Exploring the Belize Barrier Reef System
The Belize Barrier Reef System is one of the natural wonders of the world. Declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1996, the Belize Barrier Reef System is the largest coral reef system in the Northern Hemisphere, composed of more than 450 islands and three atolls.
Marine scientists have long known that healthy coral reef systems are vital for preserving the ocean’s health. Nearly a quarter of all marine species can be found near coral reefs, and the Belize Barrier Reef System is no exception. Visitors can spot vast schools of fish, including popular sportfishing species like grouper and snapper, pods of curious dolphins, five different species of sea turtles, dozens of species of sharks, and playful herds of gentle manatees.
The warm weather, spectacularly beautiful beaches, and clear water make the Belize Barrier Reef System a paradise for activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, sea kayaking, fishing, sailing, and windsurfing. Over 100 dive sites can be found just a few miles offshore from Belize, including the legendary Belize Blue Hole, a natural phenomenon of perfectly circular sapphire water that is easily visible from space.
And while the Belize Blue Hole is only available for experienced divers, the reef has plenty of locations that are ideal for beginning and intermediate divers. Ranging from shallow lagoons to deep coral canyons teeming with colorful marine life, Belize is truly a paradise for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The Belize Barrier Reef includes no fewer than seven protected marine reserves ranging from the tiny Laughing Bird Caye National Park to the spectacular Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve where, every year during the spring months, huge schools of gigantic whale fish arrive to feast on vast quantities of fish spawn and plankton.
And while the underwater creatures get the lion’s share of attention, the Belize Barrier Reef System is also a great place to spot over 100 different species of birds, including magnificent frigatebirds and dainty plovers. The Belize Barrier Reef System is also a popular destination for anglers from around the world. Whether it’s to achieve a coveted Grand Slam or to land their own fresh-caught dinner, the fishing in Belize can be enjoyed 12 months a year.
If you’d like to explore the Belize Barrier Reef System for yourself, be sure to book your excursions with Barefoot Rentals and Services. Barefoot offers a wide range of reef tours to enjoy activities such as sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and island getaways.