Coral Reef in the Riviera Maya Below the water of the Caribbean sea and the running parallel along the coasts of our Riviera Maya, wind a unique natural marvel our coral reef, or more specifically, the famous Mesoamerican Reef System. Second in longitude only to the Great Australian Barrier Reef, it extends along the eastern Mexican coastline of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The Mesoamerican Reef system is comprised of an ecosystem of enormous fragility yet provides nourishment and refuge to a many different species of marine life, which is why its protection and conservation deserve close attention. A coral reef is a limestone that provides refuge to almost a quarter of all the marine life in the sea. As one of the biggest and most complex ecosystems on the planet, coral reefs are home to more than 4000 species of fish, 700 species of coral and thousands of plants and animals. Often mistaken as plants or rock, coral is composed of tiny, fragile animals and their skeletons known as polyps. There are two types of coral: hard coral and soft coral. Coral reefs are one of the most biodiversity resources that have conservational and economic value in the tropical and subtropical regions. However, they are seriously affected and threatened by indefensible human activity and by factories linked to world climate change. The seas of the Mexican Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico possess an estimated of 1350 square km of coral reef. These reefs sustain an excellent quality of marine life for fishing ad diving, and the demand for this natural resource fuels our tourism industry. If we want healthier reefs full of marine life, responsible development and flourishing tourism, preventive methods must be applied for the good of the Riviera Maya, the country and all humanity.