The Belize Barrier Reef – A World Heritage Site
One of Belize’s most gorgeous and magnificent attractions is the Belize Barrier Reef. Every year, the barrier reef lures thousands of people to Belize. The reef is an excellent destination for fishing, scuba diving, sailing and snorkeling.
The Belize Barrier Reef is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest reef in the world. Stretching across 186 miles, it is home to around 70 different species of hard coral, 36 species of soft coral and 500 species of fish.
Here are 10 things to know about the Belize Reef Barrier System:
1. The Belize Barrier Reef corals are polyps, or tiny animals, that range in size from the head of a pin to a foot in diameter. Unlike plants, they don’t make their own food.
2. The corals secrete a substance that hardens into limestone before attaching to other polyps or rocks. Small pieces break off and settle, creating a place for marine life to grow.
3. To be healthy, coral reef formations need coralline algae, an organism that covers the reef’s surface and strengthens it.
4. The seven protected marine reserves inside the reef make up around 12 percent of the reef’s total area.
5. The reef is home to endangered species like manatees, crocodiles, and sea turtles.
6. Species of fish include tarpon, porcupine fish, barracuda, jewfish, frogfish, cowfish, yellowtail snapper and grouper.
7. Besides species like the jaguar and hammerhead shark, the reef is home to the octopus, jellyfish, conch, eel, seahorse, spotted eagle ray, whale shark, dolphin and killer whale.
8. Colonies of birds on the atolls and islands of the reef include exotic species like the olive-throated parakeet, frigate bird, osprey, laughing gull, double-crested cormorant, booby, brown pelican, shorebird and plover.
9. The reef is home to over 350 species of shellfish and multiple species of worms and sponges.
10.The Belize Barrier Reef is one of only two living organisms big enough to be seen from outer space.
If the reef is on your bucket list, make plans to stay in Ambergris Caye, a gorgeous island off the coast of Belize. The perfect base for exploring, Ambergris Caye has resorts to fit every taste and budget. With guided tours for everything from sailing trips to ancient Maya ruins and convenient golf cart rentals for travel, it’s easy to get around the island.
Ambergris Caye is also an ideal destination to own property or a vacation home, and the new Salt Life Belize community is the perfect place for living, retiring or vacationing. A luxury development with all the comforts of home, it offers a full-service resort, fly-fishing lodge, beach club, restaurants, bars and estate homes. Belizeans are known for their friendly welcome to newcomers, and English is the country’s official language, making the transition easy.