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What are the Best Ways to Explore Jamaicas Coral Reefs?

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negril_coral_reef_restoration_getty_images.jpgWhat are the Best Ways to Explore Jamaicas Coral Reefs | Image source: Getty images

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Numerous kinds of fish, crabs, sea turtles, sponges, sea urchins, and other marine animals find refuge and food on coral reefs. In addition to offering food for human consumption and shelter for other organisms, our coral reefs also serve as a natural barrier against storms and coastal erosion by lowering the force of incoming waves.

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Along its coastline including areas like Morant Cay, Pedro Bank, and Lime Cay, our island is encircled by coral reefs. Some of the coral reef structures that encircle the shores of Jamaica include barrier reefs and fringe reefs. There are approximately 64 hard coral species, 43 soft coral species, and 8 black coral species on the island's 1240 km2 of coral reef.

The following families of hard coral species can be found on Jamaican reefs:

  • Acroporidae (staghorn corals)
  • Agariciidae (cactus and lettuce corals)
  • Astrocoeniidae
  • Caryophylliidae
  • Dendrophylliidae
  • Meandrinidae
  • Mussidae
  • Oculinidae
  • Pocilloporidae
  • Poritidae
  • Rhizangiidae
  • Siderastreidae

What are the best ways to explore Jamaicas Coral Reefs?

There are several ways for you to explore the Jamaican coral reefs, these include going on a glass bottom boat ride, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Glass Bottom Boat Rides

The multiple windows in the bottom of a glass bottom boat allow you to see the ocean's depths. You can witness vibrant coral reefs, exotic fish, and other aquatic life as you sail through some of the best marine gardens. The coral and fish are magnified, as if they are right beneath the glass, just below the surface of the sea. The stunning coral reef structures will enthral visitors of all ages. Non-divers have the opportunity to view the coral reef and marine life on a glass-bottom boat trip. Families and individuals who want to view the breathtaking undersea environment in the comfort and safety of a boat are best served by a glass-bottom boat.


Snorkelling in Jamaica is excellent because the warm, clear water makes it simple to see the variety of marine life. The coral reefs on the island cover more than 450 square miles and are in generally good shape. To reach the greatest locations on the fringing reef, you must book a tour. Fortunately, there are several beaches where you may snorkel right from the shore.

Booby Cay, a small island located offshore of Bloody Bay, acquired its name from the Booby birds that make their home there. From Bloody Bay or Seven Mile Beach, a short boat journey will get you there. Although some of the coral around this tiny island has died due to storm damage, marine life is still abundant, including a wide variety of fish, starfish, and octopus. If you're interested in snorkelling in Jamaica, you should put another marine park offshore of the Ocho Rios region on your list of places to visit. At Devil's Reef, where nurse sharks can be observed, the corals are the most diversified.

Scuba Diving

There are lots of places to go scuba diving in Jamaica. This minimizes the pressure to dive into a location that is out of your competence level because divers of all skill levels can discover an ideal environment. To select a dive site in Jamaica, you must first decide what you want to see. In Jamaica, there are more than 100 active diving sites.

The Throne Room in Negril is frequently recognized as Jamaica's top scuba diving location. It is highly regarded due to the diverse marine life and unique coral structures that can be seen there. In Montego Bay, The Widowmaker's Cave is the most well-known location for scuba diving. On this dive, you can observe a variety of soft corals, parrot fish, barracuda, and more in addition to the black corals that cover the walls. From Ocho Rios, you can take a boat ride to reach the protected area where Devil's Reef is located. An underwater ridge with notable staghorn corals and black-ball sponges can be found here. There are numerous varieties of reef fish swimming about, along with turtles, lettuce sea snails, brilliant corals, and possibly moray eels or nurse sharks.

You can choose any of these options for exploring coral reefs. Of course, if you are completely unfamiliar with the territory booking a tour is your best option.

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References & Sources For What are the Best Ways to Explore Jamaica's Coral Reefs

  1. Coral Reefs — Jamaican Petrel. (n.d.). Jamaican Petrel.
  2. Glass Bottom Boat Trip | Ocho Rios | Montego Bay | Negril | Falmouth. (n.d.). Glass Bottom Boat Trip | Ocho Rios | Montego Bay | Negril | Falmouth.
  3. Szaszi, A. (2020, October 7). Best spots to go snorkeling in Jamaica | Snorkel Around The World. Snorkel Around the World.
  4. Scuba diving Jamaica: Best spots & what to expect | BEACHES. (2020, March 26). Here Comes the Sun - the Official Beaches Resorts Travel & Lifestyle Blog.
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