The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, also known as the Mesoamerican reef or Great Mayan Reef, stretches over 600 miles from Isla Contoy at the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula to the Bay Islands in Honduras. The reef system includes various protected areas and parks including the Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, Arrecifes de Xcalak National Park, and the Cayos Cochinos Marine Park.
Surpassed only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the second largest barrier reef in the world and the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere. The Mesoamerican Reef contains more than 66 species of stony corals and more than 500 species of fish, as well as several species of sea turtles, dolphins and whale sharks.
The location of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef just off the coast from Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and the Costa Maya make these prime destinations for those interested in scuba diving and snorkeling on their vacation. Some great dive spots include the Manchones Reef, Cancun's Underwater Museum, and the C58 Shipwreck.
Read more about scuba diving in the Yucatan Peninsula.