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Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)

Listed under Coral Reefs in Cancún, Mexico.

  • Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
  • Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
  • Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
  • Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
  • Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
  • Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
Photo of Great Mayan Reef (Meso American Reef)
Photo by flickr user species_snob
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Off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsular stretching past Belize and on towards Honduras is the Great Mayan or Meso American Reef, at almost 750 miles the worlds second longest reef, comprised of coral atolls, fringing reefs, barrier reefs and large coral gardens. The warm, clear Caribbean waters and bountiful coral in gorgeous formations make this spot a magnet for both marine life, such as dolphins, sharks, shellfish, sea horses, and sea turtles and for divers and snorkelers. There are over one hundred different coral species that make up the reef, the harder corals adding to the skeleton and extending upwards and outwards and the soft corals making for an attractive backdrop to watch more than 500 different species of fish.

There are too many choices for divers and snorklers with something to appeal to everyone from pirate shipwrecks to shallow coral gardens to limestone tunnels and subterranean rivers which feed into the sea creating really unusual diving experiences. The Isla Mujeres on the Cancun end of the reef has huge protected lagoon which has been made into a marine park which is great for new divers and snorklers and just north of the island is the Cave of the Sleeping Sharks, a local favourite and a good place to see sharks at their most passive due to low salt levels in the water.

You can dive or snorkel here all year but the tide is highest and most dangerous between February and August so protected dives are safer.

As well as the reef this region also has gorgeous sandy beaches of a tropical, Caribbean flavour and historic Mayan ruins to explore.

Written by  Becky White.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Where is the best snokeling

We will be on a cruise which stops at Belize, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. Is there a "best" place to snorkel that you are aware of?

1 Reply

Belize is supposed to be the best!

Useful, very useful... beautiful. I wish I were there

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