Mesoamerican Reef System
The Jewel of the Caribbean
The Mesoamerican Reef System — often referred to as the “Jewel of the Caribbean” — is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere and a rich tapestry of vivid corals, mangrove forests, coastal wetlands, and diverse marine wildlife. Within can be found Turneffe Atoll, the largest and most biologically diverse of the four atolls found in the Caribbean.
Stretching more than 620 miles (1000 kilometres), the reef spans the coastlines of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras, hosting over 500 species of fish and 65 varieties of stony coral. A number of dolphin species also call the reef their home including spotted, bottle-nosed, and rough-toothed.
One of the world’s largest populations of manatees reside in the region, estimated to number anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500. The Mesoamerican Reef is home to more than 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of mollusc and more than 500 species of fish. As a result, guests staying on our Belize resort have the chance to witness some of the planet’s most diverse aquatic wildlife.
Over two million people reside in the coastal communities encompassed by the Mesoamerican Reef System; the waters are therefore invaluable to local fishermen, who regularly reel in spiny lobster, shrimp, grouper, snapper, and queen conches.
The reef system shares similarities with the Great Barrier Reef. Both are considered two of the best dive sites on the planet and house a breathtaking array or wildlife and coral. Organisations are working hard in the Western and Southern Hemisphere to make sure these are protected against human activity.
Many fish from the Mesoamerican and the Great Barrier Reef are on the protected species list, so Belize snorkelling and diving affords unparalleled opportunities to view a number of rare species.