The formation of the reef at Chinchorro consists of both vertical walls and sloping walls. The reef is home to marine life such as endangered sea turtles, giant barrel sponges, elephant ear sponges, elkhorn coral, brain coral, conch, and spiny lobster. Species of infrequently seen bat fish and the enormous, yet rare, goliath grouper are also found at Chinchorro. The barracuda grow to over 1.8m/6 foot, and there are copious amounts of queen trigger fish. Dolphins are commonly spotted on the boat ride out and also while diving. Chinchorro is truly an underwater photographer's paradise.
This reef is part of the Biosphere Reserve, established to protect the environmental treasures located in the Costa Maya region. It was set up by presidential decree as a natural protected area on July 19, 1996.
The World Wildlife Fund has included the Chinchorro Banks Reef and the Biosphere Reserve in its Global 200 priority areas and provides funding to support its protection. Chinchorro Banks is part of the Mesoamerican Caribbean Reef Eco-region, a region that the WWF treats as a functional unit by applying eco-region based conservation. The World Bank is also a financial participant supporting the preservation of the Biosphere Reserve. A direct result of environmental group actions can be noted through severe restrictions on fishing, such as the outlawing of any type of spear fishing or net fishing.
Visibility is generally 25 to 30meters/80 to 100 feet and currents are slight but constant bringing many nutrients to the flourishing reef. If your fancy is wreck diving, night diving, underwater photography, or just laid back easy dives, Chinchorro has it. So, if diving one of the world's greatest and yet most isolated reefs sounds good, this place is for you.
Our company is one of the few PADI accredited dive shops in the area currently offering Chinchorro dive trips. Please be cautious of non-accredited dive shops for any of your dives. The Chinchorro Banks is quite a distance away and should only be done with qualified dive operators that have full safety and rescue gear as well as a vessel designed to handle the trip.
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