The underwater world is filled with the most beautiful animals. We are not only talking about fish, but also about coral. Colorful coral reefs consist of tiny creatures that live in large colonies. Some resemble flowers, while other coral species resemble stone. These different colors and textures make coral reefs beautiful to behold. Are you curious about these special pieces of nature? You can read more about it in the top ten beautiful coral reefs.
10. Apo Reef
Apo Reef can be found in the Philippines and the second largest coral reef in the world. The surface of this coral reef is no less than 34 square kilometers. To protect the nature reserve, Apo Reef has largely been turned into a national park. Fishing is not allowed here, so that the ecosystem can continue to grow. The reef is located near the coast of the island of Mindoro, where it is largely hidden by a large mangrove forest. Divers flock to this area, especially for scuba diving at Shark Ridge. At this dive site you can not only discover the coral reef, but also spot reef sharks.
9. Mesoamerican Coral Reef
This coral reef extends over different countries. It is located along the coast of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. In total, the Mesoamerican Coral Reef has a length of more than 1,000 kilometers. The coral reef is famous for having a rich ecosystem, with numerous fish species and many different types of coral. Especially on the coast of Honduras you have the chance to discover beautiful pieces of coral. Due to the volcanic activity here, a rare type of black coral grows here. If you visit the coral reef from the coast of Mexico, you will encounter huge pieces of stag horn coral.
8. Great Chagos Bank
The Great Chagos Bank is located in the Maldives and is the largest coral reef in the Indian Ocean. The islands in this area were all created by volcanic activity, which puts them about 1.5 meters above sea level. Special dive sites can be found at countless of the thousands of islands. Here you have the chance to admire the rich underwater area of the Great Chagos Bank. For example, on the island of Kerudu you will discover various turtles that you can easily see thanks to the clear water. On the island of Kudarah you will find a unique collection of sea sponges.
7. Great Florida Reef
There is only one coral reef in North America, but it is one of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. The Great Florida Reef is located near the Florida coast, although you have to be a few miles from the coast to see the reef. The reef can therefore only be visited by taking a boat trip. Despite the Great Florida Reef being so far from the coast, it is not deep. Molasses Reef is one of the highlights, because here you will find a beautiful interplay between coral and fish. Christ of the Abyss can also be found in this area. This is a large bronze statue of Jesus placed at the bottom of the ocean in 1961 to honor divers.
6. Saya de Malha Bank
In the Indian Ocean you will find the largest submerged sea bank in the world. Saya de Malha Bank connects the islands of Seychelles and Mauritius, just north of Madagascar. What makes this coral reef so special is that it is the breeding ground for the blue whale. So you have the chance that you can spot these animals in the distance. Especially in the warmer months there are many calves to be seen. You can also see green turtles swimming between the coral reefs, feasting on the grass and seaweed. There are also a lot of colorful sea slugs in this area.
5. Lagoons of New Caledonia
In Oceania you will find the country of New Caledonia, which consists of several islands. The largest island has the third longest coral reef in the world. The Lagoons of New Caledonia are so large that some parts of this coral reef have never been explored. In fact, there are sea creatures swimming around that don’t even have a name. This area is therefore frequently visited by scientists who want to learn more about this special piece of nature. In the coral reef you will find a large lagoon with various dive sites. One of the highlights in the area is Daa Djare Ile des Pins, where two large coral rocks can be admired. You can swim between the two rocks.
4. Andros Barrier Reef
In the Bahamas you also have the opportunity to discover a special coral reef. This is where the Andros Barrier Reef is located. It is the location of this coral reef that makes it such a unique nature reserve. The reef is located on the edge of a large trough, so there is a very steep precipice. The coral follows the steeply sloping ocean floor, making it not a flat landscape. Some coral species therefore lie at a depth of 1,828 meters. This means that there are also many special fish swimming in the nature reserve.
3. Red Sea Coral Reef
The name already reveals it: this coral reef is located in the Red Sea. You can explore the Red Sea Coral Reef from the coast of Egypt, Israel and Djibouti. It is one of the oldest coral reefs in the world, with an age between 5,000 and 7,000 years. This means that you will discover a number of unique plants and animals, as well as countless fish species. Many divers make an attempt here to brave the Dahab Blue Hole. This deep hole in the bottom of the ocean is wonderful to discover, but not without danger. You can also take breathtaking diving trips around Ras Mohamed National Park.
2. Belize Barrier Reef
Belize’s Barrier Reef is actually part of the Mesoamerican Coral Reef, but it is so beautiful that it deserves a separate mention. This coral reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason, which means that it is a protected area. Thanks to this protected status, the nature here is beautiful, because the animals and plants are not disturbed. In addition to this special flora and fauna, you will also find the Great Blue Hole. This underwater cave is so large that it can be seen from space. Are you diving into this deep hole in the ocean? Then the walls get narrower and narrower, after which you cannot see a thing.
1. Great Barrier Reef
The number one on this list is perhaps the most famous coral reef in the world. The Great Barrier Reef is located along the coast of Australia and is the largest coral reef on Earth. In fact, it is so large that it can be seen from space. Thanks to its enormous size and rich underwater world, this area is very popular with divers from all over the world. They travel en masse to Queensland to admire the coral. One of the most popular dive sites is North Horn. Here you not only have the chance to get a closer look at the coral, but also to dive with sharks.