Banco Chinchorro

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Banco Chinchorro is an atoll reef lying off the southeast coast of the Municipality of Othón P. Blanco in Quintana Roo, Mexico, near Belize that is one of the world's premiere shipwreck diving spots. Its beauty is gorgeously showcased throughout the 2009 semi-documentary film "Alamar" by Pedro González-Rubio.[1]


The reef, which lies in Mexican waters 35 km offshore in the Caribbean Sea, is about 80 km east of the city of Chetumal,is approximately 40.2 kilometres (25.0 mi) long from north to south, and approximately 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) wide at its widest point. It covers an area of 800 km². The atoll has three islands, with an aggregate land area of 6.7 km²:

  1. Cayo Norte (actually two separate islets) (0.9 km²)
  2. Cayo Central (5.6 km²)
  3. Cayo Lobos (southernmost) (0.2 km²)

The natural vegetation of the islands is largely mangrove near the shore shading into open woodland more than 20–30 m from the shore. There is a caiman reserve on the southernmost (and biggest) island. The islands (in common with many isolated tropical islands) are thickly populated with small crabs, which are tame and can be trodden on inadvertently by visitors.

Some of the islands are inhabited by fishermen, who live in dwellings on stilts about 60-100 m offshore to subvert local regulations forbidding private construction.[2]


The reef is home to at least nine shipwrecks, including two Spanish Galleons. The names of the known wrecked ships are: SS Caldera, SS Escasell, SS Far Star, SS Ginger Screw, SS Glen View, SS Penelopez, SS San Andreas, and SS Tropic. There is also a large ferry from Cozumel that washed up on Chinchorro during Hurricane Wilma.


  1. ^ Alamar at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ Lonely Planet Guide Mexico, Lonely Planet publications, Melbourne, (2005)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 18°35′N 87°22′W / 18.583°N 87.367°W / 18.583; -87.367