Diver Admission – USD 48
- Nighttime Diver Admission – USD 48
- Combined Admission – USD 72
- Snorkeler Admission – USD 16.85
- Non-Diver Admission – USD 5.35
- Single Tank Air Fill – USD 9.50
- Equipment Rental – USD 5.24
The admission charges do not include the fees for an air fill or full tank rental, but it allows you to dive the site as many times as you like.
Is Blue Grotto Cold?
The waters of Blue Grotto Springs are a constant 72 degrees F.
What to Wear?
If you want to enjoy the Grotto fully, you should wear a full-length, 5mm wetsuit. You can increase it to 7 mm to be warmer.
Blue Grotto Hours
The Grotto remains open from 8 am to 5 pm on all days of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
What to Do at Blue Grotto (Beside Tours)
Blue Grotto has many exciting features that will keep you hooked for hours. You can spend time feeding Virgil the turtle food sold in the dive shop or do a loop around the circular cavern. You may also occupy a seat on one of the underwater training platforms and see a hand-drawn site map.
Best Time to Visit
If you are yearning for a great dive vacation, then there is no better place than Blue Grotto, as it welcomes visitors any time of the year.
How to Get to Blue Grotto
It is easy to miss the property; so, you must keep your eyes open for directions and important landmarks. When you travel westbound on US 27, you will have to turn left on NW 172nd street, just across the Holy Family Catholic Church. You will now have to proceed down the dirt road and move past the four-way intersection. The small Blue Grotto sign should be on your right. It is close to some of the major towns like
- Williston – 3 miles
- Archer – 12 miles
- Bronson – 14 miles
- Chiefland – 25 miles
- Gainesville – 25 miles
- Hotels near Blue Grotto
You can always relax if you need a place to stay while visiting Blue Grotto. There are cedar-lined cabins with double beds and bunk beds, and most of them are equipped with kitchenettes. If you are a part of a large group, you can opt for the detached cottages with 1 to 2 bedrooms. There’s a dedicated area for tent camping, and there are RV sites with hookups.
Blue Grotto Fun Facts
- Blue Grotto is a privately owned spring that welcomes cave-certified divers and offers scuba diving.
- The map of the Grotto is based on the survey done by Andreas Hagberg, Kyle Harmon, and Kirill Egorov.
- The cave is secured behind a locked gate to ensure that untrained divers are not tempted to do something foolish.
- The Dive Shop sells a T-shirt that says, “I Dove with Virgil the Turtle.” You can buy it from there.
- The Dive Shop offers a full dive school with a pool, guided dives, and training courses. No snorkelers or swimmers are allowed unless accompanied by divers.
- Blue Grotto gets super crowded during weekends with students and fun divers. So, you may try to come here on weekdays to avoid the crowd.
Blue Grotto Details
- Length: The mouth of the cavern is 80 ft wide and 20 ft high
- Time Recommended: 3 to 4 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate but cave diver certification required
- Kid-friendly: Not for little kids, but students are allowed.
- Dog-friendly: No
- Fees: Charges for divers start from USD 48
- Hours: 8 am to 5 pm
Visiting Blue Grotto
Do you need more information before visiting Blue Grotto? Call (352) 528-5770 or email Blue Grotto through the form for an information packet.
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