Mesoamerican Reef (Belize Barrier Reef), Belize

5.0
#28 of 122 in Wildlife Areas in Belize
Reef Wildlife Area
The Belize Barrier Reef is a series of coral reefs straddling the coast of Belize, roughly 300m offshore in the north and 40km in the south within the country limits. The Belize Barrier Reef is a 300km long section of the 900km Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is continuous from Cancún on the north-eastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula through the Riviera Maya and up to Honduras, making it the second largest coral reef system in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is Belize's top tourist destination, popular for scuba diving and snorkeling and attracting almost half of its 260,000 visitors. It is also vital to the country's fishing industry.Charles Darwin described it as "the most remarkable reef in the West Indies" in 1842.In addition to its barrier reef, it also boasts three distinct Caribbean atolls: Turneffe Atoll, Glover's Reef and Lighthouse Reef. Lighthouse Reef is the most easterly diving area in Belize, it is home to the Great Blue Hole, made famous by Jacques Cousteau in 1970; Turneffe Atoll lies directly to the east of Belize City and is the nearest of the atolls to the capital. These different reefs provide diverse scuba diving opportunities that include walls, pinnacles and reef flats that are located throughout an enormous area of sea.
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  • Having visited Belize City from a cruise (don't bother!) my wife returned to the ship whilst me and my twin sons (10 yrs old) paid for a small open boat trip to the little island near the reef by a lo...  more »
  • We choose this destination to be away from crowded anchor places and yes, you are more or less alone. The combination wind without waves and the challenging scattered reefs and cays makes it a challen...  more »
  • We have snorkled in Belize on two different trips. Tobacco Cay had amazingly clear water. On Tobacco Cay we had AC as our guide. the wind had shifted and we were able to snorkle outside the barrier re...  more »