Jacques Cousteau described coral reefs as “a living kaleidoscope of lilac flecks, splashes of gold, reddish streaks, and yellows, all tinged by the familiar transparent blue of the sea.” Dazzling arrays of over 60 types of hard corals create the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The reef spans over 600 miles along the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras. Roatán is surrounded by the arrecife.
What lives in the arrecife? First, it’s important to remember the reef is not a rock. The reef is actually alive. Coral reefs are built by and made up of thousands of tiny animals called coral polyps. Smaller than pearls, coral polyps live on plankton and sunlight, and work together to produce the reef.
The reef is home to some of the world’s most vibrant marine life. Over 500 fish species, including the whale shark, the largest fish on the planet call the reef home. Whether you are snorkeling or scuba diving, the reef puts on a colorful display of parrotfish, the Foureye Butterflyfish, the Cherubfish and hundreds of others.
The reef provides habitat for six species of marine turtles: the Sea turtle, the Hawksbill turtle, the Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles, plus the Green turtle and the Olive Ridley turtle. The arrecife is also home to an estimated 1000 – 1500 manatee; one of the world’s largest populations.
The Abundant Life Foundation is expanding our efforts to protect the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. We are developing partnerships in the Bay Islands to educate locals and tourists of the importance of marine life, and the best practices to protect it.