Chinchorro Reef


This is a huge reef formation located 30 km from the coast in front of Mahahual and Xcalak. It is elliptical in shape with approximately 45 kilometres long by 28 kilometres in its widest area. Upon this perimeter there are high areas, four of which from noticeable sand banks. There is also one other sand bank in the interior of the elliptical shape. With an area of approximately 800 km2 of which only 1% are above water, Chinchorro bank  has three cays and one interior lagoon with a depth of approximately 5 meters. The dive areas span from 5 to 40 meters.  As an integral part of the Mesoamerican Reef System, there are no notable differences with the barrier reef when referring to topography and animal life. Anemones and sponges  are in abundance and up to 20 species have been found. Many of the creatures living in this habitat have nocturnal habits. There are 200 species identified to date, a large number of which belongs to cardumenes. The main predators of the area are eels and barracuda.

The main particularity in Chinchorro is the abundance of fish on the east end. In fact, the Mexican government have declared it a marine archeological sanctuary. Their number varies depending on the source, range between the seventies and the hundreds, along which can you can find a German submarine and many other underwater treasures. 18 ships were sunk from 1600 to the 1800, a long list of ships can be added including recent shipwrecks. Some of these continue to show their superstructure in shallow waters and others rest in deep waters which allows for a long, adventurous exploration.