Glover's Reef Atoll
BELIZE GLOVER'S REEF ATOLL
With so many wonderful places to explore across Belize and around the world, Glover's Reef is certainly a "bucket list" destination. Designated as a UN World Heritage Site and Protected Marine Park, Glover's Reef Atoll encompasses some of the best diving, snorkeling, paddling, and fishing across the entire Caribbean.
Glover’s Reef Atoll is the southernmost of the three atolls found in Belize and is located approximately 30 miles off the Belizean coastline. Isla Marisol Resort is situated on Southwest Caye, which is one of only four inhabited islands on the Atoll.
Glover’s Reef Atoll is an elliptical-shaped reef (20 miles long by 7 miles wide) that encircles a shallow lagoon with more than 700 coral patch reefs. The calm and protected lagoon provides nursery and feeding habitats for sea turtles, sharks and rays, small and large reef fish, and numerous species of coral and other invertebrates. Glover’s Reef supports extraordinarily high biodiversity, and according to the neighboring Glover’s Reef Research Station, the Atoll boasts the greatest range of coral reef types in the entire Caribbean Sea. Full-color photos and field guides to Glover’s Reef Atoll are available on the Glover’s Reef Research Station website.
In the 1970’s, Glover’s Reef Atoll was identified by a team of renowned scientists as the best site in the Caribbean to carry out “long-term, multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional investigation of coral reef ecosystems.” In 1993 the Atoll was designated as Glover’s Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR) by the Government of Belize.
In 1996, the Reserve was designated by the United Nation’s Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a UN World Heritage Site. The same year, Glover’s Reef Research Station was opened, with the goal of promoting the long-term conservation and management of the Belize Barrier Reef through research, cooperative management, training, and education.
Glover's Reef Highlights
Nassau Grouper Spawning Aggregations
The northeast corner of Glover’s Reef Atoll is the site of one of the Caribbean’s largest and last remaining Nassau grouper spawning aggregations. Nassau grouper are a protected species in Belize. Many other grouper species can be seen spawning across the Atoll at different times of the year.
Sea Turtle Monitoring
In 2007, Glover’s Reef Research Station partnered with the Belize Fisheries Department to begin a sea turtle monitoring program. The program's goals are to increase knowledge related to sea turtle movements and habitat use, study growth rates, and assess the genetic stock.
Belize Shark Conservation Research
The Glover’s Reef Atoll Shark Survey gathers scientific information to improve shark conservation in Belize. The shark conservation project has been going on almost two decades and has located critical habitats such as breeding grounds and monitored population trends.