The MesoAmerican Barrier Reef is the world’s second largest, spanning 600 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula to Honduras. The 180 mile Belize Barrier Reef is part of this system. It provides a unique marine ecosystem for snorkelers of all levels to explore.
The ecosystem comprises not just the coral reefs but also mangrove forests, lagoons and coastal wetlands. Here are some of the wonders you might see while snorkeling in Belize’s clear turquoise waters:
This brilliantly colored fish can be found among the corals as well. It is unique among fish because it “farms” red algae which is one of its primary food sources.
Known as “gentle giants”, these are the largest of the rays. They can reach 20 feet from tip to tip and weigh over 3000 pounds. While they prefer the open sea, they sometimes glide over the reef into Belize’s coastal waters. There, you can approach them, but be aware – they have been known to jump up to 15 feet from the water!
Another species known for its acrobatic leaps is this variant of the bottlenose dolphin. This gentle and playful animal may be spotted off the coast of Placencia.
It’s a delight to swim in schools of these beautiful fish as their scales sparkle in sunlight. They come in gorgeous colors, but are not merely decorative. They also help to build Belize’s beaches. Their teeth grind up coral rock into fine sand.
Green Moray Eel
You will find their distinctive bottle green heads peaking out from holes in the coral. These eels can grow up to 8 feet long and used to be mistaken for sea serpents!
While they can grow up to 14 feet long, nurse sharks are gentle. They will let you swim near as they cruise the reefs and mangroves. Their skin is smooth, which you will discover if you gently stroke one. Imagine telling your friends you swam with the sharks and even touched one!
Characterized by a large bell shape, this sponge can grow up to 3 feet high. It ranges in color from purple to red to brown and is found attached to rocks in Belize’s lagoons.
The waters of Belize are home to three varieties of sea turtle: the loggerhead, green and hawksbill. Since 1993 these have been protected species and are thriving in many locations such as Glover’s Reef Atoll.
To experience these amazing wonders for yourself, consider booking a stay at Chabil Mar Resort . We are an award winning beach resort that are close to the Belize Barrier Reef and offer world class snorkeling, diving, sailing and fishing.