Across our planet, you can find incredible coral reefs. Sustaining an exotic array of marine species, coral reefs play an important role in our ocean ecosystems. Whether you’re a snorkelling enthusiast or a qualified scuba diver, coral reefs are amazing places to explore. Whilst we all know about the Great Barrier Reef, there are plenty of other important reef systems to discover. Today, many of the world’s coral reefs are threatened due to climate change and pollution. Therefore, it’s important to respect these living organisms and always follow local guidance when visiting coral reefs to help keep our reef systems colourful and thriving!
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The most famous of all coral reefs, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest on earth. Situated off the coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is composed of thousands of individual reefs. Stretching for 1,400 miles down the coast of Eastern Australia, this underwater world is at the top of all scuba divers’ bucket lists! You’ll find everything here, from minke whales to manta rays, and from sharks to clownfish. As one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, it’s a must-visit. But, you don’t have to be a scuba diver to experience this underwater landscape for yourself. Glass-bottomed boat tours and snorkelling trips allow anyone to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
Red Sea Coral Reef, Egypt
One of the oldest reef systems in the world, the Red Sea Coral Reef is found off the shores of Egypt, Israel and Djibouti. Approximately 1,200 miles long, the reef is composed of at least 300 hard coral species. Furthermore, more than 1,000 species of fish inhabit this coral reef. Indeed, it’s one of the most popular scuba diving sites on earth, with year-round warm waters. If you want to uncover the rich underwater world, visit Ras Mohamed National Park, a protected site where you can safely experience the best of this reef system. If you’d prefer to snorkel, many Red Sea resorts in Egypt offer snorkelling and boat excursions suitable for beginners.
Belize Barrier Reef, Belize
Part of the wider Mesoamerican Coral Reef, the Belize Barrier Reef is teeming with marine life! Home to the longest unbroken barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, this coral reef system is considered a world-class diving spot. Its abundant corals provide an array of colourful blooms depending on the time of year. But, the top attraction is the Great Blue Hole. A giant marine sinkhole, it is visible from space. Experienced divers can explore the interior of its endless cave, an utterly otherworldly adventure into the abyss!
Maldives Coral Reef, Maldives
Not just luxury resorts and all-inclusive hotels, the Maldives is also an incredible diving destination. This is due to its incredible coral reef systems, home to some of the most exotic and beautiful underwater species in the world. Home to around 70 individual coral atolls, it hosts over 1,000 species of fish including manta rays, whale sharks and various types of sea sponges. Unfortunately, the coral reefs have been negatively affected by warming ocean temperatures, but have shown signs of renewed life in the last couple of years. Of course, the warm waters mean that this reef system can be enjoyed at any time of year. Go snorkelling, head off on a diving expedition or simply admire the colourful corals from the comforts of your over-water villa!
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The crystal clear waters surrounding the Raja Ampat islands are one of Indonesia’s best-kept secrets! Unspoilt by human pollution, the coral reefs here are incredibly pristine. Resilient to the negative effects of climate change, the Raja Ampat reefs offer divers the chance to encounter one of the most biodiverse underwater environments on earth! Around 1,500 fish species and 300 types of coral are present here. Furthermore, the desert-island beaches and dense rainforests of these islands attract visitors searching for a true connection with nature!
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