Mesoamerican Reef


With 900 km of extension , this coral reef is the largest in the Atlantic Ocean and the second largest in the world, inferior only to the Great Barrier Reef of the East in Australia. It receives its name due to the fact that it extends from Mexico to Honduras. Beginning at the island of Holbox, in the Mexican Gulf, turns south and covers the entire Quintana Roo coast, continuing along the front of Belize and Guatemala, in order to end in Roatan and the rest of the Honduras Bay.

This reef has evolved into a habitat for over 65 different corals, 350 species of crustaceans, 35 types of sponges in its various shapes and sizes, 24 species of mammals and more than 500 species of a many different coloured fish, associated to the reef or groups of cardamon. It is also a refuge for numerous species in danger of extinction such as the marine turtle (green turtle, carey turtle, boba turtle and laud turtle), the queen conch, caribbean manatee, and the American crocodile, morelet’s crocodile, the moose horn conch and black coral.

More than just a simple barrier reef, it is an intricate coral system. Twenty thousand years ago, during the last glacial era, the sea level was at 120 meters under the present day level. As the continents ice formations melted, the sea level rose. The coral, which require superficial waters to survive grew as the tide rose and colonised this part of the coastal zone about six thousand years ago when the water stabilised. Meanwhile, on the coasts new ecosystems grew such as the mangler and lagoons formed and together they formed a treasure chest of biodiversity that is the northeast of the caribbean. The human presence in the last millennia have put many of the species at risk and some such as the caribbean monk seal have perished. With everything, the reef continues to be the home to many different species. If you visit the reef please contact authorised tour guides in order to be well informed about measures taken to prevent harm to this  ecological wonder. This will allow future generations to also be able to enjoy it.