The Belize Barrier Reef, at 186 miles in length is the second largest coral formation in the world. The Barrier Reef is made up of a mixture of hard and soft corals, with the hard corals mainly at deeper depths and the soft corals nearer the surface. Commonly seen are Brain and Staghorn Corals, Sponges, Seafans, Finger and Angular Corals.
Coral formations extending out toward the deep, form what are called Finger Canyons. These Coral Ridges, up to 200 feet in length, commonly consist of Blushing and Mountainous Coral, Mustard Hill and Starlet Coral, Brain and Knobby Brain Coral, Thin Leaf and Lettuce Coral and Sponges. The Canyon Bottoms are typically white sandy slopes. The Coral Finger ridges start at a depth of about 40 feet and slope to about 80 feet as they make their way toward the deep water. The Canyon bottoms range from about 60 to 120 feet in depth. These coral fingers provide numerous canyons, tunnels and swim throughs.
The Barrier Reef is home to a wide variety of fish including Cubera and Yellowtail Snapper, Parrot Fish, Butterfly Fish, Blue Tang, and Blue Cromise. Barracuda and Moray Eels are commonly seen as are Green, Loggerhead and Hawksbill Turtles. You’ll see Sting Rays, Eagle Rays, and Nurse Sharks and the occasional Caribbean Reef Shark or Manta Ray.