The Types of Coral Reefs in Cancun, A Colorful Adventure

Cancun is a city located in the Yucatan Peninsula known for its natural beauty, wildlife and marine life and the relaxing atmosphere. Some of the types of coral reefs you can find in Cancun are described below.

 The wondrous world underwater, which is unique to so many others, is the reason that attracts tourists from all around the world.

The vast sandy beach of Cancun is the habitat of several species of flora and fauna. There are various ways through which the tourists can explore the world’s most complex ecosystem consisting of more than a thousand species of plants and animals. Snorkeling and scuba diving, are only a few of the many, but most popular ways of discovering the world under the sea.

Mesoamerican Reef (Grand Mayan Reef)

The reef stretches over 965 kilometers from Isla Contoy to the Bay Islands (Honduras). Mesoamerican reef system includes protected areas such as Sian Ka’an Bioshphere Reservce, Arrecifes de Xcalak National Park and Cayos Cochinos Marine Park and is the second world’s largest reef.

The reef system includes coastal wetlands, mangrove, lagoons and coral reefs and it is home to over 60 coral species and 500 fish species. In this area you can spot Great Barracuda, Bonefish, Hawkfish, Eagleray, Sharks, Stingray, etc.
While snorkeling or scuba diving in Cancun, you can see four types of reef formations;

Fire Corals

They are colonial marine organisms and look just like a real coral. However, technically they are not corals. Sometimes divers make mistakes and consider it seaweed. After the accidental contact, they can feel a strong pain so it is important to be careful when touching corals. In Aquaworld, we guarantee maximum safety as we will always look after our divers and give them thorough instructions.

Staghorn Coral


This large stony coral with antlerlike branches is widely spread in Cancun area. Staghorn coral is the fastest growing coral with cylindrical branches ranging from several inches to over 6 ft. in length and height. Aside from Cancun, this reef formation is also found throughout the Florida keys, Bahamas and coasts of Sabah (Malaysia). This reef is one of the three most important corals in the Carribean considering its contribution to fishery habitat and reef growth.


These formations also known as sea fans or sea whips or sea fans are soft corals.
They are usually form colonies that are branching and erect, resembling a fan. Some others can look like a whip or bush. The colonies are sometimes colored in bright colors like yellow, purple or red and you can find it in many of the best coral reefs in Cancun too!

Brain Coral

This brain coral, also known as Open Brain Coral, Large Flower Coral and Flat, has flashy polyps hiding the calcareous skeleton. Its colors and textures vary, some of them are pimply and some are smooth. Also, some resemble a carpet. This coral puts out the tentacles which extend out of the oral disc inside the mantle and in this way they capture the food.

Aquaworld offers many scuba diving and snorkeling tours where you can check out these wonderful reef formations, and bring back home a memorable experience from your vacation with the best coral reefs in Cancun

The world famous underwater museum, MUSA, was designed for preservation of the corals in Cancun due to their decreasing numbers. You can visit this museum in Cancun through a snorkeling tour or a diving tour; and take a dip into the sea and go for a swim with the friendliest creatures, the dolphins!
Out of 11, Loggerheads, Green Turtles and Hawksbill are the commonest species of sea turtles found in reefs of Cancun. These endangered species of turtles are protected from poachers and predators by the government.

Manta Rays and Whale Sharks are also found during snorkel tours in Cancun.
Come and discover this wonderful underwater world with us!