Largest barrier reef system in the northern hemisphere
Belize Barrier Reef Reserve
963 square kilometre(s)
Belize ()

The Belize Barrier Reef Reserve is a 963-km2 (371.8-mile2) coastal system of atolls, sand cays, mangrove forests, lagoons and estuaries, and is home to the largest reef system in the northern hemisphere. The submarine shelf and barrier reef stretches from Mexico in the north to Guatemala in the south and is second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. The reef system is a significant habitat for threatened species such as marine turtles, manatees and marine crocodiles, and evidence suggests that the Maya used the reefs for fishing 2,000-2,500 years ago. The reef was identified by UNESCO in 1996, and joined the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009.