Whether you arrive by plane, charter boat, or sea kayak, the hundreds of miles of living coral that form the Belize Barrier Reef are some of the most beautiful and biodiverse locations found anywhere on the planet. The Belize Barrier Reef is a rare double barrier reef measuring approximately 187 miles (300 km) from north to south, starting at just a few hundred yards offshore in the north of the country and ranging to about 25 miles (40 km) at the southernmost point. The Belize Barrier Reef is itself a subsection of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in size.
In 1996, the United Nations officially listed the Belize Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site. Today, the Belize Barrier Reef is divided into seven protected areas: Sapodilla Cayes Marine Reserve, Laughing Bird Caye National Park, South Water Caye Marine Reserve, Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve, Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, Blue Hole Natural Monument, and the Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve.
The Belize Barrier Reef is also unique in that it is one of the few locations not in the Pacific Ocean that has coral atolls, coral islands with an interior lagoon: Turneffe Atoll, Lighthouse Reef Atoll, and Glover’s Reef Atoll. In 1842, Charles Darwin visited the Belize Barrier Reef, describing it as the most remarkable reef ecosystem he had ever seen.
The Belize Barrier Reef is an important habitat for bird, marine mammal, reptilian, amphibian, crustacean, and fish species, including the West Indian manatee, Hawksbill turtle, American crocodile, red-footed booby, and 350 species of mollusks.
Make the Most of the Belize Barrier Reef
Black Orchid Resort offers guests customized tours to make the most of what the Belize Barrier Reef has to offer, including activities such as:
• Scuba Diving – Strap on your gear and make your way through the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean to explore a kaleidoscope of marine flora and fauna.
• Diving the Belize Blue Hole – Experienced divers can explore the mysterious depths of the Blue Hole rated as one of Jacques Cousteau’s favorite diving spots.
• Snorkeling – Enter a magical world of living color as you interact with anemones, sea turtles, rays, sharks and fish in one of the most eco-diverse marine areas on the planet.
• Fly fishing – Go fo the fabled Grand Slam as you test your luck at catching bonefish, tarpon, and permitfish in fantastically beautiful locations.
• Deep sea fishing – Beyond the outer limits of the reef are some of the richest waters in the region for catching marlin, king fish, barracuda and grouper.