The vast oceans and seas have hidden treasures of beauty safely tucked away in the depths of their waters. A fascinating mix of underwater gardens and marine life are found in ocean waters across the world. Coral reefs, in particular, are stunning ecosystems found in oceans. Apart from being breath-taking to look at, they also act as a protection mechanism to coastlines and are home to an array of ecosystems. Coral reefs are beautiful to explore with their exotic marine life and rare sea plants. Here we have a list of some of the most beautiful coral reefs from around the world.
1Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is perhaps the most famous coral reef in the world. Incidentally, it is also the largest and is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The massive coral reef is spread over 2,300 kilometres and has almost 3000 individual reef systems.
Situated off the coast of Queensland, in the Coral Sea, the Great Barrier Reef features 900 of islands that are made of different types of hard and soft coral. Tourists from across the world flock to Australia to snorkel into the waters and get a glimpse of this beautiful natural wonder. Additionally, apart from corals and sea-plants, the Great Barrier Reef boasts many rare colourful fish, molluscs, starfish, turtles, dolphins and sharks.
2New Caledonia Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, Australia
The New Caledonia Barrier Reef is the second-largest double barrier reef in the world. Situated within deep blue waters of varying shades, this coral reef system is an example of nature at its finest. New Caledonia Barrier Reef has such a huge variety of marine life that some species are yet to be discovered and classified. Located in the South Pacific off the northeast coast of Australia, this double-barrier reef is also a UNESCO World Heritage.
3Red Sea Coral Reef, Red Sea
The Red Sea Coral Reef has managed to thrive despite being located in between two of the hottest and most arid deserts in the world: the Sahara and the Arabian. It is 5,000 years old and is home to 300 hard coral species and about 1,200 fish. Almost 1,200 miles long, the Red Sea Coral Reef has survived so long because of its ability to withstand natural elements including extreme climate changes.
4Coco Island Coral Reef, Costa Rica
Coco Island Coral Reef in Costa Rica is a beautiful eco-system that has been well-preserved over the years. It holds a great amount of hard coral and you will find more than 100 varieties of coral in this region. With colourful fish, turtles and dolphins swimming all around, this coral reef system has managed to resist degradation owing to man-made causes, which is a remarkable feat.
5Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park, Phillippines
Tubbataha Reefs is a vibrant underwater landscape and is recognized as a top diving site in the world. It has two coral atolls and features nearly 600 species of fish, 360 species of coral, 11 species of sharks and 13 species of dolphins. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993 due to its ‘pristine coral reef’ along with ‘extensive lagoons and two coral islands.’
6Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Caribbean Sea
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. 700 miles long, this coral reef system touches the coastline of four countries including Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala. It begins at Isla Contoy on the Northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. Nearly 2 million people that live on the coasts of these four countries depend on this reef system. It has 600 types of different species of rare fish. Over the years, the reef has faced a significant threat because of water pollution and other man-made causes.
7Palancar Reef, Cozumel, Mexico
Palancar Reef in Mexico may not be the largest coral reef but it is just as stunning as any other coral reef system. Divers return to this hidden gem over and over again because of its dazzling array of marine flora and fauna. The coral is inhabited by seahorses, butterflyfish, sea fans, squirrelfish, parrotfish, and many others. A majority of its flora and fauna exist in multi-coloured hues that are a visual delight. The Palancar Reef is a part of the Mesoamerican reef system.
8Great Chagos Archipelago, Indian Ocean
The Great Chagos Archipelago is one of the least polluted and threatened coral reefs in the world. It is one of the largest coral atolls of the Indian Ocean and is home to half of the world’s corals. The Ctenella chagius coral, the coral that resembles a brain is situated within the Great Chagos Archipelago. Aside from the beautiful corals, you can also spot fish, whales, turtles, dolphins in this region.