The Belize Barrier Reef
Off the coast of Belize lies a Treasure of Biological Diversity waiting to be explored
Extending north and south for one-hundred and eighty miles, the barrier reef offshore of the Belize mainland is considered the most diverse section of the entire Mesoamerican Reef system. Our primary area of exploration is within the Southwater Caye Marine Reserve which is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Belize, we find a continuous reef structure running the length of the country parallel to the coast. From the mainland, the reef cannot be seen; it lies 10 to 20 miles offshore. Traveling east from the mainland, the reef first becomes visible as a line of white surf crashing over the reef crest, with blue sea to the outside marking the deeper habitat of the fore reef. Approaching closer, we first enter the reef’s lagoon - a shallow area of turquoise waters, brilliant white sand flats and waving beds of turtle grass and corals. Cuts or breaks in the outside reef are common - where wave action carves out channels into the lagoon which serve as navigation routes to and from the open sea.