Cancun, Mexico is home to the 2nd largest reef area in the world. It’s no wonder there are 65 documented varieties of coral reef just waiting for you to enjoy during your Cancun diving vacation. THE MESOAMERICAN REEF OR GRAND MAYAN REEF STRETCHES OVER 1000KM! THE SHALLOW WARM WATERS PROVIDE ATTRACTIVE CONDITIONS FOR CORAL TO GROW. These are some of the most common reef formations you will see during your Cancun activity. Some of them are not technically corals but are closely related. The Discover Scuba course will provide all the know-how you need. If diving is not for you, take a snorkel tour in Cancun and witness these amazing natural gardens of the Mexican Caribe. FAN CORAL – OFFICIAL NAME GORGONACEA Fan coral are filter feeders meaning the polyps’ tentacles catch plankton and other small particles. Their bright colour and shape resembles a fan and they plant themselves into the sea bed and grow to several feet high. Many dive sites in Cancun have some spectacular fan corals. FIRE CORAL Fire coral attaches itself to other coral and is usually bright yellow-green and brown. Which is a good thing as contact can cause nasty scratches and skin irritation. Fire coral does not look like a common reef formation due to it’s ‘branchy’ characteristics. This coral was used to form the ‘Man on Fire’ in Cancun’s Underwater Museum. Broken branches were taken from the sea bed and attached to the life sized Cancun museum statue. This statue can be seen whilst snorkeling in Cancun as well as diving. STAGHORN CORAL Commonly found in shallow reefs, the Staghorn coral is in abundance in Cancun waters. Their size is controlled by wave movements and underwater sediments which alter light intake to the seabed. As the fastest growing coral, the staghorn is of huge importance to the eco system and responsible for the reef maintenance and breeding grounds for fish. Broken particles of Staghorn coral were also used in the Underwater Museum of Cancun. BRAIN CORAL Brain coral is a prime example of a stony coral and it’s name is self-explanatory. The polyps within a colony form the head of brain coral and these polyps are identical. They are tough corals using their tentacles to catch food at night and to protect themselves during the day. Brain coral also grow to immense sizes (6ft or more in height) and can have a life span of up to 900 years. You will be certain to come across this formation when diving in Cancun.