Cancún's Beaches and Coral


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Welcome to a tropical paradise! If youlove white sand beaches, lagoons and coral reefs, then this is the place for you (see the map section). Below learn about some of the underwater life you'll see using snorkel and fins:


Giant Brain Coral (Colophylia natans)
Brain coral is full of small ridges that resemble folds in the brain. The ridges run along the sides of a large, round form and can be greenish or brownish in color. These coral can measure up to one or two meters in height.

Mountainous Star Coral (Montastraea annularis)
This coral forms colonies almost 2 meters wide by 3 meters high in mountain shape. It can be green, brown or gray in color.

Staghorn Coral (Acropora cervicornis)
This coral's branches can grow 2.2 centimeters in diameter. Colonies grow to no more than 2 meters in diameter and resemble the horns of a deer.

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Elkhorn Coral (Acropora palmata)
This is a dominant coral growing in shallow reefs, and is recognized by its smooth, palmleaf shaped branches. The colonies can be up to 3 meters in height and can cover several thousand meters of reef.

Sheet Coral (Agaricia lamarcki)
This coral forms large layers that grow to one meter in diameter. Their polyps form wavy edges which stand out like white mouths.

Smooth Star Coral (Siderastrea siderea)
Star coral forms a round mound that can exceed 60 cm. in width, with a flat surface that is larger than that of its closest cousin, the rougher Siderastrea radians.

Ivory Tree Coral (Oculina valenciennesi)
This coral is covered with cup-like impressions. It often has open branches and grows in colonies to 30 cm. in height.

Pillar Coral (Dendrogyra cylindrus)
This coral grows in thick columns that grow to more than 30 cm. in height. Its tentacles extend during the day and have a hairy appearance.

Common Sea Fan (Gorgonia ventalina)
This coral looks like a small tree with wide, polyp covered branches spaced widely apart allowing currents to pass between. The sea fan is a lilac color and grows to almost 2 meters in height.