A natural paradise
Banco Chinchorro is a coral island in the middle of the caribbean, considered the largest in Mexico with 46 kilometres in length and 15 kilometres in width, it has an elliptical shape with a lagoon in its interior that communicates with the sea. Banco Chinchorro, was located 24 kilometres from the southern coast of Quintana Roo, and is the home to numerous species, such as the cemetery of Spanish galleons and English ships from the XVI and XVII centuries, that are true subaquatic museums this day and age.
Description of the place
Banco Chinchorro is a national marine park, the largest in Mexico and the second largest in the world. This reef is an island made of coral, on one side it is made up of an uninterrupted wall of coral and on the other it looks toward land, this part has numerous openings into a large reef lagoon that has a depth of approximately 5 meters. Within the lagoon are three small islands, one in the middle name Center Cayo and two on either side calles North Cayo and Wolves Cayo.
Life on the Reef
The reef is populated by many species of coral such as the elk horn, the star, the lettuce, the mountain, the brain, and the fire coral among others. In the reefs lagoon there is an incredible abundance of life such as sponges, sea whips, fans, colourful fish like the surgeon, the squirrel, the butterfly, the sergeant, and the angel among others. Banco Chinchorro is an ideal place to go diving or snorkelling , your eyes wont stop being amazed by the colours and the variety of marine life. This natural beauty was declared a Protected Natural Area in 1996 and has an area of about 800 square kilometres
The ship cemetery
Banco Chinchorro is also known around the world for being a boat cemetery with ships such as the 40 Cañones, La Caldera, Glen View, San Andrés, Cassel, Huba y Far Star. The boats sank with time and have become part of the corals habitat, a home to colourful fishes and a refuge for birds such as seagulls and swallows that rest on these empty husks. 68 subaquatic archaeological sites have been identified and at least 18 galleons; a peculiarity that makes Banco Chinchorro a great museum of the Marine Navigation in the Mexican Caribbean History. The shallow water caused the wreckage of many ships through history, and for this reason has been nicknamed Boat Cemetery. Banco Chinchorro is an authentic spectacle for divers and visitors that become enchanted with this part of the Caribbean.
How to arrive
By car: The Chinchorro Reserver may be reached by boat which will take you from only two starting points; Mahahual or Xcalak. Because of its closeness it is highly recommended to depart from Mahahual. In order to reach Mahahual from Chetumal take the 186 highway (Chetumal-Villahermosa) and follow it onto the 307 (Chetumal-Cancun). Continue for approximately 50 minutes, take the turn to the right at Cafetal-Mahahahual. This road will lead you straight to Mahahual, as for the different tours that are offered by the cooperatives. The tours leave early ( 8:00am) it is necessary to reserve before hand.
By Public Transportation: You may ask for vans leaving for Chetumal at the ADO bus station located behind the Museum of Mayan Culture, it has two departures daily. One at 5:40 am and another at 4:10 pm. The cost is of $80.00 MXN per person. From the ADO terminal located on Insurgentes there are many departures beginning at 6:00 am, we highly recommend that you ask about times. The cost is of $80.00 MXN per person. Once in Mahahual you can ask about the different tours offered by the cooperatives. The tours leave early (8:00 am) reservations are necessary.