Photo: SEMARNAT, Chinchorro
Located at the southeastern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserve encompasses more than 144,000 hectares of coral reefs, mangroves, beds of sea grass beds and sand beaches. Banco Chinchorro is the largest platform type reef complex system in Mexico and because of its isolated position, it represents well-preserved natural ecosystems.
Corals form a circular strip made up of coral islets, which constitute the morphological structure of Banco Chinchorro. Due to this topography and the irregular submarine topography and orientation, a great diversity of habitats co-exist. Some 95 coral species have been inventoried.
Seagrass beds are abundant in the Cayo Norte zone and in the interior lagoon of Cayo Centro, serving as reproduction and breeding refuges of way ecologically and economically important species. In this latter category, the two main species of importance include the Caribbean lobster (Panulirus argus) and the conch (Strombus gigas).
There are three coral systems: Coyo Norte, Cayo Centro and Cayo Lobos, which form the three core areas. The transition area encompasses the fishing village gathering the 90 inhabitants of the Biosphere Reserve along the mainland coast.