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Travel Journal Exploring Coral Reefs

Three of the World’s Best Reefs

If you’re looking for the strange and beautiful on your travels then a trip to one of the world’s coral reefs should be on your itinerary. A reef is a silent world of still rock-corals, plants and marine life that evolve above and below our oceans, each one built like a unique city and each one with its own living animals and plant-life. Scuba-diving and snorkelling are great ways to experience the world’s reefs, and though there are many to see, here are three of the most breathtaking.

Great Barrier Reef

Possibly the most famous reef in the whole world and certainly the largest – the Great Barrier Reef - in the north-east of Australia can be seen from outer space. There are thousands of smaller reefs dotted around the 900 islands, many of which you can walk about on and explore rainforest life as well as the marine-worlds. There are hundreds of types of coral and 1,500 species of large fish in the reef, so a snorkelling trip will treat you to a myriad of exotic sea life, colourful gardens, and shipwrecks. If the season’s right you could lay your eyes on whales, dolphins and the almost-extinct green turtle.

Belize Barrier Reef

Second only in size to the Great Barrier Reef, Belize Barrier Reef is a much-loved treasure of Belize and the world – its ecosystem is so significant that it is now protected by the World Heritage Site. It is 180 miles long, starting from Mexico and ending up in the Gulf of Honduras, with everything from reefs, cays, grass flats and mangrove swamps in between. You can expect to see crabs, shrimp and lobster on a snorkelling trip and up to 35 types of rock-coral- this reef’s ecosystem is a lavish one.

Chinchorro Bank Lagoon

This is more of a lagoon than a reef but worth seeing because the Chinchorro Bank is the largest and oldest of its type in the world. It starts at the Mexican border and is 29 miles long and 9 miles wide and is lucrative spot for local fishermen who catch and sell the pink lobster found in the waters. It’s made up of brain-coral and rock-coral and bursting with anemones, which makes it an attractive site for divers. However, the drastic drops in the water make it a nightmare for sailors and it carries the eerie nickname ‘Ship Graveyard’, because this reef has swallowed 200 ships over the centuries and at least 18 relics from the 1600s have been archived - you may catch sight of a few old anchors and relics on scuba-diving trips.

Before you book a ticket to a tropical destination, have a look at the Travelzoo website, who can direct you to airlines offering cheap flights. Also, don’t forget to sort your travel insurance out in advance, try looking at AA Travel Insurance for appropriate backpacker packages.

Travel Journal Exploring Coral Reefs