What to Do in the Great Mayan Reef
The Great Mayan Reef, also known as the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, is the world’s second largest barrier reef. It is second only to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. This reef system runs between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel for hundreds of miles, extending from the Bay Islands of Honduras to the southern part of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The ancient Great Mayan Reef is largely responsible for the emergence and development of communities and civilizations along its magnificent shores. During the period of the early Mayan people, passages and trade routes were created in this area, greatly boosting the civilization’s trade and commerce.
When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, the Great Mayan Reef became the safe sanctuary of many pirates. This natural feature used to serve as a maritime gateway for the Spanish colonizers as well. At present, the rich marine life of this remarkable reef system (including various fish species and 500-year-old coral formations) is the main enticement for local and international tourism.
The tourism that the Great Mayan Reef brings has greatly improved the economy of Playa del Carmen. In fact, it is one of the city’s top sources of income. In addition, it plays an important role in protecting coastal landscapes. It also serves as feeding and breeding grounds for most of its marine life.
There are so many things you must do in your Great Mayan Reef excursion.
If you are into scuba diving, you will be astounded as you explore to get to experience what the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System has to offer. The composition of its reef types, the rich diversity of its corals and other related species, as well as its length, are some of the most important aspects that contribute to the reef system’s special distinction in the Western hemisphere.
This tourist attraction in the Yucatan peninsula is not only one huge single barrier reef; it is a chain of coral gardens, drop-offs, and shallow patch reefs. It also serves as an abode to islets, fringing reefs, and coastal sandbanks. The waters of the famous reef boasts more or less 100 dive sites, half a thousand species of fish, and four species of sea turtles.